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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » AI-Jane is, sadly, pretty shameful...

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Author Topic: AI-Jane is, sadly, pretty shameful...
TomDavidson
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I dropped by to see if the place had improved any.

*sad sigh*
This is actually a shame, because I had hoped that forum could have turned into something interesting, especially since I think Gary and John L. really meant well by it.

Which raises an interesting question: how CAN someone make a worthwhile forum? Is there a necessary set of ingredients or preconditions? And what distinguishes a "worthwhile" forum from one that's not actually worth any time? Are those distinctions purely arbitrary, or is there some absolute value by which one can measure something so subjective?

Certain comments about members of said site have been removed by OrneryMod with TomD's approval. I had asked him to remove them, but the editing time limit had expired.

[ January 04, 2005, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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kelcimer
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quote:
how CAN someone make a worthwhile forum? Is there a necessary set of ingredients or preconditions?
Any production is made up of the sum of it's parts. In order to make a worthwhile forum you need to gather enough parts that work to give it some momentum. Once the ball is in the air the trick is keeping it there and letting it grow.

How do you get enough working parts you have to cast your net in the right way. In this case the net is OSC and we fall into one of two basins. Hatrack or Ornery with some crossover. Because most of us who find our way here have read his books mean that we are generally made up of people who read books.

Because of the way OSC writes, we all see ourselves in his works and thus attract a wide spectrum of posters.

Which wasn't at all intended to bring together a good forum. It was an accident, as it were.

How do you duplicate it?

All you gotta do is put up a main attraction and a way to sort the various elements of what you attract, if need be.

That's hard to do.

The only other forum I was tempted to join was Den Beste's forum, but it was already closed. Which is a shame but he didn't want to manage it anylonger so them's the breaks.
quote:
And what distinguishes a "worthwhile" forum from one that's not actually worth any time?
Do the posters get something out of it? Is it fun for lurkers? does it hit what purpose it aimed for?
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Everard
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The SOns of Sam Horn is probably the best web forum i've visited. Part of how they keep it so good is having a system of applicants. Not something I'd recommend for a political forum...
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ed
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tom, this discussion seems somehow mildly familiar to me for reasons i cannot readily identify... :>

kelcimer makes a very good point WRT his analogy to the theatre. considering there's no director per se, however, i'd argue that a single set of objective criteria are difficult if not impossible to articulate: what people get out of posting, their method of interaction(s), their willingness to bring something to the discussion...these all go toward making a forum a community.

to me therefore, an online forum must have a sense of community to be worthwhile. however, perhaps a better question is: a worthwhile forum to whom?

ed

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
I dropped by to see if the place had improved any, only to see that both Baldar and Ken Bean are both lying their pants off over the circumstances of their banning.

For what it's worth, I told OM that I was OK if Ken wasn't banned for the weird emails. But it was OM's call, and I'm not going to second-guess him.

On the thread I read, Ken seemed to imply that I had doctored his emails. I did not, although I thought that maybe someone had maliciously used his account or his computer to send mail.

I guess I won't go to AI-Jane.

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OrneryMod
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I am not very comfortable discussing the pro's and con's of another site, especially this one, for obvious reasons. I see it leading to a name calling session.

However, I will not lock this thread for now.

OrneryMod

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
I am not very comfortable discussing the pro's and con's of another site, especially this one, for obvious reasons. I see it leading to a name calling session.

I just wanted to state publicly that I didn't do what was implied over on AI-Jane.

Other than that, they can do whatever they want.

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John L
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Ornery Mod, not to appear too forward here, or cause you to exercise your powers of 'lock down', but ai-Jane must be constantly on your mind, as you lurk there continually. In fact, you were just there yesterday(haven't checked today yet).

In fact, why don't you sign in under your regular 'Talltwin' signature and say hello in a straight forward manner. We won't bite you. We promise.

And as you know, many of your members frequent there and participate. Even they will heartily allow you to gace the forum, provided you you are nice to us. As you will note, we have grown substantially since officially setting up shop elsewhere.

And TomD, if you feel that much about Jeff and Ken, perhaps you too could come out of the bushes and say hello under the light of day.

No name calling here I assure you. Sorry I missed the OA reunion last year. Perhaps next time, if I'm still around. [Wink]

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TomDavidson
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"And TomD, if you feel that much about Jeff and Ken, perhaps you too could come out of the bushes and say hello under the light of day."

No thanks. Everything else aside, I don't see a reason to join a forum just to waste time attempting to counter the lies and rampant paranoia of some of its posters. If you managed to offer a wider range of viewpoints in a more civil fashion, I'd consider it -- but, then, I suspect that if you offered a wider range of viewpoints in a more civil fashion, you wouldn't have the Lamberts, Baldar, or Ken Bean as regular posters.

Please don't take this personally, John; it's not meant to be a reflection on you and your efforts; I can't help wondering whether AI-Jane would be more successful if it were to become suddenly more popular, bringing in some fresh blood to drown out some of the more irritating voices, and I consequently sympathize with your recruiting efforts. [Smile] And I genuinely like the ideals on which you've built the forum; I deeply respect the way you consider, for example, whether to censor even the most obvious trolls (like that liberal firebrand you had a few weeks ago.) But some of the people who've sought refuge at your site -- and I'm not including Ken, who never treated me to my face with anything but respect -- are ones who were not only openly hostile to me but openly dishonest in their attempts to sully my reputation; we're talking about people who actually created false identities that, in their first posts on the forum, also went after me, for God's sake. What possible interest would I have in pretending to condone their behavior?

[ January 04, 2005, 08:33 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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John L
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Tom, allow me to address your post piece by piece.
quote:
I suspect that if you offered a wider range of viewpoints in a more civil fashion, you wouldn't have the Lamberts, Baldar, or Ken Bean as regular posters.
I will admit that Baldar is quite partisan at times, and perhaps Ken, but I haven't followed his trail here. As for the Lamberts, I cannot understand where they are any problem to you whatsoever. As for Ron, his only possible bone to pick with you would be his deeply held religious convitions. I can't remember yours at first blush. As for Wm, whilst he may be to the right of you, I have never seen him be anything short of civil and courteous to the point of absolute boredom. [Smile] Where Baldar puts one to sleep with his position papers, Wm can put you to sleep with his kindness/consideration. So this statement does not ring true to me. Are you telling me that the overwhelming majority here are all sweetness and light, even more than William? I personally find that very hard to believe.
quote:
I like you, John. And I genuinely like the ideals on which you've built the forum; I deeply respect the way you consider, for example, whether to censor even the most obvious trolls (like that liberal firebrand you had a few weeks ago.)
I'm feeling very warm and fuzzy here. [Wink] Thanks.
quote:
But some of the people who've sought refuge at your site -- and I'm not including Ken, who never treated me to my face with anything but respect -- are ones who were not only openly hostile to me but openly dishonest in their attempts to sully my reputation;
Note Tom that there is a little bit of the 'smartalic in the two of us. Too bad others like OM never saw this as a gem stone. And please do not tell me that you are fragile to the point of break down. If you believe that, you are definately being intellectually .......well, you know what I mean. That means that we are polarizing to say the least. You already know this, and I would bet good money that there are those here who also harbour, if not ill feelings, at least ill intent.
quote:
we're talking about people who actually created false identities that, in their first posts on the forum, also went after me, for God's sake.
I have no idea who or what you are meaning here. If someone has not been above board with his/identity I cannot influence or condone that. And note that the moderator here is guilty of doing the very thing you are condemning. Personally, I don't care what othes use for a signature: same with OM. I just can't understand all the lurking and then pretence of total innocence.
quote:
What possible interest would I have in pretending to condone their behavior?
I don't know. I'm not here trying to recruit you, or anyone else to leave here, OR take you to ai-jane for our exclusive domain. You and others have this thing called 'free will'.

And note: I go to many places and simply make my presence known as the official recruiter. Apparently something is working successfully.

The only thing I find somewhat hypocritical is that you, OM and others refuse to stop by officially, but will spend much time leafing through the rapidly increasing pages there while remaining hidden. That is not a problem, in and of itself. But we are able to do some sleuth work and read the truth. And frankly, it is puzzling to us, and even elicits more than a few good private laughs amongst us, particularily with regard to msquared/OM/talltwin.

So be honest, you and others are keenly interested in us as seen in your posts. So if you are going to go there, it is much easier to simply close the door, allow the cold to remain outside and accept a nice cup of coffee?

Anyway , no hard feelings. I really don't have any for 'talltwin' either. I'm over that, but it is the recurring behavior that I find...........strange? I think that is the best way to describe it.

And too, we are not going to go away, we still occasionally visit here, and our numbers at Jane are growing. we had four new members today alone. But our percentage of participation is extremely high with comparrison to all the other forums I have been to. And one of the successes is that we encourage others to keep their old friends, but also accept our hospitality as well. It works. Unfortunately we have acquired some of the bad marks of success too. We are also getting the flamers and are trying not to fall into the pit that other forums, this one included, have used to get rid of the problem.

Anyway, I ramble too much. So please, if you are going to look into our window and note the warm fireplace, then at least show the courtesy to come in and enjoy the hospitality as well.

Enough said! Sorry Msquared/OM, I am not in recruitment mode. Believe me, there are some here who should remain here. So let's not fight. It does not help either place in the long run.

[ January 04, 2005, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: John L ]

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Sancselfieme
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John L, I believe he is talking about Baldar's having presumed the identity of "Ron" here.
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John L
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quote:
John L, I believe he is talking about Baldar's having presumed the identity of "Ron" here.
Oh, that was almost, but not quite as interesting as that of Murdok/Chuck when he infiltrated here following the 'great ouster'. Now That was indeed hilarious! [Big Grin]

However, when "Ron" did come out with the truth, he was banned for doing so. Sort of brings up the saying that "No good deed ever goes unpunished".

And note this. If Jeff/Baldar/Ron really wished to come back and pollute the forum he can do so easily. I can readilly change my router IP address , add the appropriate software, etc, and return on a continual basis and there is really nothing that OM can do in order to keep up. He knows this and is playing odds that the overwhelming majority will not even bother.

that is what we are wrestling with at Jane right now. How do you keep things civil, and at the same time encourage everyone to treat each other as they would wish to be treated.

but you are right about "Ron". [Razz] If Jeff/Baldar only had a real sense of humour, it would be lying down, banging the floor, funny.

Does this help?

[ January 04, 2005, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: John L ]

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kelcimer
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quote:
I am not very comfortable discussing the pro's and con's of another site, especially this one, for obvious reasons. I see it leading to a name calling session.

However, I will not lock this thread for now.

I am glad for that. The there is a good topic here about what makes for a good forum and every community needs to discuss the things that have happened in it, good and bad. While I agree that in general it is a bad thing for a thread to be about the forum itself, (much like the media doesn't ever like to be the story it's reporting) the key words there are "in general."

A thread should at least have the opportunity to flair up before it is locked.

And even if it does flair up a bit that is not so bad. We haven't had bad cases of that in a while. Every so often it is healthy for a thread to flair up. Emphasis on "every once in a while."
quote:
OM and others refuse to stop by officially, but will spend much time leafing through the rapidly increasing pages there while remaining hidden.
I stop by occasionally to see what topics are being discussed there and not here. I'm glad that there is cross over between the forums, but I'll just stay over here all the same.
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Zyne
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Only in Haiku
Shall I answer you zealots.
Wait, I made that up.

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kelcimer
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Zyne

That is one of the most awesome and inspirational posts I have ever seen on this site. [Big Grin]

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LetterRip
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Not too fond with how Tom started this thread, but the ensuing discussion is interesting.

The only other forum that I've participated on that was of consistent high quality was Technocrat.net created by Bruce Perens.

BP closed it though (He recently reopened it...) and shortly thereafter I came across Ornery.

Also the replys on LWN.net to the articles are usually interesting to read as well.

LetterRip

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aupton15
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"Only in Haiku
Shall I answer you zealots.
Wait, I made that up. "

Zyne, you know I've always loved your prose, and then you unleash this gem. I'm forever awestruck. [Smile]

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John L
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I bring out the very best in her, both here AND there! [Big Grin]
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LoverOfJoy
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John, am I understanding you correctly? Are you frustrated that people come to the forum and not post?

I've gone there a few times and read but can't remember ever feeling compelled to write. Maybe I will at some point *shrug* but I can't imagine why it'd bug you that I haven't yet.

Maybe I'm misreading you (it's easy on the net) but your tone (to me) comes across as a small smug jab at OM and others for coming by and not posting. Why would their reading at your site without posting "elicit more than a few good private laughs"?

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John L
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quote:
John, am I understanding you correctly? Are you frustrated that people come to the forum and not post?-LJ
That in and of itself,...no. Frankly, if people wish to visit the site and read the threads, they have the liberty to do so. However, when someone goes to a site on a fairly regular basis and then returns to their home forum and posts about that on another thread in a controversial manner, this gives one pause. OR, if one joins a forum but changes his/her signature so as to deceive, or have negative things to say but not be pegged to the statement, this also gives one pause.

It is never really one thing alone, but a combination of things that add up to less than good feelings.

Take TomD for instance. He was personally invited to come join us, by myself, as he was of the origional Ornery Exiles. And we were trying to create something that was as balanced as possible. But alas, he never bothered to reply. So there is a little bit of hurt feelings when disparing things might be stated behind one's back. We simply think that he could have brought it to our attention and we would have addressed it in a mature fashion. And remember we are a forum with a membership of just over 125 members, so we naturally encourage new blood.

Believe me, we have no hard feelings toward here. Granted, we felt slighted and still believe that we were within our rights to think we were 'short sheeted'. And as I mentioned to OM privately, there was apparently a basic misconception about how the forum world was working at the time with relation to us.

OM, as Talltwin, was vexed that there was this secret area where some of us could go and communicate amongst ourselves. I never realized that OM was looking at the forum world from perhaps only an OA perspective, where there is only one moderator, and a forum that is not set up like almost ALL the forums out there in the internet world.

The structure at OA is quite unique in that it is so stark and basic in nature. There is no membership list, no way of telling who or how many are on line, and different sections for different subjects. Granted there are three at the front end, but it is rarely paid attention to.

Anyway, we naturally assumed that OM was needlessly complaining about not being included into the inner sanctum. He probably thought that he was being descriminated against. But he gave away his lack of understanding with this privacy issue, because the other forums commonly have multiple moderators/administrators who are required to have a means of communicating with each other concerning the operation of the forum. OM did not apparently know this: and I did not even consider this until this thread started. Then things became clear to me.

So, when we discovered that Talltwin was actually OM, we naturally asumed that he was only interested in snooping on us. And add the fact that his IP address went through round about servers before finally ending up at his home, we were convinced he was somewhat paranoid in the need to keep a close eye on us and remain undetected. We got a lot of laughs at this, believe me. [Smile]

But to cut to the chase, the forum world is really one big web where people come and go and have the ability to savour what their preferences happen to be. We at ai-Jane are not interested in taking anyone here away from OA. It would be a wasted effort. All we wish to do is provide an easy link for members here to be able to also contribute there should they so wish. And note that we are close by default. Our name states this, as it is part of the OSC world.

And we do not view OA as a major competitor either. The setup of forums is like the map of some science fiction novel such as with David Weber's Shiva Option/On Death Ground. Some worlds are hub worlds that branch out to other worlds, others are end lines and others have massive contacts.

OA is pretty much an end of the line forum as it is not directly linked to others, except 'ai-Jane' and perhaps Uncle Orson's other sites. Could be others, but I am not aware of them.

Ai-Jane is becoming a real hub in that we have contacts with other forums. And there is a flowing back and forth among them. To me, this is good for business, as it encourages new blood AND friendly relations amongst other forums. here, most of the members arrive here through OSC, at least I did. Therefore the clientel here is a little endogamous.

So when I encourage interaction between here and ai-Jane, there is much more than a 'selfish' motive involved. It is simply a means of interjecting new blood that tends to add new vitality to not just ai-Jane, but OA as well. This is just common sense.

Perhaps I am rambling too much. Anyway, do you see what I mean here? [Smile]

[ January 06, 2005, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: John L ]

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LoverOfJoy
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Interesting. I can see where you're coming from...although I think you may be jumping to conclusions regarding the thoughts and motives of msquared, for instance.

Personally, I just don't have the time for multiple forums. Heck, I really don't have the time for this one. I know there were some threads in here that I meant to get back to over the holidays and post more extensive thoughts, research findings, etc. but I got sick and busy and it just didn't happen and now I've even forgotten which threads they were (long since buried). I've popped in to ai-jane a few times to see how others were doing that no longer post here but just can't keep up with multiple threads on similar topics. My guess is that a lot of others feel the same way. Just as you said you don't have grudges toward OA, I bet many here similarly don't hold any grudges toward you or ai-jane...they just don't have the time for more than an occasional perusal of the site.

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TomDavidson
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"We simply think that he could have brought it to our attention and we would have addressed it in a mature fashion."

The thing is, John, I had no interest whatsoever in sharing a forum with Jeff Kizer; I had grown sick of his insults here, and was glad to see the back of him -- and while I respect your "anything goes" approach, there's a reason I don't hang out on USENET. I prefer a heavier hand at the till of most forums than you guys want to use -- even though I suspect that heavy moderation limits any forum's possible popularity with the masses.

Basically, I consider flames -- particularly vulgar and/or ad hominem flames -- to be downright irritating. I don't enjoy them. I'm not amused by them. And when those flames are mixed with statements of political absolutes, I find it very hard to ignore them while still somehow addressing the politics. So I prefer to hang out in places where flaming is actively discouraged.

I knew from your earlier discussions with me that you wanted a forum with much lighter moderation, which I felt missed the point; it wasn't that I thought Ornery was too heavily moderated, but that I thought Ornery was not moderated particularly well at the time. So I decided to watch AI Jane instead of joining right away, to see if a lighter hand did produce more civil, reasonable discussions.

In all fairness, it appears -- as I expected -- to produce more honest discussions, and certainly more passionate ones. But I frankly don't like having to get so emotionally invested in my arguments. [Smile]

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John L
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In honesty, when I mentioned what you call an 'anything goes' atmosphere, I was comparing it to OA. Since I was not worldly on the forum world, I soon discovered that Ai-Jane was anything BUT an 'anything goes' forum. The majority of political forums out there are either somewhere between the 'monkey house' or 'gulag' in nature. In truth Jane is very subdued and laid back. So your comparrison is not accurate.

But that being what it is, if you do not wish to visit, no problem. As I stated earlier, I am not here to recruit,but only to explain.

And I'm sure that dual members here will tend to agree with me on my assessment. Ask Zyne. She is in both forums daily.

Anyway, good luck. And Tom, thanks for the provocative title to this thread. More people are reading it as it pays to advertise. You done good. [Wink]

[ January 06, 2005, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: John L ]

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JLMyers
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quote:
Ornery Exiles
Please use the preferred term; "The Ornery 8". I pattoned it and I get a royalty every time it is used. Like Pat Reily and threepeat. I enjoy both forums. There are pros and cons to both sites.

KE
Knight Ender of the Ornery 8

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kelcimer
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And Ornery 8 just rolls off the tougue better. [Smile]
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LoverOfJoy
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Much better than ai-jane 8. [Wink]
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John L
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quote:
Please use the preferred term; "The Ornery 8". I pattoned it and I get a royalty every time it is used. Like Pat Reily and threepeat. I enjoy both forums. There are pros and cons to both sites.-KE
Whatever. [Wink]
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