Regarding #2, it is possible you know more about rich text than I do, but I'd doubt it. If you look at my article Rich Text 101 - Hide-when formulas
, you'll see the "fix" you are describing in the section "A Partial Fix to Hide-When formulas in Rich Text Fields
", but I also describe why it is only a partial fix. I can make a rich text field that does not have a space in front of it that hides inside a table cell. I can also make a rich text field with a space in front of it inside (or out) of a table cell that does not hide. My comment about doing your homework is just that is is clearly described in this forum and on my blog (which is referenced in this forum) why this fix sort of works, why it doesn't always work, and why it is not limited to rich text fields in table cells.
As an aside to others, it is perfectly possible to hide rich text, you just either have to keep the hide-when formula in the rich text itself or use a tool to set the hide-when inside the rich text. There is nothing a rich text that is less hideable, it is just more complex.