How can I enter keywords in such a way that they don't initiate LR commands? (that subsequently make LR do all kinds of unwanted and unexpected things?
Usually it works. Now for reasons unknown to me, typing in the keyword box doesn't enter keywords, it enters commands.
And the white entry box under the keyword box is now active. I don't want that. I want to enter the keywords directly in the grey box, like I was doing before.
And now, I am also being prevented from removing unwanted keywords. Before, I could just delete them or backspace them out in the gray box. How did this happen?
Well, I can at last answer one of your questions: The white box under the keyword box is where you can enter keywords. If it is white it's ready for you. If you don't want to enter the keyword here but in the box above just click in the box above and the box below turns dark again. It's sort of vice versa: you click the top and the bottom box is dark, you click the bottom box and the box above is dark. Where you click that box is active.
As for entering commands: what kind of commands do you mean? Did you hit the Ctrl / Cmd key while pressing a letter? Although while the keyword box is active that should not result in a command. So please explain in a bit more detail. And also, are you on a Mac or on Windows?
Actually, I think it's a case of autocomplete kicking in when you're not looking. By the time you realize what's happened, it's entered the metadata and any successive keystrokes are interpreted by LR as keyboard shortcuts.
By commands, I mean things that make LR do stuff, all kinds of unexpected stuff, like open panels or dialog boxes, close them, highlight photos, I can't even remember now, but all kinds of stuff. It isn't happening anymore; but I don't know how or why it stopped, any more than I know why it started in the first place. If it happens again, I'll take closer note of exactly what commands are executed.
I'm on Windows.
Auto write xmp is off.