Oh cool, another tipping thread!!! Just what I said I wanted in my OP!! Not.
This is the first time I've checked the thread since @Host Clarea was kind enough to provide me with what I asked for. Thank you, kind sir, for the info. If the internet had been remotely consistent on the boat, I would have asked for the thread to be closed immediately after his reply. Instead, I had to read the post he linked to, and then start asking questions to see if what I was attempting was actually achievable and fair. Getting enough info to make that determination took several hours, as every officer I checked with gave me a different answer. More on that below.
For those folks that don't want to learn anything, here is the short version of what we did: we left the autotips on AND tipped additional to those we felt went above and beyond.
For those of you who responded with comments about me being cheap, I will take the high road here, and just say you are so very wrong. I have worked in hospitality since retiring, because I enjoy bartending. I know first hand how tough the work is so I tip very well when I am out. But I thank you for your judgmental attitude, because clearly you have not been thanked enough in your daily lives.
For those still reading, here is the rest of the story. Remember that this all started because we only ate in the MDR once. I was concerned that the MDR staff would be disproportionally compensated over the Windjammer staff (who by the way were magnificent). So I went to guest services, and explained, in detail, my desire to avoid that very situation, and asked how to proceed. Did the rep say "just leave it alone, we have a formula that accounts for where you ate"? No he gave me an envelope preprinted with "Additional Gratuity". Hmm, not what I needed.
So, I went to the Windjammer, spoke to my favorite server, explaining my dilemma. She understood my desire to be fair, but pointed out that whether you get a share of tips is specified by your contract. Her example was that the folks running fresh food from the WJ galley to the serving stations did not share in tips. At that point I suspected there were many aspects of the situation that were going to complicate things, so I asked to speak to a supervisor in the WJ.
I explained to the supervisor what my concern was. Did she say "just leave the tips in place, we have a formula that makes everything fair, based on how many times you ate in the MDR"? No, she said I should bring whatever tips I wanted the WJ staff to have to her, and she would put it in the pool for the WJ. So I thought, OK, that might be an option.
Then I went back to my cabin to see if Cruise Critic had come through for me. I read the material that Bob linked to, where RCI gave the daily breakdown of who gets what. It was helpful, as it pointed out an immediate problem with my plan - it would have stiffed the folks that fell into the "other" category. Those are the folks (I assume) that are cleaning windows, sweeping and mopping and vacuuming the common areas, emptying trash, etc. There is a LOT of that on a ship, and in the end there was no way to factor them into the resolution of my concerns about dining staff.
The RCI language also suggested that dining staff portion of my daily tip would be spread fairly among anyone involved in the MDR or WJ service. Perhaps that is why, when walking up to the Front-of-House for our My Time Dining experience, they wanted my cabin number. I hope that is why they ask.
But I am a scientist by training, and I didn't feel comfortable with the "data" I had been given, so I went back to the WJ, and spoke with an officer in the food and beverage department. (I say officer because this guy had stripes on his sleeves, while the previous "supervisor" had not.) I once again explained my dilemma. Did he say "just leave the tips in place, we have a formula that is fair, and takes into account where you eat"? No, he did not, nor did he give me any other ideas on how to proceed.
So in the end, I spent a lot of time trying to solve a "problem" that, if it exists, is not really solvable. If I had cancelled the autotips, I had no way to pay the "other" guys (which was as important to me as not stiffing the WJ staff relative to the MDR folks). So we left them on, and I gave a few folks extra (including the woman that was perpetually at the Park Cafe in the Solarium. I don't know when she slept.) I did find it very interesting that everyone I spoke with (that was in a position to know) either did not have a deep enough understanding of what goes on to assuage my concerns, or chose not to enlighten me. I just have to trust that RCI does what it says it does.
Which is not comforting given that they say they have the fastest internet at sea. But that is another issue...