What's the funny punctuation?
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In the background, Socialtext formats pages with a few extra symbols, like brackets and asterisks, in the text. For the most part, when editing you can ignore this. However, you may come up across this like when browsing through the History. Additionally, you can use it in while editing in advanced mode.
To learn what the codes mean, when you're editing a page click the "Edit tips" link at the top.
How do I make links?