AO3 News

We Need Volunteers for OTW Committees!

Published: 2015-02-16 12:14:06 -0500

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

Thank you to those who responded to our most recent call for volunteers. Today, we have another group of committees looking for some additional help and are excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Abuse Committee Staff - closing 23 February UTC
  • AO3 Documentation Volunteers - closing 23 February UTC
  • Communications Chair Track Staff - closing 23 February UTC
  • Wiki Staff - closing 23 February UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Abuse Committee Staff
The Abuse Committee is dedicated to helping users deal with the various situations that may arise. We also handle any complaints that come in about content uploaded to the Archive of Our Own. The team determines if complaints are about legitimate violations of the Terms of Service, and what to do about them if they are; our major goals are to adhere to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case completely confidential. We work closely with other AO3 related committees such as Support and Content.

We are seeking people who can keep in close contact, be patient in rephrasing explanations, make and document decisions, cooperate within and outside of their team, and ask for help when it's needed. Staffers need to be able to handle complex and sometimes-disturbing content, and must be able to commit a sufficient amount of time to the team on a regular basis.

Abuse staffers are required to spend at least five hours a week handling committee work, though it often tends to be more. Please be sure you can handle the workload before applying.

Applications are due 12AM UTC on 23 February 2015.

AO3 Documentation Volunteer
AO3 Documentation is the workgroup that writes and updates AO3 FAQs and tutorials. We're looking for people who love the Archive of Our Own and who have experience with writing and proofreading user help documentation. If you enjoy helping your fellow fans learn how the AO3 works, please read the full details and apply to join the Docs team!

Applications are due 12AM UTC on 23 February 2015.

Communications Chair Track Staff
The Communications Committee is the central information distributing arm of the OTW, responsible for the distribution of information internally to OTW personnel and externally to the general public, the media, fans, and other fannish organizations. Communications is also typically the first point of contact for someone interested in or wanting help from OTW, and serves all of the organization's committees and projects. The position of Chair Track Staffer is designed for individuals with ample time to learn all aspects of Communications' activities, and who would like to work toward being considered for the role of chair.

Applications are due 12AM UTC on 23 February 2015.

Wiki Staff
Wiki staff members are responsible for dealing with all the behind the scenes stuff to ensure that Fanlore runs smoothly. We respond to questions and complaints; shape Fanlore policies, categories, and tutorials; assist the gardeners; try to promote Fanlore; plan larger projects, and generally try to be as helpful as possible. No special experience is required, only reliability, the ability to work in a team, and an interest in fannish history and Fanlore in particular.

Applications are due 12AM UTC on 23 February 2015.


Releases 0.9.47 - 0.9.48: Change Log

Published: 2015-02-16 04:03:48 -0500


  • Coders: Ariana, Elz, james_, Lady Oscar, Sarken
  • Code reviewers: Elz, Enigel, james_, Scott
  • Testers: Agwen, Anika Kabit, james_, Lady Oscar, Matty, Michelle Dong, mugenmine, mumble, Sarken


Works & Tags

  • No language was being set for imported works, which meant the works would not show up when users filtered by language. Since our code can't detect the language of an imported work, it is now automatically set to English at the time of importing. If necessary, you can change it to the correct language by editing the work.
  • In certain circumstances, it was possible to leave kudos on your own work. This will now trigger an error message and the kudos won't be recorded.
  • The page listing the 20 most recent comments left on works all across the Archive is now only accessible to site admins.
  • Tags that used to be canonical but which were later made synonyms of new canonicals were still appearing in the Top 10 Tags list in the filters. This should no longer happen going forward; however, old instances still need to be cleaned up.

Wording Fixes

  • The browser page title for our 503 error page incorrectly said, "Exceeded maximum downloads per minute." Now it will say, "Page responding too slowly."
  • The help text explaining the "General Audiences" rating has been updated.
  • There was a button and a link on your invitations page that said "Request More," which was confusing/misleading if you'd never requested invitations before. Now it says "Request Invitations."
  • Where "invites" was used as a noun on the site, we have replaced it with the more correct "invitations".
  • The button labels on a user's Manage Invitations page are now capitalized to match our usual style.
  • On the page where creators can claim their works after an Open Doors fanwork archive import, we changed some wording and the link to contact Open Doors.
  • Updated the help message listing the CSS properties that can be used in skins.

Invisible Fixes

  • The code for our Abuse form and Support form has been refactored (rewritten to follow good coding practices), with no changes to functionality.
  • When accessing a single bookmark listing for an external work, there was an extra, empty HTML element on the page. It has been removed.
  • The page that asks you to confirm you are willing to access adult content was missing some HTML tags. They have now been added.
  • We changed our server logs to be angrier and take up less space (i.e. started using the lograge gem for Rails).

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.


International Fanworks Day is Here!

Published: 2015-02-14 14:13:06 -0500

Banner by Ania of various fanworks including cosplay, text, and visual art

It's now February 15th in our earliest timezones, which means International Fanworks Day is here! Today is the first annual day to celebrate fanwork of all kinds. Below we have a few things listed that the OTW is sponsoring or connected to but we'd like you to let us know, in comments, about other events and activities you're aware of so that we can signal boost them.

  1. We're hosting a short fanworks challenge, #IFDrabble. Get out your tablet, your laptop, or your phone and write up to 100 words to celebrate fanworks! (Why 100 words?)

    What does your favorite character—or your favorite pairing—get fannish over?

    • Does Tony Stark secretly watch—and love—Transformers fan films?
    • Does Athos ship Aramis/Porthos?
    • Do the members of Shinee cosplay as Final Fantasy characters?

    But our challenge isn’t for writing alone — submit a drawble, a short vid, an audio work or other format for the challenge as well. Just post it today as part of the day of celebration.

    Help us find and share it — tag it #IFDrabble on tumblr, Facebook, Dreamwidth, or wherever you fan. (And if you post it on Archive of Our Own, tag it with the International Fanworks Day 2015 tag.)

    Keep it safe-for-work, and we may give you a signal boost!

  2. Feedback Fest: Everyone who creates and shares fanworks loves hearing from the people who enjoyed it, so we're hosting a Feedback Fest to celebrate the works that we love. Participate by leaving a comment here with a link to fanworks you've left feedback on. This way, you can share what you love about fanworks while encouraging others to leave feedback, too.
  3. On 8 February, we held a live chat on “Why Fanworks Should Be Celebrated”, with authors Cecilia Tan, Tara Sue Me, and Racheline Maltese. All of these authors started out writing fanfiction and have gone on to be published professionally—and they still participate in fanworks. Along with moderator Francesca Coppa, the panelists discussed the value and importance of all kinds of fanworks. If you missed it, you can still read the transcript.
  4. Other folks have been talking about International Fanworks Day. Here are some places to read and hear about it:

We also know about the following fan celebrations:

Tell us about more places where International Fanworks Day is being celebrated!

Mirrored from an original post made at the OTW News Blog.


Pick Some Fanworks for IFD Feedback Fest

Published: 2015-02-07 13:51:10 -0500

Banner by Ania of various fanworks including cosplay, text, and visual art

Don't forget that International Fanworks Day (IFD) takes place next week on February 15th! We hope everyone is preparing some short-form fanworks for the OTW's Drabble Challenge, #IFDrabble.

But we'd also like to celebrate fanworks already known and loved by you. For that, we've got Feedback Fest! Everyone who creates and shares fanworks loves hearing from the people who enjoyed it. Therefore, in our IFD celebration post on February 15th, we'll be asking fans to link to fanworks they've left feedback on. This way, people can share what they love about fanworks while encouraging others to leave feedback, too.

And remember that tomorrow is the live chat "Why Fanworks Should Be Celebrated", with authors Cecilia Tan, Tara Sue Me, and Racheline Maltese. All of these authors started out writing fanfiction and have gone on to be published professionally—and they still participate in fanworks. Along with moderator Francesca Coppa, they will be discussing the value and importance of all kinds of fanworks.

We would like to hear about how you will be celebrating! Tell us about plans to celebrate fanworks that you know of or that you will be hosting so that we can link to them during IFD.

Mirrored from an original post made at the OTW News Blog.


January 2015 Newsletter Volume 87

Published: 2015-02-06 12:20:04 -0500

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.


Accessibility, Design and Technology has been busy! They've been working closely with Abuse, Support, and Systems to handle ongoing problems with spammers and download bots. (Thanks to Translation for the quick turnaround on that post!) They're currently testing code for release 0.9.45, which, in light of the spam issues, will focus on providing some much-needed tools for the Abuse committee.

Release 0.9.45 will be the eighth deploy since the November newsletter was posted: 0.9.35, 0.9.36, and 0.9.37 - 0.9.39 in December, along with 0.9.40 and 0.9.41 in January.


Communications has been working on plans for International Fanworks Day, which will take place on February 15. Events include a short fanworks challenge and a fic/pro author panel chat, which will take place in the OTW's Public Discussion room between 17:00–19:00 UTC on February 8 (What time is that in my timezone?). More announcements will be rolling out up until the event day, but the OTW wants to know what fans and their communities will be doing to celebrate. Let us know here in comments!

Communications is also continuing the OTW Guest Post series, with posts released in January and February. If anyone has suggestions for participants, please contact Communications.


Support handled almost 6000 tickets from January 1 to December 31, 2014. To set the bar even higher for 2015, they have, as of January 21, already received over 550 tickets. Support is also planning to do open chats again this year. If you'd like to see them cover something in specific, they are open to suggestions, so leave a comment here!

Abuse has been very busy as well. In addition to dealing with ongoing spam issues, they received roughly 260 tickets in December and 360 in January. Their final total for 2014 was 2750 tickets, which is a considerable jump from 2013, when they had 1900 tickets come in. Please do be patient with Abuse staff if it takes a while for them to respond; our volunteers are working through tickets as fast as they can, but they don't want to rush their investigation and miss any crucial information. Abuse hopes to recruit soon, so if you're interested in helping them out, watch OTW or AO3 News for recruiting information!

Abuse also thanks Accessibility, Design and Technology, Support, Systems, Tag Wrangling and Translation for all their help with the spam cases Abuse has been dealing with.

The Tag Wrangling Committee started 2015 with a successful recruitment drive, and is welcoming all their new trainees. Congratulations to the October class of recruits, who are all making fantastic progress towards training graduation. Tag Wrangling also consulted on quite a few tag-related Support tickets and answered wrangling questions from their Twitter account (@ao3_wranglers). Finally, they launched a virtual wrangling merit badge program, for fun and encouragement.

Also on the social media front, the AO3_Status Twitter is quickly approaching the 25,000-follower milestone, while the ao3org Tumblr has recently passed the 3,000-follower mark.

AO3 Documentation started preparing for recruiting new members by revamping their selection and training process, and they're looking forward to seeing their team grow.

Together with Open Doors, Content Policy prepared tweaks to the Open Doors Terms of Service to reflect greater experience with the process. Meanwhile, Open Doors announced the import of The Henneth Annûn Story Archive, an archive dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien fan fiction, into AO3.


Journal has issues 18 and 19 going through production right now. Copyeditors and layout editors are busy, and soon Journal's proofreaders will get a last look at each essay. Both 18 and 19 are special issues with guest editors (Lucy Bennett and Paul Booth for Performance and Performativity, and Anne Kustritz for European Fans and European Fan Objects), who are writing their editorials right now. Meanwhile, January 1, 2015 was the official suggested submission deadline for the general September issue, and the essays received are going through peer review and author revisions at the moment. Journal's Symposium editor and Review editor are both handling their sections, soliciting and reviewing submissions. Finally, the 2016 special issue The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work, guest edited by Ika Willis, is still soliciting (deadline: March 1, 2015). For more information, see the March Call for Papers.

Legal is busily preparing to file the OTW's comment in support of the petitions filed in November 2014 as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s Rulemaking Process. This comment, which will be filed in early February, will contain Legal's arguments and evidence in support of renewing the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that we helped win in 2009 and 2012, which makes it legal for fan video makers to rip DVDs and online sources in order to make noncommercial fan videos.

In December and January, Legal also continued our participation in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s DMCA Multistakeholder Forum process and answered several queries from fans seeking legal information.

Wiki has been dealing with some technical issues, including a problem with making new accounts. The Fanlore site went through a server move, which occurred with minimal disruption, and they now have plenty of space! A dispute over the use of fandom artwork on Fanlore is still ongoing, as are other outside requests. The OTW also welcomed a new moderator for the fanlore_news Twitter account, Pip Janssen.


These last couple of months have been good to the Elections Committee. They saw the finalization of their 2014 internal feedback request and review as well as the completion of their upcoming 2015 Roadmap. With 2014 in the rearview mirror, they have focused on internal reorganization; a move to Trello; the beginnings of an overhaul to the Elections website; and updates to all their Position Descriptions as they've moved to permanent committee status. Elections also completed basic experiments and planned more extensive reviews of their intended software for the 2015 Election.

Elections had to say goodbye to three staffers who are focusing on other OTW tasks, but took on a new Team Coordinator trainee and is getting ready to open recruitment in February.

Translation's been hard at work juggling many news posts in several languages for the past few weeks. They have also compiled a report of an internal survey with translators, detailing volunteers' thoughts and suggestions regarding the committee, their tools and procedures. With two new Danish translators joining their ranks this month, the Translation committee has now grown to an incredible 20 volunteer language teams.

Development & Membership is still working on sending premium gifts to donors and is researching new CiviCRM hosts. They recently recruited and are interviewing potential new staffers.


Volunteers & Recruiting has been largely focused on revising and updating internal procedures and documentation, the committee’s Annual Report, and managing the first two recruiting rounds of the year.

December personnel changes

New Directors: Jessica Steiner, M. J. MacRae and Soledad Griffin
New Committee Staff: Araise Solace (Elections)
New Strategic Planning Volunteers: Jessica Steiner and 1 other

Departing Committee Chairs: Hana Lee (Strategic Planning) and Eylul Dogruel (Elections)
Departing Committee Staff: Eylul Dogruel (Elections), Hana Lee (Strategic Planning), Jessica Steiner (Strategic Planning), 1 other Strategic Planning staffer, 1 Abuse staffer, 1 Wiki staffer, 1 Communications staffer, 1 Support staffer, 1 Internationalization & Outreach staffer
Departing Workgroup Members: Trey C
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Abbie and 4 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Tired21, Ana Carolina Nonato and 5 others

January personnel changes

New Committee Chairs: kiki-eng (Internationalization & Outreach) and Elliot Oberholtzer (Strategic Planning)
New Committee Staff: 1 Development & Membership staffer
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: blotthis, sabinelagrande, fenn, wanderedpen, AlexandriaTheGreat, VictoriaWrites, Lira, Amayakumiko, 10pm, thedevilchicken, quackingfish, jstorming, Sumi, ClockworkCourier, Marie_L, cricri, Debris, starfield, Taine, Lily Aydan, bladesin, doughtier, Minkster, Maggie, arccie, dianajoy, Mysterie, elmyra, alamerysl, Chaos, VeraSilva, Jasmine Farahani, Fia, Cara, flipflop_diva, Louise Mitchell and 1 other
New Translator Volunteers: Purple Emilie and 2 others

Departing Directors: Nikisha Sanders
Departing Committee Chairs: Niko Thompson (Strategic Planning)
Departing Committee Staff: 1 Elections staffer, 1 Development and Membership staffer, 1 Strategic Planning staffer, 1 Communications staffer, Dai-kun (Translation)
Departing Workgroup Members: Dash (AO3 Documentation)
Departing Translator Volunteers: jerakeen, Dai-kun and 2 others

Mirrored from an original post made at the OTW News Blog..


Fannish Next of Kin

Published: 2015-02-04 13:34:23 -0500

Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Abuse'

Thinking about your own death is difficult under normal circumstances. But what happens when you consider the effect it would have on your identity as a fan? If you're like a lot of us, it probably comes with a moment of panic:

"What happens to all my fanworks?!"

Or possibly: "What happens if my mom--or my partner, or my kid--finds my fanworks?"

There's no doubt that having a significant, distinct online identity--which may have websites, blogs, fanworks, email addresses, and social media accounts--adds a level of emotional and legal complexity to the real final frontier: death.

RIP ... but keep the kudos coming?

What is your expectation for your fanworks and accounts after your death? What do you want to have happen to them? In at least one case, fans made the decision: In 2007, fans and friends of fic author Thamiris, who died earlier in the year, donated money to an effort to preserve her website and make her LiveJournal account permanent. Fanlore has a profile of the author and the effort.

For most of us, though, whether your online presence is simple or complicated, someone will have to deal with your electronic trail. With this in mind, in 2012 the U.S. government recommended having a social media will, a document which can be used by people of other nationalities as well. An online executor would be responsible for the closure of email addresses, social media pages, and blogs and would carry out the final wishes of the deceased.

But again, that may still be a bracing prospect if your executor is not a fellow fan and will have to decide what to do with the explicit Destiel fic you posted in 2010.

Identifying next of kin for AO3

With that in mind, the Archive of Our Own has an option to name a Fannish Next of Kin--someone who would gain access to your account in case of death or incapacitation. By naming another individual who can act on your behalf, you can decide ahead of time how you want your AO3 accounts handled going into the future.

Maybe you want your works preserved; maybe you want them orphaned or deleted; maybe you want to have them open to remixes and related works. Whether your fannish identity departs with you or keeps on keeping on--that's a choice you can make. Learn more about how the Fannish Next of Kin works.

A Fannish Next of Kin can be part of your bigger plan for your social media will, and can ensure that your readers have someone to contact in case of questions about that unfinished WIP or whether or not their favorite work will get a sequel. However you want your works handled, this option will allow you to have a plan in place.

Mirrored from an original post made at the OTW News Blog.


Feature-packed front page coming soon!

Published: 2015-02-02 17:06:38 -0500

Here at AO3, we'll be celebrating the new year by giving the homepage a brand new look. Read on for a sneak peek of the upcoming changes!

Logged out version

The logged out homepage with introductory text, fandom links, news posts, and Twitter widget

The Archive's homepage has always introduced the Archive and its mission to first time visitors and kept returning guests up to date with the latest news and tweets, and that won't change! However, because we're striving to make the homepage even more useful and informative, we'll be adding a few more things:

  • The News section will now include excerpts from the latest news posts to make it easier to stay informed. We'll be adding comment counts, too, so you can tell when a post sparks discussion.
  • We'll mention some of the benefits of creating an AO3 account to make sure everyone knows there are plenty of reasons to join the Archive even if you don't plan to post any works.
  • Links to the fandom categories will give first-time visitors a clear starting point to help them dive in and explore the Archive.

Logged in version

The logged in homepage with fandom links, news posts, marked for later works, inbox items, and Twitter widget

Logged in users will see a much more drastic change. We're taking away the introductory text -- we know each other already! -- and adding some customized content to make the homepage feel more like home.

  • Find something to read, watch, listen to, or look at even on slow days in your fandom with a random selection of three works you've Marked for Later.
  • Connect with other users by reading and replying to your three most recent unread Inbox messages.

If you don't have anything Marked for Later or any unread Inbox items, these sections will be hidden (and if you only have one or two items Marked for Later or in your Inbox, we'll only show those one or two items). Similarly, the Marked for Later section will be unavailable if you've disabled the "Turn on Viewing History" preference, and the Inbox section will be unavailable if you've set your preferences to "Turn off messages to your inbox about comments."

One more thing...

The logged in homepage, with the fandom links replaced by link to tags the user has chosen

We've saved the biggest and best change for last: logged in users will now be able to add up to twenty Favorite Tags to their homepage! This means you'll have easy access to the work listings for any of your favorite canonical tags without needing to rely on browser bookmarks.

A tag's work listing, now with a Favorite Tag button between the Bookmarks and RSS feed links

To add a Favorite Tag, simply go to the tag's work listing and select the "Favorite Tag" button. A link back to the tag's work listing will immediately be added to your homepage. This works for any kind of canonical tag: categories like Gen, warnings like Major Character Death, ratings like Explicit, fandoms like 주군의 태양 | The Master's Sun, relationships like Karma Ashcroft/Amy Raudenfeld, characters like Sue Ellen Ewing, and additional tags like Polyamory.

A tag's work listing, with the Favorite Tag button replaced by an Unfavorite Tag button

And if you ever want to remove a tag from your favorites, just head back to the tag's work listing and select "Unfavorite Tag" to remove it.

Planning for the future

We're always aiming to make the Archive easier and more fun to use, so if there's anything you'd like to see in future versions of the homepage, just let us know by leaving a comment on this post.

Thanks for using AO3 -- we look forward to bringing the new homepage to you soon!


Release 0.9.46: Change Log (The invitation queue is back!)

Published: 2015-02-01 04:45:18 -0500

This batch of code includes several new features and enhancements aimed at assisting the Abuse team in their work, as well as some changes under the hood to protect us against attacks from download bots while keeping disruptions for our users to a minimum.

When we announced that we'd be suspending our automated invitation queue at the beginning of the month, we didn't plan for it to be closed quite this long! Writing, testing, and improving the new code, while also working with Abuse and taking care of our servers through planned and unplanned downtimes, took considerably longer than we expected.

While the queue was closed, we continued to provide invitation codes to existing users upon request. According to our records, we handed out over 5000 such invitations this month, which is more than three times our usual number. To everyone who reached out to friends and strangers to share invitations, we thank you!

If you wanted to create an account in January and couldn't - we're very sorry for making you wait! The queue is now back in business: request an invitation today and receive a code in 48 hours or less!


  • Coders: Elz, Enigel, james_, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Elz, Enigel, james_, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: Lady Oscar, mumble, Sarken



  • In order to combat spam works (e.g., works consisting solely of advertisements), our Abuse team will now be automatically notified of accounts with a suspicious level of activity or works with suspicious content, allowing them to investigate before the problem gets out of hand.
  • When our Abuse team hides a work that is under investigation, the creator(s) of the work will now receive an automatic email, letting them know the work has been hidden intentionally and not as the result of a bug. The email also contains a link to the work so that they (but no one else) can access it while it is hidden.
  • Users whose accounts have been permanently suspended (banned) are not allowed to create new works, but it was still possible for other users to list them as co-authors. Now they cannot be added as co-authors unless the ban is lifted.
  • When a user's account is temporarily suspended, the error message they receive when attempting to post, comment, or perform other actions will now let them know when they can expect their suspension to be lifted.
  • Attempting to post, comment, or perform other actions using a suspended account previously resulted in an error message that said, "Please contact us for more information." The message has been clarified to say, "Please contact Abuse," and now provides a link to the appropriate contact form.
  • When an admin deleted an invitation request submitted through our automated queue (e.g., because the requester was likely to be a known spammer), they would be redirected to the first page of the list, which was annoying if they needed to delete more than one request on the same page. Now they will be returned to the page they were on.


  • We were receiving reports from users whose IP addresses were blocked from accessing the Archive for downloading too many works too quickly, even though they hadn't done anything wrong. This would happen, for example, if their browser tried to download a file many times, despite the user having only clicked the download button once. We have added code and tweaked server settings to make this much less likely. In particular, we are now serving cached copies of downloads to users, which are currently refreshed on the server as soon as a work is updated.
  • During site-wide downtime because of an overwhelmed server, users were receiving an error page that incorrectly stated they were downloading works too quickly. We've corrected the error page we give when the Archive is down and also added a dedicated error page to let users know when they are posting works too quickly.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

(Please note that while it looks like we skipped several version numbers since our last batch of updates (Release 0.9.41), you haven't missed out on any new code! The jump is due to a few test deploys to get our deploy script into shape after adding another server to our line-up.)


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