I feel like this is something I should definitely know about, but I'm not entirely sure of the details of at what point a character is decoded by a browser (or even if I'm thinking about it in the right way).
While inspecting the DOM of a site to which I've added some content (through a form, for example), I can see my
So, I'd expect to see (when inspecting the DOM)
<content>, but it seems not.
This is merely because your browser's DOM inspector is a bit loose in its representation. You're inspecting the DOM after all, a complex object oriented internal memory structure, yet your browser is showing it to you in an HTML-like presentation. Either because of an oversight or as a conscious decision to make this presentation more readable, not everything that should be an HTML entity in valid HTML is being displayed as HTML entity.
If you inspect the actual source code of the page, you'll see