I have stumbled on a problem in my ~/.emacs.el . I am at a loss to even explain it. It seems to me like it might be related to character encoding.
For a number of months, or even years, I have been encountering messages asking what encoding I wish to use to save files. I have gotten into the habit of saying "utf-8" because it gets me out of there, but I haven't a clue what this might do or mean.
Now, my .emacs has gotten buggered. I pasted some snippets from a web site. Later one, those snippets, it seems, have gotten expressed as garbage characters. I'be been poking around, but don't have a clue where to start. I never did understand encoding---I mean, what it does, what parts of the sysem are involved. I cannot even get to first base debugging this.
As an example, I have an abbreviation table that has been in my init file for 15 years, and now reads as gibberish.