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>I’ve never understood the impetus for not using full LaTeX in an academic contex, given that the boiler plate is so minimal and presumably one has a built up a personal template over time.

I don't find the boilerplate minimal at all. Contrast the following:

     \item First
     \item Second
     \item Third

     - First
     - Second
     - Third
I won't even get into the hell that is tables.

I loved LaTeX until I discovered Org Mode. Pandoc also scratches the same itch.

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