so on that WordPress debugging job: ended up finding the code in question, that set FAILEDINITAMTACTION to CancelOnFailure, in two different "plugins", s2member-pro and optimizeMember-pro. neither of which showed up as editable in anything I could find in the wp-admin menus.
so I had my client make a new backup of plugins using updraft, and I downloaded it, extracted the zipfile, edited the 4 files (2 from each plugin that had the problem -- I didn't, and still don't, know which was being used, and I really don't care) to change CancelOnFailure to ContinueOnFailure, and uploaded and restored. it wouldn't let me upload at first, I had to rename my re-zipped file to be in the same naming convention that updraft used. luckily the hex number at the end wasn't significant; I was worried it might be a checksum and I'd have to figure out how it was created.
anyway, did a test transaction, and the s2member logs showed the setting properly changed to ContinueOnFailure. so I think it worked. but I doubt I'll be bidding on WordPress jobs even so; it's still an ugly system. content management is fine, but separate that from the revision control, and for fuck's sake use the filesystem as God intended.
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last updated 2016-02-17 00:48:43. served from tektonic