> I saved and deleted the database in ~/.local/share/shotwell/data and
> started it up again. It immediately started auto-importing my
> pictures again. How do I stop it doing that and where does it find 
> the information to know where to auto-import stuff from?

The two configuration keys are:

gsettings get org.yorba.shotwell.preferences.files auto-import
gsettings get org.yorba.shotwell.preferences.files import-dir

You can obviously also set them with "set" instead of get

> I want to 
> a) Remove the database and any configurations that might be around.
> b) Start up Shotwell and set the Library location to the location of
> my photos on disk.

See above, you should be able to do that from the command line,
but at least you are able to turn off auto-import.

> c) Import all the photos from that same location.
> It seems odd to me that Shotwell, by default, moves images from the
> import location to the library. It would seem more sensible to leave
> the files where they are, by default, and build the database pointing
> to the import location. As it is I seem to have to trick Shotwell
> into leaving the images where they are by setting the import location
> to the library location.  There doesn't seem to be a configuration
> option to stop Shotwell moving the files.

I don't know how you managed to configure Shotwell to have its library
and the auto-import directory differently. Auto-import on start-up
usually only happens from the library and when it is importing inside
the library it will not move. 

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