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In various Emacs docstrings the text include the "(which see)" mention right after a reference to a variable as shown in the second paragraph of the example below, taken from the emacs-lock docstring. What does this mean? Is it supposed to be rendered in a special way?

Emacs-Lock minor mode (indicator Locked:all): Toggle Emacs Lock mode in the current buffer. If called with a plain prefix argument, ask for the locking mode to be used.

Initially, if the user does not pass an explicit locking mode, it defaults to ‘emacs-lock-default-locking-mode’ (which see); afterwards, the locking mode most recently set on the buffer is used instead.

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What does this mean?

It's a suggestion from the documentation author to read the documentation of the thing it's referencing (ie. emacs-lock-default-locking-mode)

Is it supposed to be rendered in a special way?

"(which see)" itself? No. The thing being referenced? Yes.

In my Emacs, in "gui mode" (emacs -q) we get: screenshot of an Emacs window displaying help for "emacs-lock-mode"

The blue underlined words are navigable links. You can click on them with your mouse, or cycle through them with the TAB and "click them" with the Enter/Return.

In my Emacs, in "terminal mode" (emacs -q -nw) we get:

screenshot of an Emacs window in terminal mode displaying the help for "emacs-lock-mode"

You'll notice the same blue, underlined links. Obviously you can't navigate them with your mouse, but you can still use TAB and Enter. For more help on navigating *Help* buffers, hit h while in a *Help* buffer.

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  • You can navigate the links with your mouse if your terminal emulator is configured correctly.
    – db48x
    Sep 28, 2023 at 17:27
  • You might need to activate xterm-mouse-mode to navigate with your mouse.
    – PRouleau
    Sep 28, 2023 at 21:23
  • Given the fact that the preceding term is already rendered as a hyperlink, I would argue that (which see) is superfluous and, I don't know, is the word "precious" or is it "contrived"? A bit of both. Oct 3, 2023 at 19:26

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