Every program has got to be able to distinguish between commands and substantive text. It's no less true with Pathagoras plain text approach. Segregating the various parts of the base document is a programming challenge as well as a design element. We call the 'non-substantive' areas of a document as 'administrative text.'
Administrative text is that part of an options/optional/repeat block that signals to Pathagoras that it is a command (as opposed to text you want the customer or client to be reading in the final product. It's how Pathagoras can know what you want it to do.
Administrative text is minimally 1, up to 3, parts:
1.a command (<<*Options* or <<*Optional* or <<*Repeat*) (mandatory);
2.a !groupname! (optional) and
A fourth 'part' (which is 'administrative,' but which we arbitrarily exclude from the definition, is the set of characters ">>" that closes the command block.
An asterisk needs to be placed at the end of the administrative text to signal its end. (If you have neither groupnames nor prompts, the asterisk that closes the command is all you need. So two asterisks are fine in that situation. But if you add a groupname or prompts, a third asterisk is needed. Pathagoras just has to have some way to know when admin text ends and substantive text begins.)
You cannot have other characters within the administrative text area. (Pathagoras just won't know what to do with them, and it will fail in processing the block.)
<<*Options*Federal Express/USPS (First Class)/UPS>>
The administrative text is simply the command "<<*Options*" and only 2 asterisks are used, and the final ">>" to close the block.
In this example, we have added short prompts:
<<*Options*FedEx/USPS (First Class)/UPS*Per your request, the widgets will be shipped by Federal Express and we will bill you for the extra cost of shipping./Per your request, we will send the widgets by standard First Class mail./Per your request, we ship your purchase via United Parcel Service.>>
The administrative text runs to the third (closing) asterisk.
If a !groupname! is used, place it -- and its exclamation markers -- immediately after the command and before any prompts. (Do not place an asterisk after the groupname if you also have prompts. The third asterisk closes 'all' of the admin text.)
<<*Options*!Shipping!FedEx/USPS (First Class)/UPS*Per your request, the widgets will be shipped by Federal Express and we will bill you for the extra cost of shipping./Per your request, we will send the widgets by standard First Class mail./Per your request, we ship your purchase via United Parcel Service.>>