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I'm on digest, and I know someone said this already, but you've had a lot
of other answers too.
I would definitely provide an example. You could say:
The name_pairs are separated by a comma. Example: apples, oranges.
(Substitute appropriately realistic name examples, add parenths if needed.)
Your typography would have to make it clear exactly where your example
began and ended: boldface, italics, separate line, whatever.
This would give the reader more understanding than simply telling them what
a comma is, without seeming to talk down.
Senior Technical Writer
Software Dynamics, Inc.
West Hills, CA