"There’s a difference between a new change server side being propagated and whatever change I make locally being immediately and suddenly overwritten by the old version. "
Yes, you are correct. I was thinking about “a new change server side being propagated”, whenever anything happens in the server. I definitely was not thinking about it “being immediately and suddenly overwritten by the old version” (but I’d rather have that, than nothing).
“you could/should simply make the files in question read only for the users who are not supposed to change them?”
Two problems here:
a) That will not work (easily, at least) in crippled systems like Android;
b) I do not necessarily want them to be read only. Some applications do need to be able to alter some files. And some users might want to, too.
Which brings me back to the “let the user decide if she/he wants the changes in the server to be immediately propagated, withouth further questions, to all ‘read-only’ nodes”, like in “one-way sync” settings of other applications.