If it's a new code base or new file, agreed. But what about modifying a legacy file to introduce/change actual functionality -- the automated formatter/linter may obscure the actual changes with a complete reformat, correct?

To your point, do it in a separate commit. Run the formatter/linter one time manually across the entire codebase. This will provide a basis (momentum) and from then on only changed files need to be formatted/linted (which could be automated).

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