I wondered if it would be sensible to ask to extend externals special remote protocol with ability for custom remotes to pass back some INFO level message (not only DEBUG or ERROR). The reason is: in datalad-archives special remote we usually need to git annex get first the key containing the archive, which might be sizeable. Since there is ATM no way to communicate back to git-annex, so it could communicate back to the datalad which runs it, it results in no output/message to the user that possibly a heavy download is happening in the background. So, we would need to establish our own communication from datalad-archives special remote all the way to top level datalad process to report that, or I wondered if may be we could report back to git-annex, and it in turn report back to the original process (running e.g. annex get --json --json-progress) so it could spit out that message wrapped into a json record within the stream, so we could process and output that to the user.

done --Joey