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Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?

Ovinomancer

Explorer
Ah, the strong aroma of "Pretentious Storygamer"....

You may wanna ease up on the cologne just a tad.
Amusing. It's mostly those you'd kneejerk into "storygamers" that are on the no side and the process-sim follks on the yes side. I'm on the "you can call it literary, if you want, but it's at best mediocre literature." I don't call my games, story or otherwise, literary at all.

Maybe take the hint that you've already removed all doubt twice now and stop continuing to do so?
 

Riley37

Villager
If there's an honest question in there, could you fish it out for me?
You need the step by step? Can do!

You asserted the following, in reference to Imaro's assertion about communication of content:

Sure. Literally no one in this thread has said otherwise.
Imaro then quoted Hriston asserting that only content matters, without regard to what words communicate that content.

So if you still stand by your "no one in this thread has said otherwise" assertion, does your assertion now stipulate that when you said "no one", you meant Hriston?

A simple "yes" or "no" response should suffice. Thanks in advance for your clarity and brevity!
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
You need the step by step? Can do!

You asserted the following, in reference to Imaro's assertion about communication of content:



Imaro then quoted Hriston asserting that only content matters, without regard to what words communicate that content.

So if you still stand by your "no one in this thread has said otherwise" assertion, does your assertion now stipulate that when you said "no one", you meant Hriston?

A simple "yes" or "no" response should suffice. Thanks in advance for your clarity and brevity!
Sorry, did you miss where [MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION] said he was taken out of context and wasn't saying what [MENTION=7266]LM[/MENTION]aro was claiming?

It's been a busy thread, and people have trued to address things in multiple shifting frameworks as conversation has progressed. If you are trying to claim that people have actually advanced that being a jerk doesn't matter, then I don't see how a conversation can continue.
 

Riley37

Villager
Apologies mean more and go further, when you also stop practicing the behavior for which you apologize.

did you miss where @Hriston said he was taken out of context and wasn't saying what @LMaro was claiming?
I did not miss that. Hriston said what he said, in the words he used. You can stand by your assertion that no one has said any such thing; you can walk it back; or you can deflect, dodge, distract and dissemble.

I only rarely see a "no one is saying that" claim which holds up to rigorous factual examination. More often than not, someone somewhere IS saying that (for whatever value of "that").

If you are trying to claim that people have actually advanced that being a jerk doesn't matter
I haven't said anything on that topic. AFAIK you're the only one using that particular word in this thread. I'd rather not become the second.
 

Hriston

Explorer
Imaro then quoted Hriston asserting that only content matters, without regard to what words communicate that content.
How do you get from me saying content matters to me saying *only* content matters? Obviously, all sorts of various things matter to different people when they play RPGs. Central to the experience of playing an RPG, however, is imagining the game’s fictional content. Whether a group considers their imaginings to be a literary endeavor, on the other hand, is a particular concern of the group in question. To other groups, it may not matter at all.
 

Riley37

Villager
Obviously, all sorts of various things matter to different people when they play RPGs. Central to the experience of playing an RPG, however, is imagining the game’s fictional content. Whether a group considers their imaginings to be a literary endeavor, on the other hand, is a particular concern of the group in question. To other groups, it may not matter at all.
I agree with what you're saying here!

Your position and perspective as a whole, are more nuanced, more flexible, less absolutist, than this one thing you happened to say, somewhere back along the way: "In other words, it’s the actual content that matters, not the particular words that are used and the way they are said."

Even so, when Ovinomancer denied that anyone had said any such thing - well, as a matter of fact, you HAD said that thing. That sentence, as written, says that content matters, and wording doesn't matter. I'm not asking you to stand by or renounce that sentence as the sum of your thoughts on form and content; I was challenging Ovinomancer's assertion that no one had said anything along those lines.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Citing the above, I want to make sure I've captured your position before I attempt to move the conversation forward. To do so, I'm going to also cite the below from me:

"the ability to communicate with economy but provocatively almost certainly has an amplification effect...one way or the other...but not a causal effect...hence why it’s lower on the hierarchy)."

Is your position that I (and others) have a blind spot for the gravity of the amplification effect I cite above (or further still, that it is indeed a causal effect) because of natural ability/decades of honing the crafts of exposition and oratory?

Some kind of cognitive bias due to being well-practiced; call it "Aptitude Bias?"

So, let me first answer that with a video-
[video=youtube_share;-g-Pzf7-Bso]https://youtu.be/-g-Pzf7-Bso[/video]

Did you watch? Good!

"I can't frame that. There's loads and loads of things you just did that might as well be magic!"

You see where I'm going with this, yes? So when you ascribe positions on the hierarchy, it's necessarily from the position you have now; as you would put it, your aptitude bias.

It is somewhat difficult to fully grok the ways in which you have internalized the techniques you use, and how they impact your game... things that you now think of as merely incidental to framing, but which are both necessary and a predicate.

Since we both watch sports, I will use an analogy- a lot of people enjoy criticizing sports commentators (pick your sport, say, football). But have you ever tried to do it yourself? IT IS INSANELY HARD. Or, just watch an amateur calling a high school game on local access. With reps, and time, people eventually get good at it. They learn when to speak, when not to speak, when to let the images create the drama, and when to fill in space (blowouts, say). After a while it becomes second nature. For many, it is automatic.

And yet, it is there.
 
I did not miss that. Hriston said what he said, in the words he used. You can stand by your assertion that no one has said any such thing; you can walk it back; or you can deflect, dodge, distract and dissemble.
Seriously?

Let's put to one side the fact that, contra [MENTION=48965]Imaro[/MENTION], Hriston's post was in reply to Hussar, not to him. Here is the exchange between Hussar and Hriston:

If the literary is unimportant, then why do DMG’d include dungeon dressing sections, most of which has little to no mechanical impact?
Because color (dungeon dressing) is content that provides atmosphere when imagined by the participants at the table. The quality of form with which it’s expressed isn’t what’s important but rather whether the odors, noises, furnishings, and items found in an area suggest a torture chamber, a harem, or a wizard’s laboratory. In other words, it’s the actual content that matters, not the particular words that are used and the way they are said.
Hriston is refuting an express claim that "dungeon dressing" is a literary matter simply because it's non-mechanical, and also an apparent implication that the role and significance of dungeon dressing is a matter of evocative words used rather than content conveyed.

Is anyone seriously suggesting, on the basis of this post, that Hriston thinks that word choice never matters to human conversation? or that rudeness ("being a jerk") can't affect human communication?

It's ludicrous that I even have to make a post addressing this.

And while we're doing review the past for misinterpretations, here are a series of posts from Imaro and me:

Really?? Because I literally brought up this idea that how content was presented could in fact determine whether a group would be interested in the content earlier in the thread (and one of the reasons I thought of it as core to the game) and these were the replies... Emphasis mine.
If the group isn't interested in engaging with the situations presented because your presentation/performance doesn't make it interesting to them... well there's no game.
My take on this is the same as [MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION]'s - it sounds to me like the situation is not interesting enough! As I've already posted in this thread, my advice to that GM would be to work on situation, not to work on voice modulation.
Imaro appears to imply that me doubting whether presentation/performance is central to making a RPG situation interesting is the same as me denying that how content is presented could ever in fact determine whether a group would be interested in the content. Such that the following, from Imaro, is some sort of "gotcha":

Are you agreeing that how content is presented can determine whether people wish to engage with it?

Do you make the same implication? Do you think it's a reasonable reading of my post?

Just in case it needs to be spelled out (and I think I already posted a version of this a long way upthread, but maybe you and Imaro missed it): If the GM spits on the players, or smells, or speaks a language that is foreign to the players, or yells at them, or calls them ****holes, or any other of the innumerable ways that people can make for unpleasant company and can be unpleasant interlocutors, then I'm sure that might effect the willingness of the players to play the game. If the GM whispers, stammers excessively, mumbles, swallows his/her sentence endings, repeatedly uses the wrong word, etc, etc, then the same might be true.

Much the same things applies to dinner parties, boardgame nights, attending tutorials, and really any occasion where people get together to interact.

Is anyone asserting, on this basis, that all human interaction and communication is a literary endeavour? Is anyone asserting, on this basis, that speaking loud enough to be heard or choosing the right word to accurately describe something is an aspect of literary quality? Or in other words, is anyone asserting that the concept of literary as an adjective applied to endeavour and/or quality is empty, and adds nothing to the general notion of human interaction and communication?

Does anyone who read the OP, which includes the following - RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations, and players declare actions for their PCs that respond to those situations - think that I'm unaware that RPGing involves communication and interaction?

I'm frankly at a loss as to what you want me, or [MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION], or [MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION], to take away from your posts on this matter.
 
when Ovinomancer denied that anyone had said any such thing - well, as a matter of fact, you HAD said that thing. That sentence, as written, says that content matters, and wording doesn't matter. I'm not asking you to stand by or renounce that sentence as the sum of your thoughts on form and content; I was challenging Ovinomancer's assertion that no one had said anything along those lines.
If someone says "All the cheese is gone" before the dinner party, and then the next day you and a friend are debating whether or not anyone has ever thought that there's no cheese left in the world, the person who said "All the cheese is gone" doesn't count as an example of such. It's not that they said as much but didn't mean it. It's that anyone who thinks that's what they said doesn't understand the relevant semantic features of natural language.

[MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION] literally did not assert that the particular words used by a speaker never matter to the effectiveness of communication. Which is the assertion that you and [MENTION=48965]Imaro[/MENTION] appear to be imputing to him. (And if that's not what you're imputing, then why is he turning up at the end of your "gotcha" stick?)

when Ovinomancer denied that anyone had said any such thing - well, as a matter of fact, you HAD said that thing.
Again, this is just false.

Hriston wrote some words which, if misinterpreted, are capable of bearing the meaning that you and Imaro attribute to them. But that doesn't mean that Hriston said the thing that you are misinterpreting him as having said. That's what makes your interpretation a misinterpretation.
[MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION] even pointed this out, after [MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION] pointed it out, and yet you persist in attributing your misinterpretation. Why? What's the point? What do you think it's adding to the thread?
 
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Riley37

Villager
Is anyone seriously suggesting, on the basis of this post, that Hriston thinks that word choice never matters to human conversation? or that rudeness ("being a jerk") can't affect human communication?
Hey, if you have questions about anyone's assertions about who is or isn't a jerk, then please take them up with Ovinomancer, not with me. That's his topic, not mine.

If you want to defend the rigorous factual accuracy of Ovinomancer's assertion "Literally no one in this thread has said otherwise", then good luck with that. I doubt that you'll earn his gratitude; but I've been wrong before.

Is anyone asserting, on this basis, that speaking loud enough to be heard or choosing the right word to accurately describe something is an aspect of literary quality?
If no one was before, then I am now. Speaking loud enough to be heard, and choosing the right word to accurately describe something, are aspects of literary quality. A poetry reading which fails on either or both of those qualities, will fail as a literary event. Speaking loud enough to be heard is not a relevant quality to *all* literary projects, but it applies to some literary projects; choosing the right word to accurately describe something applies to many and to most literary projects.

Or in other words, is anyone asserting...
The thing about those different words, is that they form a different assertion, which does not necessarily follow from the previous assertion. Why conflate such different assertions?

My question stands unanswered: is light a particulate endeavor?

This question is a trap. Understandings of light which only consider it as a particle are incomplete. Understandings of light which only consider it as a wave are incomplete.

So far as I can tell from this thread, understandings of RPG which depend on whether the narrative aspects are primary over the framing aspects, or vice versa, are not useful understandings of TRPG.

I've learned from several of the exchanges in this thread. Not because the title by itself is a useful question; but because many people have done their best to bring useful understandings to bear on it.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
That's because it's tagged with Homebrew.

The only homebrew I partake in better get me wicked messed up.

I don't want my homebrew to make me read about exploding toads ... I want my homebrew to make me SEE exploding toads.

*hic*
I hear licking exploding toads can get you there, too.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
Hey, if you have questions about anyone's assertions about who is or isn't a jerk, then please take them up with Ovinomancer, not with me. That's his topic, not mine.

If you want to defend the rigorous factual accuracy of Ovinomancer's assertion "Literally no one in this thread has said otherwise", then good luck with that. I doubt that you'll earn his gratitude; but I've been wrong before.
In your unseemly haste to get your digital boot in, you seem to have forgotten the context of my remark. Here it is:
Sooo... Are you agreeing that how content is presented can determine whether people wish to engage with it?
Your saying [MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION]'s actually said that how content is presented cannot affect if people wish to engage with that content. It's the only way that you can keep this e-peen wagging contest going. Well, okay, then. Yours is the biggest. Really. None larger.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
"I can't frame that. There's loads and loads of things you just did that might as well be magic!"

You see where I'm going with this, yes? So when you ascribe positions on the hierarchy, it's necessarily from the position you have now; as you would put it, your aptitude bias.

It is somewhat difficult to fully grok the ways in which you have internalized the techniques you use, and how they impact your game... things that you now think of as merely incidental to framing, but which are both necessary and a predicate.

Since we both watch sports, I will use an analogy- a lot of people enjoy criticizing sports commentators (pick your sport, say, football). But have you ever tried to do it yourself? IT IS INSANELY HARD. Or, just watch an amateur calling a high school game on local access. With reps, and time, people eventually get good at it. They learn when to speak, when not to speak, when to let the images create the drama, and when to fill in space (blowouts, say). After a while it becomes second nature. For many, it is automatic.

And yet, it is there.
Ok, so I understand your position. So I guess I just have a few questions/thoughts:

1) Why can’t Aptitude Bias run the other direction (as so many do); overestimating the importance of a honed Skill-set or natural affinity?

2) In the last several years on these boards, we’ve seen a LOT of instances of people who are articulate, well-read, tenured GMs struggle significantly in one or both of (a) framing interesting scenes that hook into PC dramatic need and (b) evolving the scene dynamically post resolution such that the situation changes and requires a new decision-point to be navigated.

In these cases you saw overwhelmingly (c) people say they had a bad time and (d) the system sucks (rather than taking ownership to get better at a and b).

3) In the last 2 years, I’ve GM-workshopped (say in on games or outright taught) 3 adults and a couple of early teens on Dogs in the Vineyard, Dungeon World, Strike(!), Mouse Guard, and 5e. Only one of them is articulate and comfortable speaking. But we’ve focused on broad scenario design, how to think about interesting scenes that hook into play premise or PC flags, how to be forgiving of yourself and take a moment to ponder as you need to, how to develop shorthand and use note cards as personal cues. None have reported what happened in 2 above outside of the games I’ve sat in on, and the games I’ve sat in on were fun and well-paced despite often quite imperfect exposition. When things didn’t work, we’ve reflected upon it (or they’ve reflected to me) and it’s overwhelmingly something akin to “the idea I had sucked” or “this idea for what happened after x would have been much more exciting.” My guess is you think this is because we focus on that in the workshopping?

4) Do you think Dungeon/Hex design > scene framing/post resolution evolution > skill in exposition/oration all hook into the same bandwidth?
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Ok, so I understand your position. So I guess I just have a few questions/thoughts:

1) Why can’t Aptitude Bias run the other direction (as so many do); overestimating the importance of a honed Skill-set or natural affinity?
Good question!

And the answer is .... because then it wouldn't be aptitude bias as you are calling it. :)

I don't mean that to be snarky; but to give you the appropriate analogy (with a bit of a joke that is so appropriate here), think of the framing bias (framing effect). The framing bias exists when people are presented options, and those options are given with positive or negative semantics.

However, it wouldn't be correct to say that the framing bias "runs in the other direction" and that people OVERESTIMATE the importance of presenting options with positive or negative semantics.

One is a cognitive bias that refers to how a person can't see how they are biased; the other refers to the belief that a cognitive bias is stronger than it might be. We'll call it projection, but it's not a cognitive bias, akin to framing or anchoring.

It is kinda meta though ... the cognitive bias of overcompensating for cognitive biases.

2) In the last several years on these boards, we’ve seen a LOT of instances of people who are articulate, well-read, tenured GMs struggle significantly in one or both of (a) framing interesting scenes that hook into PC dramatic need and (b) evolving the scene dynamically post resolution such that the situation changes and requires a new decision-point to be navigated.

In these cases you saw overwhelmingly (c) people say they had a bad time and (d) the system sucks (rather than taking ownership to get better at a and b).
I can't comment on that, as I haven't seen that. I mean, if I say that I have seen people on these boards complain overwhelmingly that games fail because of personality conflicts at the table and a lack of communication and social awareness, does that mean that the real purpose of RPGs is to solve out-of-game personality conflicts and deal with out-of-game communication issues and social awareness?

Not trying to fight your point, but I haven't seen it- IME, games tend to fail for a multitude of reasons, most related to out-of-game issues and lack of communication, not issues of improper application of RPG theory. And we get to such vague terms that I'm not even sure how to respond.

But I honestly don't even know how someone can frame interesting scenes that hook into PC dramatic need and then evolve the secene dynamically without some modicum of narrative skills, including collaborative narration and fiction creation.

So I keep going back to the same points- I don't understand the need to either disambiguate skills in such a manner as to create hierarchy, other than to rubbish playstyles don't agree with (what is framing, Alex?), and I also don't see the need to create a one-size fits all style for RPGs, when we can easily see that we do, in fact, have various systems that play to different strengths.

To use an analogy again, demanding that every film be shot according to Dogme 95 misses the point of film.

3) In the last 2 years, I’ve GM-workshopped (say in on games or outright taught) 3 adults and a couple of early teens on Dogs in the Vineyard, Dungeon World, Strike(!), Mouse Guard, and 5e. Only one of them is articulate and comfortable speaking. But we’ve focused on broad scenario design, how to think about interesting scenes that hook into play premise or PC flags, how to be forgiving of yourself and take a moment to ponder as you need to, how to develop shorthand and use note cards as personal cues. None have reported what happened in 2 above outside of the games I’ve sat in on, and the games I’ve sat in on were fun and well-paced despite often quite imperfect exposition. When things didn’t work, we’ve reflected upon it (or they’ve reflected to me) and it’s overwhelmingly something akin to “the idea I had sucked” or “this idea for what happened after x would have been much more exciting.” My guess is you think this is because we focus on that in the workshopping?
I would again go back to That Mitchell & Webb Look skit. It's not just a focus, it's also your standards and heuristics.

I am guessing (assuming) that by your standards, they aren't particularly articulate or comfortable speaking. There are skills learned with reps, over time. That's how you gain comfort. Again, that's why RPGs in general, including D&D, can be so helpful to people on the autism spectrum.

I mean, when I started playing RPGs, I wasn't articulate or comfortable speaking. But the games were still FUN because I was playing with friends, and it was generally a good time, and we were forgiving.

And over time, I got BETTER at certain things, including framing, which requires .... narration. Because all TTRPGs require talking.

And I see this with the groups I am teaching. Over time, they get more comfortable speaking. They get more comfortable narrating their fictions. And it's awesome. :)

4) Do you think Dungeon/Hex design > scene framing/post resolution evolution > skill in exposition/oration all hook into the same bandwidth?
? Not sure what you mean.


See also- this post:

https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?660030-GM-DESCRIPTION-NARRATION-OR-CONVERSATION&p=7619891&viewfull=1#post7619891
 
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Satyrn

Villager
I hear licking exploding toads can get you there, too.
That glorious feeling I'm feeling right now? It's not because my local basketball team won a basketball tournament. All my time wasted in this thread had just paid off. I've just struck gold. GOLD! Black and gold chequered, hallucinogenic exploding toads. But it's not just when you lick them. Anyone caught in the explosion must make a Wisdom to avoid tripping out.


The next time my players face goblins is gonna be insane.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
That glorious feeling I'm feeling right now? It's not because my local basketball team won a basketball tournament..

Hockey was my sun, hockey was my earth
But the Leafs didn't know all the ways I loved them, no
So the Raptors took a chance, made other plans
And I bet the Warriors didn't think that Durant would come up injured, no
Drake don't need to sing, he don't need to tweet
I already know, I watched Fred VanFleet
Now there's just no chance
With me and the Leafs
There'll never be
Don't it make the Leafs sad about it?


The NHL told me it loves me
Why did hockey leave Canada all alone
Next season the Leafs will tell me they need me
To renew my season tickets on the phone
Leafs, I refuse
You must have me confused with some other guy
The bridges were burned
Now it's your turn, to Kawhi


Kawhi me a river
Kawhi me a river
Kawhi me a river
Kawhi me a river
 
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Riley37

Villager
Ok, so I understand your position. So I guess I just have a few questions/thoughts:
I sense the presence of some useful angles on the questions at hand. I also can't sort out the meaning of some of your sentences. I'm amused that I'm having this problem, in a conversation which has gone round and round on form versus content. I want to understand your points.

In #2: In how many of those cases, did the GM have a strong track record of success with systems they knew well, then struggle while running another, new-to-them system?

(If that's the issue, then I have further questions about GMs applying fundamentals in familiar systems versus in newly-learned systems.)

In #3: What is GM-workshopping? Does it involve GM A watching GM B prepare a scenario and then watch while GM B runs a table? Is it one-on-one, or a group activity?

In #4: are you using > to mean "greater than", or to mean "and then as subsequent steps in a process", or something else?

Thanks!
 

Riley37

Villager
The next time my players face goblins is gonna be insane.
DMG has optional rules for Sanity as a stat, for campaigns with Sanity Loss as a horror mechanic (*cough* Call of Cthulhu *cough*). A bad trip could cause Sanity loss.

One of the PCs in my regular group has profiency with alchemy kit and an interest in the mushrooms of the Underdank which includes recreational usage. He's a Light domain cleric, whose go-to offensive action is channel divinity as Radiance of the Dawn. When he's been eating those particular mushrooms, Radiance might also be a dazzling, trippy light show. We've speculated on whether he could craft a spell which imposes hallucinogenic intoxication on others across an area, "Mass Chill Out", sort of a combination of Calm Emotions with Hypnotic Pattern.

You've now given me the idea of secondary explosions - that is, once one person starts tripping, that person then relays a psychic splash effect onto others nearby, possibly with ripple effects to tertiary and quaternary targets.
 
[MENTION=6786839]Riley37[/MENTION], you didn't answer my question as to what you think it adds to the thread to insist that [MENTION=6787503]Hriston[/MENTION] said something that he didn't, on the basis of attributing a meaning to his words that they were not intended to bear, and which no reasonable reader of them in the context of their production would impute to them.

As to your question about light, light isn't an endeavour of any sort. It's a natural phenomenon. Unlike RPGing, which is an endeavour; and which is framed in the OP as an aesthetic endeavour (subsequent posts have noted classic dungeoncrawling as an exception; as best I recall no poster has disputed that framing or the exception), and which therefre has goals and features that contribute to quality, success, etc.

Unlike the case of light, it's therefore not a category error to ask whether RPGing is literary endeavour, any more than it would be a category error to ask whether theatre or film-making is a literary endeavour, and whether the qualities that make for good theatre or cinema are essentially literary qualities.

On speaking loud enough to be heard: of course if one can't be heard at the recital, it will not succeed. That doesn't make adequacy of volume a literary quality. If it rains and the noise of the rain on the roof drowns out the speaker, or the roof leaks and the audience all leave as a result, that will also cause the event to fail; but that doesn't make architecture or roofing a literary quality.

The general points are (1) that not all necessary or faclititive conditions for the success of a literary endeavour are, in virtue of that, lliteary qualities; and (2) that not all necessary or facilitative conditions for a successful RPGing session pertain to the character of RPGing as an aesthetic endeavour. And - as per my example of mathematics teaching not far upthread - the converse is true, also. Teaching mathematics doesn't become a literary endeavour just because doing it well requires thinking about words in something like the way a writer might. RPGing can be more fun with snacks; that doesn't make RPGing a culinary endeavour.

Anyone who thinks that RPGing is sui generis as an aesthetic activity of necessity agrees with the "no" answer in the OP, although perhaps not for the same reasons.
 

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