I've complained about this several times, yet I can't find a bug to go with it.
A big source of user confusion is that darcs users _darcs/prefs for three very
- motd <-- this could also be useful for patch-taggers
- prefs <-- used by setpref
Since we can't do much about the remote prefs and the internal metadata for
reasons of backward compatibility, I propose that we create a separate
_darcs/localprefs directory and check there first. It would mean that old
versions of darcs won't recognise the prefs, but I don't think it's serious
enough of a problem to warrant a format change.