Thanks, yes I agree that does need to be decided.
There is a button on the plugins page to enable/disable autosort, so theoretically that's not a problem. We could design the extension so that manual sorting was only enabled if autosorting was disabled, so they were mutually exclusive. Then the workflow would be:
- optionally, enable autosort to get an approximate load order
- optionally, disable autosort and do manual corrections
With autosort disabled, I can imagine having the autosort system putting up warnings if it detected rules being broken (with the option to disable warnings, perhaps), but not actively resisting the user.
Now, supposing the user has established a satisfactory load order and then installs a new mod. If autosort is disabled, we would need to define where its plugin(s) appeared. At the top? At the bottom? I don't think the choice is critical (it could even be a configuration option) but it needs to be defined for completeness.
This scheme would accomodate people who like to leave everything to the computer, people who don't trust the computer at all, amd people who think the computer isn't bad but they can do a bit better.
What it doesn't do, is to accommodate people who want to sort plugins by category and then sort within categories. To do that, we would need a mechanism for assigning categories to plugins (analogous to the one for assigning categories to mods), and an option to rough-sort by category without doing a full autosort, or, perhaps, to autosort with category priority. This is getting conceptually more complicated but I think it needs to be tackled.
I wonder: would it be conceptually simple if plugins inherited their categories from the mods that contain them?
Would it be possible to take a standard set of categories and assign each category its own global priority, then let autosorting do what it already does, which is to sort by rules within priorities? I have a hunch that might do the trick.