David Barnett added the comment:

I just ran into this, and I'd like to communicate how unfortunate it is that 
it's not a priority to fix this fairly trivial (?) bug. It means there's no way 
to define a unicode string literal with non-ascii characters that won't crash 
the builtin help() command.

I ran into this with the desktop package (http://pypi.python.org/pypi/desktop) 
where the only useful documentation right now is the source code and the 
docstrings. Apparently the author, who has non-ascii characters in his name, 
did me a favor by using broken encoding on the doc string so that at least I 
could read everything except for his name in the help. I tried to correct the 
encoding and found I get a nice traceback instead of help. And to top it all 
off, googling for things like "help unicode docstring" and "python help ascii 
codec" turns up nothing. I only found this issue once I thought to include 
"pipepager" in the search...


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