Defining Accessibility (Properly)

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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:10 pm

    BIG TIME MASTER wrote:"3. Making a product more accessible does NOT
    only consist of “dumbing it down” or “adding an easy mode”. There are many ways
    that you can make a product more accessible for those outside of the target
    consumer base without messing with originally targeted user’s experience."



    From original poster.

    Ok, I'm totally down. Now, how??? This is why the argument rages on, you keep stating that it is possible, but not explaining how.

    I'm completely open minded, if you give a solid example of how to make DKS accessible to the average gamer but not infringe on its defining principles I will sing praises.


    Do you really believe that no examples or ideas have been offered in this thread? I'm not being rude or anything, but I'm finding myself having to answer the same questions several times by different posters.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:18 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:By definition, if you use the ramp where there were stairs used to be, your experience has been altered for the sake accessibility. Just saying.

    Not really, as that's not your experience. The experience is what's inside the building, eg. Going out for a drink with your friends at a bar. The steps are not a required part of that experience, removing the steps does not in any way reduce the bar experience, so that's what makes them an unnecessary barrier.

    Some bars have dancefloors, which is part of the experience. For that reason no one in their right mind would suggest demolishing those dance floors to make more seating for the people with disabilities who have difficulty standing.

    I hope that helps to explain the difference!
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:19 pm

    Serious_Much wrote:I generally disagree with your idea that non hardcore gamers need pampering to. The idea that you guys will instinctively pick up on mechanics better than other people cus you play more games is kinda backwards, I know people great at games who've struggled more than I at getting to grips with souls, and some on here who aren't quite the same gamers as most on here like myself, slakemoth give it a pretty damn good go. We did it without help as we learned the game just like you did.

    That’s
    not because the game was inaccessible to those players. It was just
    uncompromisingly challenging, but still within their grasp. It pushed the
    boundaries a bit, but it was not impossible.


    The fact is 'accessibility' isn't the issue for souls, it's whether people are willing to get confused, frustrated and their arse handed to them hundreds of times to be able to fully understand and get through the game. it's not some divine instinct unique in the '7331' or however you spell it gamer population, you're being quite arrogant in making that assumption.

    No,
    I’m not being arrogant in assuming that hardcore gamers tend to be more
    patient, more skilled, and more determined. Its common knowledge. That is why
    everyone here readily admits that the Souls series is directly targeted towards
    the hardcore gamer community.
    Regardless of how difficult the experience was for each of us, the fact of the matter is that those of us who were able to conquer it are not mainstream gamers. We are much more committed. I'm not bragging or being arrogant. I'm just stating what is common knowledge about hardcore gamers.

    In other games accessibility in my opinion can be done without detracting from the experience due to how they are, they don't rely on difficulty much, but souls relies on being mysterious and not telling you everything. To me souls is a set of hurdles. The first is understanding the basic mechanics of the game, then afterwards you get onto the next step, getting equipment and upgrading it, then finally the last hurdle is the game world difficulty, the skill you need to beat each level, then the process begins again.



    What you are simply saying is that Dark Souls pushes the
    boundaries on challenge a bit, because it tests areas that are rarely tested in
    other games. Sure, that’s one of the things I love about the series. But that
    doesn’t make it a universally inaccessible game.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:25 pm

    Im with Fourm Pirate 100% Business? I do this $hit for pleasure.

    I dont care about consumer's I care about the experience!
    FROM so far has cared about the Experience and anyone who loves these games can agree that would be a legacy worth keeping.

    Honestly, the designers don't care whether or not you care about other consumers. Its not your job to care about them, its theirs.
    Secondly, I'm sorry, but Dark Souls is not merely a piece of abstract art. It is a product. FROM is a company, and are in the business of producing goods and services for consumers. In such a setting, especially AAA game design, accessibility will always, without question, be part of the discussion. If you don't like that, then I'm not sure what else to tell you, other than prepare to be disappointed.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by carlucio on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:27 pm

    BIG TIME MASTER wrote:Your guys argument is in a stalemate because you are asking the wrong question. The question isn't whether accessibility a good or bad thing, it is HOW can DKS II be made more accessible without detracting from the defining characteristic of obscurity and difficulty.

    I for one, cannot think of any way to make DKS more accessible to a broader range of people without detracting from the games defining characteristics. I'm a pretty good gamer, but I certainly struggled with DKS my first time. If, for the sake of the less abled gamers, the game had compromised its difficulty for me, like given me extra health after so many deaths, or gave me more hints, or better starting gear, or any of the myriad of ways to make the game more accessible, it would have been an entirely different experience. It wouldn't be an experience I cherish.

    OP seems to be speaking about an ideal fantasy game, where every person of any skill level can pick up the game and enjoy it, but the hardcore types who play the game for its defining challenge find it as hard as ever. The only way to accomplish this is to have adjustable difficulty settings, and thats a whole different subject. There simply isn't a way to have DKS be accessible and retain it's integrity as well.

    If after we spoke to the fallen knight in the Asylum a note was pinned to the corner of the screen reading "Make your way to the boss and then exit the asylum" and was accompanied by a floating marker that guided you to where you need to go, that would help the unskilled bozos, but it ruins the experience for the gamers. If you got a handy dandy map at firelink and you could see all the little nooks and crannies, you wouldnt feel any success in finding the secret area with three chest. If you were hinted at not going into the catacombs before you went in, you would lose the adventure of getting stuck down there and feeling hopelessly screwed. If the crestfallen warriors statement about ringing the two bells was jogged down in a journal, we wouldn't pay attention to what he was saying and keep a mental journal in our own minds that keeps us thinking and wondering about the game long after we are done playing it. I could go on and on.




    A little extra, not worth a third post:

    ac·ces·si·ble
    /akˈsesəbəl/
    Adjective
    (of a place) Able to be reached or entered.
    (of an object, service, or facility) Able to be easily obtained or used.
    Synonyms
    approachable - available - attainable - come-at-able


    Just read that defintion and really try to understand how that word would effect DKS, not in theory, but in practice. Add that word to the Undead Asylum and when you first get to Firelink. Think of ways to make the game more accessible and explain how it can be both accessible and still be difficult, obscure, uncompromising, and generally INACCESSIBLE to anybody not committed or abnormally slow/lazy.


    Jesus Christ, you Stole all my words, i will quit this forum after that.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:29 pm

    That may be the core of the experience, but the experience is still altered ian. If my lambo has doors that open outward instead of up the experience of entering and exit it is different thus the entire experience is different, if only subtly. The experience is changed. If you want to be technical, we can be technical.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:32 pm

    OK to the person who mentioned there being no way to make it enjoyable by more players without harming the core mechanic.

    How about these things?

    - upgrading the subtitling to full closed captioning, is. An option to also display atmospheric / significant background sounds as text, as Portal and Dragon Age do. Also giving am option for higher contrast subtitles, adding a bkack box behind them. As it's all just optional setting, it makes the game much more enjoyable by people with hearing impairments or who play in a noisy room or have to play on mute, without harming it for anyone else.

    - remappable controls, allowing players the choice of which button does what. As it's just an option again it doesn't negatively affect anyone, but for players with motor difficulties who can play the game just fine apart from having a hard time reaching the shoulders or triggers to be able to move the most commonly used actions to somewhere more comfortable. Also allowing sticks to be swapped, for left handed gamers.

    Those are just two examples, there are others too, but hopefully gives you an idea.

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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:35 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:That may be the core of the experience, but the experience is still altered ian. If my lambo has doors that open outward instead of up the experience of entering and exit it is different thus the entire experience is different, if only subtly. The experience is changed. If you want to be technical, we can be technical.

    Or instead could just talk about the actual point, which is necessary Vs unnecessary barriers. Unless, for example, you think that choosing green instead of blue for a map indicator shouldn't be done as it alters the experience, even though it then completely excludes the 8% of males who are red-green colorblind?
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:36 pm

    ianhamilton_ wrote:...



    Thanks for the reference to the
    gameaccessibilityguidelines.com website. I've been to the site before, and am
    well aware of it. Perhaps if you delve further into it, you will realize that
    they actually don't make the sharp distinction between disabled and "less
    skilled" players that you do.

    Here's a quote from the site:

    15-20% of gamers are disabled (NCESAAO),
    and many people have temporary impairments such as a broken arm. Many more have
    situational impairments such as playing in a noisy room or in bright sunlight,
    and all players have different levels of ability – there’s no ‘typical gamer’.

    Also consider all of the different examples of accessibility that are mentioned on the site. In fact, some of those examples would be exactly what people complain about regarding games "catering to casuals". No, there is no distinction here. The game industry is using it correctly, but some just aren't executing it well.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:40 pm

    I knew exactly what you ment. I was calling out your teminology because you decided to get technical.

    Nice edit btw.

    That however isn't what accessibility generally means in gaming PR and you know it.

    To quote mysef from a page ago "Think of it this way, should the NBA teams lower their standards so everyone can play? Or should the people not able to play work for the ability as the current members do or find a game or leauge better suited to their skill and tempermant."


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:41 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:That may be the core of the experience, but the experience is still altered ian. If my lambo has doors that open outward instead of up the experience of entering and exit it is different thus the entire experience is different, if only subtly. The experience is changed. If you want to be technical, we can be technical.

    There are accessibility features in your lambo. However, the door will never be designed to be accessible, because, percentage-wise, physically disabled people are not likely to buy lambos. So the designer focuses just on aesthetics regarding the door. However, don't be mistaken, there are always accessibility features in every car, especially something as expensive as a car like that.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:45 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:That however isn't what accessibility generally means in gaming PR and you know it.

    To quote mysef from a page ago "Think of it this way, should the NBA teams lower their standards so everyone can play? Or should the people not able to play work for the ability as the current members do or find a game or leauge better suited to their skill and tempermant."

    Just do a quick search for 'game accessibility' on google. The casual / low barrier to entry thing is recent, meaning there are now two separate definitions.

    And in terms of disability related accessibility, no, of course not, lowering the standards means that the initial experience is accessible to absolutely noone at all, which has completely defeated the point. However offering different leagues so people can play at their own level opens up the pro basketball experience to more people.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:51 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:
    To quote mysef from a page ago "Think of it this way, should the NBA teams lower their standards so everyone can play? Or should the people not able to play work for the ability as the current members do or find a game or leauge better suited to their skill and tempermant."

    Not sure what this analogy has to do with anything. We are talking about accessibility, which is about making products more accessible. Basketball is not a product, its a sport. There are already other sports, or less demanding versions of basketball that can accomodate those who can't play in the big leagues.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:59 pm

    Again, not my point. I was calling out his phrasing, which he changed, because it was demonstrabily false.

    I'm not saying the game should make no concessions and be impossible btw, I'm saying that the games previous made few to intentionally aid the nature of the intended experience, which is something I enjoy and would see remain intact, which an accessibility focus legitimately threatens.

    @Ian The point of the difficulty in the series though, was to be the metaphorical "big leauges." Similar games of lower difficulty are there for people if they arn't ready for (for whatever reason) the experience. Even a simple difficulty setting is detrimental to the purpose. Then the game isn't hostile and demanding, whatever the difficulty in the normal setting, it sets the precident for being pandering right off the bat, and the knowledge that help is just waiting for you 3 clicks away redues the sense of hopelessness and fear the game works so hard to build.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:06 pm

    MasterofShadows wrote:
    Forum Pirate wrote:
    To quote mysef from a page ago "Think of it this way, should the NBA teams lower their standards so everyone can play? Or should the people not able to play work for the ability as the current members do or find a game or leauge better suited to their skill and tempermant."

    Not sure what this analogy has to do with anything. We are talking about accessibility, which is about making products more accessible. Basketball is not a product, its a sport. There are already other sports, or less demanding versions of basketball that can accomodate those who can't play in the big leagues.
    That helps my point. There are other games and less demanding versions (known as similar games) for ill equipped players.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:06 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:
    I'm not saying the game should make no concessions and be impossible btw, I'm saying that the games previous made few to intentionally aid the nature of the intended experience, which is something I enjoy and would see remain intact, which an accessibility focus legitimately threatens.

    Again, bad implementation of accessibility will threaten the experience of the consumer who doesn't need those features, not accessibility itself.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:07 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:Again, not my point. I was calling out his phrasing, which he changed, because it was demonstrabily false.

    Not that I remember, I corrected some typos and added some detail? Sorry if I gave the wrong impression, I'm not trying to be evasive. Typing on a tablet means lots of edits.

    Forum Pirate wrote:@Ian The point of the difficulty in the series though, was to be the metaphorical "big leauges." Similar games of lower difficulty are there for people if they arn't ready for (for whatever reason) the experience. Even a simple difficulty setting is detrimental to the purpose. Then the game isn't hostile and demanding, whatever the difficulty in the normal setting, it sets the precident for being pandering right off the bat, and the knowledge that help is just waiting for you 3 clicks away redues the sense of hopelessness and fear the game works so hard to build.

    Again, it comes down to necessary/unnecessary barriers. In terms of disability, you don't get deaf gamers annoyed by not being able to play a music game. It's when the barriers are unnecessary and could easily have been avoided that you end up with annoyed gamers and lost money.


    Last edited by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:08 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:
    MasterofShadows wrote:
    Forum Pirate wrote:
    To quote mysef from a page ago "Think of it this way, should the NBA teams lower their standards so everyone can play? Or should the people not able to play work for the ability as the current members do or find a game or leauge better suited to their skill and tempermant."

    Not sure what this analogy has to do with anything. We are talking about accessibility, which is about making products more accessible. Basketball is not a product, its a sport. There are already other sports, or less demanding versions of basketball that can accomodate those who can't play in the big leagues.
    That helps my point. There are other games and less demanding versions (known as similar games) for ill equipped players.

    No, not really, because nobody was arguing that there were not lesser demanding games in existence. I'm saying that your analogy was bad.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:15 pm

    Instead of throwing out all of these weird hypothetical ways that Shibuya could screw up your game, perhaps we could look at what he specifically said, and start from there?

    Right in the beginning when players first pick up the game is something
    that I will definitely focus on. To not immediately throw them into Dark
    Souls but provide a good introduction in terms of what the game’s about
    and how the game should be played."

    Perhaps we shold look at how this is actually intended to be done, instead of just assuming the worst?


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:19 pm

    MasterofShadows wrote:
    ianhamilton_ wrote:...



    Thanks for the reference to the
    gameaccessibilityguidelines.com website. I've been to the site before, and am
    well aware of it. Perhaps if you delve further into it, you will realize that
    they actually don't make the sharp distinction between disabled and "less
    skilled" players that you do.

    Here's a quote from the site:

    15-20% of gamers are disabled (NCESAAO),
    and many people have temporary impairments such as a broken arm. Many more have
    situational impairments such as playing in a noisy room or in bright sunlight,
    and all players have different levels of ability – there’s no ‘typical gamer’.

    Also consider all of the different examples of accessibility that are mentioned on the site. In fact, some of those examples would be exactly what people complain about regarding games "catering to casuals". No, there is no distinction here. The game industry is using it correctly, but some just aren't executing it well.

    Ahhh ok I see what you're saying.

    That sentence though is actually a bit different, it's referring to the picture that designers often have in their heads of the 'typical gamer' (often quite similar to themselve), just explaining that there isn't actually such a thing as a typical gamer.

    And yep many of the guidelines, the basic ones in particular, are just good general game design that (if appropriate to your mechanic) benefit all players. However at the same time they are all explicitly about disability, there isn't a single guideline on there that isn't for a specific disabled group.. feel free to chuck me some examples if there are any that you aren't sure about the disability relevance of.

    I have to say again (as it's a common misconception) that disability related accessibility is categorically not about dumbing down, it's about removing unnecessary barriers. So in terms of DS, those examples I gave previously of closed captioning and remapping.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:24 pm

    Ian, you said "That absolutely and catagoricaly doesn't mean the game is dumbed down or changed" and I called you on it because that Is wrong. 2 minuites later, you edited the sentence to remove the word changed. EDIT: if that wasn't your intended way of phrasing things I understand, but that was the basis for my further comment.

    The analogy was fine. Professional sports, are games, if highly demanding and publicised games. The "minor leagus" are run by different associations designed to cater to the needs of their target players (the less skilled or disabled).

    Now if you want optional closed captions fine, the option won't help anyone with anything that wouldn't be available anyways so the experience is largely unaltered.

    It doesn't lower the skill barrier. Those type of changes I'm ok with. See the difference?


    Last edited by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:48 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ComaPrison on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:42 pm

    Just one example of how increased accessibility can fundamentally alter the experience for a player that already loves the game. The lack of an in-game map is, i.m.o., a key part of what gives the game world some added mystery. You can't simply provide an in-game map and then say "well if you think it's so good not to have a map, then don't use it!". Any of you should understand without being told that forced deprivation is different from voluntarily foregoing something. It's not rocket science. It's about as different as fasting for Yom Kippur, and starving because you're stranded in some barren place.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:50 pm

    Forum Pirate wrote:Ian, you said "That absolutely and catagoricaly doesn't mean the game is dumbed down or changed" and I called you on it because that Is wrong. 2 minuites later, you edited the sentence to remove the word changed.

    Oh ok, I think that was just to add in 'that would defeat the point', I'm not trying to be evasive.

    Forum Pirate wrote:
    Now if you want optional closed captions fine, the option won't help anyone with anything that wouldn't be available anyways so the experience is largely unaltered.

    It doesn't lower the skill barrier. Those type of changes I'm ok with. See the difference?

    That's my point, that the disability related accessibility quoted in the original post is actually something a bit different to what is being debated for DS. Subtitle text being difficult to read or atmospherics being conveyed through sound alone aren't necessary parts of the experience, so they're unnecessary barriers that can be avoided. In those kinds of ways it's easily possible to open up the game to more people while in fact making the experience better rather than diluting it to a lowest common denominator.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:55 pm

    ianhamilton_ wrote:
    Forum Pirate wrote:Ian, you said "That absolutely and catagoricaly doesn't mean the game is dumbed down or changed" and I called you on it because that Is wrong. 2 minuites later, you edited the sentence to remove the word changed.

    Oh ok, I think that was just to add in 'that would defeat the point', I'm not trying to be evasive.

    Forum Pirate wrote:
    Now if you want optional closed captions fine, the option won't help anyone with anything that wouldn't be available anyways so the experience is largely unaltered.

    It doesn't lower the skill barrier. Those type of changes I'm ok with. See the difference?

    That's my point, that the disability related accessibility quoted in the original post is actually something a bit different to what is being debated for DS. Subtitle text being difficult to read or atmospherics being conveyed through sound alone aren't necessary parts of the experience, so they're unnecessary barriers that can be avoided. In those kinds of ways it's easily possible to open up the game to more people while in fact making the experience better rather than diluting it to a lowest common denominator.

    Ian, have you even seen my response post to you? I think that the website you mentioned actually supports my use of the term, not yours.


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    ianhamilton_

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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ianhamilton_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:59 pm

    MasterofShadows wrote:Ian, have you even seen my response post to you? I think that the website you mentioned actually supports my use of the term, not yours.

    Yep I replied here, did you see? http://soulswiki.forumsrpg.com/t15866p90-defining-accessibility-properly#312613

    It's not about a mine/yours, there are two different definitions and the site is about the disability one. The only reason for bringing it up is the OP quoted that article about disability related accessibility, which obviously isn't what Shibuya was getting at.

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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

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