A: All questions are good questions! We all benefit from shared knowledge.
There’s an easy way to check whether your DAW’s meters are pre-fader or post-fader: simply move the fader while signal is coming into the channel. If the meters change as you move the fader, the meter is post-fader. If the meter doesn’t change when you move the fader, it is pre-fader.
There may be a setting in your DAW’s preferences that determines meter operation.