Mystic removal discussion - The good and the bad

I'll Begin

🐑✨
Truly private communication isn't a thing, as long as you use a platform (like the internet) you can still have your message to be seen.


Furthermore if people have nothing bad to hide what is the problem if the staff can see the PM?


I'd rather have problems be solved before something bad happen.

I don't have anything to say to this that hasn't been said to you already.

You seem to be trying your best to participate in the discussion for the sake of it but I want to remind you that you do not need to participate, specially if what you're gonna suggest is unproductive to the discussion (this is the second time in a row) and this time possibly harmful even. Remember it's okay to just watch from the sidelines. If you really feel the need to say something, please put some more thought into it.
 

Cyron

Actually a Waddle Dee
One thing I want to address from my own experience of having a vBulletin board in the past is that admins by default have the ability to see PMs, I don't think an add-on or plugin was at play here.

That being said I'd rather have that than not, especially in a place filled with children where we have actual history of predatory actions happening within this community. These kids aren't likely to know better so this stuff is really needed to be monitored. At the same time, a clear visible message regarding your PMs being readable should also be a thing.

You really shouldn't be discussing things here where privacy at that level even matters.
 

BlueJinjo

Member
Man, it feels like an eternity since I was last here in the community. With the recent updates to the game I decided to come into the forums and see what the community has been up to. I did not expect to find a thread like this...

I doubt anyone remembers me as my last active time on the forums or with the community might've been from around 2004 or 2006 although I remember alot of the names being mentioned in here like SSNTails, Sonnikku our "earless leader" Mystic, JTE, and Spazzo, etc. Once college rolled up I had a lot less time for my hobbies and really I had just been lurking on IRC for the most part before finally upgrading computers and forgetting to install mIRC.

I'm saddened to hear about the reality of who these people ultimately were. During the early 2000s when I first started playing (With a 56K modem! until eventually getting some precursor to Comcast) Mystic was just someone that would join in netgames and was ridiculously good at the game. I had this mental goal as a kid of wanting to be as good or better than he was. I think I only ever beat him once and it felt great! But now a lot of the memories I have of Mystic, JTE, and some others have been tainted. I can definitely attest that some parts of our community then were toxic, and I'm sure as a dumb kid I had my moments (specifically in game saying things like "pwned! " post match to which I apologize for even if it has been like... 15 years.

The game has come a long way and despite this, I have to kind of agree with SSNTails, and give the people who are now working on the game a chance to shine and show just what they're made of. Mystic may have contributed a lot but I'm sure others will step up to the plate and do wonders!

Also, if anyone remembers me from back in the day I'd love to catch up! Although I'm sure that most of, if not all the oldbies, are probably gone. I still fire up SRB2 and play it from time to time!
 

Torgo

Member
Hello everyone again, it has been a long while since I last posted here. Seeing people get hurt by some of the things Mystic did or say is heartbreaking. I want to make mention of Digiku's post and say that if any person felt like they been abused by ...well anyone... to seek resources to help. Mental health is so important, and having people to support you is also important.

I want to go back a bit to the time I was involved on the forums since that is the part I can speak the most about. I remember there were people back in the day who were trying to copy each other in newbie bashing and thought they were being cool or trying to gain clout in the community. Some people did it worse than others. I don't think I was completely immune to it, though I did mostly try to help new people with certain things. I remember when I was looking for hangout servers on the master servers when it was against the rules so I can help ban them. I think the reasoning I had at the time was that Logan and or Cue were paying money to host this server. Since they was offering the master server, they should be able to make the rules for it. While that line of reasoning may not have been completely wrong, I didn't consider maybe the culture influenced them a bit which said that there was no reason to have hangout/casual servers. I believe now that the act of policing the master server like I did for hangouts was more trouble than it was worth. We eventually did create a solution and made it so people who want to play a certain playstyle can see the room with the playstyle they want.

I believe we can learn from the positives and the negatives from the old team. We all learn from our past. Understanding that we have weaknesses makes us grow as people. Learn from each perspective and take care to listen to each side. If after looking at both sides and then you see the one side is wrong, that is good as long as you take time to understand. I feel confident in the creativity of the new team.
 

pobert-eii

head empty only sluggo
Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, i check in this forum weeks after changing my signature to reflect my identity, and the first thing i see is MYSTIC AND ROB ARE GONE. LITERALLY YEETED. WHAT.

reading through all of this im honestly shocked by these recent revelations. ive been in here for almost a decade and never have i SEEN anything like this in ages. i knew that there was something up lurking at the discord, but i didn't know it was this bad!

then people started talkin bout how they first met and the toxic nature of the old communitee, and i figured i'd throw in my two cents in here:
hi. my name is pobert-eii. i used to play a lot of srb2 (and even dabbled in a bit of kart) back in about 2013 - 2019, but it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.
in my time in the srb2 community, i've seen TONS of toxicity and elitism in the scene, from the old admins to the "top players", and for a while to even FIT with the community unless it was some noobs i had to quite literally imitate the toxic behavior of everyone else which went as well as you'd expect
eventually i saw that this was rather unhealthy, and tried to be my own person... which didn't fit exactly well with *ahem* """the community""", and for many years down the road i was becoming more weary and weary with people like mystic throwing fierce shitslings with percision to people who ONLY JUST WANTED to ask a question, and that "general post anything thread" kerfuffle only made me somewhat bitter, but who could i really vent towards to?
it was why after much consideration, i silently left the community (though i had to update my account to reflect my current identity), and only doing little tidbits of karting and 2.2, but that was it
seeing all of this however, it's nothing short of absolute horror. its one thing to act like a ass in a sonic fangame forum as a mod, but it's another to just add a fuckin secret pronz forum and think that's fine, like what the fuuuuck?
that being said, i feel that i've said what needed to be said for me, and overall this is a shitshow and i am SO GLAD the new moderators and admins took care of this situation as best as they could. chrispy and motorroach get a huge ass like in my book...
now it's time to rest in my grave. wake me up when 2.3 is finished!

EDIT: This is actually kinda outdated now, but my point still stands.
 
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hotdog003

Member
Hey all. It's been a while. Ash just pointed me to this thread, sorry for being late.

I don't have much to say about Mystic, but I do want to push the catharsis button and share more about my own experiences, if that's alright.

I've been on and off involved in the SRB2 community since 2003 or so, roughly the 1.04 final demo days. This game and its community is what kickstarted my computing career. I was about 12 or 13 when I joined.

One thing that underscores my feelings here is that I had so much trauma about wanting to be seen as well-respected and valuable, and needing that validation from outside.

My desire to fit in became this constant quest to "prove myself," and that explicitly high bar (both in terms of content creation and in terms of community moderation) made me want to strive to meet it, and then enforce it on others. I didn't want to feel left out. It modeled an ideal for me, which filled in for my own insecurities.

To give an example of how bad it was, I was tempbanned for uploading an avatar that was one pixel over the 144x144 size limit back in the 3-day/1-week-permaban punishment system. (I had even edited it down to 143x143 so I could add a 1-pixel border). That's the level of ingroup policing we had: rather than rely on phpbb plugins that could compute image sizes and enforce these limits programatically, i guess admins were checking avatar image sizes. (not sure which admin zapped me, i'm just drawing attention to the mindset, not anyone in particular)

I eventually found some modicum of respect in behind-the-scenes ways. For example, I became a DB admin of the old Sepwich domain that hosted the forum, helping out with web administration tasks. I helped co-found the SRB2 wiki with a since-banned user. I worked with this banned user to co-design a couple fun mods (like King of the Hill zone, and I think I did a small amount of GFX work for a super smash bros mod, though my memory fails me)

Gathering this "clout" (if you want to call it that) scratched an itch. But the thing about seeking power is: if you're striving to prove yourself because you need to feel like you could fit in, if that's where your validation comes from in life, then it becomes validating, a justification for your actions.

So I abused that power (using database access to peek at the hidden palace forums ca. 2006 and eavesdrop on some moderator gossip, for example). I remember being snarky and mean to newcomers because I wanted to view myself as above them. Being a part of the community ingroup gave me a sharp tongue. (Being clear: these acts are inexcusable and immature. This isn't justification. If you felt I hurt you, you're probably right, and I know my apology won't help you feel better. If you'd like to chat about this or vent to me, I'm happy to chat, though I don't use this account much anymore.)

Another insidious thing the high content creation bar did was constantly make me feel like I wasn't a good enough level designer. I eventually stopped making levels because I wasn't sure they would be able to meet the strict community standards. My creativity hasn't really recovered.

That's the thing about the ingroup power dynamic: you fall into it because meeting whatever arbitrary high bar you need feels like validation, but in the end it really isn't worth it. I'm glad that our community is going through this. Super hopeful / optimistic that we can model a better way of community stewardship.

You shouldn't be made to feel like you need to jump through hoops to fit in.

As for Mystic himself: I'm trans, and seeing his views about trans-specific slurs really cut me. I do hope he's okay, but I hope he's okay very far away from the rest of us.
 
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Mario A. Roach

¡Reremy
i got an infraction for this what

You didn't deliver any reasons behind your "argument", you could have got a fair discussion if you did so, but you preferred just plain insult people.
If you want to share the reasons why you think the moderation team is worse or whatever, make a new thread about it and we could all discuss it.
This isn't the place for that either.
 

GrayAngel

Member
To give an example of how bad it was, I was tempbanned for uploading an avatar that was one pixel over the 144x144 size limit back in the 3-day/1-week-permaban punishment system. (I had even edited it down to 143x143 so I could add a 1-pixel border).

Wow. That's beyond petty. I don't have any horror stories of my times here, but I think there might be a reason I didn't feel the need to stick around.
 

time gear

Eternity in an hour
I've been away for a while, old PC was pretty terrible. I've upgraded to a new PC. Ironically, one of the last things I did here while my old PC still worked was stand my ground on my viewpoint in a thread related to whether or not being able to accidentally (Potentially really easily so) skip learning things in the tutorial is indicative of flawed tutorial design. That topic was locked by Mystic with him accusing me of being contrarian for the sake of it (blatantly untrue, I may not have agreed with him but I genuinely believed the points I was making, regardless of whether they were objectively correct or not). The post with which he locked the topic was effectively "Screw you, I'm right, shut up.", which is textbook "How not to moderate your forum".

I've not read this entire thread, It's pretty long and I simply just don't have that kind of time right now. What I will say is that while I didn't often agree with Mystic's point of view, I did respect his backbone in regards to sticking to his guns and defending his point of view rather than backing down just because someone didn't agree with him. That said, I felt as though he took it too far, perhaps even to the point of being tyrannical. I got a common feeling from him as though he saw his own words as "The official narrative" and anyone who didn't just get in line and accept it were at risk of being silenced through topic locking and further discussion on the matter being punishable.

I don't know all the details regarding his removal, and I certainly didn't know him as well as many others who have been active here much longer than me, but my overall opinion is that at least from the standpoint of the community being able to engage in topics regarding the future of the game without certain opinions being silenced, it's probably a net-positive. I can't really speak for the broader picture though, I don't know anywhere near enough and it simply isn't my place to comment on it. I just hope whoever was picked to replace him has all the spine he had, and none of his (what looked like to me, anyway) power madness. I didn't hate him, I even somewhat respected him, but I wasn't a fan of how he ran things, or at least how it looked like he did from my perspective.
 
this is slime-pit levels of toxic mess

I would agree. Some brief thoughts & examples on why this toxic mess is not and has not been limited only to Mystic and Rob but, in fact, remains ongoing.

Mystic and Rob lived by one rule, and that rule continues beyond Mystic and Rob. That rule, stated clearly: CRITICISM OF MODERATORS IS NOT ALLOWED.

In 2007, the message board changed from "Sonic Robo Blast 2" to being a Nazi joke for the lolz. It would take 13 more years before the mods were removed; this incident was not enough, apparently.

April Fools' Day
The SRB2 Message Board briefly risks out-of-the-ordinary changes to celebrate April Fools' Day. During this event, the message board sometimes features a different background and logo along with modified user titles to fit a certain theme.

Nazi Allied Blitzkrieg 2
The first April Fools' Day theme took place in 2007 in which the message board appeared with a red skin, and was renamed "Nazi Allied Blitzkrieg 2," which is a reference to calling admins "Nazis" because of harsh rules, or extreme measures taken to maintain such rules. They also created new rules, which were simply not to "piss [the admins] off," and that breaking one rule would lead to a permanent ban. Many users changed their avatars in the spirit of the holiday, but some viewed the nature of the joke as tasteless and offensive.

Notice that the "punchline" of the joke is that this is a response to criticism from Moderators.

How have Moderators responded to criticism since this thread? Well, for posting this thread to discuss it, I was banned for a week and then the thread was locked before I could respond.

Trying to respond to this in the Discord led to being banned there, too. I should've grabbed screenshots but I think you can find it if you just search "Moose" which was all I did to see Moderator Chrispy bring up my name and encouraged other users to bash me. I literally only got to say Hi, I've read your comments, and then was warned for "starting up trouble" and then banned! Chrispy again, I believe.

Chrispy joined the community in 2006, per his profile. Did he change his avatar to a Nazi symbol as a joke? How about RoyKirbs? Also joined in 2006.

I hadn't looked at the Mods wiki page before that thread, but you'll see if you click on Moderator D00D64's wiki page, it includes a rape joke for the lolz

https://wiki.srb2.org/wiki/User:D00D64
THIS MAN IS UNIMPORTANT, AND A SHIFT KEY RAPIST. PLEASE LEAVE THIS PAGE, FOR YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME LOOKING AT IT.

Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to spend 10 or 15 years being a Sonic fan game message board moderator?

For lack of anywhere else to respond to questions given to me about the Moderation, I will answer them here.

"Why would a community of Children need to elect their own moderators? They're children!!!" -- multiple

When I was in elementary school, we elected a student council. So what's your point? How well have these moderators served Children with Nazi imagery and secret porn forums?

"Nobody else seems to have a complaint about the moderators!!" -- mostly the moderators

Well, that might be because people can see how the Moderators react to criticism and see how you make an example of anyone who does so. Instead you have threads like this one where -- how many? -- people say they were too afraid to post under Mystic's reign. Hm, wonder why.

CobaltBW said:
I have to be real, I don't think I've ever read a single one of OP's posts from start to finish. Has no one ever told him that brevity is the soul of wit?

You're a verified leader of a toxic community, and posts like this contribute to that. Also, it's odd that SRB2 encourages so much replay, because the soundtrack becomes extremely grating after the first play-through and thankfully there's a mute option.

zevirik said:
i have a feeling this thread should be locked.... we all had our fun mocking the op, and trying to introduce a democracy in an all-ages fangame is kinda dumb.
though keeping it up for actual discussion is good for me too.

Though the thread was locked, this post is a good example of the only real rule on the forum -- stated again -- CRITICISM OF MODERATORS IS NOT ALLOWED.

Everything and everyone else is fair game. No wonder the community is the way it is.

Tatsuru said:
For anyone that might be still reading this, being a moderator is not what OP made it seem to be. This is much like a running a small store and inviting friends you know to help you run the store in case there's unsupervised kids throwing tantrums down the aisles. Except they're doing it for free, 100% voluntary. There's no perks or prizes. Occasionally someone barges into the store for the first time under new management and demands the owner to fire their trusted friends and open a hiring process to random people because they think they were purposefully negligent by not overthrowing the old manager when they felt like it.

Much to think about.

Despite the store being non-profit and based on illegal usage of an IP, let's go with this "small store" analogy.

For however many years Mystic was running things, you had a Store Manager who was openly harassing "customers" and other staff. Comments were ignored because you didn't need to worry about turning a "profit" or being held "accountable" to anyone. How has this changed? It hasn't.

Moderators have a little bit of extra power. They don't want to get rid of it. People get off on power trips. It's not mysterious. It's not limited to Mystic.


...But I'm guessing this will prompt a "About time to lock this thread, everyone's had their say, and we're getting off topic now."
 

Cyron

Actually a Waddle Dee
unknown.png
 

Do the hurtful things said toward me not count? I kept things pretty non-specific in the Moderation thread, and did it FAQ style in an attempt to prevent it being a referendum on the OP.

I made the mistake of saying some mods seemed "suspicious" to me without going into it more; I should've used a different word to indicate better what I meant was I feel like I know who I might vote for in an election. But oddly enough, my vague "suspicions" ended up being more on the money than I first guessed. I had no idea the mods were celebrating their achievements of Nazi and Rape jokes on this Community of Children.

If I just posted "I think the problem extends beyond Mystic, should there be elections?" -- that would be too short. The way I did it was too long.

EaGvBXFVAAEEgip
 

ash

formerly "ash"

as someone who was personally victimized by mystic + company, i can say that this take is maybe a bit tasteless.

i'm sure some of your concerns are valid and/or are coming from a good place, but you're going about this in the most inflammatory way (without any sensibilities or context), which makes it challenging for people to take you seriously 😔

(also can the thread not be locked and we push to de-escalate, instead of making this a spectacle)
 

Charybdizs

>WTB lamp oil
Administrator
Judge
I literally only got to say Hi, I've read your comments, and then was warned for "starting up trouble" and then banned! Chrispy again, I believe.

unknown.png


You're a verified leader of a toxic community, and posts like this contribute to that. Also, it's odd that SRB2 encourages so much replay, because the soundtrack becomes extremely grating after the first play-through and thankfully there's a mute option.

This isn't an appropriate way to criticize someone's work, hon

In fact, in this context and everything, even if you did have any concrete constructive criticisms of it, you just look like you're trying to throw dirt at people to hurt them. I'm convinced you are, actually!

Anyhow, I get what you're saying about this all, but frankly this is a small community ran by the developers who make a game, and they're running their community the way they want to run it. That's just how it be, ya hear? If the place really makes you feel that uncomfy, I'd say you don't have to stick around -- but if the best in terms of criticism you can give is saying it should function like a democracy, well, that's a whole can of worms. You sound like you might have been political twittering too much and losing sight of scope.

But in the end, your behavior is so aggressive (like you coming onto the discord to troll and shitting on cobalt's music like that, completely unwarranted) that you're getting a permban. I hope in future interactions you learn #1: a little more humility, and #2: to stop lashing out aggressively when you're upset.

__________________


Anyways, to everyone reading, criticism towards mods is always allowed. The thread was left open until everyone had said their piece, and more are welcome if people have things to voice. If the public forum isn't a place where you feel comfortable, you can DM any one of us, and we always bring it up and discuss it in staff with each other.

There's been a bigger focus on holding each other accountable, actually! If one mod does something you feel is dumb or wrong, feel free to go to another about it and bring it up. We try to discuss things before acting, but everyone has some smooth brain moments here and there.
 

D00D64

Probably Responsible
Moderator
Judge
If nothing else, I was reminded of how gross my old wiki page was, so I've taken care of that.
 
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CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
You're a verified leader of a toxic community, and posts like this contribute to that. Also, it's odd that SRB2 encourages so much replay, because the soundtrack becomes extremely grating after the first play-through and thankfully there's a mute option.

This seems like bait, but I'll substantiate my earlier statements. I think the real reason I don't read any of your posts from start to finish is because everything you post is oozing with pretense. For example, I appreciate that you want to "fix" this community, but you also have a limited perspective on what exactly our community's history is, and in spite of many responses pointing out how your extrapolations are off-base, you don't seem to be very receptive to feedback, and you certainly haven't changed your tune or your approach. You also don't seem to want to grapple with the fact that your framing of issues is tonedeaf and volatile. In particular, I have found it rather odd just how many of your posts are, uh... politically charged. I mean don't get me wrong -- from what I can tell, my beliefs are probably fairly close to yours, but you don't have to step so far outside the demsoc/anarchosyndicalist/whatever bubble to see that posting "are you anti-racist" in a sonic fangame forum with thirteen year olds in it is pretty fucking weird.



I honestly can't tell if you are just an outright troll or not, but I honestly think you are just irate and self-oblivious, for the most part. If anything, the juxtaposition of those two sentences I just quoted are a really amusing highlight of this.
 

SRB2 Guy

hurr hurr
in the way of actual input: i hope that, the turmoil of this huge turnover past, the collective sins of the culture they cultivated can go along with it
in particular, elitism was a huge damn thing back a decade ago, and it's encouraging to see now that it's not so much an issue anymore
 
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Mario A. Roach

¡Reremy
I would agree. Some brief thoughts & examples on why this toxic mess is not and has not been limited only to Mystic and Rob but, in fact, remains ongoing.

Mystic and Rob lived by one rule, and that rule continues beyond Mystic and Rob. That rule, stated clearly: CRITICISM OF MODERATORS IS NOT ALLOWED.

In 2007, the message board changed from "Sonic Robo Blast 2" to being a Nazi joke for the lolz. It would take 13 more years before the mods were removed; this incident was not enough, apparently.



Notice that the "punchline" of the joke is that this is a response to criticism from Moderators.

How have Moderators responded to criticism since this thread? Well, for posting this thread to discuss it, I was banned for a week and then the thread was locked before I could respond.

Trying to respond to this in the Discord led to being banned there, too. I should've grabbed screenshots but I think you can find it if you just search "Moose" which was all I did to see Moderator Chrispy bring up my name and encouraged other users to bash me. I literally only got to say Hi, I've read your comments, and then was warned for "starting up trouble" and then banned! Chrispy again, I believe.

Chrispy joined the community in 2006, per his profile. Did he change his avatar to a Nazi symbol as a joke? How about RoyKirbs? Also joined in 2006.

I hadn't looked at the Mods wiki page before that thread, but you'll see if you click on Moderator D00D64's wiki page, it includes a rape joke for the lolz



Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to spend 10 or 15 years being a Sonic fan game message board moderator?

For lack of anywhere else to respond to questions given to me about the Moderation, I will answer them here.

"Why would a community of Children need to elect their own moderators? They're children!!!" -- multiple

When I was in elementary school, we elected a student council. So what's your point? How well have these moderators served Children with Nazi imagery and secret porn forums?

"Nobody else seems to have a complaint about the moderators!!" -- mostly the moderators

Well, that might be because people can see how the Moderators react to criticism and see how you make an example of anyone who does so. Instead you have threads like this one where -- how many? -- people say they were too afraid to post under Mystic's reign. Hm, wonder why.



You're a verified leader of a toxic community, and posts like this contribute to that. Also, it's odd that SRB2 encourages so much replay, because the soundtrack becomes extremely grating after the first play-through and thankfully there's a mute option.



Though the thread was locked, this post is a good example of the only real rule on the forum -- stated again -- CRITICISM OF MODERATORS IS NOT ALLOWED.

Everything and everyone else is fair game. No wonder the community is the way it is.



Despite the store being non-profit and based on illegal usage of an IP, let's go with this "small store" analogy.

For however many years Mystic was running things, you had a Store Manager who was openly harassing "customers" and other staff. Comments were ignored because you didn't need to worry about turning a "profit" or being held "accountable" to anyone. How has this changed? It hasn't.

Moderators have a little bit of extra power. They don't want to get rid of it. People get off on power trips. It's not mysterious. It's not limited to Mystic.


...But I'm guessing this will prompt a "About time to lock this thread, everyone's had their say, and we're getting off topic now."

If you can't why aren't you getting notified in these posts? I've sent emails to Rob to appeal or at-least explain what went through my mind while posting.
The post got locked because all the non moderators users agreed to do so:
Well, if its agreed to lock it, and nobody's got complains, I feel no need to keep it open.

If you have any actual criticism or complaints, you can still contact us. Maybe.

Why are you trying to create discord and manipulate people? Why are you like this?

---------- Post added at 08:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:43 PM ----------

Do the hurtful things said toward me not count? I kept things pretty non-specific in the Moderation thread, and did it FAQ style in an attempt to prevent it being a referendum on the OP.

I made the mistake of saying some mods seemed "suspicious" to me without going into it more; I should've used a different word to indicate better what I meant was I feel like I know who I might vote for in an election. But oddly enough, my vague "suspicions" ended up being more on the money than I first guessed. I had no idea the mods were celebrating their achievements of Nazi and Rape jokes on this Community of Children.

If I just posted "I think the problem extends beyond Mystic, should there be elections?" -- that would be too short. The way I did it was too long.

EaGvBXFVAAEEgip

You were given arguments by many members... I haven't seen anything hurtful done to you, don't be the "victim", this bastardizes other actual cases.
 

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