it's important to study the reaper signal flow diagrams; they are in the pdf manual. Something that may not be apparent is where faders and routings occur in the signal chain. Recently this was a big issue for me because i couldnt figure out where i was getting clipping from and lowering the track faders didnt help at all. This is because the track faders come after vst effect inserts and not before them. If i had used the automation pre-fx envelope faders for each track then i could have prevented the clipping of the vst inputs. If anybody is having trouble with levels, a great read is the article about gain staging in soundonsound magazine/webite. Good luck and happy mixing.
I wasn't saying that post faders were a bug, nor design flaw, I'm just saying that if you ever expect to lower the gain of clipping channel VST's with the channel faders IT WON'T WORK. However, if you use the pre-FX automation faders, then you can prevent the inputs of the VST's from clipping. This is important if you use VST effect chains which pump inputs to outputs in series.
Really what I mentioned is worth thinking through thoroughly if you use chains of VST's which add gain, including EQs and compressors.
Also, reading the signal flow charts is still useful because there are other things you might learn about routing patterns, such as why certain parts of the path can't be recorded.
By the way, EnergyXT has input channel trims. And I think one of my previous other DAWs that I don't use anymore may have had pre-FX faders (MultitrackStudio Pro Plus).
With some advanced hardware consoles you have other options.
This is what annoyed me the most in any other DAW than Ableton Live: you can't see the volume of your sound in between the plugins.
In Live you can easily spot what effect is causing a boost in volume, making it very easy to check your gain staging. Similarly it's also possible to see your midi messages, making it very easy to debug problems. I don't get why other DAWs don't use those little meters, really handy feature.
I gainstage as I go so this has never been a problem. Those little Ableton meters are pretty useless apart from identifying when something's adding savage amounts of gain, which should be obvious anyway assuming you're not producing with your sound muted.
I guess why nobody's really surprised about the information in this thread is because that's how everyone already expects it to work. The channel fader comes after everything, just like regular hardware. It's not an input trim. If you need that, set your default track preset to include a simple gain plugin. Or just turn down your audio or midi instrument. If you're playing a synth and it's already clipping right out of the gate, you need to use the output gain on the synth and not expect the channel fader to mop things up at the end of the chain.