I have annex with a subdir documents/ where I set numcopies to 4 using .gitattributes. I have a bunch of special remotes in an archive group with (not (copies=archive:2)) or lackingcopies=1 as preferred content expression.

Now, this directory has over 1000 documents in it. When I run git annex sync --content, git annex will try to drop 1000 documents from 5 archive remotes (one by one) since the files are not wanted (copies > 2) BUT it will conclude it can't because I need at least 4 copies.

This creates incredible amount of churn to the point remotes start to rate-limit me because it takes hours to resolve a single sync.

I tried to mess around with include and exclude but I can't make it work. Is this even possible? For example, I tried

(include="documents/*" and (not (copies=archive:4))) or (exclude="documents/*" and (not (copies=archive:2)))

Now, I would interpret this as "all the files in documents/ with less than 4 copies in archive OR all the files not in documents/ and less than two copies". But with this expression (and many similar variants) it always tries to drop the 4+ copy files.