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Author Topic: Let's talk about bait  (Read 1592 times)

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Online BlackCurtains

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Let's talk about bait
« on: April 26, 2021, 07:10:59 PM »
Jumping off from the subject brought up in the Unpopular Pony Opinions thread in the Corral, I thought this would make a good discussion (and maybe educational?) thread.

How do you personally determine if a pony is bait? Do you feel the same about all gens? What about the Basic Fun ponies or HQG1C? Have you ever witnessed someone customize a good condition pony? (no names, please) Would YOU customize a good condition pony?

For me, bait is two fold. How common the pony is and the actual condition. For G1, super common ponies like Peachy or shy pose Bowtie are more acceptable. I still would not bait one that was in good condition though. Haircuts and missing tails I would rather fix. When you get into marks, age spots, rubbed symbols and eyes, broken gimmicks, then it starts being bait, imo. Again though, it really depends on the pony itself. That's G1 and G2 (I don't consider missing eye gems a baitable offense either).

For G3, things change a bit for me. I have a bunch of good condition G3s who live in my bait box. I've kept some of them for years because they don't belong in my personal collection but they are too nice to bait. I really don't sell... so I've held onto them for trades or to give away in swaps. For instance, I have Abracadabra with her hat and cloak. Definitely not bait. I also have a lovely Moondancer with charm, again not bait. But a clone pose Cherrilee? Hmm, that one I might use some day. G3 is more about the pony than condition, for me. G4 I've never worked with and probably won't for a while but I think any G4 currently in production is fine to buy new and bait.

What about the Basic Fun ponies or HQG1C? I haven't yet, but if I wanted say a Big Brother pose, I might turn to HQG1C (they don't have Tex mold yet...*taps foot*). Same for a sitting pose, and that Basic Fun has too, so I could see myself buying one if I had no other options.

As far as I remember, I've never seen someone use a good condition G1 for bait. This is something that other members have seen though. I'm a bit conflicted with this honestly. Maybe it's because I've never seen it. While I wouldn't bait a good condition G1, even a common one, I guess it would depend on the artist? If you're making some generic thing and you aren't very good at it, well yeah, you should have left that Applejack alone. But if you can create a real work of art, intricate painting and sculpting and have a great eye for color, then, well, I guess it's okay. This is just my opinion. It's not always about profit either. Some people are just crazy talented and I can appreciate that. That's not to discourage people just starting out, but I practiced on fakies before tackling a G1 and I think that's good advice.

I don't want this to turn into a debate or anything. We're just talking :)

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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 07:43:00 PM »
I already answered about G1-4 in the unpopular opinions thread but didn't think of the Basic Fun or HQG1C ponies.  The HQG1C blank ponies I would have no problem using as bait because that is what they are made for.  As for the non-blank ones, and the Basic Fun ponies... I'm really struggling to imagine using one as a bait right out of the box or in good condition.  They ARE good quality, and neither are suuuuper common.  It's not like there is some magic thing, in my mind, about Hasbro's brand name that makes ponies more worthy of being preserved.  I don't feel any need to worship at Hasbro's alter, haha.  So I'll pretty freely bait a common G4 Hasbro pony of poor quality but probably not a more unique HQG1C pony or a better quality Basic Fun pony.  Maybe THIS is my unpopular pony opinion.
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2021, 09:15:22 PM »
I already replied in the other thread but what the heck, I'll reply again :)

Disclaimer, I don't customize myself, so I don't speak from personal experience.

G1 and G2 - as much as I love customs, I still think restoration is preferable if at all possible. I agree there definitely becomes a point where a pony's so baity/would require so much work to fully restore that you might as well just fully customize them. Rarity is a factor too - no matter how baity a... I dunno, Argentine Felicidades (for example) is, I'd never dream of doing anything but restoring her. And even if a pony's common, if she just has some rubbed symbols or a bad haircut, I'd still say restoration vs customization is the better option.

Missing eye crystals DEFINITELY doesn't make a G2 bait (assuming that's their only flaw).

G3 depends on the pony, I guess. Starting to feel the same way as I do about G1/2 about G3 as the years go on, but I don't see much problem in customizing a common one. Same w/ G3.5, I guess.

With G4, I'd say, if it's a non-main 6 character (excluding the princesses since they were frequently released too), restoration over customization would be preferable generally, since they're scarcer. Otherwise I say, just do your research and use common sense, lol.

Anything that's still on the shelves is 100% fair game, unless for w/e reason it's very hard to find/is only available for a brief amount of time and/or in a small amount of places (I.e. Holly Dash, hippogriff babies, etc) in which case I'd think about it before baiting such a pony. (of course that can be subjective - Holly Dashes were pretty easy to find in my area, but I know for other people she was nigh-impossible to find. I personally still wouldn't have baited one since like, why use her specifically instead of, say, Rarity - but yeah in that case I'd just say, use your own judgement) This goes for Basic Funs too, don't see any reason not to bait those. Well, perhaps not the later waves since they've been harder to find. Like I said, if in doubt, use research - if you're having a hard time finding a certain currently-in-production pony, to me, I'd take that as a sign that maybe it'd be better to use a different pony as a base. If that makes sense.

HQG1C I dunno, the blanks I don't see anything wrong with baiting, but the others.. I guess, again, I'd consider if the character is more limited than others before doing it. Like, I wouldn't customize a Harmony or Hope, for example. I think I'd prefer to customize one of those than a legitimate G1 though? Hm.

The quality thing you mentioned, that's a really good point too. I'd always recommend practicing on fakies first before tackling an actual G1 or G2, heck I'd say that for ANY gen, though I'm sure that's an unpopular opinion. Better to use a cheap easily-replaceable base as a test run instead of potentially wrecking a "proper" pony, you know?
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 10:16:13 PM »
G1s I used to be more likely to Customise than I am now because of the HQG1C blanks, especially Boy Ponies. HQG1C Ponies marketed as flawed are also good for Customs.
However, good condition HQG1Cs I'd rather pass on to somebody who doesn't yet have, especially convention related ones. It took me AGES to get my Baby Boy Maple, so I won't deny anybody the chance to get an HQG1C of their own.

Even before HQG1C was a thing, I used multiple criteria to determine whether a Pony was bait. Common-ness,  price & amount of non-fixable flaws all came into account. My Thundercloud was a state but I restored him rather than Customise because Mountain Boys are rarer than other Ponies.

G2 are also different from what they used to be, as they are becoming harder to find even in the common ones. I was lucky to find one bait-worthy G2 in the last... two years??? It's only recently really that most people have become aware of how beautiful & charming G2 Ponies are.

G3 I'm less picky, but also less likely to Customise except common Core 7 Clone Pose Ponies ie: No special edition collector set ones, no painted leg ones, no non-Core 7 ones, even Royal Bouquet & Strawberry Swirl, let alone the likes of Egyptian, Peacock & Blue-Black.
For the rest it's pretty much the same criteria as G1 & G2 nowadays.

G4s to be Customised MUST be Mane Six before we even start. The non-Mane Six are too uncommon, especially now the line is coming to a halt. I'd love more G4 Boys but it can't happen as only a few male moulds were made, & most are rare & popular.

I've yet to get ANY Pony Life, & only want one or two, so won't be Customising them.

Basic Fun??? I think the best way to encourage them is to buy more of their range. So if a person buys one Surprise to keep & one to Customise, I won't argue because they're buying enough to encourage Basic Fun in doing a good thing.

I've had different opinions in the past, because times change, & there are Ponies I Customised years ago I'd rather fix & pass on now.
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 07:56:09 AM »
Thank you for starting the conversation BlackCurtains! I think it's good to have this conversation every so often, because especially as toy customization gets closer to the mainstream, it's good for new eyes to see these discussions from more seasoned members! :) This is a really nuanced, heavy topic to have, so I'll apologize in advance for my wordiness! I just have so many thoughts about pony ethics! :lmao:

I'll quote what I said in the other thread:

G1 - I went to my first MLP Fair and dug through every bait bin to find new collection ponies for cheap! As I've grown and spent a decade+ collecting as an adult, I look back on these ponies and think, 'oh no... you really were kind of bait!' :lmao: Chopped hair, stains, missing symbols! But they're still precious to me because of the memories associated with them. :heart: For myself now, I want to have multiple unfixable issues before I can comfortably bait a pony - damaged/no hair, symbols scuffed/missing, stains, body damage. A pony will often have their eyes intact, so as of late I've done some customs where I modify the existing eyes, without outright wiping and repainting them. I suspect a lot of folks on eBay put 'bait/TLC' either because they're not collectors and don't know the terms (and want to avoid 'item not as described' claims), or don't know how to fix those issues, either restoration or rehairing. Since I'm a customizer, I'm in a better position to be able to fix the ponies I don't think are ready to be baited yet! :)

G2 - I have only found one truly 'bait' G2, and that was a pony who had her hair buzzed to the skin! Most G2s seem to be in pretty good condition, or maybe they just don't show up enough in beater lots on eBay? I don't think missing crystals should classify them as bait, since those are pretty easy to replace.

G3 - during the years they were on the shelves, I actually deboxed a MIB to make a custom. :blush: At the time, they were plentiful and we never thought they'd run out! Oh, those were the days... :cry: I've bought tons of 'bait' ponies for $1 who really just need new hair, so eventually I'd like to do some alternate rehairs on them! I think folks do bait them a bit indiscriminately, but personally I'm trying to make customs only out of the ones who really need the help. That said, they're still pretty cheap and plentiful, especially those Core Seven poses, so I don't feel quite so bad for those. (I also still have some blanks I've been customizing! I wonder how long they'll produce those? Indefinitely I hope!!)

G4 - My mindset has been, 'if it's on the shelf, I'm supporting the line by taking it home to customize.' Hasbro still gets $5 either way! Since they're still making them by the pound (or were until this year), I don't feel so bad baiting any of the Mane 6, unless it's got some kind of cool gimmick or extra paint. And, sadly, many of the G4 I get secondhand have hair that's absolutely destroyed already... It's not exactly a product made to last. Fun fact, I actually bought a Plumsweet to customize for a friend, never made it, then flipped the MIB pony for a profit last year! :lmao: Procrastination can be good sometimes, actually!

It's good you added HQG1C and Basic Fun, because I hadn't thought of those in my original comment! Basic Fun is a 'small' toy company in comparison to Hasbro, so I feel like even if I buy doubles just to have on my desk, or to customize, or alt-rehair, it's giving an extra $10 to a company that probably needs the extra sales. (Although the ponies always sell out super-fast in my local Targets, it seemed like!) I've bought quite a few extra of their ponies outside my 'collection' set, and I've only dyed one. I have bought several others secondhand to modify, though! For me, it's like the G4 thing; if it's on the shelf, I figure it's okay to customize, because the company is currently making them and they are still plentiful. Because the Pinwheel/Starflower set ended up being difficult to find, for example, I'd be more hesitant to bait those two. I think over time, we will find that some of the Basic Fun ponies will be considered inappropriate to bait, due to rarity.

HQG1C is another case, because very often when they run 'damaged pony sales', it's for ponies that otherwise couldn't be sell-able; I've received ponies with pretty obvious head-body mismatch, for example, that otherwise might get sent back to the factory, destroyed or trashed. The very first custom contest that HQG1C ran was actually on the basis of wanting to use up a pile of Genies they'd gotten with ripped-out hairlines, damaged neck seals, warped body issues, etc. So I think in that case, we're almost helping the environment by buying HQG1C ponies to customize, and using up product that other buyers wouldn't be interested in. (It also allows more collectors to have access to the project, since the 'custom sales' are much cheaper than a mint pony price.) Because the folks who run the HQG1C project are also collectors, they're also more open to requests by customizers - for example, they're going to run pre-orders for more Big Brother blanks this summer, because so many fans asked for more of them!

That said, I do sometimes take advantage of the sales for personal projects; because I don't love the polypropylene hair that some of the ponies come with, I bought myself an extra Christmas pony to rehair in nylon when he was on sale, just for my own collection. I don't ever intend to sell him, and I still have a collection Christmas pony that will retain his original hair, but it's what makes me happy. And it's more money to a project that needs every sale far more than Hasbro does, so I feel good knowing my money is going to a good cause! And if someone says 'well you're taking away a mint pony from a real collector', I'd point out that at many points, the HQG1C is unfortunately struggling to sell out of the ponies they have in stock. It's good to want to preserve mint ponies, but if the mint ponies are sitting by the gross in someone's garage and stagnating the project (and costing the project runners money), then it's not really being preserved! The ponies have been for sale for years at this point, and everyone has had a chance to get them. Customizers buying the excess is actually supporting the project and helping the organizers.

As to your question, 'have you ever seen someone bait a good condition pony', unfortunately yes, I can recall two specific situations that I witnessed personally. In one situation the collector bragged about 'turning a (mint) pony worth only $25 into a $200 custom', and was very defensive when people called them out on that being an unwise thing to do. I've also seen photos of what look like very good/good condition ponies in-progress to become customs, but the seller specified (after being questioned) that the ponies were 'worse than they appeared in photos.' I don't know if I believed them 100%, but I also know that the camera hides many flaws. Still, it was odd that so many 'bait ponies' continued to show up in her photos looking great before being customized.

I've also heard of the case of someone accidentally customizing a Rapunzel without knowing her worth (found the pony at the thrift store), and essentially being run out of the fandom as a result. I think there's a big difference between running someone out on a rail, and gently asking them if it would be a better idea to wait for a more appropriate bait, or warning them that the pony they're using is worth money/not in baitable condition. All of us were newbies once, and we've all made collector mistakes. I hope that someone would be gentle with my mistakes, and so I try to extend the same courtesy.

Ultimately, any pony that you own is your property; it isn't community property. If you are happier with your collection pony looking a certain way, it's your right to modify or change (or even destroy) your own property. BUT: if you then come into a collector community and show off your modified/damaged pony, you are opening yourself up to criticism of your actions, even if it is still your property. And even more, if you then try to sell that pony, you are open to criticism of the destruction of that collectable item for the sake of profit, not even personal enjoyment. If you are worried about people judging your bait choice, you don't even have to tell them! Just show off the finished project.

tl;dr bait wisely, treat each other nicely, make pretty ponies! :heart:
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 11:14:26 AM »
Great discussion.

I do customise ponies but usually only in a reversible way and I never damage a pony more than it's already damaged. For example, if I want to do a alt. re-hair then I look for a hair bait. If someone did want this pony and restore it to it's original appearance in future then they can.

Sometimes I do a big restore to a baity pony (i.e. deep clean, hair, paint as required) and then initial the hooves. Some people consider any repair or modification 'customising' and some even styling the hair, so I'm always mindful of other's preferences and generally only work on a pony if I intend to keep it, otherwise I pass it on. With minor damage I rarely repair it because then I'd feel obliged to initial the hooves so I just leave it.

I had a bit of a think recently about Magic Message. I put new acrylic symbols onto a set of these because their symbols had worn off. However, not I wonder whether I did the right thing because nearly all of them are losing or have lost their symbols now! So maybe no symbols is the new normal. IDK. I'm pretty sure the artist's acrylic I use would come off OK so the symbols could be restored to an original appearance, if not with the colour-change.

I absolutely love the HQG1Cs and think that the way they have sold on their 'QC ponies' for customisers is amazing. Now that the original ponies are really ageing, the options they give us can really help to keep the dream alive for everyone.

A note about Fakies - some of them are quite rare so not for me an automatic bait. In fact I treasure the few fakies I do have precisely because they are a bit unloved.

It's all a grey area, but great that we have the conversation every so often and that so many in the community do spend time over these decisions and try to choose 'right' bait for the job or find an alternative.
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 12:36:57 PM »
Ultimately, any pony that you own is your property; it isn't community property. If you are happier with your collection pony looking a certain way, it's your right to modify or change (or even destroy) your own property. BUT: if you then come into a collector community and show off your modified/damaged pony, you are opening yourself up to criticism of your actions, even if it is still your property. And even more, if you then try to sell that pony, you are open to criticism of the destruction of that collectable item for the sake of profit, not even personal enjoyment. If you are worried about people judging your bait choice, you don't even have to tell them! Just show off the finished project.

fantastic post! This is how I feel too. :)
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 05:08:53 PM »
I also agree with what Snapdragon said.

While I personally feel like we all have a collective responsibility towards preservation, at the end of the day people are still going to do with their own property what they think is right. And whatever that decision is, if you open a discussion about it within the community, there is the potential for different opinions to clash.

Preservation also does mean different things for different people. For me if you remove the head of a mouldy or a rusty pony to clean it, and replace it's damaged washer, you're preserving it. If you reroot it, or repaint its  symbols, you are restoring it. And if you break the seal and replace the washer when damage is not already present, you are amending it to suit your personal preferences. None of these are necessarily wrong, but they are things people have different opinions on.

When I was first in the community, back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, ponies were so plentiful at the carboot sale and literally everywhere. The issue of customising a common in good condition never even came up in discussion (except with my sister, who hated the concept completely).

I think the increasing prices and pony scarcity has made people consider it more than they used to.

For me a bait G1 has a bad hair cut, and damage to the symbol or marks of some kind that cannot be washed off. A bait SS pony for deflocking needs to have serious flocking stain or flocking missing.

I don't bait G2. I have baited G3 in the past, I bought a Pinkie Pie and made her into Snowflake and a Gardenia...something to do with Gardenias and turned her into TAF Lollipop. Both were in stores at the time, but I still felt horrible removing Pinkie Pie's hair. So missing hair is basically a must for me to bait something. I hate haircuts and so hate removing pony hair.

I don't think I've ever baited a G4 either. I have never really wanted to, although I have some in scrappy condition.

The last custom I made was using a Galaxy bait I had had for probably 15 years in the bottom of my wardrobe. She had no hair and no symbol. I'm a little afraid to wonder how she got that way, but that was how I received her.

I have sold baits to other people because they are not baity enough for me to handle.

I don't bait G3 now unless they meet the same criteria as the G1 ponies. Because they're no longer in stores.

I don't customise much any more, but I apply the same kind of massive hair cut and damage rule to Jem dolls when I've rooted them as well.

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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 09:57:41 PM »
As a customizer first and collector second, this has been a very thought provoking thread. Not that I never stopped to think about pony preservation of course; I'm not gonna cut up a Mimic or something. I generally buy ponies that are dirty or damaged in order to breathe new life into them. But G1s are a finite resource.
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2021, 06:15:10 PM »
How do you personally determine if a pony is bait?

Personally I don't really buy 'bait' ponies- the closest to bait I would get is bad hair. Rehairing is pretty much the only customizing I do (I don't consider beheading and tail washer replacement to be 'customization', rather preventative conservation), so if I know I want to rehair a certain pony, I will try to find one with a mostly perfect face/body but with bad hair, so as to not remove a completely mint pony from circulation- especially if I'm looking for one that is particularly rare or sought after. I wouldn't rehair my minty Lemon Treats, but I would rehair a Lemon Treats with damaged hair.

Do you feel the same about all gens?

I think it's less about the generation and more the individual pony and type of customization- I wouldn't say it's worse to customize a super common G1 pony than it is to customize a super rare G3 pony, for example.

What about the Basic Fun ponies or HQG1C?

I think those are fine to customize, and I think their existence is a viable solution for customizers that don't want to remove vintage ponies from circulation, or for customizers who don't want to start with a damaged base that needs a bunch of help.

Have you ever witnessed someone customize a good condition pony?

I think 'good condition' is very subjective, so I'm sure I've seen people customize ponies that could be seen as being in 'good condition' by another person, and I'm sure people would say the same to me.

Would YOU customize a good condition pony?

I'm sure I already have, in some people's eyes! My Locket had a frizzy mane and tail, but I'm sure it could have been sort-of fixed if I tried. I personally didn't like it, so I rehaired her and I bought her with the intention of doing so.

To be honest, I don't get that bothered by people customizing any kind of pony or any other kind of toy/doll that I collect, even if it's something rare. I might side-eye if somebody has customized a pony or doll that I've been looking for, perhaps a twinge of annoyance, but ultimately I know it's not their fault that I'm missing that pony and I support their artistry and contribution to the hobby. Maybe they took a rare toy out of circulation, but they also replaced it with something entirely unique and without that artistry, I think the community would be less enjoyable.

 I was actually a little surprised to see just how taboo it is, because I also collect dolls that are much more expensive than MLP, with significantly lower production numbers (less than 3k, usually around 600-1k) and a tendency to quickly triple in value on the secondhand market- and customization still isn't frowned upon in those communities, rather it's usually received positively. Complaints about scarcity and high prices are never framed from the perspective of 'this is what happens when people debox/customize' because customization and artistry enrich the hobby.

Likewise I think of pony customization as a core aspect of what makes the community enjoyable, not a contributing factor to inflation and rarity, and ultimately adds more to the community than it takes.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 06:46:41 PM by serena-hime »

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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2021, 01:04:40 AM »
Original G1s aren’t my first choice. I’ve customized one, but she was in rough shape to begin, and she went to my sister who explicitly requested that pose. This was before Basic Fun or HQG1C were much of a thing. I’ll bait G3s if they’re common and far from mint.
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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2021, 06:41:32 PM »
I will only customize G1 if they are in poor shape - Sharpie marks, stains, etc - or if they are common. I have a big box of super baity G1s to pull from. I have used ones that are in fair to good condition before, but only if they were common.

I'm a little more flexible with G3, although not recently since Hasbro doesn't make them anymore.

My rule was that with my own ponies I can do whatever, but if I'm buying from a seller, I need to respect the value they place on what they're selling. So, I wouldn't customize say an uncommon pony that the seller is clearly intending to go to a collector, as opposed to be baited. Plenty of sellers sell bait ponies by lot, so that's not necessary anyway.

Lately I've tried to used the HQG1C blanks for customs. I don't collect other gens than G1 and G3.
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Offline Eruna

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Re: Let's talk about bait
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2021, 08:47:27 PM »
I know this is an older post- but I am a customizer who doesn't really collect. I have like 2 G3 ponies that I am keeping and won't customize, but what do I do with the rest? Most are very baity, but some are not... For example, I have a mommy and baby surprise who need to be rehaired and their symbols touched up- but would someone want them? They go for *maybe* $20 USD if they were restored- which would cost me time and about $10 in supplies. I also have a G2 Cupcake Secret Surprise Friend from 1998 that is in decent shape, but her body has browned/yellowed a little. Her value is only $4- $8 I know it's my property and I can do what I want, but I also don't want to step on toes or destroy a valuable pony (I don't have any that are valuable.) The only ones that I am worried about are the G3 Styling-Sized ponieswhich have become hard to find. I am planning on making some molds of the ones I have most likely.


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