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> I would say it is a bug (even because other metamethods do not do
> this "preconversion"). Just for curiosity, why does your code care
> about this difference?

Consider a spreadsheet or table-type control. In it numeric cells are displayed right aligned, strings and other objects are by default left aligned. So I need to know the type of the object to work out a default alignment of the text in the cell. However if a number is converted to a string first then this information is lost.