So you want to reinvent the wheel, simply because you
don't want can't remember to make a *single* click in the metadata field before you start typing?
Actually, no. I'm content if nothing
happens when I start to type and focus isn't where I want it. All the window managers I use except X unfortunately behave that way.* I would just like to prevent the LR user agent from interpreting my attempts to type in a metadata field as a command (or sequence of commands) to change its behavior, if there's some way to accomplish that. The alpha keys are overloaded in LR. In some contexts, they are used to insert text, in others to modify the appearance of the user agent. I haven't been able to discover a way to restrict them to the insert-text function, which I why I posted my query. It occurred to me that perhaps someone more knowledgeable about the product than I am might know of a way to coax it into doing what I wanted—perhaps even an undocumented one.
*The X Window system can be configured so that focus follows the pointer. Or not. Top-window behavior can also be configured to follow focus. Or not. Moreover, these characteristics are independent of each other. I believe offering the end-user this kind of configurability is The Right Thing to Do. But that's a subject for a different discussion in a different forum.