moderated Images in message signatures



A couple group admins in GMF have noticed that their groups' Emailed Photos albums have become stuffed with multiple copies of images from members' email signatures - over 670 in one case, over 36,000 in another!

The fact that the images are shown in the Emailed Photos album is a problem in that it clutters that album to the point that it is useless for finding other photos.

Another concern is the storage used. My belief is that having them listed in the Emailed Photos album does not itself consume any extra of the group's storage quota. That is, the storage was allocated to preserve the image as seen in the message in the Messages archive; showing it also in Emailed Photos album did not require an additional copy of the image. That said, and even given that images in signatures tend to be small files, if a group accumulates many thousands of them the storage cost could add up beyond insignificance and might eventually risk putting the group over its quota.

The first response was a wish that bulk delete had already been implemented. cf:

However, in the face of 36,000 copies even that would be insufficient unless it has an automatic way of selecting just the photos matching one of them.

1) Remediation. Provide a means to manually select one photo in an album and have the system find and select all matching photos as targets of a subsequent a bulk action.  Note, for this purpose I believe an exact match of the image file to be sufficient - it isn't necessary, or even desirable, to have a perceptual (or "looks like") match.

1a) Action: delete. I'm imagining that this action must not only remove the image files, but also their slots in the Emailed Photos album and do something with each source message to avoid leaving a broken reference.

1b) Action: consolidate. This would be more subtle. This would leave behind a single copy of the image file, deleting the rest. I imagine that the source messages would have to be updated to point to this single copy in place of the deleted copies.

Handling this case in the Emailed Photos album is a bit trickier.

Where does the one remaining album entry sort? For Posted date the obvious choices are: at the date of the manually selected target, at the date of the oldest copy, at the date of the newest copy. I'm inclined to take the oldest copy as the best of those choices. For sort by Taken date they copies would perforce all have the same Taken date - or more likely no such date at all (no EXIF data). Name sort is trickier, as the names may be somewhat arbitrary, but again I think the name of the oldest copy is likely a good enough answer.

Also, what of the Message button? Would it in any scenario be useful for that to invoke an advanced message search for all the messages that contain the consolidated image?
I can almost imagine a group admin wanting a way to find them all. If not that, then I imagine having it bring you to the oldest message would be the best answer.

2) On-going maintenance. Whatever remediation (1) is taken, the group admins still face an on-going chore of repeating the consolidation or deletion on a regular basis; as fresh messages cause the images to build up again.

To avoid this, it would be desirable for the system to compare the images in incoming messages against those which have been consolidated (1b) and consolidate the new image as well. If the action taken was deletion (1a) there isn't a remaining copy to compare against the incoming images, and it isn't clear that the group managers would want to set up an automatic deletion in any case.

3) Fully automatic. As an alternative to (1), it would be possible to automatically detect a repeated image file as each new message is received. This, combined with a one-time pass over the existing message archives, would make the consolidation feature completely automatic, requiring no effort from the group admins.

The matching could be restricted to messages from this member, to reduce the search space and keep the added processing time to a minimum.


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