Multiple frames keep getting affected by selection

What are all the possibly ways that multiple frames can be selected and therefore affected by selection tools? I’ll do a bunch of work only to realize that at some point all previous frames have been destroyed in some way or another from moving things via selection. Yet I’m not selecting multiple frames consciously at any point. I feel like this is happening way more than it did in previous years.

Is there a way to disable it entirely? The only possible guess I have is that sometimes I might be tracking through frames by dragging, without realizing it.

the only way is by direct selection. the fact you don’t do it consciously only means you aren’t aware of you doing it. as far as i’m concerned nothing has changed in this matter.
always pay attention to what your timeline looks like. you clicked on the name of the layer? all cels in that layer will be affected. you clicked on the frame number? all cels in that frame across all layers will be affected.
it is also important to select the target first and only then make a selection - that will ensure you edit only one cel at one frame. if done the other way around, then you can easily make a mistake and target more cels at once.
the target of edit will always be either darkened or even have border. but if you want to be safe, click directly on the cel you want to edit to make sure nothing else will be affected.

to turn this mode off, go to preferencesselection and switch off transform cels in selected layers or frames in timeline

I don’t know. I think if it’s this easy to do it by mistake, there’s a problem. Most of the other problems I’ve encountered like this tended to have a setting (moving moving the mouse into the boarder to scroll for example). Things like that aren’t really possible to solve by being careful, because being careful is not something you should be thinking about in a fast workflow.

Are we taking about frames or layers?, These are not the same, I’d recommend try using the lock each layer has to stop from altering the work you have already done, then after you think you re done with the new layer, you can merge it down. It’s just an idea.

I’m referring to frames. I don’t have much trouble with layers, since the worst that happens with layers tends to be that nothing happens because you’re on the wrong layer.