I'm not opposed to changing the original code. It is a 3rd party and I have a request out. Eventually, it will get done, just not as fast as I would like. I have been looking at Padwalker and considering it. However, my gut is telling me that this isn't a "good" path for all of the reasons that you pointed out.
Given your feedback and the feedback from the other monks, I think I am going to create a patched local copy and then sub-class it. This will minimize the impact on the maintenance to reverse out when changed.
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