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Dear PA commenters: let's talk about bias

0. phoneArena 27 Nov 2012, 19:59 posted on

We here at PhoneArena can have something of a thankless job, but it is a job that we love, and one that we attempt to do as well as we can. We try our best to present you all with news, reviews, and analysis in an honest, thought-provoking, and (if possible) entertaining way. But, it seems about time we directly address our comment community, because many of you seem to have a skewed idea of the word "bias"...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:38 1

40. kingpet13 (Posts: 139; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

I normally recognize Michael' articles because his articles normally seem a little longer and will go out of the way to explain his point fully to multiple points of view.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 03:36

141. someones4 (Posts: 625; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)

Also for the fact that someone just accused his article of being biased the other day.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 08:49 2

166. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That happens nearly every day

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:22 2

18. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

Stop kissing Apples butt and we can talk about bias.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:30 3

23. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

How and when have we done that?

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:37 2

36. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

dont worry michael, you are fighting for the right things and its plain to see.......so you do not have to defend your self all the time.......people here will defend you remember that :)

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:47 3

51. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

"CITI: Now is the time to buy Apple stock"

What does Apple stock have to do with buying your next phone. This is not the first time I've seen stuff like this.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 21:04 6

66. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Not all of our articles have the aim of helping you buy your next phone. We routinely run financial stores stories on all companies, not just Apple. The point is to cover all aspects of the mobile market.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 22:07

101. MartyK (Posts: 816; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

You wrote early in a post that," Apple is a very successful company",

I have a idea that you and your colleague can write.
Let's celebrate do a tribute to the Iphone,

Starting with how it came about, from the "name to the slide to unlock lock-screen".

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:41

44. MC1123 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

lol no.. they are not apple bias... pretty much bias to any android and iPhone related! but you cant deny the fact that iPhone and iPad, even they look redundant, looks much better than any android tablet... the only comparable to iPad is the surface in terms of design!

and you cant really compare iPhone and android since they are really different! but you can compare android to another android so that you can see who is superior!

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 02:40

136. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

said the bb fanboy..

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:03

183. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

I would disagree. I think the ipad/phone/pod/whatever look cheap and uninspired, and lack thorough refinement in design.
Notably, having sharp edges on a consumer product is a gross oversight. It's one thing having a 90 degree angle on a product, it's another when that 90 degree angle is squared (like most apple stuff) rather than rounded or angled (chamfered). Example: the Nokia N8, E7, Lumia 800/900/920, etc all have flat tops and bottoms, but are rounded such that it's not unpleasant to hold. iphone/pod/macbook etc have angled edges causing discomfort without a case or barrier between the user and the device. Similarly, the ipad's edge design digs into the users hands, rather than resting on it, causing discomfort and requiring the bearer not to grasp it on the edge, but cradle it, thus exerting more effort and causing more fatigue.
They may have clean designs, but I would not call them "better" or "beautiful", no more than I would label a bar of soap the same.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:52 4

59. bizwhizzy (Posts: 51; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)

... said the Android fanboy.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:23 1

20. dwagner8 (Posts: 9; Member since: 05 Nov 2012)

I became a wireless consultant a month ago and this site is responsible for probably 75% of my knowledge. Keep up the good work.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:26 8

21. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

While I cant say there is completely "no" biased here........I will say that it seems to be slowly diminishing..........And look we all should realize that these guys are just as human as we are.........although different in many ways, yet the same in "making mistakes".......We have to try our best to respect each and every ones opinion and do, as Michael said.......give constructive criticism, rather than name calling, swearing, and other negative things towards others........

We got to look at the big picture here, because believe it or not.....what we post and disscuss here has been affecting the world this WHOLE time!.......hence the reason why we've been seeing surprises such as this nexus phone from google! Our opinions and thoughts shape our world whether it be online or in the real world.

Why? Because the internet has a life of its own.......and can be one of the most deadliest places, as well as the most enjoyable........

So lets continue to help each other by........."being honest", even if that means "hurting someones feelings" but IF ONLY that also means .....telling the truth! and if it comes down to that then do so with love not hatred and anger :)

peace to everyone here and much love to the PA Authors and community

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:31 7

27. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

We aren't perfect, but we're trying to get better. Thanks for the comment!

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:30 1

24. PequeñoConfucio (Posts: 9; Member since: 28 Oct 2012)

I love PA! It's always the first site I visit when I look for mobile news. Keeep the good work

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:30 2

25. MC1123 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

i call you bias for android and apple related and you'll really bashed BB and even WP...we all know that BB is down right now.. you dont need to keep on saying that on every article BB related! you're giving BB a bad name you know... RIM is the only company right know that i know that's making huge effort to make BB rise again! yet most of your writters dont see that..but you keep on saying that "BB is desperate" you're so negative you know.. and its not good jornalism!

i suggest you write articles and mostly reviews that isnt bias... so hoping a new PA overhaul will do the trick!...

im hoping in 2013 a mobile site for PA!

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:37 2

39. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)


posted on 27 Nov 2012, 22:38 1

108. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

now how about URL's to the Phone Arena App in the App Store, Google Play Store and the Windows Marketplace? ;)

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:05

184. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

...why use an app if the website offers full functionality?

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 15:25

211. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

that's a dumb question guy. for easier navigation, better performance, extra features, lots of stuff can be pulled off from having an app. lots of people do it. Engadget has an app, there's one for USA Today and the New York Times even has an app.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:30

26. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

"We rely on our comment community to keep us honest, and more importantly, to make us better at our jobs, which means we need constructive criticism, and not insults."

And whether you take our comments as criticism or insults isn't because of our perspective but because of yours.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:32 6

30. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The difference between criticism and insult can also very easily be based on the wording of the comments. Someone who calls us "iPhoneArena" is not doing so as constructive criticism, neither is someone who accuses us of being sheep. Those are direct insults.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:37

38. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

That should be a red flag for when you're crossing a line in a specific direction. If it gets down to insults it means that reasoning has failed and we need, yes need, to get down to that level to get your attention.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:41 5

46. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's why I'm asking for better explanations. Unless we know how and where, how can we do better in the future?

Besides, no one responds well to insults. All that kind of wording does is inhibit discussion because someone is going to get angry. The more respect you show, the likelier it is that you are heard.

If flame wars have shown nothing else, they prove that yelling just begets yelling. And, we want to have discussions.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:52

58. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

That's where the other issue comes in. You guys don't do as much as you possibly can to stop those arguments. Users like wendy and mxy post one-liners again and again and so do other users (most likely alt. accounts) to start arguments which in turn start insults but by the time you guys finally get to removing the the comment(s) from view, more than half of the article's comments have branched out from the one-liner. I don't know why they haven't been banned when they've been doing this for months. I've actually been telling other users to report and ignore them from that point on but because they're allowed to stay it's going to keep happening.

If you want the respect you think you should be getting, that's what I think you should start with.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:57 3

63. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The ban hammer isn't a solution, because people always find a way around it. We are constantly handing out warnings and moderating comments, but those people always come back.

If you know that there are certain people who are out to incite an argument, then you also have a responsibility to not engage that person.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 22:04 1

98. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

I know it's the last resort answer and it's a rash recommendation but I'm bringing it up because moderating comments and sending out warnings hasn't worked. Using it is up to you, but it would be my answer.

I haven't contributed to the arguments that are started by those users in some time but if they don't care about either of our warnings and other users don't get that they should ignore them they're not going to think twice about continuing with those one-liners.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:08

185. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

It got rid of taco... that was an instant improvement to the site, since they were more of a troll who incited argument than a useful commentor with valid points or perspectives.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:32 3

28. syedzain (Posts: 175; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)

those who think u guys are biased.. terminate there account from phonearena..thats it.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:40

43. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

Yeah, lets censor those bastards... smh

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:32 1

29. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

Personally, I don't see an end to "perceived" biased reporting due to the variations of opinions of those that read the articles or other commentors. I really don't feel you need to try to justify yourself Michael. It is out of your control. Journalism has to deal with these many variations. If everyone's opinion was the same, your blog site would be non existent. I, for one, appreciate the news articles PhoneArena reports whether I agree on some of the news or not.

John B.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:34 1

32. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I'm not sure it is out of my control. I think, at the very least, I can try to promote a higher tone of discussion, and that can have far reaching effects. At least, I believe that, or else I wouldn't have written this column.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 21:26 2

84. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

Promoting a higher tone of discussion is ultimately limited by the opinionated, or in some cases, the intellectual level of those receptive of that promotion. That is the part that's out of your control. Zebras cannot change their stripes. Perception becomes reality with most individuals and it is difficult to change these views. Judging by many of the posters here in these such forums, many are still in school and are influenced by the environmental pressures that surround them. They don't think logically for themselves. Many become mouthpieces for status quo and lack the actual facts or objectiveness for these facts.

Unless, you are the parent of these people, your detentions are very limited to what can be addressed effectively.

What you do have control over is what does or doesn't constitute the allowances of viewable posts and think you have excelled at that.

I say just keep reporting the news and let the posters fight it out. Logisically and candidly that is. None of the personal and insulting jabs.

John B.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 08:52 1

167. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Perhaps so, but I think that the vast majority of our audience is receptive. I know not everyone will be on board, but I think a good amount of readers are at least open to discussion.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:33 2

31. kingpet13 (Posts: 139; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

Thank you for the great article Micheal, but I can't help but wondering if the more biased commenters (for both apple and google) will understand because I believe that once someone believes something is true, they will do whatever they can to support that. For example, someone who commented a biased post a while ago might read this article, and look for ways to say that you are overreacting, and someone who does not comment on Phonearena will look at this article and completely agree with it. There was an episode of South Park that went over this and called it "Mind Olympics". This is a very well written article, and almost definitely needed. The only thing I have seen on phonearena that I might consider biased is the some reviews, but it is hard to judge a review for a phone I never used so
I try not to complain about that to much.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:35 2

34. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

No doubt there will be those that are beyond reason, but there are others who may take a bit more time to consider comments from here on, and that's all I'm hoping for.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:36 3

35. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

Feel better about yourself now, Michael?

I don't really think this a necessary article at all. You have a great base of people who come and go, and then you have a solid base of those who actually comment... I've been visiting this site for years, back before this layout, and I have always enjoyed the articles about phones and updates. I come here first before all other phone sites because of the frequency in new articles.

Sure, we bash, and sometimes our comments are unfriendly (yes, there are those d-bags out there)... but this is something that belongs in the "Comment Rules" section, not as an article

There is no reason to attempt to defend yourselves against your readers... you get paid for this crap. We don't get paid, but we entertain ourselves with the comments... and it is fun to read and participate.

Stop being self conscience about how we feel about your articles. And I read plenty of "Great Article!" and so forth... it is not a thankless job. You know we enjoy the site.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 08:56 1

168. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I do feel better. Thanks for asking!

I do agree with your that something like this would make more sense in the Comment Rules section. The problem with going that route would be that far fewer people would have read it, and I really wanted to get a discussion going on the topic.

Also, I think it's good sometimes to remind the readers that we do get paid for this. This is our job, we take it seriously, and one of the best resources we have for getting better are you guys. You choose to visit our site for a reason, and we appreciate that, but it doesn't give people license to make baseless attacks.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:37 9

37. lee480 (Posts: 197; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

Biased = Giving Xperia S a 8.5 for a DUAL CORE processor, UNREMOVABL battery and NO SD slots
Not biased = Giving iphone 5 a 9 for a DUAL CORE processor, UNREMOVABL battery and NO SD slots

Seriously, iPhoneArena?

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:43 1

47. MC1123 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

its not bias on XPERIA S side.. it will be base on how it will perform! since its running custom android it is expected to have bugs and lags! and 8.5 isnt that bad!

iPhone 5, even though looks redundant but accept the fact that is is fluid! just works they way you want it to be!

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:48 3

52. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Adding to what MC said, removable batteries and SD card slots are expected from Android devices. Those features will never ever be part of an iPhone, so they aren't really taken into account.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:57 2

62. MC1123 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

yeah..you're right!! removable battery and SD card slot is expected on an android device! while on apple, never was and never will!

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 21:41 6

89. DerryAhmad (Posts: 278; Member since: 05 May 2012)

So.. you're saying that Android devices isn't comparable to IOS devices since the expectations are different?

The scoring isn't differentiated between platforms. I do think the Un-removable batteries and SD Card Slots should also taken into consideration when reviewing an IOS devices and giving them scores.

It's the thing like this that made Apple becomes so snob and slow on innovation.
People are very forgiving of their devices. Yet Apple take the the most margin (read: profit) from their costumers.

I do think there are some bias in PA's articles, especially towards BB and WP. It's the choice of words that often portrait negative things about those two.
But I do hope the site will improve tho. I'd like PA do write more neutral choice of words when writing about BB and WP.

On the side note, the PA users is probably one of the most passionate/biased Android users on the web. Slamming on BB and IOS is no stranger in the comment area. I love my Android devices but we also need to give fair judgment to other platform guys.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 22:23 3

104. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

As I've written before, the need for removable batteries and SD card slots are a complaint of the tech elite, not the mass market.

I think I'd actually like to point you to a great comment on page 1 by JeffDaBeat (#87). Essentially, his point is that reviews are by their very nature going to be the articles that people will find fault and "bias" within. A review is more opinion than anything else.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 04:00 2

145. DerryAhmad (Posts: 278; Member since: 05 May 2012)

I don't think that's true at all..

Before the iPhones.. There were the Nokias, The (Sony) Ericssons, The Blackberries.. and most of those devices have SD cards and removable batteries. The market used to having those two. And many of the current devices still have them.

And what is this 'mass market' means? The iPhone might be the market leader in the US (thus mass market doesn't mind not having those two). But the rest of the world? I don't think articles in the PA are solely address to US readers only.

I had an iPhone and currently own Sony Xperia S.
Both don't have SD slots and removable batteries. I love both devices but wouldn't 'differentiate' both devices by expectation. I do think both devices are 'flawed' by not having those two.

What I'm saying is.. consider those (among other) features as equals across platforms, and remember that your readers are not from the US (North America) alone.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 00:30 1

127. MC1123 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

so true...this place are full of android people... and will do everything to say something bad towards any other competing OS! but users call PA bias because they will say something good to these platform..and mostly those people are android folks...

i have android, but loving my BlackBerry the most!

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:12

186. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

I wouldn't say "never ever", but it is highly unlikely. The iphone should be dinged not for non-expandable storage (especially with cloud services) but because they charge a ridiculous $100 per increment up. $25 or $50 per level I would consider reasonable, not $100.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 12:40

199. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1522; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Well Michael, wasn´t your defintion of BIAS equal to 'unfair' comparison?
So not taking those things into account for ONE BRAND and taking it into account for others is biased, because you are not treating them equally.
I have seem sites that consider "not having a dedicated camera button" a con against phones, but at least they do it for all brands. If you are going to make exceptions you should not take it as bad for other brands either, but as a matter of fact you do. And that´s biased.
You wanted constructive criticism? There you got one and got all defensive about it, trying to defend your way instead of listening.
And yes, for many people the SD slot is important.
And the non removable battery is not only an issue for geeks like us, it´s also an "aberration" fron the ecology point of view both for reusability (when you sell your phone second hand) and reciclability. Environment concious people worry about that too.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 14:34

205. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's definitely a tough nut to crack, but I feel like expectations play a large part when considering a product. No one would reasonably expect an Apple product to have a removable battery or SD card, and anyone planning to purchase an iPhone should know that will never be an option.

Expectations become more complex when you get into the Android world, because for a long time, the expectation has been that Android phones have both removable batteries and SD cards. That is changing, and the change is being led by Google, so it's hard to say what to expect. But, since consumers may not know what device has what, we have to take that into consideration when reviewing a product.

It's a messy topic. Thanks for bringing up the ecology POV, I agree that we should try to take that into consideration more.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 15:11

209. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1522; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Not that I don´t agree that expectations don´t play a role. But they are difficult to measure.
Are you going to make exections for HTC, Sony and Nokia now that their flagships don´t have SD card slots? Are you going to give bonus point to Samsung becouse they do?
As you can´t measure expectations you should just treat all phones equaly and not making execeptions.
That kind of subjectivity when reviewing is what makes the reviews being perceived as biased.
If you have time I put a REALLY LONG post at the end of this thread about it (around the 10th or 11th page I guess now)
Just for reading between 2 and 4 AM if you don´t find anything more interesting to do ;)

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 15:23

210. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

What I plan to suggest to the editors is that we add another column, so in addition to Pros/Cons, we also have "Notable info" for things like this. That way, it's easy for those who want to know to find out, but it doesn't necessarily factor into the overall score. Because, I'm not really sure how much those things really factor in to the score anyway, I think we just don't have a good place to put the notes "no removable battery" and "no sd card" other than the "Cons" section.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 15:49

212. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1522; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

I personally think it´s Ok in the "Cons" section, my rant was more about that you see it in some reviews and not in others, depending on the review and the reviewer.
That lack of consistency is easily perceived as bias when it affects the model/brand you like.
In the Lumia 920 review it´s not a con.
In the HTC One S it is:
You´ll find the same issue for many other features.

So trying to get more consistent among reviews would shoothe some of the shouting.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:38 1

41. babyk (Posts: 308; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)

U bias against htc for one . I DONT CARE....i say what i want

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:50 3

56. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Very glad that you say what you want. We're just asking that you give more of an explanation of why you think we're biased towards HTC, especially since we have rated most of HTC's devices pretty highly.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 20:56 2

61. syedzain (Posts: 175; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)

U know my business runs coz of ur website. I look up phone reviews.. prices and then buy them, sell them.

u guys are the best...just ignore the trolls my friend Michael.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 23:53 2

119. Commentator (Posts: 3684; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Speaking of rating devices pretty highly, will we ever see a device rated as highly as the OG Pre? Also, speaking of bias, I don't tend to think of PA as biased the majority of the time, but I still can't help but raise my eyebrows at the result of that particular review, and I've made a few (what I consider playful and sarcastic) accusations in the past that PA was on Palm and/or Sprint's payroll at the time.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:00 1

170. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

wow, a 9.9? that was before my time. i hadn't seen that. of course, that was also 3 years ago. i think the review process has changed since then.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:20

188. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

While I doubt we'd see a 9.9 again, I think that assigning flat 9.0 scores to some recent models (Note2, Lumia 920, most specifically) instead of a 9.x was unfair, especially if considering the scores on a A B C D F scale, even top-scoring phones get just a B (90%, aka 9.0), plus it allows for seeing differentiation, i.e. "Ah, I see the GS3 got a 9.3, and the Lumia 920 got a 9.2; PA must have found the GS3 slightly better than the 920, but they are still very well matched. However the iphone5 got a 9.0, so it apparently has some deficiencies against its main rivals in the reviewers' eyes."
Similarly, and you may recall this, some months ago I posted a thought that we need to have clearly defined tiers for phones to clearly understand their scores not only by themselves but in relation to other comparable devices, that is, class-leading phones like the GS3, Note2, OptimusG, and Lumia 920 would be in the top tier, mid-range phones like the 820/22/10, Atrix HD, Droid M, etc would be in a middle tier, entry phones like the AT&T Impulse and Pantech Crossover would be low-tier, and scored accordingly, and of course two other categories for feature phones (perhaps split into touchscreen and non-touchscreen categories) and basic phones. That way we could see that while an Atrix HD is a good phone in its own right, a GS3 scores higher for its higher capabilities, for example, and someone wanting to get a higher-end phone wouldn't consider an AT&T Impulse, despite a decent score, isn't directly comparable. Just rough examples, not saying anyone would necessarily cross shop these, since the Impulse hasn't been offered in months.

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