Monday, March 5, 2012

Do you read and return?

Sit and stay a spell. Let's talk.

I've been wondering about blog comments recently. I try to respond to each one. Blogger's new function to have nested comments — or the ability to reply to each individual post — is nice. I like the conversation.

A little problem arrived in my inbox on Saturday and Sunday as I responded to comments. My inbox filled up with all the notifications when a comment is posted. Then, it hit me. Everyone who who signed up for comments is getting all those comments too.

On high traffic days, say Perfect Picture Book Fridays, I don't sign up for comment notifications. I'm not a numbers gal but multiple the participants by comments by responses and you have a flooded inbox. So, if I ask a question, I return to the post.

I've noticed some people don't respond to comments in the blog, rather they send an email response to comments. Waving to Robyn Campbell from Putting Pen To Paper. Robyn does this with her Blogger blog and kindly explained the highly scientific way to do this (or just hit reply to the email notification).

Keli Gwyn has a WordPress blog and does this. That's how I found the correct answer to her Friday Fun Victorian Style post last Friday.

Laura Barnes wrote a post about this topic back in October 2011. I found Comments, Comments, Comments through her search button. She offers tips on how to respond to comments and asks the question: Is it silly to expect people to return to your blog to read your response to comments? 


It's a valid question. I may try an experiment this week and respond to comments like Robyn and Keli via email. I'll answer questions on the blog.

Do you care if a blogger responds via email to your comment or do you prefer to check the original post? I'm interested in the feedback.

On Wednesday, dead men will be here.

Just kidding. Author Nancy Lauzon will stop by to talk about her new book A Few Dead Men. I hope you are able to meet her.

Update: Wouldn't you know I would begin a conversation and then be away from the computer. I saw the first comments via my iPhone in a doctor's waiting room (all is OK) and decided not to email responses, because it sounds like everyone is getting too many emails.

66 comments:

  1. Actually yes! I do care! And often times I sign up to read comments other people put, especially if its a good post. And in fact, I recently I I unfollowed someone because they never responded to my comments, even though they responded to others. Not to mention I was offended by something they posted about. So, to me, it's a huge deal!

    Although I am kind of bad with it on my blog, so it's not a whole deal breaker. But if you had in another negative to ignoring comments, it can be a huge problem!

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    1. Nicole, I've unsubscribed due to "offense" too. I do try to respond to each comment. When I posted this on Monday, I didn't realize my day would keep me away from the computer — the entire day. So, here I am on my Tuesday morning MST, answering responses. I get confused when I see that bloggers respond to some and not others. Thanks for being part of the conversation.

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    2. Interestingly, I read a "How to be a successful blogger" article - I can't remember where - and it said that it was not essential to respond to comments that did not need responses. I don't know that I agree. But I thought you should know that advice is out there.

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  2. I sign uo for particularly interesting topics or if I have asked a question in the comments.

    I do go back and see, but not all the time.

    I have been thinking about this since Susanna Leonard Hill has started doing a comment email as well as replying on the blog and I have really appreciate this. I have wondered about doing this myself, but don't know if I want to start receiving comments by email from every blog. I purposely use Google Reader so that my email inbox is not too full. So for me I am still contemplating all this.

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    1. Joanna, I admire your ability to use Google Reader. I've tried and just fall right off that wagon. So, I go back to email subscription. I also find that many WordPress bloggers only have the email subscription option. Some don't provide RSS feed or the Networked app through Facebook. Maybe I'm missing something. Since I wasn't able to respond on Monday, I looked at all the comments and decided against the email option. I appreciate everyone stopping by and don't want to add to the inbox load. :)

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  3. I reply to all comments but don't follow up after that. To me, its like chatting to people at a party....you like everyone, but you haven't got the time to share with everyone..

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    1. Mark, That's a great way to describe it.

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  4. I read a LOT of blogs every day. There is no way I can get comment notification on all of them - my inbox is overflowing as it is with all the comments from 12X12 etc on FB, email notifications of blog posts, and all my usual mail. I also really can't remember which blogs I've visited in a day, where I've left what comment etc. So I really like the email response provided by Disqus (and I guess blogger and wordpress?) where when the blogger responds to your specific comment it comes to your inbox. That way I know they responded and what they said, and I can reply again if I want. That is how I do it now too, since I got Disqus. I know some people don't like that - so they just leave their email address off the Disqus form and then I can only reply on the blog and it's up to them to check back. But this is a very interesting discussion - I'm glad you brought it up and I will check back here today to see what people are saying! :)

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    1. Oh Susanna (hey that might be a question). A lot of folks gave their two cents on the topic. As a result and an odd day away from the computer, I decided not to do the email option. I don't mind it, but it might be more than I can handle or anyone else wants to handle. :) I turned off my FB notifications and just check in a few times a day to see the conversation. It's saved me a lot of time.

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  5. I go back to read the response to my comments. I also like to read other people's comments. I go back especialy when I ask a question or say I don't understand something. Sometimes I forget, but mostly I go back! :)

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    1. Erik, Being a few decades older, I'm glad to see we have this in common: "Sometimes I forget, but mostly I go back! :)" I enjoy reading comments, too. It's interesting to see what other people think.

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  6. Great post Stacy and thank you for including the links so I could catch up on prior discussions of this topic.

    I try to comment at least once per week on the blogs to which I subscribe. I'll often take that opportunity to glance back at the prior post to see if the blogger responded to my comment. It's manageable while I subscribe to only about 30 blogs at present!

    I appreciate receiving an email with a personal response when warranted, but I guess I prefer generic comment responses be added to the blog comments to create a richer conversation for all the followers.

    Helpful post!

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    1. Cathy, I try not to think about the number of blogs I follow. I love your process. I check other blogs too when I comment on some posts. I agree about the "richer" conversation part.

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  7. I don't usually sign up to receive comments. I visit too many blogs! I really only know of a couple of bloggers who reply back to me via email. Most just respond within the comments section of their blog. And I'm actually one of those people who does go back occasionally to see what others have said.

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    1. L.G., I was late in responding to these comments via the post, so I hope I didn't waste your return trip. Life happened and I wasn't able to respond. After reading the comments on Monday, I decided not to respond via email. Seems like everyone's inbox is stuffed.

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  8. I rarely subscribe to comments, unless it's a conversation I'm *very* interested in. If I have time, I prefer to go back to a blog, not just to see if the author has responded to my comment, but to read the other comments as well.

    The Disqus thing that Susanna has is interesting, and does let me see her response to my comments, but I wouldn't want it happening on all the blogs I read and comment on -- that would result in too many emails.

    Now that I'm following so many blogs, I'm not as conscientious about commenting on them all, I'm afraid. I tend to read them in the email or on the reader, and only click through if I have something I particularly want to say. So I assure people -- I *am* reading!

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    1. Beth I have a term for that "read and run." I've been doing that A LOT lately. I took your comment about not wanting every blog you follow to send emails. I decided not to do it after reading the comments.

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  9. If I ask a question, I try to remember to return to read the follow-up comment. Otherwise, why would I ask it? : )

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    1. True Emily. The beauty of the Internet is that the responses are there when you return whether it's a day or a week.

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  10. Great post, Stacy. I try to remember to go back and check comment threads that I'm interested in following, but the ebb and flow of life tends to get in the way. The email response to a specific comment is nice, but wouldn't be a deal breaker for me for whether or not I follow a blog. I assume people have busy lives outside of the internet! I respond to each comment on my blog, I don't get so much traffic that it's overwhelming. It's an interesting topic.

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    1. Heather, How appropriate to say "the ebb and flow of life tends to get in the way." I wasn't around the computer at all on Monday after I began this conversation. I was a bad blogger, but had Mom and wife issues to live. :) Glad it's not a deal breaker, as I've decided not to email responses.

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    2. Real life and family always takes precedence! The comment thread here has been quite interesting. Thanks!

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  11. Interesting post, Stacy! I feel that responding to comments are like many aspects of blogging—there's no rule or "best" way that works for everyone.

    I read and savor every comment I receive and typically respond to those that stand out. If a person puts thought and effort into a comment, I try to reciprocate. I replied to every comment in the beginning, but that becomes super time intensive as our readership grows. Same for revisiting blogs: sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I'm not offended if people don't reply to my comments partly because I agree with Heather—we're all busy.

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    1. August, Well said. I've wondered how you pick and choose your responses. For now, I'm able to address each one. It doesn't take too much time. Of course, today I'm a full day late.

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  12. I should look into that emailing one because it can get ridiculous and you do feel bad if you didn't see a response somewhere on the blogosphere but agree with others we're all busy.

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    1. Catherine, Yes. Busy. Busy. Just like my toddler.

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  13. I used to subscribe to blog comments when I'd left one, but I soon learned that I didn't have time to read through them all, waiting to see if someone said something that was meant for me. I realized others don't have time to return to my blog either, so that's why I've taken to responding to comments via email at times. What's fun is that I'm able to be more personal in my email replies than I can be on the blog, where the comments are visible by everyone. My email interchanges do more to help build friendships than my replies to comments ever did.

    (Thanks for the mention and link in your post, Stacy. I appreciate it.)

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    1. Keli, I like your email responses, so keep them coming. I decided after my odd day on Monday and the responses here that I wouldn't try it. I guess I'll call this "writing to my market."

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  14. On my blog, I try to reply to every comment but I can still do it because my readership is still small. There are busy times when I have to make a choice between being crazy or just writing a blanket reply to everyone who was so nice to stop in and comment.

    From the side of the commenter, I do appreciate that as a blog gets more traffic, the blogger cannot possibly reply to every single post. And if the blogger is going to reply, as a visitor, I want to read those replies. So I vote for keeping comments on the blog instead of via email. Of course, this isn't a vote, is it? LOL!

    Have a great day, Stacy!

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    1. Sheila, It sort of is a vote. I value everyone's time and feedback. After I read the responses, I decided not to try the email option. While I like it, not everyone does. I enjoy reading comment conversations too.

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  15. I hardly ever subscribe to comments. I try to keep my emails to a minimum. However, I will visit a site more than once if the discussion is interesting or if I ask a question. I don't feel offended if someone doesn't reply to my comment. If I *really* need an answer to a question, there are usually other ways to contact people.

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    1. Hannah, I'll do my part to keep you email to a minimum. I agree there are other ways to contact people. It's always frustrating when there isn't contact information on the blog.

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  16. I try to check back but this week I've started the Two Writing Teachers March challenge & there are so many blogs I'm reading that I can't remember, except for those I follow. Only a few reply to my comments, like you mostly Stacey. I have tried replying to those who comment to me, but again, it's time. If it's just a small group on some days I will take the time. It's a tough call. I do receive the Discus comments via e-mail from two different people. There is one blog that I talk back & forth with. So, it depends on who I guess. Thanks for the thoughts!

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    1. Linda, I'll be repying here as usual. I totally understand the time issue. I ran into that Monday. I didn't have a chance to visit blogs on Monday as I normally do. I'll be doing that later today hopefully. :) Good luck with your challenge. I'll stop by to check it out.

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  17. Terrific blog today Stacy. I used to subscribe to comments when I wasn't following so many blogs. Can't do it now. I respond to every comment, and I have enjoyed some of the discussions that take place. I try to check back. I know word press alerts me when someone has responded to a post I've left -- but there is a disconnect with google. I can't find discus on WP. I have a completely separate account to view blogspot. If it someone has an interesting comment, I check back. But, there are a lot of bloggers who post and never respond because they are more popular blogs and they receive a lot of commments. I just know I have to begin figuring this out for myself, because I don't want to spend the day in front of the computer.

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    1. Patricia, I wasn't able to spend Monday in front of the computer, so here I am responding on Tuesday. :) I find some popular blogs don't get many comments, because they don't respond. It's more of a "read and run" scenario where everyone knows they don't respond, so there's no conversation. I comment randomly on a popular blog and most times receive a response. The author never gets any comments, so she always seems grateful for the ones she gets.

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  18. I'll be honest...if I make a comment on a blog, I like to see comments (especially from the blog-owner person) on MY comment. More honesty - I do not have time (I wish I did) to read all the comments on any one blog. Many times I do NOT follow comments because I just don't have time - I delete all subsequent comments that come to my email once I see your respond-comment to my comment. I do copy/paste URLs on a few blogs I think I might refer to later on - that list is about 50 pages. And, wait, there's more. I don't even follow my own blog posts after a couple weeks. If I get a late-comer, I look at the comment but don't always respond.

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    1. Karen, I LOVE your honesty. I've thought about creating a page of blog URLs I typically follow, so I could clean up my inbox and reader. I haven't done that yet. Perhaps that's an experiment I should try.

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  19. I like a blogger to respond somehow, someway. Via email or via the comment section ... either way works for me.

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    1. Beth, I like your flexibility. I decided after my Monday that I should just stick to comments here. :)

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  20. I try and check back when I leave a comment on someone's blog. I also will respond to comments via email on my blog post but haven't done so recently.

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    1. Jennifer, D'Oh, That's right, I have received email comments from you. I like that, but decided after reading some of the comments here I wouldn't do it on mine.

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  21. Funny you asked. I was just thinking about this now that I've been trying to be more social. I've always wondered if I'll get a response on my comments. But sometimes it's not easy for me to check back and look for my comment for a follow-up comment. So then I recently started subscribing to the "comments" so I don't miss any replies directed to me.

    My other question is if you click "reply" on a comment, is that the same as sending them a personal e-mail, as you mentioned? I'm confused. If you reply to my comment, I guess I'll find out.

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    1. Romelle, I replied to your comment via email. If it worked?! I'll be replying in the post. I'm hoping blogger will one day offer the function to subscribe to replies to your comment. This would be the ideal situation, if you could subscribe to only your comment.

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  22. I usually check back, but emails are nice to. Either works for me. :)

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    1. Kelley, I'm going to just respond on the post. :) So, I hope you were serious about either way working.

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  23. A few months ago when I started visiting other blogs and commenting I would check back to see if they responded to my comment.

    Then I noticed the nice little "subscribe to comments" butoon, and thought, that sounded so convienent!

    So I subrscribed and my mailbox BLEW UP, so now I'm back to checking in again....

    I think it might be a vicious cycle in the making!

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  24. Mandy, I think it is a vicious cycle. Sometimes, I look at the blog and make a decision to "subscribe by email" based on whether they have a lot of comments. If there are 100 comments, NO WAY will I subscribe. If there a handful, I will. :)

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  25. I agree. If the post has lots of comments, I might swing by again, but I won't subscribe to the comments. Interestingly, I only subscribe to Blogger comments. To subscribe to Wordpress comments involves checking my inbox and responding to a link, so I don't bother. I didn't know Blogger offered nested comments now. I'll check it out!

    ~Debbie

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    1. Debbie, I know Wordpress involves an extra email to subscribe!

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  26. I follow some bloggers who reply by email rather than posting their replies to their blog. I'm fine with that, but my thought is that if someone asks a question, the person asking the question is the only one who gets a reply, if it is by email. If I stop at a blog and someone asks a question that I also want to ask, I'm not going to ask it again. I'll come back to the blog to see what the answer is.

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    1. Good point Susanne. Now that I know how to reply via email, I have utilized it for a quick response, but I'll keep commenting on the blog.

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    2. The nice thing about Disqus, if I might interject, is that the response gets posted on your blog and gets sent back to the person who posted the comment (if they leave an email). That makes two actions take place with one step. Just FYI. :)

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    3. Laura, I like the idea of Disqus. I'm thinking I'll have time after revisions to update the blog.

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  27. In general, I don't subscribe to comments. Sometimes a blog post will pop back in my mind later and I will go back and check to see what responses came in after mine.
    I find it more tricky on my own blog. I visit everyone's site when they comment--but also reply in the comments when it seems necessary. I still haven't figured out the best way yet though.

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    1. Coleen, Of course, that's the beauty of the blogging process. It's pretty fluid. So, it's easy to experiment to see what works.

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  28. My blog still doesn't have that reply button :( I've been waiting for it to turn up but no luck. I do respond in the comments and I'm pretty sure most people don't come back because they are too busy. Some do however. I tried responding via emails but my email got so clogged up it become too overwhelming.

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  29. I'll admit it. I cheated a bit when I saw Lynda's comment and emailed her an answer. If you have a Blogger blog and don't have the nesting comments, it could be because you have a pop up box. Peggy Eddleman wrote a good post about it here: http://peggyeddleman.blogspot.com/2012/01/finally-nesting-lets-have-party.html If you want to add the nesting comments, you may want to check out Peggy's post.

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  30. I don't usually subscribe to comments, but I do almost always return to read replies. For me, comments are as much a part of blogging as the actual posts, sometimes more.

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    1. I agree Ray. We've had a fun conversation here.

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  31. I almost never return to a post once I've commented.

    I signed up for Intense Debate *before* Google began offering nested comments, but what I liked as a commenter on sites that had it before me, that I got back via e-mail the response to MY comment - and no more. Plus the whole Comment Luv plug-in.

    I just don't have time to keep track of where I've been and return to those blogs - and I don't have time to read all 50+ comments from somebody else's blog, either. Inbox too full as it is.

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    1. Beverly, I find most days I don't have time to read all the comments on a post before I make my own. I like your Intense Debate function.

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  32. I'm so glad you brought this up! I've been wondering how everyone keeps up with all of THEIR comments and replies.

    I discovered NESTING recently, and by accident. Blogger changed the setup beneath the comment box and I was no longer able to just "Subscribe to (an individual post)Email" anymore. At least there I was able to see if they replied to my comment. SO, I changed my settings to EMBEDDED comments, giving me a reply option.

    Hate that I can't follow up anymore on those bloggers who haven't embedded/nested yet!

    I like the conversation on my posts and others. But, I don't expect those who have long lists of blogs that they visit to always make it back to mine for a response to their response, which is a response to my response... *g*

    But, when they do... Excitement! Of course, I still have a modest following on my blog. I imagine adjustments are needed when it grows. I'm not complaining.

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  33. Scarlett, I noticed the Blogger Subscribe option vanished on the pop up boxes. Sigh. I guess that broke me of some of my subscription habit. :)

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  34. Great post, Stacy, and great comments. Your decision to not reply by email has really proven what I truly believe - only you can decide what is best for your blog. I love the method you used to make your decision.

    As for me, I do use Disqus because I wanted the nested comments before Google added them. I originally tried Intense Debate and had lots of problems. Disqus allows me to respond to the email and have it post on my blog. I love this feature. I may go back to just Blogger now that they have this format. I have to feel it out for a bit before I decide.

    I follow hundreds of blogs these days. I can't read them all and many of them I read on my phone when I'm out and about. This means I don't get a chance to comment as much as I'd like. I try to hit 10 people a day. That's not much, but it's what I can do!

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    1. Laura, I find it more difficult t comment using my iPhone. I think 10 is an excellent daily goal.

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