Captcha to report and automagically disconnect botters

58 Goblin Death Knight
8815
You can just give some of the players some GM powers giving them a BANHAMMER. I will do this for free to help make the battlegrounds better. I have lots of time even at nigth.
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Community
26/10/2012 11:07Posted by Andrai
If you think of how many realms there are, then consider how many people you'd need per realm, we are talking literally hundreds, if not thousands of staff. Just to sit and observe the game, not actually helping with the large selection of other issues that Game Masters deal with. Do you really think that's a good investment?
There were never GMs per realm. You know that already.

But, I'm not sure how long you've been working at Blizz towers Takralus. But I assume you've maybe been playing the game at least long enough to remember a time where GMs would routinely "police" the game. I certainly remember seeing it on multiple occasions during BC.

Just like real world police, they cannot be everywhere all the time. But, if they were seen to be actively enforcing policies and rules by actively getting on servers it would reduce the number of people breaking them. Because, they'd be taking a chance that there MAY be someone watching.

The report system means action is often taken far too long afterwards. I also suspect that the non active stance taken now has led to the average level of abuse/policy breaking has risen, leading to a higher level before punitive action is applied by the GM team.

It's a self perpetuating problem. I remember it was never this bad, either with bots, or in game abuse. I don't even have my rose tinted glasses on!

So to be sure, I'm not talking about even one GM per realm. I am talking about a handful of people, watching trade chat on a realm. Moving along, moving around. Perhaps checking BGs from time to time. Having a presence, joining a conversation sometimes even. People seeing blue text in trade chat would almost certainly mean people would change their attitude, I'm sure of it.

Just an idea really.


Just having a GM hop on to a server to check if anything bad is taking place is simply a bad use of time, when you consider that there are tickets coming in constantly reporting—among many other things such as being unable to play the game—people actually breaking the rules. In the time it takes a person to do as you suggest above (and likely coming away having taken little action), they could have taken action against a large number of actual rule-breakers. Surely it’s better to have GMs address reported issues before logging in to randomly hang around in the hope of maybe catching someone?

When people cheat or break the rules, they’re always taking a chance, not that someone may be watching as with the old system, but that someone will use one of the really simple ways to report them. It’s not down to bad luck anymore. It’s much more a case of ‘when’ they're caught rather than ‘if’.
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100 Night Elf Rogue
9165
You answer to the last idea is uconvincing to be honest.

Raving a few guys moving a round being a visual presence even if he only vists a server once in a week is a strong deterence. it shows someone is watching. provides some connection between Blizzard and us.

it also gives your community confidence you are there doing something, you may or may not be working on our behalf currently we have no idea, as we can't see you, and we certainly can not see the results.
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100 Tauren Druid
6435
26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
Surely it’s better to have GMs address reported issues before logging in to randomly hang around in the hope of maybe catching someone?


1. Once again you're using slippery words designed to suggest that you are getting on top of the botting problem, while not actually committing yourselves to any particular course of action (or indeed any action at all.) The GM-centric solution to the botting problem isn't "addressing reported issues" (a quite literally meaningless phrase), it's perma-banning botters.

2. Your implication that botting is rare and hard to find is stunning.

26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
When people cheat or break the rules, they’re always taking a chance, not that someone may be watching as with the old system, but that someone will use one of the really simple ways to report them. It’s not down to bad luck anymore. It’s much more a case of ‘when’ they're caught rather than ‘if’.


Talk is cheap. How about some action?

Because right now ‘when’ is looking more like ‘heat death of the universe’.
Edited by Amadruid on 26/10/2012 13:37 BST
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85 Human Paladin
7155
26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
Just having a GM hop on to a server to check if anything bad is taking place is simply a bad use of time, when you consider that there are tickets coming in constantly reporting—among many other things such as being unable to play the game—people actually breaking the rules
Commenting on this. Virtually all tickets I've ever submitted, in the last year or so have come back with a stock reply (presumably from a QA database) which often doesn't come close to answering the question I posed. Personally, I don't think that's a good use of time either.

I think that a lot of the customer facing staff were in line when the corporate trimming took place a short time ago. It's not a coincidence that ticket times increased when that happened.

I honestly can't see how having GM's moving through the realms (and yes, visiting those with problems reported) and actually responding to what's going on would be a bad thing. As I've said (and will re-iterate) I don't propose reducing bodies from the CM team currently working on tickets. I actually feel using this is an attempt to get the people upset about the long ticket times to post against my suggestion.

Yes, also visiting BGs. If you play the game yourself, even if you can't publicly post and say so, you must have seen what we're talking about here. It's not even funny any more.

I'm not asking for a reduction of GMs handling tickets. I'm asking for an expansion of the CS department. Not by a lot, and implementing a rotation of people handling tickets, and people being proactive on the servers. Just making their presence known even. As I've said before it's not new. It used to happen before.

26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
Surely it’s better to have GMs address reported issues before logging in to randomly hang around in the hope of maybe catching someone?
Again, as I said. I'm talking about additional people (not to the extent you originally suggested that I meant). Just a small addition, and allowing the same number to deal with tickets, and some additional to do the proactive job.

26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
When people cheat or break the rules, they’re always taking a chance, not that someone may be watching as with the old system, but that someone will use one of the really simple ways to report them. It’s not down to bad luck anymore. It’s much more a case of ‘when’ they're caught rather than ‘if’.
That's very true. Everyone is taking a chance. However, just look at how many people are posting here, creating threads and/or replying in other threads about this bot issue, both in BGs and the older problem of resource bots. From that feedback alone it's very clear something isn't working right, don't you think?

But, what if there were some GMs around. Just watching. When they took action blue text appeared in /bg or /2 to say what's been done, and how people shouldn't do, whatever they did. That visible "policing" is priceless. It really is.

At the point we're at now, there's a wild west level of lawlessness going on with the servers. I don't think I'm exaggerating here. BG's and crowded zones have an inordinate number of bots.

A lot of it is the way the community has changed. But, a lot of it could be avoided with more visible punitive responses to actual infractions in real time.

EDIT: Cleared up a typo or two and finished a sentence I started and never finished.

Also I wanted to say that, I think it's really good to see a blue reply in here. Most won't touch this kind of subject (and they probably told you to stay away I bet :P). So it's nice to be able to debate it in a way which, I hope is seen as reasonable. Kudos sent your way :)
Edited by Andrai on 26/10/2012 13:57 BST
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98 Human Paladin
15510
26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
When people cheat or break the rules, they’re always taking a chance, not that someone may be watching as with the old system, but that someone will use one of the really simple ways to report them. It’s not down to bad luck anymore. It’s much more a case of ‘when’ they're caught rather than ‘if’.


This is where we disagree.

Cheaters do not care about the new report function, simply because they know that Blizzard is not gonna look at the report for hours, maybe even days, so they can safely start up a bot program, and even though they got reported within the first 5 minutes, they would still have plenty of time to finish their session, and once they logged off, Blizzard would never be able to catch them.

I recently followed a bot in Kun-Lai, running around in a cave mining and herbing, the very same cave I was farming in, so I reported him knowing that it might be worthless doing so, but I didn't want to share my herbs and ores with an AI.

It was late at night, so besides from farming, I hadn't anything better to do, so I studied him, saw how he moved in the exact same patterns around the cave, how he fought yetis the exact same way, how he acted if I took a herb or vein just in front of him, there was no doubt about him being a bot, and I kept reporting him with 1½ hour intervals for 6 consecutive hours.

Finally, I logged off and went to bed, when I came back the next night, he was still there, and I saw him again yesterday evening.

That's 10 days since I reported him the first time.

Now, can you tell me why I should rely on one of the "really simple way to report", when I see no effect what-so-ever in doing so?
Why should anyone do it?

No, don't answer the last one, because I have seen the standard C/P answer to that, "we assure you that yatta-yatta"..
- That is empty words without anything to back them up with, means nothing!

Sorry if I come out a little offensive, but this is a very delicate matter for me, and seeing how nothing is apparently being done about it just infuriates me.
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90 Tauren Death Knight
5665
I personally think Blizzard should try to use the community to actually do something about the issue. Obviously its not economically feasible to have staff in every battleground in the game, and if any of those suggesting this thinks it through they will see this.

Players can easily spot bots, so what we need is a system let the community manage this. The CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), which by the way is not only text as some seems to believe, idea is just one option that could be implemented. The problem of letting any players control the game is griefing. For some reason most people behave irrational at times, and an individual could easily kick someone just for the fun of it if the had the power.

However that does not mean that its not possible to create a system that lets a group of players collectively remove characters that are obviously cheating. For example, to stop a premade group of players from kicking someone they dont like, a preset group only gets one vote when trying to remove a player and so on.

In the end, if you let the community fix the problem themselves, the cost for Blizzard is implementing the system. And well, if it works out poorly, remove it, refine it and try again.
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6 Blood Elf Rogue
0
When people cheat or break the rules, they’re always taking a chance, not that someone may be watching as with the old system, but that someone will use one of the really simple ways to report them. It’s not down to bad luck anymore. It’s much more a case of ‘when’ they're caught rather than ‘if’.


This is where we disagree.

Cheaters do not care about the new report function, simply because they know that Blizzard is not gonna look at the report for hours, maybe even days, so they can safely start up a bot program, and even though they got reported within the first 5 minutes, they would still have plenty of time to finish their session, and once they logged off, Blizzard would never be able to catch them.

I recently followed a bot in Kun-Lai, running around in a cave mining and herbing, the very same cave I was farming in, so I reported him knowing that it might be worthless doing so, but I didn't want to share my herbs and ores with an AI.

It was late at night, so besides from farming, I hadn't anything better to do, so I studied him, saw how he moved in the exact same patterns around the cave, how he fought yetis the exact same way, how he acted if I took a herb or vein just in front of him, there was no doubt about him being a bot, and I kept reporting him with 1½ hour intervals for 6 consecutive hours.

Finally, I logged off and went to bed, when I came back the next night, he was still there, and I saw him again yesterday evening.

That's 10 days since I reported him the first time.

Now, can you tell me why I should rely on one of the "really simple way to report", when I see no effect what-so-ever in doing so?
Why should anyone do it?

No, don't answer the last one, because I have seen the standard C/P answer to that, "we assure you that yatta-yatta"..
- That is empty words without anything to back them up with, means nothing!

Sorry if I come out a little offensive, but this is a very delicate matter for me, and seeing how nothing is apparently being done about it just infuriates me.

That would make an interesting youtube video. Documenting your observations, reporting them, going back every day to check if they are still there, and weeks later, still there etc.
Edited by Sephie on 26/10/2012 13:54 BST
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58 Worgen Death Knight
12780
I just have to say something to this ...

So I had an issue with an item ... 5 days and the GM contacted me ... 5 bloody days.

You have to report this issue within 2 hours of the mistake he says ...
You musnt have enchanted the item he says ...

So Im willing to lose the enchant mats no biggy there, I just wanted back what I paid for since I made a mistake with the item ... So this issue was processed 4days 22hours TOO LATE.

Each time I contact a GM, I have to w8 for days ... So a question.

1) Why do we even have GM´s
2) What happened to the GM´s we had during vanilla and tbc?
3) Why is nothing being done to sort our players problems faster?
4) Why is nothing being done to gold sellers? (blizz getting a piece of the action ??)
5) Why is nothing being done to botters (havent pvp´d in ages due to that)

As a paying client, I expect service ... Service Blizzard SHOULD provide me. So why does Blizzard treat paying clients like sh*t?

In this thread there have bein numerous good ideas how to solve problems with botters/gold sellers, why is it so hard to use those ideas. They didnt cost anything to get, and will cost something to get working, but happy clients are the best clients. Atleast thats what the marketing departement should know.
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Whats required isn't policing, the botters just make new accounts.

What is required is an automatic detect and prevent, find accounts that ring alarm bells for botting. Log them out.

A player will log back in, a bot maybe not, automatically anyway.

Account has a flag, does it again? ban.

Again after that? perm ban.

The software needs to be better at detection if it exists. And yes maybe a small policing force to look at accounts that are being flagged, check its not just someone being a bit mindless while grinding. (When an account is logged in and mining for 4 weeks straight... it should be obvious)
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98 Human Paladin
15510
26/10/2012 13:53Posted by Sephie
That would make an interesting youtube video. Documenting your observations, reporting them, going back every day to check if they are still there, and weeks later, still there etc.


I actually considered this. But to what purpose?
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58 Goblin Death Knight
8815

Each time I contact a GM, I have to w8 for days ... So a question.

1) Why do we even have GM´s
2) What happened to the GM´s we had during vanilla and tbc?
3) Why is nothing being done to sort our players problems faster?
4) Why is nothing being done to gold sellers? (blizz getting a piece of the action ??)
5) Why is nothing being done to botters (havent pvp´d in ages due to that)



I think the GM's is doing a great job and they are very busy doing support to the players. And yes some things takes time and others not. So I don't BLAME any GM's or Blizzard support for their excellent work.

BUT FACE IT! This BOT plaque especially in the Battlegrounds, can be change by the Blizzard Developers change the PVP system totally so its not a matter of grind for gear.

THIS IS NOT NEW! I reported and discussed this issue 100s of times and we see 1000s of post regarding this bot problem. I have been doing this the past 3 years, even asked for INFO directly how Blizzard would solve this issue. And we just get this answer, make a ingame report.

I donno if the problem with miners and herb botters is that easily to solve, but the PVP botters are so SIMPLE to solve effeciently either removing the need to grind for reputation and points for gear, implementing a grey PVP suite when entering PVP mode.

Also capchar that is based on software wont work in WOW because its easy to encounter for the bot programmers. So I could suggest you forced the players to buy and use the external authenticator, so if they cheat and get reported ingame, they need to use the authenticator based on some rulez ofc.

Two simple things and very constructive. Its a FARCE that this PVP bot problem has not been solved yet. People that complains lesser about other stupid "nice to have stuff" in stead of doing "need to have stuff".

Now its TIME, that we dont just talk talk but that we actually do the walk to solve this BIG problem.

And I must say, Iam happy that we now see some blue posts on this issue. But actually I would like to see some "FUTURE PLANS" (not in ½,1 or 7 years) to see what will be done to solve this.

That said I have played this game for 8 years (soon) and I will continue to play this game because I like the game. But doing PVP was one of my favorite things, but the cheaters ruins the fun. So I will prolly play the game for many years, but really I would like the BOT problem solved NOW. 3 years it has been a pain grinding for gear in random battlegrounds At Night over half of the teams on both sides cheats.

So lets continue this constructive thread and hopefully we will see some changes how to report cheaters and a big change in PVP.
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85 Human Paladin
7155
The software needs to be better at detection if it exists. And yes maybe a small policing force to look at accounts that are being flagged, check its not just someone being a bit mindless while grinding. (When an account is logged in and mining for 4 weeks straight... it should be obvious)
The problem with software is that it's just that. Software. Just like bots it works in a predictable way. There's no real way to get round that, because - that's just how software works.

Because of this, clever nefarious programmers will ALWAYS be able to find a way past software. There is no such thing as unbeatable when it comes to software counter-measures.

The game is cat and mouse. The chaser is always following the chased. The chaser is showing their hand and the chased can adapt to it.

On the other hand software nearly always produces false positives. If a certain legitimate playstyle causes a flag once, it's likely to again. This already happens by the way. Blizzard have various monitoring systems and will temp ban accounts based purely on this input. Of course if you petition it and they manually see nothing wrong. You will be "pardoned". But, it goes on already.

There's a line and I think they're already right on it. So I doubt software is the solution. As of "right now" the mouse is pummelling the cat in this regard.
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90 Undead Warlock
10905
26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
When people cheat or break the rules, they’re always taking a chance, not that someone may be watching as with the old system, but that someone will use one of the really simple ways to report them. It’s not down to bad luck anymore. It’s much more a case of ‘when’ they're caught rather than ‘if’.
The perception at this time is that they don't.

Not at all.

It's not a risk.

The only risk paying customers perceive at the moment is getting behind due to automated play seemingly going unpunished.

I wrote about this in another thread, on what is most likely the last drop for me and my wife to quit.

That's quite a feat! I mean, I've been playing since the first friends & family beta, and am not tired of the concept of the game. I'm not fed up with the game. But I am too unhappy to pay due to amongst other things your inability to change this in a way we can notice.

In our guild we self regulate (I've caught and punished several guildies for botting), but that also makes us one of the VERY few.. It also means that whatever you're preaching aint happening.

It's not a case of "if or when" as you put it.

It's a case of your paying customer base's perception being questioned by you, whilst you ask them for actions you seem incapable of.

You ask us to be constructive; here it is.

My most constructive feedback is that whatever you are doing now, from a customer point of view you're doing a VERY BAD JOB. My gaming experience and joy is severely impacted by your inability to deal with this. You saying "not if but when" I look at with my previous story in mind: When. When you will do something it will be way too late. Since the situation I addressed in my post destroyed AH and my wife's 2 mini games at the same time for since 5.0.4 hit in Cata.

Thank you VERY much for bagatalizing our perception on this. I appreciate being told I am wrong while I foot the bill and am being asked to "just keep reporting".

You have a problem, the sooner you admit you know this, the better. It's not going away on itself. CRZ makes it heaven for resource bots, CR battles make it perfectly unaccountable for PvP bots, and inactions of your side allow the same botters to run and control AH and thus ruin it for those who play for AH.

Next stop is raiding bots. Will you do something when they will hit the scene?

Since no one is doing it, I will.

I call your bluff. What is being done, what good is reporting if we see those same bots for months on end. What are you doing to protect those wanting to play the way we're meant to play? At the moment it visibly pays more to cheat.

And please stop your infernal mantra of "keep reporting them".

(not you personally in this post, but "you" as in blizzard)
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89 Human Priest
6305

Just having a GM hop on to a server to check if anything bad is taking place is simply a bad use of time, when you consider that there are tickets coming in constantly reporting
I don't agree with this at all. I think some of the problem with soo many rules breakers ( botting, cheating, spamming and so on) comes due to the risk seeming so low when you never see a GM and gets delayed bans- even if its not. I would compare it to how the police work, they are often just patroling just to show themselves, this reduce the risk of something being done. The way you say it the police patrols should keep on staying at the station until they get a raport (I am sure they gets tons of thoose aswell), but by patrolling they are limiting the amount of reports they get and thereby using time efficiency.
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90 Blood Elf Death Knight
0
26/10/2012 13:24Posted by Takralus
Surely it’s better to have GMs address reported issues before logging in to randomly hang around in the hope of maybe catching someone?


In the hope of catching someone? There's currently a 100% chance of catching someone.
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MVP
100 Gnome Priest
19965
26/10/2012 14:56Posted by Ignuz
I think some of the problem with soo many rules breakers ( botting, cheating, spamming and so on) comes due to the risk seeming so low when you never see a GM and gets delayed bans- even if its not.

I agree with this.

There was a time, back in old Alterac Valley I guess, where players who botted where crap–geared–nobodies. They had everything to gain by botting, and very little to lose.

Last night at around 5 o' clock I was doing Isle of Conquest, and I swear we were only 10 Alliance players – the rest were bots. The interesting part was that when you looked at who those bots were, it was actually very accomplished players. They weren't crap–geared nobodies. They had long histories of raid progress, fancy titles, awsome mounts, and what not.

Those players should have had very little to gain by botting, and everything to lose. But since they were there botting, they must have felt that they had something to gain, and regardless of whether they felt they had something to lose, they must have felt that they didn't risk losing anything.

And that's probably the problem. If I can stand in front of a guy who's botting who has about as many achievement points as me, then the only reason why he dares to bot is because he does not feel there is a risk of losing anything by doing so.

And the worst part is that right now it's difficult to say that he isn't right.
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90 Human Priest
5310
But why would Blizzard ban bots?
They have a active subscription and pay money.
Why would any company reduce their own income on purpose?
It doesn't make sense... Allthough I don't like so many bots either.
But for them to actualy ban most of them, and lose out on so much money
from the botter's subscription.. Would they realy do that. I don't know.
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Community
But why would Blizzard ban bots?
They have a active subscription and pay money.
Why would any company reduce their own income on purpose?
It doesn't make sense... Allthough I don't like so many bots either.
But for them to actualy ban most of them, and lose out on so much money
from the botter's subscription.. Would they realy do that. I don't know.


I think Nevalistis summed this up quite well: This is one of the biggest misconceptions we have, and I genuinely wish we could permanently clear it up. I'll provide a few hypothetical situations (mind you, these numbers are ENTIRELY made up).

Let's say 90% of botters were compromised accounts. This means that 90% of these botters aren't paying accounts; they're stolen accounts, which are generally fueled by stolen credit cards. These payments usually get disputed and taken back, which actually costs us money. If we're looking to make a purely fiscal observation, it makes no financial sense to let these continue (aside from the fact that we don't like compromised accounts to begin with - we want our players to be playing their own accounts safely and enjoyably).

Let's go on the other side of the fence and say 90% of these botters were otherwise legitimate players paying for their accounts, as you purport. When players bot, other players are inconvenienced by this behavior (and trust me, you guys outnumber the botters, even if you may feel it's the other way around). The inconveniences range from normal players having difficulty farming on their own to struggling to keep up with an economy that's being forcibly fluctuated via unfair advantage. When players are inconvenienced in this manner, they submit petitions.

Every petition submitted goes to a Game Master for review. A living, breathing person that is paid to provide customer service looks over it, does what's necessary for the situation (in botting cases, usually forwarding the info on to our exploitation/hacks team), and provides a response. Let's say 1-2 people are inconvenienced by a single botter (in all likelihood, we probably get many more petitions per botter than that). This would mean each botter is inconveniencing at least as many, and likely more, players that are positive to the community (the kinds of players we like and want to continue to play our game). For each botter we allow to continue botting, we potentially stand to lose more than we gain for a single subscription, just out of the sheer inconvenience it causes other players.

Even if you change those numbers around of legitimate players versus compromised accounts - we only stand to lose more if we don't take action on bots (which we do, regularly).
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MVP
100 Gnome Priest
19965
But why would Blizzard ban bots?
They have a active subscription and pay money.
Why would any company reduce their own income on purpose?
It doesn't make sense... Allthough I don't like so many bots either.
But for them to actualy ban most of them, and lose out on so much money
from the botter's subscription.. Would they realy do that. I don't know.

If they don't ban bots, then they risk that genuine legit players stop playing the game, because their game experience gets destroyed by the presence of bots. And so, given the choice, I think Blizzard would prefer banning the bots so they can keep their actual players, opposed to not banning the bots and losing their actual players.

Beyond that, one of Blizzard's mission statements is "Play nice; play fair."
Blizzard have always strived to protect the fair play environment, and have a long history of doing so. And considering the fact that their games are very multiplayer driven and are meant to be played for years upon years, they sort of have to as well, if they want to keep the popularity of their games high.
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