Paul Jones' Blog: Regarding Underscores
In response to a post from Leszek Stachowski about underscores in PHP class development, Paul Jones has shared his own thoughts on the matter - that he disagrees with Leszek and suggests keeping the underscore prefix for private methods.
I think the underscore-prefix for protected and private is a good convention to keep. As with many things about programming, this convention is not for the program, it is for for the programmer. For example, limiting your line length to about 80 characters is a good idea, not for reasons of "tradition", but because of cognitive limitations of human beings who have to read code. Likewise, using the underscore prefix is an immediate and continuous reminder that some portions of the code are not public. Its purpose is as an aid to the programmer.
He suggests that it offers something similar to the thought process behind the magic methods like __get or __set that both work on a private scope. Check some of the comments for opinions both for and against the idea from other community members.