Paul Eggert wrote (on Tue, 6 Mar 2018 at 19:43 -0800):

> That would make sense if we assume that Gnulib source files live in a 
> directory 
> controlled by the .dir-locals.el file. However, Gnulib is designed to copy 
> source files hither and yon, and it'd be a pain to arrange to update the 
> .dir-locals.el files (if any) appropriate for the hither-and-yon copies.

Why would you need to copy a dir-locals file outside the gnulib repo?
You can't force your downstreams to use a particular editor to make
any local changes. Any changes they did make would show up via vcs, in
the normal way. I assumed any utility to keeping the time stamps
update was solely for edits in gnulib itself.

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