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> I'm also confused about the need for pairs/ipairs metamethods.

There is no *need* for pairs/ipairs metamethods just as there is no need
for pairs/ipairs functions. (But there is a need for next and # so that
pairs/ipairs can be implemented.)

> (1) acknowledge that pairs/ipairs pertain only to tables (several
> people have done this already); and

But tables are used to implement objects and those may want different behaviors.