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asterisks around variables

    Date: Monday, 8 November 1982  20:56-EST
    From: Scott E. Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

     (2) To me, the purpose of the asterisks is to flag those variables that
         are "property of Lisp" so that the user doesn't accidentally
         blunder into them.

Hmm, that's an interesting and novel idea.  We handle that by having DEFVAR
complain if you define the same variable in more than one file, and by
using packages to decrease the likelihood of that.  The asterisks are not
there to distinguish the system's variables from the user's variables.
My philosophy is "the fewer magic distinctions between the system and the
user the better; anything the system can do the user should be able to
understand and to change."