In some manuals online I see numbers in parentheses following the commands, like (sshd(8), ssh_config(5), etc.). What does this mean, and why is it important to indicate/show the number?


See the manual page for the man command. Ie. man man

The table below shows the section numbers of the manual followed by the types of pages they contain.

1   Executable programs or shell commands
2   System calls (functions provided by the kernel)
3   Library calls (functions within program libraries)
4   Special files (usually found in /dev)
5   File formats and conventions eg /etc/passwd
6   Games
7   Miscellaneous (including macro  packages  and  convenâ
    tions), e.g. man(7), groff(7)
8   System administration commands (usually only for root)
9   Kernel routines [Non standard]

By the way it is also a dropdownbox on the openssh website:

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