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Strange but true - we are under attack

 
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Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 12:37:10 PM   
Iain McNeil


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There is a very strange situation developing on Metacritic and Gamespot.

Someone has been creating many dummy accounts and posting false reviews. They have created accounts for Slitherine, Matrix and the Lordz and are pretending to be us and posting false positive reviews. These reviews have been copied and pasted from other CTGW reviews. At least they are reviews of the the right game...

These are the false developer accounts that were created:
http://www.metacritic.com/user/MatrixGames2012
http://www.metacritic.com/user/SlitherineGames
http://www.metacritic.com/user/LordzGames

These accounts were not set up by us.

Then they have created many more accounts giving very bad reviews. These reviews are copied and pasted from completely different games. You can tell because they talk about features not in the game. For example there are no doors & dungeons in Commander the Great War! :)

All these accounts have only 1 review created just to post post a bad review about CTGW. These accounts are listed below - E.g.
http://www.metacritic.com/user/JMiles - this one talks about "Rugged defence" which is not in the game.
http://www.metacritic.com/user/Gazelle67
http://www.metacritic.com/user/Levada
http://www.metacritic.com/user/jopmores - this one complains the developers are rating their own games...
http://www.metacritic.com/user/Gret - this one talks about the doors and dungeons not working!
http://www.metacritic.com/user/JohnSteed67
http://www.metacritic.com/user/HTTbull - this one talked about inventory management. Inventory - seriously!
http://www.metacritic.com/user/GreatnessWar - this one says its from paradox.

All of the negative and bizarre comments have been marked as helpful by 13 users so not only did the person set up these fake reviews they took the time to go through and like all their fake reviews with other accounts. They also took the time to mark all the real reviews from actual players as unhelpful so all of their fantasy reviews go to the top of the list.

Someone has gone to a lot of effort to do all this across multiple sites.

It is very sad when a small indie developer spends years making a game to be faced with such malicious behavior, than runs the risk of ruining their games chances of success and potentially putting them out of business.

We have contacted Metacritic and Gamespot to try and resolve the issues but its quite difficult for us to explain to someone who doesn't know the game that these reviews are complete fantasy and made up.

If anyone has any information about the culprits we'd really appreciate it.

The other thing that would help is for anyone who can spare the time to report the abuse by clicking the link on the false reviews to add weight to our argument that these are completely spurious.

Please share this news as the more people who know what is going on for real, the less damage that can be done to the game.







< Message edited by Lord Zimoa -- 7/22/2014 11:19:22 AM >


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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 12:49:06 PM   
elmo3

 

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Very sad to see this happening. Hope you are able to get those "reviews" pulled off the sites soon.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 12:50:33 PM   
DBeves

 

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He needs a girlfriend.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 12:57:47 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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Disappointing, to say the very least.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 1:09:45 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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If you've bought the game, and have a bit of time, it would be very much appreciated if you could review the game on these sites. It goes without saying that the more honest reviews that are posted, the less influence this ... individual ... will have over the average scores.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 1:42:51 PM   
mbar


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What to think. A rival developer spamming bad reviews? One person with too much time on their hands? It's getting harder to trust posts in forums or review sites.

And why is it listed as released in March 2011 on Meta Critic?

< Message edited by mbar -- 11/15/2012 1:49:24 PM >

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 2:59:08 PM   
Josh

 

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Wow... I say reason enough to sue this guy, if you catch him that is. Pretty insane thing to do though

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 4:40:21 PM   
wodin


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The Gret one must and chnaged..it doesn't mention dungeons or doors anymore.

Levada says it's great..but gives it a one.

Jopmores no longer has a review..

Wont check anymore..but it seems they have chnaged since Iain looked at them.

< Message edited by wodin -- 11/15/2012 4:42:12 PM >


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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 4:43:17 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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Here's the one with the dungeons:
http://www.metacritic.com/user/Josh4577

Makes you wonder what game the review was copied from... German game, conversation menus, doors, dungeons, skill trees and characters... sounds like an rpg.
quote:

The execution of combat is spotty, and the localization of this German game is a real issue. You receive the "Translation is missing" option in some conversation menus. This message also appears on some doors and gates in the dungeons; while the information isn't essential, it's nice for things in your game to have names. Sometimes, these names are still in German. The game also has some crash bugs, including one annoying crash that happens whenever you try to put more than three points into one of a character's skills, limiting his progression on that portion of the skill tree. These flaws point to one thing: The game isn't finished.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 4:51:10 PM   
wodin


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Looks like everyone is now posting reviews of 10..which is just as skwed as someone posting reviews of 1. The whole review for the game is totally broke and you can't trust any of them..as many are posting 10 because this person posted aload of 1...I'd ask them to take it down for abit..then repost it and start again..

In the end though if this carries on..no one would ever be able to trust a review of a game from Matrix\Slitherine as you wouldn't know who was giving an honest opinion and not either stating a 10 in response to the 1 or posting a bad review because they have an issue with the firm.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 5:02:38 PM   
Lukas


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I suppose these kind of user comments work for games that sell in the hundred thousands, where a few fools are balanced out by a more serious majority. For small games it is a problem though, especially so soon after release. Later on, when more people have posted and Critic reviews are appearing, it will be less of a problem.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 8:06:35 PM   
Perturabo


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Maybe they are bots spamming on random games?

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 9:28:21 PM   
Montez12

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Looks like everyone is now posting reviews of 10..which is just as skwed as someone posting reviews of 1. The whole review for the game is totally broke and you can't trust any of them.


I think we're all being a tad hypocritical right now, when we whine about the low scores, but not about the ridiculous amount of people who rated it a 10, way before we saw any negative score.

When this game was released, Ian and several others asked on a few forums to promote their game by reviewing it on these sites. Soon after we saw lots of people rating this game with a fake 10 (check the dates), only few rated it with a 9. It's only then when the negative scores started to appear.

Now let's assume that I'm interested in this game, I check for a demo....no demo....I check for gameplay videos...none....so all I have is fake reviews with a score of 10 posted by people on this forum after a request of Ian, who also wrote reviews on these sites with a score of 10. Does this also explain why we never see a demo on release day or gameplay videos produced by the developer until weeks later? None of this is fair towards any new customers in my opinion.

< Message edited by Montez12 -- 11/15/2012 9:53:57 PM >

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 9:53:29 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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Hey Montez,

There's a difference, I hope you'll agree. Asking people to review a game is not dishonest. Iain wasn't asking people to give mindless 10/10 scores, he was asking people to post reviews.

In stark contrast, copy pasting any old text and spamming fake accounts to bring down a game's review score is thoroughly dishonest and malicious.

For us (the developers of the game) it's kinda heart-wrenching to watch this whole nasty episode. It would be really nice to cut out all this rubbish, and be left with only the honest reviews, but we're helpless to do anything about it. Not fun.

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Post #: 14
RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 9:54:38 PM   
Iain McNeil


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Did you actually read the top post :)

The bad reviews are bing copied and pasted from other games... I'm confused how asking people who like the game to review it the same thing!

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Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 10:06:36 PM   
Montez12

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Myrddraal

Hey Montez,

There's a difference, I hope you'll agree. Asking people to review a game is not dishonest. Iain wasn't asking people to give mindless 10/10 scores, he was asking people to post reviews.


He didn't complain when he saw those mindless 10/10 scores now did he?


quote:

ORIGINAL: Myrddraal

In stark contrast, copy pasting any old text and spamming fake accounts to bring down a game's review score is thoroughly dishonest and malicious.


That's just as bad as posting a review and making it look credible and then rating it with a 10... like many did, including Iain.

Maybe this game will get an average 6 in reviews done by editors, who knows. No matter which way you put it, any fake review is a dishonest and malicious one. Oh, but we don't care about customers who pay $40 for a game that could turn out to be a disappointment, right? Just the fact that there is again no demo available doesn't sit well with a lot of people either.






< Message edited by Montez12 -- 11/15/2012 10:08:57 PM >

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 10:11:53 PM   
wodin


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All I'm saying is when you look at the reviews now everyone is giving it a 10 because of the fake reviews. Both of which end up not giving a true impression of the game. False negative and false positives are both false. The amount of tens just doesn't ring true either especially as some even mention the false reviews. It's like yeah I like the game but because of what happened I will give it a 10. If I looked at the reviews now for the game I wouldn't trust any of them..either positive or negative. The people through loyalty to you have probably thought it good to give the game a 10...but really it just calls into question the motive of such a high mark.

All I'm trying to say is all the reviews now have no real substance..one is someone with a personal grudge the rest are people giving 10's because of the backlash. Either way all of them are now suspect. If people had gone and given a fair review after you asking them too then great..I'd expect to see the odd ten but lots of 7,8,and a fair few 9's. Instead it's 10 after 10 after 10.

Either way you can't win. I think all reviews should be wiped and start again..or asked them to take the game down for abit, you need to find the person who started it though. otherwise if he\she carries on it will just bring into question all the games and reviews on them you release.You wouldn't know whether it's someone giving low marks because they have issues or the high marks because they are annoyed it's being sabotaged with low marks. You have to find tham otherwise it could end up being a minor disaster.

Oh by the way I don't think iain reviewed the game with a ten..that as mentioned was a false account pretending to be Iain.


< Message edited by wodin -- 11/15/2012 10:14:49 PM >


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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 10:16:43 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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quote:

Maybe this game will get an average 6 in reviews done by editors, who knows.

I can't wait for the critics reviews, at least there will be some accountability then.

quote:

No matter which way you put it, any fake review is dishonest and malicious one.

You're quite right... which is why I don't have a problem with Iain asking people to post real reviews, but I do have a problem with the fake ones.

quote:

Oh, but we don't care about customers who pay $40 for a game that could turn out to be a disappointment, right?

I don't know why you would think that. It couldn't be further from the truth, and to be honest, I find it a hurtful suggestion.

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Post #: 18
RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 10:36:46 PM   
Lord Zimoa


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We have no problem with a bad customer review or disappointed customer, but posting multiple fake reviews, posting negative reviews BEFORE the game even was released, doing multiple negative reviews copy/pasting bad reviews of other games, even posting false positive reviews using fake accounts and naming them Slitherine, Matrix and Lordz so they appear as they were posted by us, so you can post double amount of negative reviews fuming: look the developer/publishers post positive reviews about their own products?

If someone does all this trouble, he is a psycho and a bad person and very, very frustrated and to me that person is a sad character.

But we cannot stand along and just let it be... we react, fans react, the psycho reacts, action and re-action and we have a chain... and as it is now, it is one big shameful appearance with no review value whatsoever.

Also a shame for Metacritic and Gamespot, but a psychopath like this graves for the attention, so we leave it alone, as he will do it again. They love the attention, he is now probably reading and getting his kick. We have better things to do and work, so have fun I would say.

Metacritic and Gamespot try and track all the IP traffic and if we catch him we have some legal fun, I assure you that.

I pity the guy really, what an exciting live he must have if this is his great hobby... LOL



< Message edited by Lord Zimoa -- 11/15/2012 11:09:12 PM >


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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 11:23:17 PM   
Montez12

 

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Lord Zimoa, do you really think that user reviews like this, many of which make absolutely no sense, encourage people not to buy the game, when editor reviews might rate this game an 8-8.5? Do you also really think that potential customers believe that 11 reviews out of 27 on Metacritic that rate Panzer Corps a 10 are in any way an accurate representation of the game? If that's the case, then Call of Duty Black Ops II sales would have been terrible.

Trust me, most customers are way smarter than you think.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/15/2012 11:46:24 PM   
Lord Zimoa


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It is the principle that counts here, to me this is criminal, insulting and disturbed behaviour an affront to the wargaming society and our hard work. Below the belt... and sort of sad for all true wargamers.

I also trust most people will look beyond it, but that doesn`t make less innocent, vulgar or resentful. Typically human I guess. LOL


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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 12:22:34 AM   
JDM

 

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All, some of you may have already seen posts on this bizarre affair, this malicious attack on one of the hardest working development teams in the business is both disgraceful and unfair. So, what can be done to balance the scales:-).Well here goes, If anyone can provide credible information, sent to me privately, that leads to the identification of this individual, I will personally pay a reward of £1000 and at no stage whatsoever will the identity of our aspiring Internet sleuth be revealed
Good Hunting
JD McNeil
Slitherine/Matrix

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 7:33:34 AM   
wodin


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It's going to be hard to try and trace them unless Gamespot and metacritic are on your side. I think you also need to look at any private grudge outside of wargame circles is going on either with Slitherine\Matrix or Lordz. I can't see a wargamer being that unhappy about something to go to these lengths.

Still something needs to be done if it carries on as it could be damaging and is serious. I suppose bordering on a cyber attack in away.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 9:40:48 AM   
DBeves

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Montez12

Lord Zimoa, do you really think that user reviews like this, many of which make absolutely no sense, encourage people not to buy the game, when editor reviews might rate this game an 8-8.5? Do you also really think that potential customers believe that 11 reviews out of 27 on Metacritic that rate Panzer Corps a 10 are in any way an accurate representation of the game? If that's the case, then Call of Duty Black Ops II sales would have been terrible.

Trust me, most customers are way smarter than you think.


Hey - maybe this guy is your first suspect. Do you not think it a bit suspicious he joins a couple of days ago to start bitching about what ian asked. A PERSON OF INTEREST if you ask me. There would be a clue in his user name I would think

< Message edited by DBeves -- 11/16/2012 9:45:56 AM >

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 9:43:11 AM   
Iain McNeil


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The fundamental problem with Metacritic & review sites like Gamespot is anyone can create an account and vote. They have no way of knowing if you have the game. I believe the vast majority of reviews are from people who have never played the game. E.g. on Gamespot CTGW had a significant number of negative reviews before it was released - not just before - months before!

Unless the review system have some way to validate the users have the games they are meaningless and just a test of your community's pull.

Sadly the scores have significant meaning and many users make purchasing decisions based on them and retail almost completely rely on it so you have to manage your metacritic score. Its a game we have to play and when someone starts a deliberate a malicious attack to sabotage our rating we take it very seriously.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 9:45:24 AM   
DBeves

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

All I'm saying is when you look at the reviews now everyone is giving it a 10 because of the fake reviews. Both of which end up not giving a true impression of the game. False negative and false positives are both false. The amount of tens just doesn't ring true either especially as some even mention the false reviews. It's like yeah I like the game but because of what happened I will give it a 10. If I looked at the reviews now for the game I wouldn't trust any of them..either positive or negative. The people through loyalty to you have probably thought it good to give the game a 10...but really it just calls into question the motive of such a high mark.

All I'm trying to say is all the reviews now have no real substance..one is someone with a personal grudge the rest are people giving 10's because of the backlash. Either way all of them are now suspect. If people had gone and given a fair review after you asking them too then great..I'd expect to see the odd ten but lots of 7,8,and a fair few 9's. Instead it's 10 after 10 after 10.

Either way you can't win. I think all reviews should be wiped and start again..or asked them to take the game down for abit, you need to find the person who started it though. otherwise if he\she carries on it will just bring into question all the games and reviews on them you release.You wouldn't know whether it's someone giving low marks because they have issues or the high marks because they are annoyed it's being sabotaged with low marks. You have to find tham otherwise it could end up being a minor disaster.

Oh by the way I don't think iain reviewed the game with a ten..that as mentioned was a false account pretending to be Iain.



No Wodin - its the whole idea of meta critic that is flawed. Its the same as trip advisor - give people a site where they can say what they like without having to back it up and that is precisely what they will do. Sure you may get a few genuine honest reviews but the whole thing is skewed by the either rabid fanbois or rabid haters who also post.

this is why any sensible person takes anything they see up there with a pinch of salt. Personally wargames should stay away from sites like these - I know its advertising but there are better ways and if you do manage to sell the product to a FPS geek he will only likely hate it and post a bad review in any case.

Again - I wonder why this is suddenly becoming necessary - are things that bad ?

< Message edited by DBeves -- 11/16/2012 9:47:25 AM >

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Post #: 26
RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 11:07:19 AM   
Iain McNeil


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We try and manage all our major releases on metacritic as they have wider appeal. Games like WitE are never going to appeal to a wider audience so we don't care what metacritic says but games like Commander, Panzer Corps etc are effected by this. Its a sign of success not failure.

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Post #: 27
RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 1:40:29 PM   
DBeves

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil

We try and manage all our major releases on metacritic as they have wider appeal. Games like WitE are never going to appeal to a wider audience so we don't care what metacritic says but games like Commander, Panzer Corps etc are effected by this. Its a sign of success not failure.


Good, I am glad to hear it.

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RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 9:09:18 PM   
JDM

 

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I would like to publicly thank those of you who took the trouble to write, your support is very much appreciated. I would also like to thank those who provided helpful information. [;) I will be in touch shortly. Your suggestions of what we should do with the perpetrator were interesting

Your sense of fair play and comradeship have given us a real boost, you turned what started as a very nasty incident into an uplifting experience. Both the Lordz Games studios and the team want to offer you our sincere thanks.

Best wishes
JDM

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Post #: 29
RE: Strange but true - we are under attack - 11/16/2012 9:47:57 PM   
wodin


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I presume you know who the person was. Thats good news. Not too sure what you could do with the info though, as long as it doesn't happen again though thats what counts.

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