The thing is as with a lot of terms and uses of terms in cooking. Get missed used, and abused. Most old time cookbooks refer to pre baking ribs or boiling/blanching ribs to set the color of the meat and firm the tissue.
par boiling for a very short time had become the thing to do, with the cheaper cuts of meat to cut down on the cooking time when they were being made in the oven brazing rack in the house. Just another tip from those old time TV shows and tips in the store.
It was a time saver for your granma or mother when they spent to much time in the kitchen. Then after they were in the oven for a while, they were drowned in the bottled ketchup type sauce so you wouldn't know any different.
I don't do it, Boil/steam/blanch the ribs and I can't tell any benefit of doing it.
But as you said this is an experiment so sacrifice a small section and try a side by side with pron