Python's a very nice language to program in, but it does have a few quirks. Normally, if you put multiple strings in your code, Python will automatically combine them into a single string.
However, it *doesn't* do this if your string literals are positioned in the "docstring" location for a class or function. If they are then only the first string will be used as the docstring - the remainder will be ignored.
Update: A quick discussion on python-dev showed that the behaviour was fairly easily explained. The string literal concatenation magic only works inside a single expression (e.g. an assignment statement). Two string literals on separate lines look like two distinct statements to the interpreter. Escaping the newline after the first literal causes the string concatenation behaviour to be applied.
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