darktable history stack write side car file

On the lighttable history stack module are two buttons marked load sidecar file and write sidecar file. Pressing the load side car file opens a dialogue box as expected, but what is the write side car file button doing? If it’s writing an xmp file, where is it writing it to?

AFAIK, a file named the same as the source in the same folder.

Have a look at the dtdocs history stack section (at the bottom).

In short: Write XMP sidecar files for all selected images. But do read the linked part.

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Thanks. I took a look at my preferences, which in dt3.6.1 are set to write xmp for each image. So am I to assume that the write sidecar files is redundant, or of use if my preferences were set to not write a sidecar file?

Again, AFAIK, yes. It also helps my ocd that I know that I click a button and the sidecar file is updated, I always do it before sharing a sidecar here on the forum for instance.