Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Okay Already

A lot of people have been writing me to ask my opinions on the latest wave of bannings.

In case you don't play FFXI (And why not? Are you too good or something?), in recent weeks, there has been a sudden flood of bannings for reasons cited as "irregular play".

That roughly translates to "You're a gil seller so GTFO."

Basically, the higher ups at SE have developed an new set of criteria for determining who exactly deserves to get kicked the F&%@ off our servers.

This, of course, has created an uproar in the FFXI community over the many, many, many people who have been banned unfairly.

Oh... Wait... Who CLAIM to have been banned unfairly.

See, that's the funny thing about all of this. Most, if not all, of the people who got banned DESERVED to be banned.

They did. That's it. End of story. Roll the credits.

We're not complete idiots over here, people. We're not just making this shit up willy freaking nilly.

Every single reason that was developed to ban accounts has a very sound a reasonable logic to it. Each and every reason makes perfect damned sense.

At least, they did make sense... WHEN YOU PEOPLE SUGGESTED THEM.

Pretty much every single rule that has been implemented came after carefully considering suggestions made BY PLAYERS.

Hey, you have 15 mules all with the same name. That's really cute.

Remember that time you sent us an e-mail about how stupid we were for not banning huge groups of RMT players that all had the same name?

Can you not put two and two together?

Spoiler: four.

Seriously, people. These are the damned things you've all been saying for years.

Oh, hey. Someone got banned for camping the same NM over and over. They basically monopolized the camp for days at a time and they got banned for it.

You complained about that LAST WEEK!

Yeah, when it was a group of "chinese" guys, that shit was terrible. They were ruining the game, blah, blah, blah. They deserved to be banned.

But you do the same thing and suddenly, banning's not fair.

Oh... I get it.

You're retarded.

We're not using some automated banning program. There is no auto-ban RMT-PWNER 1.337 software.

You're not in the freaking Matrix here, Neo.

You did something wrong. You got caught doing something wrong. You got punished for doing something wrong.

None of this falls under the heading of "unfair".

Did some people get banned that maybe could have been let slide? Of course.

You can't make an omelette without banning thirty or forty people.

Seriously. I can't do that. If I make an omelette, I ban thirty or forty people.

Toast is twenty. A bowl of cereal is... You know, it's a whole thing. Long story short: I ban people.

That does not, however, mean that their behavior was not deserving of a ban. It simply means that they could have been let off with a warning.

My personal favorite is the chargebacks. People use a credit card to pay for their monthly fees and then file a chargeback to get that money back.

And then... Later... They act surprised that they got banned.

You stopped paying for a service. You actually used the service and then demanded your money back.

What did you think would happen?

Yeah, yeah. Some people are saying that their credit cards filed those chargebacks.

How exactly is that OUR fault? Can I ask you?

That shit is your card company's fault. All we know is that you are trying to screw us out of the agreed upon monthly fees.


I know, I know. You didn't do anything wrong.

Doesn't matter.

The simple fact of the matter is that we can't pick and choose who gets punished based on the honor system.

We can't do that because EVERYONE LIES.

No one ever gets banned and goes "Oh yeah. You got me. My bad."

No, it's always evil old SE screwing over the innocent players.

How about, for a change, instead of blaming us, you try blaming all of the people who broke the system in the first place? How about we blame the gil sellers for making all of this necessary?

Or maybe, just maybe, you could realize that we're working to make your experience enjoyable and pleasant. We're working to make the game better for the honest players.



How about we just stop making a big deal out of it?

That'd be super.


At 8:09 PM, Blogger Sword said...

Oh I totally agree. No one is innocent of not doing something against the rules at one point or another. We've all been there at one point, doing something shotty, held a monster for help, your ls camped a NM for days or weeks on end getting every claim. Oh you got away with it once or twice, but how long do you think it can go on before you get caught *cough*Madolf*cough.*

A good example is the mass dupe bannings that occured earlier this year. Lots of people both of good and bad standing were banned. Yeah you think that so and so didnt deserve it, and that may be true, but the fact is they broke the rules and kept doing it.

In all honesty though I don't really think the gilsellers were responsible for these measures to be put in place. Yes I think they were perhaps the first to cause the turmoil that brought about the changes, but I also think if they did'nt players would have anyways because they do it now.

At 8:43 PM, Blogger prophet said...

i totally don't play ffxi at all, but i love posts like these. people online today are so bloody stupid that they actually think the company that made the games they play - all nine jillion hours that it took to write the code and test it - are dumber than them.

the average human being is the intellectual equivalent of a slime mold.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger jason.mortson said...

I was banned, and I do not care if you believe me or not. SE can and will ban anyone for any reason at all, that is fine. But I am a grown man, not some lying punk. I did nothing wrong and got banned. No chargebacks. One mule. No gil buying or selling. What did I do wrong? Played from multiple IP addresses.

If this is a reason for banning, then SE should grow some balls and say that. I am very disappointed with this broad brush you have painted this issue with, you should do some research and have some faith in people.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Plastic Rat said...

When I used to play WoW I always wondered why they couldn't just ban people that could be seen blatantly breaking the rules.

Why did they HAVE to justify everything? Because the douchebag is going to come and plead his innocence on the Customer Service boards? Please... they ALWAYS do that. They'll do it anyway.

You can see the bot running around killing stuff, he's not responding to anything.. he's moving erratically. Walking up against trees and stuff or standing around dead still and then blurs off the moment a monster spawns OUT OF HIS SIGHT. No... you can't ban him without a 7 month investigation and 5 counts of independantly verified photographic evidence.

Or the gold spammer jerk who you can see rolling his 20 odd characters all called "asdfhagdsf" or a variation of into town in preparation of annoying the shit out of everyone for the next 2 months. Why can't you just ban him right then and there?

So I wholeheartedly support this. Good freakin' going. If I ever start playing another MMO again, FF will be first on my list to check out.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Edwin said...

Personally I'm glad there is "new" criteria for banning someone. As far as multiple ip boy, Lol that's hilarious. After dave JUST said how banned people always plead there innocence. I myself play from multiple ip adresses due to playing on ps2 and I can log on iust fine EVERYTIME funny how that works

At 1:05 AM, Blogger Dyamalos said...

playing from multiple IPs couldn't be a reason, mainly for the fact the game was designed to run well on dialup.... now, god forbid you still live in the stone age, but every time you connect to the Internet, you have a new IP.

That being said, while the people who got banned weren't RMT, they were exploiting the system.

Apparently, people had lots of gardening mules. 10-15 probably, I'm sure allot of people also have that many if they are good enough (and have the patience to) garden.

But these people weren't selling the items on the Auction House, no, they were running out on their level 1 mules, and NPCing everything. Then they send exuberant amounts of gil to their main. Does that mean their gillsellers?

No, but it is one of the things the RMT do, and it looks suspicions that they are doing it.

Now, no, this isn't technically not in the TOS, but at the same time, it's exploiting a system of the game.

Not that NPCing stuff is bad, I farm tree cuttings and Wisteria lumber with a friend occasionally since we both have Beastmaster at 75, and we NPC the lumber because the payoff is not much less than what the AH gives, plus we get it then.

That is however distinctively different.

True, SE lost money on the Mules they banned, and even more on those that had lots of gardening mules that did the same.

But, I don't blame them.

This proves to me that they care how the game is being played. That the enjoyment of the whole out weighs the enjoyment of their wallets.

Now, for how their customer service handled most of it, I think could have been done better. More people were mad because they were labeled as RMT when they weren't.

They rather should have been tolled they were banned for exploiting the game.

Which at the same time doesn't work out too well ether because it was an exploit, but not really.

I don't care if people would be doing this as long as it doesn't mess with the economy. Most people that did it are not RMT.

But they cannot deny that RMT do the same thing that they were doing, but just because they were casualties doesn't mean they were wronged.

Odds are, most of the people who were "wrongly Banned" will get their accounts back. Anyone who are winer babies about it and quit the game probably aren't fun to play with anyway...

At 6:54 AM, Blogger J said...

I think SE is just banning all these people to free up more of the obsessive gamers (and servers/bandwidth) for the upcoming release of ffxiv... which is to say it's an elaborate marketing ploy. Over my head that's for sure. But then again, I'm an idiot; I play an MMO instead of mowing the lawn or watching J&K+8.

Actually lately, have been pretty busy with RL concerns, and haven't been playing as much. This is actually the first I've heard of this round of bannings... I've noticed that the random tells I've been getting (avg of 2 while only on for an hour at a time) have increased the price of gil. The fact that I'm still getting them, suggests SE needs to ban some more!

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Pimp Midget said...

For two months in a row I got 'perma-banned' for the chargeback thing. Which happened because SE double charged me about three years ago and I already spent insane hours on the phone getting through to the devastatingling crap service which is playonline customer service and finding out what went on.


So I play the game for three years after this and then suddenly they decide that me not wanting to pay them twice was a bad thing even after discussing it with me.

I got let back on but not after having to deal with that ole customer service thing.. or at least that's what they claim it is seeing as when I call they tell me it was the GMs faults for being retarded, I speak to a GM and they say it was the customer services fault and to speak to them, I speak back to them and they don't know what's going on etc etc.

Bottom line is really that they were getting rid of all the suspicious accounts that had done chargebacks. However instead of investigating first THEN banning they just banned everyone.

Good example of this in real life that someone posted:

Checkout staff: hmm I'm sorry sir, it seems we accidentally charged you for two packets of chips instead of one three years ago and you asked for your money back.
Man: Oh, well I guess, maybe.
Checkout staff: yeah, but it's okay the police are on the way and you will be detained indefinately for a couple of days while we investigate this.

The whole way SE went about this was stupid. All it did was piss off alot of paying customers for no reason, they maybe got a few of the real bad ones in the bundle of bans.

I may be a little sour about it, just dealing with SE customer service is the worst way to spend a day and so I was trying to repress the memory, your post brought it all back out.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Hyrina said...

Yeah I knew there was something up, because a friend of mine told me "you're lucky you stopped playing anyway, a friend of mine told me they're randomly banning people" and I was like "Yeah they don't just randomly ban people, there had to be a reason for it you just don't know what it is."

I couldn't believe she actually thought those people were innocent. I was wondering what was going on (since I left the game... no, I'm not too good for it, I just don't have time or resources at the moment to play). So, thanks for filling us in on why these supposed "random bannings" are going on.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Pimp Midget said...

devastatingling x.x I should really preview my posts first.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Blueyez said...

You know how you avoid people whining about being unfairly banned? Actually tell them why they were banned. "You are banned because your account is suspected of illegal activity." What? What illegal activity? Give jason.mortson a legitimate reason why then perhaps he won't be blaming it on multiple ip's. If you can't then I'm expecting a lot of my friends who gather at eachothers houses for static limbus or xp parties to be getting banned right about.... now.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Dxoh said...

Why do they need to say why they were banned? The people who are banned know why they were banned. Like they will admit that they were using a flee hack or something. Yet they know that the flee hack is the reason. They'll complain about being banned for some seemingly innocent infraction, to inflame forums, and feign ignorance to seem innocent of being banned. And SE can't exactly post reasons for every specific banning...

At 2:53 PM, Blogger RyRy said...

Accually POL sort all the Moneyorder out not SE, Its POL that is screwing you over "pimpmidget", Hense why the new Game comes out, SE should Drop POL on there asses and get a new Company to sort the Money out...

POL needs to die tbh.

SE customer service isnt that bad, POL Customer service is trying to find 1 normal person in a retard clinic, Its Impossible.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Tristan Kain said...

...there was a banning blitz?

No, seriously. I didn't even notice and I log in practically every day. The last batch I heard about was the RMT-gardeners attack.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Shoar said...

They won't ever provide details of why people were banned because the people writing the exploits, running the RMT companies would take ANYTHING that they can get and use it to subvert the processes in place.

If they started saying "You were banned for doing X with Y reason." that gives them a clue as to what, specifically, they are monitoring and from that, they can try new ways to get around things. While it is kept deliberately ambiguous, they have to keep guessing as to why, specifically, they got banned.

Saying that, the only feasible way they could ban you for logging on from multiple IP's is if you were appaering to magically teleport from one location of the world to the next say, from the US to China, just as an example. That would definitely throw up some red flags.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Andrew said...


Seriously, lol to you good sir. Using multiple IPs is just a brilliant idea when playing a MMO. No..doesn't cause a red flag at all to SE. Did you ever think that maybe....just frickin maybe..that the gil sellers use PROXY SERVERS SO THEY CAN'T BE TRACKED AS EASY??!!! Again, bravo to you sir and using a proxy server to play FFXI. (don't do the whole, its my ISP's fault. sorry doesn't work with me)

@everyone else QQing about SE:

Quit playing go do something else. Its honestly that simple. Don't make life harder for the rest of the players and don't whine about the who's or why's. Its in the ToS people...they CAN ban you for whatever reason they want and they don't have to tell you a damned thing! And don't start the whole "but this is where my friends are" or "I've put too much time into my XYZ job I can't quit"

Remember you can quit anything any time you like. Its just that you must have the will, fortitude, whatever you wanna call it to do so.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duting the recent wave of bannings a player in the UK was told by SE that it's policy not to provide specifics on why players have been banned.

That person then submitted a Subject Access Request to SE asking for all logs and specifics about his banning. SE said they were refusing.

Square Enix is in for an ugly wake up call once the 40 day deadline passes and they start racking up fines under the Data Protection Act.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger jason.mortson said...

Regarding my multiple IP addresses, I do not use technology to achieve this, I travel quite a bit around the world and play. I specifically asked SE staff years ago and weeks ago if this was allowed and they indicated that multiple IP addresses in this manner was acceptable and not a banning issue. However this is from customer server, and they were clear that they did not understand the STF techniques. Alot of this is speculation between myself and customer service, since the STF does not actually put helpful comments on the account that has been banned, for the reasons stated by others.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger F3nris88 said...

This is a misunderstanding of the term IP.

He wasnt banned for using differant IP addresses. As he would have said IP addy. The ban was for using multiple



At 8:55 PM, Blogger Shoar said...

@Atomic: If I'm reading this law correctly, the only information they will be entitled to under that Act is their personal information. Anything behind the scenes, S-E is perfectly within their rights to keep confidential because that is not related to their personal information at all. So in essence, this person paid the lodgement fee and they will get, if they push hard enough... Their personal information.

We don't own our characters. We don't own the servers. We pay to access the game and that access can be revoked, without question or hesitation, for whatever reason S-E deems fit. It's a standard caveat across all MMO's and one that, if I recall correctly, has stood up in Court.

They don't have to tell you why they banned you because they don't promise that. You could be banned for having too many vowels in your name, for example, and you'd never know.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Fulluphigh said...

@ Andrew

Seriously, lol to you good sir. Using multiple IPs is just a brilliant idea when playing a MMO. No..doesn't cause a red flag at all to SE. Did you ever think that maybe....just frickin maybe..that the gil sellers use PROXY SERVERS SO THEY CAN'T BE TRACKED AS EASY??!!! Again, bravo to you sir and using a proxy server to play FFXI. (don't do the whole, its my ISP's fault. sorry doesn't work with me)

You're a bloody idiot. I already believe one of the previous commenters mentioned how the game was meant to be playable from Dial-up, which assigns a new IP every time you dial up. And many DSL providers change your IP from time to time, for various reasons.

But, in general, while I'm glad SE's policing the game, the service and the manner they go about things is out right ridiculous. Yes, it's clearly stated that they don't have to provide a reason for banning, and that they can essential do whatever they like with your character, whenever and for whatever reason. But just because they can doesn't mean they should. Such clauses are included in ToS contracts for a reason, but abusing them hardly seems any different then abusing the game.

I mean that in the since of non-gamebreaking exploiting. Things such as using multiple mules (But not for purposes such as RMT), but that still gives you a benefit. You can do it, but that doesn't mean you should. If Playonline wants to treat they're customers in that manner, its their own business. But if I were to be banned without being given a good reason, I certainly wouldn't be so gung-ho about giving them any more of my money.

Why, I think I'd go play WoW... I hear you can alt+tab in that game...

At 10:13 PM, Blogger F3nris88 said...

IP = Internet Provider

Internet Protocol Address

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Here is the thing that people never seem to realize, whether it's in chain retail, fast food, or online gaming...

No one cares if you leave. That's right. No one gives a damn about you. Customer Service is something that is lip-service only. The CSR you speak to is matching your account circumstances to a list of things on a script. If your issue deviates from the script, then guess what? They really don't care. now, some might, of course. It's bad to paint with a broad brush, but by and large, they don't care. The company doesn't care. They have your money. They'll try to help you, sure, because they're paying that CSR whether they're actually helping you or not, so they might as well try. But that's all it is.

Whining and complaining about how this or that is bad customer service really won't do much unless it happens in a volume so overwhelming that the company's profitability is affected. And you, yes, you there, the whiner, do not have that kind of power. Odds are that you will never achieve enough of a following to cause any lasting damage to the company you're fighting.

Let's use the fast food example:
If I serve you a bad hamburger and you bitch at me, you might get a replacement hamburger, sure. But do I really care if you don't come back? No. I don't. In fact, I wouldn't care if you walked out into the street and died, because you were bitch to me. And neither do my McMasters, because there is always some other shmuck waiting to come aboard.

It's time people read their EULA's and stopped thinking that somehow THEY are a special case.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger Dyamalos said...

If you want to talk about SE being unfair, lets look at the widower.

Before the game gave it's own mode of being windowed, you had to use a hack to do other things while playing. Most people who played on PC used it. Now sure, you would get banned (usually temp) if you were retarded and mentioned you were using it in game.

First rule of fight club.

But for the most part, it was a 'don't ask, don't tell' rule.

Hell, I'm sure you could go to the widower forums right now and see more than 75% of the accounts that have information for server, characters, jobs, crafts, etc.

As long as it didn't upset the balance or break the game, they didn't seem to care.

Fast forward to a few months ago, I remember hearing about a user run survey about FFXI, one question was if you used widower.

Big shocker: Most people prefer the hack over the official. And while yes, some do like the little tools that give you information overlays (Most of which the game gives you, but you have to dig though menus to get), most use it because it runs better than the official one.

I know the original guy that created the widower was hired to help them make it, but he was still under some restrictions on how to do it. Where as the hack gives you pseudo full screen and lets the game use more graphical resources than SE's windowed mode.

They still turn a blind eye to it.

I've not heard of anyone getting banned for widower.

Sure, they kind of have to if they find out because of the third party thing, but they don't hunt them down.

And as far as the charge backs go, before you do a charge back, why not call up SE and explain the problem?

Think about it, they can look it up, say, 'Oh, we're sorry, we'll supply a refund as soon as possible' and no one looks like a dick.

If you issue a charge back, they just get the information about the charge back, not about the doubble charge, so they think you are going to screw them out of money. If you were in their position, what would you be doing?

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Grif said...

Ummm... If there's no RMT-PWNER software, then what's this?

As much as I enjoy the bannings, I can't help but think on this.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Edwin said...

Page not found GG

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

You know why people complain about being banned? Because it's the internet! Most of the complaints get to SE through the internet, and occasionally, the phone, but that's just about as bad. Think about it.

The internet allows us to be assholes anonymously. If you went to the home of one of these whiners, knocked on the door, and said "We are banning your account because of suspicious activity", the stupid twelve year old would probably piss himself. On the off chance it ISN'T a twelve year old, the "adult" would probably mumble and say a few choice words, but that's about it. He'd be scared shitless.

But that's just my opinion. Most people are spineless unless they are on the internet, then they are the biggest assholes you can imagine. Why? Because my fist can't fit through my ethernet cable.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Pimp Midget said...

Thanks Andrew - way up there ^ I guess my beef was with POL CS ^^;

@Chris - you would make a terrible manager. Of course the average guy at a counter doesn't care about the customer himself but the managers do. In fast food restaurants you have comment forms that can be sent to HQ to rat out the joint. If they get many bad complaints they will get a nice telling off.
Recent event in fast food was a manager of burger king telling a woman to GTFO because her baby had no shoes on ( 6 months old ). She made a comment on it on facebook, people reacted, Burger King apologises publicly, including the manager who at the time was totally appauled by it and was going to call the police PWNED. Most places want to avoid that thing happening in the first place, which is why they have customer service questionnaires.

As for the lady I spoke to on my first call, she's most likely getting into some kind of trouble as she told me the GM's were at fault and she doesn't know why they did it, that it was some random thing. The GM I spoke to was highly pissed about this and asked for her name so he could lay down some smackdown and file a report on her for blaming them.

Bad customer service has a huge negative impact on a business and on the representitive if they mess up too bad.

As for the bannings, if the person is banned and not coming back they had to of done something. I said my little story of why i was banned but once you are perma banned they do an investigation on it. If they find concrete evidence it stays, if not ( as in my case ) they deactivate your account and reactivate it for you so you can start playing again.
I was just peeved at the way they went about it.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dyamalos when you call SE up about a double charge they will insist that all the charges were legit and that you must have opened another account for 1 day that month and then canceled it or some similar bullshit.

You basically have the choice of disputing the extra charge and loosing your account or paying up the ransom to keep your character.

Nice little scam they have there.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Sparf said...

@PimpMidget Actually I have several years of restaurant management experience. Several company awards for customer service and a lot of regular customers who come in because they like how I treat them.

If someone is rude to one of my employees, I handle the situation myself. I do what I can to satisfy the customer and to add value. Because from my own PERSONAL ethical standpoint, I see it as the right thing to do.

But still, just because it's my job and my ethics tell me that I'm doing the right thing, still doesn't mean that I care. At the end of the day, if you're rude to me or to my employees and don't come back, I don't care. There's always a shmuck to replace you.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Sparf said...

I am also operating under the assumption that the customer is at fault in my statements. In the instance of a hamburger, per my previous example, that we did not make correctly, then that's our fault. Fine. We fix the problem with a smile, refund the money or give a free dessert. Something.

But if you order the Gimondo Burger then come and yell at me because it's not the Teensy Burger, then YOU are at fault for YOUR mistaken order. And while I will still fix the problem, I will not care if you don't return.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Dragon Romer said...

I have never played FFIV, but from your post I gather you can be banned for killing the same monster more than a few times? Fuck that, I will never play FFIV now.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Dxoh said...


And no, you could possibly be banned for camping an NM day in, day out, over and over, keeping anyone else from having it. Going for a day of camping a mob is one thing. But if you are the only one to kill a certain NM for a week, then chances are, you deserve a banning.

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Dragon Romer said...

I don't know what a 'NM' Is, but it sounds like some kind of boss monster. I don't think its right to ban anyone for camping a boss, or any other thing. Bans should only be for hacking, and death threats and so on, nothing else.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Dxoh said...

Yea... I guess it is a good thing you don't play FFXI... You'd probably get fed to a dragon within your first week. :/

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Dragon Romer said...

Yeah, I don't support totalitarianism.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Dxoh said...

Thusly, you prove your retardism.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger tali said...

everybody lies. (except SE)

everybody is retarded and deserves what they get. (except SE)

if anything, anywhere ever goes wrong, it can only be the fault of the player - because SE is never wrong. and if you hear any claims to the contrary, they are lies. because everybody lies.

except SE.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Tyler said...

Except what's not really fair is how people get banned for sending money from their mules to their main character, and then banning them without even trying to confirm that the player is RMT or not.

Now, this didn't happen to me, and I actually don't even know anyone that this happened to, but I really do believe that people should be allowed to defend their position if they were ever suspected of breaking the rules.

Which reminds me, why is no one banned for using the third-party Windower?

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Tyler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Willem said...

... The thing with the IP addresses is it doesn't ban you for multiple IP addresses in the same area.

If you've been playing from Japan, Canada, Europe and Australia, all in the SAME DAY...

Sure as hell they're gonna ban ya.


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