After examining the SEDE documentation, poking around with a few queries, and reading How do you cross the 3k character limit for About Me?, I learned that the Markdown for questions and answers are only stored in their revision history, and that the Posts table actually contains the rendered HTML from the Markdown, which is why it appears that some posts in the table pass the 30,000 character soft-limit.

According to Jeremy, the About Me sections of user profiles also only contains rendered HTML, not Markdown,

You cannot enter more than 3000 characters for your About Me. The 3000 character limit works properly, but it applies to the Markdown source you enter for the profile's About Me field. However, the Data Explorer does not use the raw Markdown source, it uses the HTML that this is rendered into.

I was able to confirm this by running a few queries in SEDE.

If the Markdown used in the About Me section of user profiles isn't actually stored in the AboutMe column in the database, where is it stored then? I didn't see any mention of it in the SEDE documentation...is there a column or table that the devs forgot to document?

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    Data Explorer (and especially the data dumps) don't expose the actually internal schema, just a public representation of it. I'm not sure that "About Me" history is actually tracked, so it's probably just another column that's currently excluded from the Users table, if that's what you're asking. I don't think anyone's requested the Markdown About Me before, even the API doesn't bother returning it. – Tim Stone Oct 10 '15 at 16:50
  • @TimStone so what you're saying is, everything in the documentation is just an elaborate lie, just a bunch of public-facing tables and views meant to deceive us into letting our guard down, while the real schema is hidden away, including the Markdown that users submit when writing their "About Me" in their profile pages... I knew it! – Bob Oct 10 '15 at 16:55
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    You never show all your cards when plotting world domination, naturally. – Tim Stone Oct 10 '15 at 16:55
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    What exactly is the point of this question? Data Explorer not containing all the information we actually have in the database was never a secret. – animuson Oct 10 '15 at 17:07
  • @animuson either deliberate trolling, or just poor attempt at being funny. Can't really decide. – Shadow Keeps Social Distance Oct 10 '15 at 17:54
  • #we-hate-fun​​​ – Diminutive Colossus Oct 10 '15 at 19:15
  • Nice creativity. Wrong topic – Anthony Pham Oct 10 '15 at 20:33
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    No, I agree with you. They are collecting my information. And I can absolutely prove it. When I enter data into my profile and click "save" when I go back later, it's still there!! – James Oct 10 '15 at 20:52
  • @ShadowWizard for the record, I was not trying to troll. I apologize that that is the way that my post appeared. – Bob Oct 11 '15 at 18:23
  • So, unlucky attempt at being funny. Meta does have its humor, but you missed it in few miles. Well, better now. :) – Shadow Keeps Social Distance Oct 11 '15 at 20:06
  • Re "Markdown": Do you mean "markup"? – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Apr 27 at 22:29

SEDE doesn't contain all the tables and columns the real database does. This is intentional, and completely public.

So... hidden, yes; secret, no.

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    Booo! You ruined a funny, creative, perfectly conspiranoic question with a serious, concise, informative, to-the-point answer. :-P – Konamiman Oct 10 '15 at 17:13
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    Have an upvote for the reason stated above! – Anthony Pham Oct 10 '15 at 20:31
  • I clarified my question. – Bob Oct 11 '15 at 17:52
  • But Markdown is not used as input for the "About Me" field (perhaps the OP meant "markup"). – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Apr 27 at 22:28

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