Consider if file foo uses key K, and file archive/bar uses the same key K. Using standard client preferred content settings, git annex drop --auto will want to drop archive/bar, but git annex get --auto will want to get foo. git annex sync --content will do both operations, getting and then dropping the key. Running these commands repeatedly churns unncessarily.

Fixing this needs a map from key to files using it. Then, when checking preferred content of archive/bar, it can see that foo also uses the key. Since foo is wanted, it should not drop the key, even though archive/bar is not wanted.

Such a map exists, in the keys database, but only in v6 mode repositories. So, this seems solvable in v6 repositories, but not in v5. Also, the associated files map may not be accurate at all times, so that's a wrinkle to using it for this. --Joey

(See preferred content and deduplication for a user bug report of the same thing, with some suggestions for workarounds too.)

In the preferred content expressions for standard groups, the only place this bug can be triggered involves archive directories of repositories in the client group. A file both in the archive directory and in another directory has indeterminite status.