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It's a bug, or, if you prefer, a missing vital feature.

The problem:

If you have a document filled with paragraph formatting which has been
applied directly using a paragraph style menu, any styles you define and
apply as a style will be overridden by the direct formatting previously
applied.  There is no way that I have found to remove it, except by a manual
change using the paragraph style menu.  That fixes my problem, but passes
the same problem on to the next person who wants to change the paragraph

I have just had to do this.  The document was an imported Word .doc, but the
principle seems to apply everywhere.

How to fix it:
Add Format menu items "Clear all paragraph/character(/list?) formatting." It
doesn't actually remove all formatting, but applies a default format which
clear all the problem formats and allows a style to be cleanly applied.

List formatting is such a delicate matter that I don't know whether a clear
all list formatting operation would cause more trouble than it's worth.

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