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Published:
2021-02-12 12:58:49 -0500
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Feedback Fest

Welcome to the International Fanworks Day Feedback Fest post for 2021!

Whether you’re a consumer or a creator, if you’re here it’s a safe bet to say that you love fanworks - and we do too!

Back in January, we asked you to collect any ‘lesser-known’ fanworks that you felt deserved more love, whether they were in smaller fandoms, for smaller ships, included lesser-used tropes, or were just works you liked that you thought deserved more hits and kudos. This post (and the matching post over at transformativeworks.org) is here for you to celebrate all of these works! Here’s what to do:

Leave a comment sharing any fanworks you think count as ‘lesser-known,’ including a link and a reason why you love them! You don’t have to think too hard about the criteria - it’s just for fun!

If a work you loved deserves more exposure, whether it’s got low hits in a popular fandom or is for a fandom with hardly any works, or any other criteria you can think of, we want to hear about it. Don’t forget to check out other people’s suggestions, and leave a kudos, comment, or bookmark to let the creator know you enjoyed their work too!

We can’t wait to see all the wonderful works you have to recommend to us this year, so get to it!

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Published:
2021-02-08 18:48:21 -0500
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International Fanworks Day

The seventh annual International Fanworks Day is coming up this month on 15 February 2021, and we have tons of things for you all to take part in to celebrate! Check out the list below for the things we’re doing to mark the occasion.

1. Hidden Gems Works Celebration: Last month we made a post encouraging people to create fanworks for lesser-known fandoms, tropes, ships, and more to celebrate all things ‘lesser-known’ for this year’s IFD!

There’s still plenty of time to submit works using the ‘International Fanworks Day 2021’ tag, and the criteria for what is lesser-known is very loose so if you think it might count it probably does!

2. Rec Fest: Also in January we asked you to recommend your favourite ‘lesser-known’ fics, fandoms, tropes, ships, and so on via social media using the #IFDChallenge2021 tag! Our social media mods will be sharing some of these over the next week. In the coming days we will also be making a Rec Fest post specifically for anyone who wants to share their recommendations with us, so look out for that!

3. Fanlore Challenge: The fun continues after the 15th with the Fanlore challenge, running from February 15th to February 21st with a different editing challenge to complete each day!

4. Games and Fan Chat: Between 21:00 UTC on the 14th (What time is that for me?) and 03:00 on the 16th (What time is that for me?) we will be hosting a chat and plenty of games for you all to participate in over on Discord — a link to which will go out on the day! Demand is high and places are limited, so if you don’t get in right away please try again later! The chat room will be moderated by English speaking OTW volunteers, and we will post a detailed games and activities schedule on the day itself.

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Published:
2021-02-05 10:08:58 -0500
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Banner of a paper airplane emerging from an envelope with the words 'OTW Newsletter: Organization for Transformative Works

I. INTERNATIONAL FANWORKS DAY

Communications has been busy making preparations for International Fanworks Day, which is coming up on February 15! So far, they have released a public post inviting users to share or create fanworks for their favorite lesser known fandoms, characters, or ships. Stay tuned for more information about this year's festivities in a couple of days!

Fanlore will be taking part in the celebrations as well by running their annual IFD Fanlore Challenge over the week (Monday to Sunday) of International Fanworks Day. This year, Fanlore will have some fun 80s-themed badges as prizes for completing the challenge.

II. FANLORE CELEBRATES

Elsewhere on the Fanlore Committee, Fanlore reached an important milestone in January: they passed one million edits and marked the occasion with a celebratory scavenger hunt held on their Dreamwidth! The event had a grand prize of a Citrus Scale sticker set, generously donated by Development & Membership, that was given to the first user to submit all correct answers to the challenge questions.

On Fanlore's Twitter and Tumblr accounts, Fanlore has been running a 'Featured Article Face-off' event where people vote for their favorite Featured Article of 2020, which has been a lot of fun and had some great engagement! Finally, Fanlore is also planning a month of femslash-themed posts in February in honour of Femslash February.

III. AT THE AO3

At the very end of 2020, the AO3 reached a major new milestone: 7 million fanworks posted! Communications released a news post commemorating the event.

Accessibility, Design & Technology started the new year off with a bang: one release with fixes for 26 issues! (And this is right on the heels of release 0.9.296 in December, which had 20 issues!) The highlights of this jumbo-sized January release include an adjustment to make images in works display better on small screens, tweaks to some text margins for right-to-left languages, and an update so audio files previously embedded using Dewplayer will continue to play now that Flash has been retired.

Open Doors has continued to release announcements of upcoming archive imports, including Octaves of the Heart: Sublime Archives and the I Will Remember You Marathon Archive (2005-2009), 春日泽 (SpringFen), The Croft Codex, and a memorial archive in honor of the works of Frodo Baggins of Bag End. They also released a post, Yahoo! Groups In Memoriam, recognizing the final closure of Yahoo Groups and the measures that Open Doors and others have taken to preserve their contents, as well as a roundup post celebrating the four archive imports that took place in 2020.

Systems recently expanded to a third rack in their main data centre. You can see some pictures of their shiny new servers on the AO3 News Tumblr.

Policy & Abuse ended the year with around 2,100 tickets in December. They had around 19,000 tickets come in throughout 2020 -- a roughly 25% increase in comparison to the previous year. At the time of this writing, they were at around 1,400 tickets already for January, with no signs of slowing down.

In December, Tag Wrangling wrangled more than 430,000 tags - that's more than a thousand tags per wrangler. In 2020, Tag Wrangling volunteers wrangled more than 4.1 million tags, a significant increase over the 2.7 million handled in 2019! Tag Wrangling also added over 5,000 canonical fandoms to the archive during 2020.

IV. ELSEWHERE AT THE OTW

The end of 2020 was busy for Legal! The U.S. Congress passed some copyright provisions as part of year-end legislation, including passing a law known as the CASE act that creates a "small-claims" copyright tribunal. While these won’t have immediate impact on fans, they are significant. Legal will be involved with consultations on how they should be implemented, and they will keep fans informed about what they mean and what their implementation will look like. They also posted about some fan-unfriendly proposals in the U.S. Senate, and will keep working to make sure fan interests are heard as Senators consider copyright questions going forward.

In January, Legal continued our copyright policy work in a meeting with the U.S. Copyright Office to discuss how copyright policy can incorporate fan interests as part of the Copyright Office’s "listening tour" meetings with copyright stakeholders. They also discussed U.S. copyright questions in response to press queries and responded to a number of fan queries.

Meanwhile, Communications has been tracking usage of the OTW's social media and was astounded by the growth of our Weibo account! In 2020, Weibo went from having about 21,000 followers at this time last year to over 271,000 this year -- a nearly 1300% increase! In 2020 the Weibo mods made 168 posts and received 1.08 million reactions (repost + comment + like) and 150 million views, making it the OTW's most followed account by over 120,000 followers.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 25 November to 24 January, Volunteers & Recruiting received 112 new requests, and completed 120, leaving us with 20 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 24 January 2021, the OTW has 905 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: 1 Systems staffer, Akima Ras (Webs), Prerna A. Popat (Translation), Stephanie Godden (Volunteers & Recruiting), 1 Translation staffer
New Fanlore Volunteers: 2 volunteers
New Open Doors Volunteers: 1 volunteer

Departing Committee Staff: IndyKitty (Elections), mmmdraco (Tag Wrangling), 1 Fanlore Policy & Admin staffer, 1 Fanlore Social Media & Outreach staffer, 1 Elections staffer, 2 Open Doors staffers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Felicia W., Goose, HS , mimi, mmmdraco, Océanna & ravelqueen and 15 other volunteers
Departing Translation Volunteers: Juliette, Julija, nõiaelu & 2 other volunteers

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


The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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In our next release, we'll be rolling out two changes to comments on the Archive. The first change will provide both work creators and site admins with the ability to freeze comment threads. The second change will provide site admins options to restrict comments on news posts, much like creators can restrict comments on their works.

Comment freezing

Creators will soon be able to freeze comment threads on their works using the "Freeze Thread" button. Freezing a thread prevents new replies from being added to a comment or to any of its replies. It also prevents comments in the thread from being edited.

A comment with replies. Each comment has a Freeze Thread button.

Frozen comments will have a "Frozen" indicator and the "Reply" button will be hidden. An "Unfreeze Thread" option will allow creators to re-enable replies.

A comment with replies. The first reply and its replies are frozen and have a Frozen indicator, which looks like a pressed button. They also have Unfreeze Thread buttons.

Although "Freeze Thread" initially prevents replies to all comments in a thread, creators can use "Unfreeze Thread" to selectively re-enable replies for some comments in a thread.

Site admins will also be able to freeze comments on news posts, and the Policy & Abuse team will be able to freeze comments anywhere on the site.

News post comment settings

In August, we gave creators more control over who can comment on their works, enabling them to choose between allowing comments from anyone, restricting comments to registered users, or turning comments off completely.

Site admins will soon have the same options when creating and editing news posts. This will allow our teams to turn off comments on outdated news posts and prevent newer ones from being overwhelmed by spam (e.g. advertisements or, more commonly, short series of random letters left by bots).

If comments on a news post are turned off, or if you're logged out and comments are restricted to registered users, the comment form will be replaced with a message indicating which setting is in use.

If you can't comment on a news post, you are always welcome to contact Support with any feedback.

We hope both of these changes will help the users and volunteers who read, write, and receive comments on the Archive!

Edit, February 12, 21:20 UTC: Comments on this post had to be disabled due to off-topic discussions, trolling, and harassment.

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Spotlight on Open Doors

Open Doors is pleased to announce the completion of 4 archive import projects in 2020, a total of nearly 3,000 works! We hope that you will find old and new favorites in the collections listed below.

TER/MA

Completed: September 2020

TER/MA, short for Truly Erotic Ratboy / Mulder Association, was a popular early fanfiction archive for the slash pairing of Mulder/Krycek. Find works at the TER/MA AO3 Collection.

For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the TER/MA announcement post. To learn the history of the archive or to share some stories of your own, check out the TER/MA Fanlore page.

Obidala Network

Completed: September 2020

The Obidala Network was a het eFiction archive for Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi/Padmé Amidala fanfiction that was active from 2002. Find works at the Obidala Network AO3 Collection.

For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the Obidala Network announcement post. To learn the history of the archive or to share some stories of your own, check out the Obidala Network Fanlore page.

Least Expected

Completed: October 2020

Least Expected was the first Tolkien fanfiction archive that welcomed slash fanfic. It was associated with the tolkien_slash mailing list and was active from September 1999 through February 2002. Find works at the Least Expected AO3 Collection.

For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the Least Expected announcement post. To learn the history of the archive or to share some stories of your own, check out the Least Expected Fanlore page.

Side by Side

Completed: November 2020

Side by Side was a slash Kirk/Spock e-zine that ran to 23 issues and six special editions between 2001 and 2007, hosted at Lady Kardasi's Domain. Find works at the Side by Side AO3 Collection.

For more information about the archive and its move to the AO3, see the Side by Side announcement post. To learn the history of the archive or to share some stories of your own, check out the Side by Side Fanlore page.

Yahoo Groups Rescue Project

On October 16, 2019, Yahoo announced that Yahoo Groups would be permanently closing and deleting all previously posted material on December 14, 2019. Since Yahoo Groups had been a hive of fandom activity since its opening, fans immediately took action to save what they could. Open Doors worked with other OTW Committees, the Archive Team, and the Yahoo-Geddon Project, to publicize the closure and advocate for more time from Verizon. Our collective efforts were reasonably successful: Verizon postponed the shutdown until January 31, 2020 and at least 1 million Groups were ultimately preserved.

Open Doors was able to respond to every Yahoo Groups moderator who reached out to us for help during the impending shutdown. Many have chosen to import the saved works to the AO3 as Open Doors projects, so keep an eye out for those announcements!

For more information on the Yahoo Groups Rescue Project, see the Open Doors website. To learn the history of the Yahoo! Groups Content Purge, or to share some stories of your own, check out the Yahoo! Groups Content Purge on Fanlore.

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We want to give a huge THANK YOU to all of the archivists and volunteers who made these imports possible, as well as all the creators who have transferred or claimed their works! We look forward to importing more archives in 2021.

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Spotlight on Open Doors

The Croft Codex, a Tomb Raider fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

Founded in 2005 by HeidiA to house stories formerly archived at an archive known as Lara Croft’s Tales of Beauty and Power, The Croft Codex was a fanfiction archive for all kinds of Tomb Raider fanfiction. It ran until 2008, when the archive went offline as a generational shift in the fandom began. This coincided with fic culture shifting to sites such as fanfiction.net where authors managed their own work instead of sending them to curated, specialised smaller archives.

Open Doors will be working with HeidiA to import The Croft Codex into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own. As part of preserving the archive in its entirety, all fanfiction currently in The Croft Codex will be hosted on the OTW's servers, and embedded in their own AO3 work pages. The exception will be stories the authors of which have AO3 accounts.

We will begin importing works from The Croft Codex to the AO3 after January 2021.

What does this mean for creators who had work(s) on The Croft Codex?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work. Creators who might have used their real names in the original archive will be credited with their initials to protect their identities.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

Please contact Open Doors with your The Croft Codex pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. You have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your The Croft Codex account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the The Croft Codex mod to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, or contact the Open Doors committee.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of The Croft Codex on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve The Croft Codex!

- The Open Doors team and HeidiA

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Published:
2021-01-23 14:09:49 -0500
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The latest release includes a tiny CSS change that ensures large images aren't cut off on small screens, as well as several bug fixes and behind-the-scenes improvements. Now that Flash is dead, we have also converted all works using Dewplayer for audio embeds to use the HTML audio tag instead.

Credits

  • Coders: Alix R, cosette, james_, Jeff Kingswood (Littlelines), redsummernight, Sarken, Stephen Burrows, ticking instant, tlee911, Tom Milligan, translatorzepp
  • Code reviewers: redsummernight, Sarken, ticking instant
  • Testers: CJ Record, Claire Baker, james_, lydia-theda, Nat, QED, Qem, redsummernight, Ridicully, Sammie Louise, Sarken, Taylor Clossin

Details

Frontend improvements

  • [AO3-5791] - We tweaked the CSS so large images in works will no longer overflow their container and cause sideways scrolling. The "Upcoming changes to images" announcement has a bit more information.
  • [AO3-5822] - We've made it so HTML list items (<li>) and description details (<dd>) in right-to-left languages now have a margin on the right, not the left, as they should.
  • [AO3-6057] - Our code includes a list of right-to-left languages to make sure they display properly in the AO3 FAQ and news posts. In addition to Arabic and Hebrew, this list now includes Persian.
  • [AO3-6019] - Other users can add you as a co-creator to their works; however, you have to approve this request first. Those requests could be reached from a menu item called "Creator Invitations", which sounded like you could send invitations to your friends from this page. We have now renamed this to "Co-Creator Requests" to avoid confusion.
  • [AO3-6009] - We updated the banner new users are presented with when they log in for the first time. Now it helps folks find our FAQs and Support form in case they have trouble using the site, and our Policy & Abuse form in case they experience harassment or have questions about our Terms of Service.

Bug fixes

  • [AO3-3765] - When a tag had more than one page of tag comments, the notification email to the wrangler would include incorrect links (i.e. to the first page of comments instead of the comment in question). The links now lead to the correct places!
  • [AO3-5615] - It was previously possible to mark a tag as unwrangleable even if it hadn't been assigned to a fandom, making it essentially unfindable in the wrangling interface. Now you have to attach it to a fandom first.
  • [AO3-6091] - We've added an ownership check so you can't add yourself as a co-owner of another person's collection.
  • [AO3-6100] - Site admins with the Support role can now create news posts.
  • [AO3-4743] - We fixed the page listing all external works, which was returning errors for site admins.
  • [AO3-4744] - When you bookmark an external work, the form should recognize any URL that had previously been bookmarked and auto-fill creator, summary, tags, etc. for you, if those had previously been provided. However, this wasn't working. Now it does!
  • [AO3-6046] - If you saved an AO3 page using some browsers' "Save Page As" option, you'd be presented with the notice we automatically insert on AO3 proxy sites. That won't happen anymore!
  • [AO3-5909] - Skins couldn't be deleted if JavaScript was disabled. Now they can!
  • [AO3-5685] - If you accidentally visit the log out URL (e.g. because your browser's autocomplete helpfully added /users/logout when you typed archiveofourown.org), we made it so you would see a confirmation page and not actually get logged out.

Behind the scenes

  • [AO3-6096] - We have added a way for us to automatically convert new and existing works that use the Dewplayer audio player to use the HTML5 <audio> tag instead. (Find more details in our announcement post: What the death of Flash means for your audio and video embeds.)
  • [AO3-4879] - We fixed an issue with displaying an error message if we fail to update preferences for authors of works imported by Open Doors.
  • [AO3-6063], [AO3-6064], [AO3-6066] - We fixed indexing errors that would sometimes occur when deleting works, when deleting users, and when there's nothing to actually index.
  • [AO3-5958] - The way we test authentication and user permissions in our automated tests wasn't ideal, so we improved it.
  • [AO3-6086] - We laid the groundwork for moving collections data to Elasticsearch, which functions as a helpful layer between the database and the site to make browsing and filtering much faster! Stay tuned for further developments.
  • [AO3-6090] - After adding the option to disable anonymous comments on works, there was a little more code and database clean-up left to do. Now everything is tidy! \o/
  • [AO3-6098] - Since we've recently added, repurposed, and decommissioned quite a few servers, our deploy script had to be updated to reflect these changes.
  • [AO3-3582] - We've updated a JavaScript plugin that was long overdue for an update.
  • [AO3-6048] - We updated our Docker setup to include pwgen, which will make it easier for people using Docker to create admin accounts.
  • [AO3-6068] - Whenever a developer set up a local copy of the Archive code to work on, they'd have to manually set the default site skin, or else they'd be looking at a boring white page with black text and blue links. We've fixed it so the site style loads automatically now.

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Published:
2021-01-21 10:36:05 -0500
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. As part of our celebration of Copyright Week, today's post is with Casey Fiesler, who volunteers in our Legal Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I am part of the OTW Legal Committee. We provide guidance for other parts of the OTW when legal issues come up, provide information for fans when they have questions, and do advocacy work to give a policy voice for the interests of fan creators. This last part especially I think is critical to the mission of OTW, which has always been to serve the interests of fans, and copyright-related advocacy is a huge part of that.

As it says in our vision statement, "We envision a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal and transformative and are accepted as a legitimate creative activity." I'd love to help us get there! For example, when I first joined the team in 2009 (!) as I was finishing up at law school, I helped with the very first DMCA exemption for noncommercial remix videos. We often partner with organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but I think it’s wonderful to be able to advocate for the specific interests of fan creators.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

The work that I do with OTW is so highly variable! Some weeks it might be nothing outside of reading some emails, and others there might be a lot to do depending on what we're up to and what my particular role in it is. For example, I recently worked on a Terms of Service revision for AO3, which also included some lengthy conversations with volunteers across the OTW. There are also a lot of fun one-offs; recently I was on a panel about DMCA abuses with representatives from Public Knowledge and EFF, along with video essayist Lindsay Ellis.

What benefits can celebrating Copyright Week bring?

I think that it’s great for fans to both advocate for themselves when it comes to copyright policies that might be less than ideal and to celebrate the parts of copyright law that allow for transformative works! It’s easy to think of copyright as being a form of restricting creativity, but it should also encourage it. Drawing attention to the awesomeness that fair use cultivates (especially fanworks!) serves as a reminder for how important it is to have copyright policies that support remix. I also think that the more you understand about copyright law, and especially fair use, the more confident you can be about the legitimacy of your fanworks.

How does your day job relate to your work for the OTW?

The other academics on the Legal Committee are all law professors, but I'm actually faculty in an information science department. Not all of my research these days is about fandom, but some of my favorite work I've done was about the design of Archive of Our Own, and most recently, about platform migration in fandom. I also really love public scholarship--writing and talking about my research outside of academia! This is one reason I have a YouTube channel, and the most fun thing I've done so far was about fair use and the omegaverse lawsuit. Though this video had nothing to do with my role on OTW Legal, it sparked some great questions and conversations about fandom and fair use! I also taught an Online Fandom class for one semester, which was super fun.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I confess, I’m not as fannish as I used to be -- though I just checked my AO3 stats and I wrote 503,409 words of fanfiction between 2002 and 2012! So I am definitely a fanfiction writer at heart, even though I don’t write as much anymore. As much as I love AO3, I’m very nostalgic for the glory days of LiveJournal. But some of the fannish friends I made during that time are still some of my very best friends! Fandom has been such a positive and important part of my life for decades.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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