The main reason for using things like <quote> and <acronym> is to separate
from appearance.  With tags that describe the function of an entity, even if
the appearance
is currently just plain text, it can be changed at any time by altering the
rules for rendering
entities, without having to rewrite the xml code for the whole document.
The principle is
to use a different tag for any entity that the manual *might sometime* want
to render in a
special way.

Regarding tabs, the reason for using spaces instead is that there is no
fixed rule for converting
tabs to spaces, so when tabs are used, the appearance of the document will
vary depending
of which editor is used to work on it.

  -- Bill
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