Mono track + stereo insert effect

Ok, so stereo inserts don’t work right on mono tracks. I’ve given up on understanding why this hasn’t been fixed in the years (decades?) since people have been requesting it.

I’m aware of three workarounds:

1.) Create an effects group (not ideal: adds extra steps and unnecessary complexity/clutter to mixer)

2.) Copy mono audio to stereo track (also bad; extra steps required + possible additional problem described below*)

3.) Always record to stereo tracks, even for mono sources. I suspect this may be the most promising, but I’m wondering about the best way to do it. I definitely don’t want to record L+R channels of audio data (wasteful of space/disk bandwidth) and I think this will still create the following issue:

*extra problem: It looks like mono inserts on a stereo track will NOT sum, process, and output resulting mono signal to L/R channels. The insert is only applied the the LEFT channel and the RIGHT channel goes through unaffected. This precludes the possibility of adding mono inserts before the stereo ones on a stereo track. I’m aware that I could just use all stereo inserts, but that’s wasting CPU (if the desired plugin even has a stereo version).

If there’s not a better way around this than I’ll have to add my voice to the chorus declaring this lack of functionality dumb.