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Admiral Theia

Women in the Game, a Poll of Sorts

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4 hours ago, Admiral Theia said:

Okay, so, I’m going to address a few things without quoting anyone directly.

First off, I have a unique view of the gaming world, I think, as a trans woman.  I’ve been gaming since I was 13.  I transitioned six years ago.  I’ve played just about every type of game and mechanic there is.  Can you guess what the biggest difference between pre and post transition for me?  How men teach me games.  Before, when they thought I was a guy, they would usually just give a simple, quick description of mechanics, or at least ask me what my experience was and go from there.  Now?  Most of the men who teach me new rules break it down Barney style.  I’ve had dudes explain to me what a die is for for frak’s sake.  That NEVER happened before.

In addition, there is of course gatekeeping.  Before when I’d ask to learn a game or have someone teach me something they’d just assume I knew what I wanted to learn and jump in.  Now?  I get a bunch of “Are you sure” type questions, guys who try to explain what type of game it is to me and “make sure” it’s the type of game I like.

Then, of course, there is they typical “guy banter”.  Now, my Armada community here isn’t bad about it, but scarcely does a session at the FLGS go by without me hearing some sexist bulls**t or a r**e joke.

Then there is socialization.  Adam Connover did a great “Ruin” episode wherein he explains why video games (and, subsequently I think, games in general) are seen as “for boys”.  Also, as part of socialization, young women and girls are taught to be socially accommodating, to be social in a non-confrontational way.  Most games, particularly mini games, are oppositional, confrontation built into the bedrock of the genre.

I can’t tell you all the number of times I’ve felt uncomfortable at a tournament or event.  ****, I had a guy quit in the first round of a CC campaign because I called him out on some sexist crap he was saying and “embarrassed him in front of his girlfriend” (Who was just there to watch, which I’ve never understood, same as when I worked in a poker room),  though I think he was more embarrassed by the shellacking I gave him, losing to a woman and all that.

Lastly, the human race is NOT “sexually dimorphous”. our sex is determined by a whole range of factors, all of which exist on a spectrum, and many of which do not agree with each other on which of the two categories we typically put people in (e.g. “XY” chromosomes but androgen averse and thus developing the secondary characteristics typically ascribed to women, to include genitalia).



Thank you for putting in the effort to write up and share this.  I think you're in a very epistemologically privileged position given that you've been able to experience the gaming community when perceived-as-male and as a woman.  I think raising the awareness of these sorts of issues is important and can be beneficial to the inclusivity and longterm health of the community.  I think most people in the gaming community are generally well-intentioned but largely unawares of how unwelcoming the community can be, and even can be unaware of how their own behavior can be unintententionally off-putting.  More discussions like this ideally help individuals reflect and improve.

 

Edited by AllWingsStandyingBy

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6 hours ago, Admiral Theia said:

Lastly, the human race is NOT “sexually dimorphous”. our sex is determined by a whole range of factors, all of which exist on a spectrum, and many of which do not agree with each other on which of the two categories we typically put people in (e.g. “XY” chromosomes but androgen averse and thus developing the secondary characteristics typically ascribed to women, to include genitalia).

Oops, I totally miswrote there. I should've used something like polymorphism with a theoretical genetic dimorphism, which almost never gets expressed to its full extent, at its basis. Or just polymorphism.

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6 hours ago, Admiral Theia said:

Lastly, the human race is NOT “sexually dimorphous”. our sex is determined by a whole range of factors, all of which exist on a spectrum, and many of which do not agree with each other on which of the two categories we typically put people in (e.g. “XY” chromosomes but androgen averse and thus developing the secondary characteristics typically ascribed to women, to include genitalia).

Oops, I totally miswrote there. I should've used something like polymorphism with a theoretical genetic dimorphism, which almost never gets expressed to its full extent, at its basis. Or just polymorphism.

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I have very mixed feelings about "women only" tournaments. On the one hand, if they provide a "safer" environment that encourages more women to try games like this, dispelling the notion that this is primarily a "male hobby", then that's probably a good thing. And yes, I think the behaviour of some male gamers- even the well-meaning ones- is boorish at best and unpardonably offensive at worst.

That said, I have a lot of reservations about sexually-segregating hobbies like Armada, because it subtly reinforces the notion that males and females are different species who operate best within their own "tribe" and need to be kept apart. I know a number of women who absolutely hate and resent being segregated with other women, and I also know a number of men who don't feel comfortable in a loud, loutish, testosterone-fuelled climate. In Armada, there is no reason why females can't compete with the best male players and if the former are being put off by the attitudes of wider society or the behaviour of certain men, then that is what needs to be adjusted.

Sticking our female fellow players in a separate room isn't really progress, in my eyes.

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Appropriate teaching is a skill that not many gamers have as well.

I'm sure many male gamers can't be helped but be called out as "mansplainers" from one extreme to not breaking it down "Barney style" enough in another. Simply because they do not have the skill for identifying ones learning needs and applying the appropriate teaching method.

It is disappointing that male culture in competitive Armada is a barrier for women playing. Just locally I've seen maybe 10% of an X-Wing nationals were women which I thought was great compared to Armada. So something is being done right over there! 

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58 minutes ago, Irokenics said:

.t is disappointing that male culture in competitive Armada is a barrier for women playing. Just locally I've seen maybe 10% of an X-Wing nationals were women which I thought was great compared to Armada. So something is being done right over there! 

The Armada community is without a doubt the best wargaming community I've even been a part of in this respect.  It might just be my local scene, but compared to other games I've participated in, Armada is really a step above the rest.

Edit: this isn't meant to downplay issues anyone else experiences or to suggest that nothing needs to be done to address issues others are facing.  I've seen a lot of sexist stuff in my day but Armada is the lightest offender by far.

Edited by duck_bird
Phone format is not manner

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In some communities, it would be almost impossible to have a discussion like this without it quickly and irrevocably degenerating. The fact that things here have (so far!) remained pretty positive and civil bodes well for Armada.

1 hour ago, LennoxPoodle said:

An all female event shouldn't be necessary, but sadly the situation suggests it is.

It really depends how it is handled. As a means of attracting women to the game- and as @Admiral Theia said, showing the sceptical that yes, women can and should try this game- it may have some utility. But as @duck_bird pointed out, it also has the potential to patronise female players. Women don't need special events; they just need to feel more welcome at regular ones! I certainly wouldn't want women to feel ghettoized into same-sex only tournaments.

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On 12/15/2018 at 3:16 AM, Admiral Theia said:

i think the disparity of men in the game vs women and NB people is someth8ng that should get better.

As a non-binary person, thanks!

There's several non-male people who play in our local group, but I think only one went to Regionals last year.  As you mentioned in another post, gatekeeping and other toxic behaviors (or even the expectation of such) can make public events uncomfortable even if most folks are welcoming.

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18 minutes ago, ExplosiveTooka said:

Note that non Male only tournaments wouldnt segregate non men. They could still play in "normal" tournaments.

True, but it's not encouraging integration (and better male behaviour) either. I can see genuine bigots/misogynists using the existence of "non male only" tournaments as a perverse justification for their behaviour, along the lines of "they have their own events now, which I can't enter, so why should I change to accommodate them in the events I can enter?" Now for the record, I don't think that's a reasonable argument, but unfortunately I can see it being made- particularly as Armada isn't as well-catered for as other games.

So while you're right that it's not explicitly segregating people, it's not really helping to create a mindset that men, women and non-binary should be able to enjoy the game together, without feeling threatened. I can understand why those of us who face abuse and prejudice want a safe space in which to play and I'm certainly not knocking that; I just feel the way to deal with it is by encouraging a more sensitive and welcoming atmosphere in mainstream events.

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On 12/15/2018 at 3:14 AM, SkyCake said:

*litre of wine in me*

My question is why are their so few?

Can't be that women don't enjoy playing games, because I know a lot that do...

Can't be that women don't have the skills for something like armada, cause I know a lot that do...

Can't be that women don't like star wars cause I know a lot that do.

Likewise, for the reasons most armada players would say they like the game, you don't find any reasons that would be biased based on sex...

Not sure what it is and I don't have any theory behind the reason it's this way. Kind of perplexing when you think about it.
If I had to guess though it would likely be some sort of social programming during gen x and previous that divides the sexes more distinctly so that there is very little overlap. Along those lines then it may be that women are taught to favor status highly(nerds being the bottom off the totem pole the last fifty or so years), and so to be seen with nerds, let alone identify as one is tantamount to social suicide in the female mind.

Or perhaps it's the one on one confrontational nature of armada that females dislike... I work in a casino, amongst slot players I'd say there is an even split amongst the sexes, if anything it's more female. At table games it's perhaps 80/20 in favor of males.. At poker it's like 98-99 percent dudes...remember at poker it's patron vs patron, not patron versus house... That dynamic changes things a lot, the intimidation factor goes way up...typically females are brought to poker by a male..the rarest of birds is the female that shows up on her own volition. One could easily view game stores that way...Lord knows there are a lot of armada owners who are loathe to show up to the store to play because they feel the same sort of intimidation factor, this before sex even gets involved.

Whatever the reason is, I'm not sure that this trend is reversing any time soon. Which sucks cause if this game needs anything it's more players, male and female!

 

 

Society.  (disclaimer: when I say men, I don't mean all men.  If you think I do, you may want to reflect on yourself) (additional disclaimer: wearing a duster and a fedora does not mean you are a bad person, it's just associated with people that are.  I'm not a racist, but I own khaki cargo shorts, I would never wear them with a white shirt while going to a tiki themed event due to the fact that it's been associated with people of a certain belief)

My wife is HIGHLY competitive.  She's **** good at games too.  There are some games I play with her that for the life of me I can't figure out how she continues to not only beat me, but crush me.  I know the strategies for the game, I play it correctly and efficiently making all the right choices...yet in the end when the points are tallied, she'll double my score.  She's actually probably overly competitive.  I almost stopped a game of Rebellion because she was getting a little too worked up.  She threatened (jokingly...I hope) divorce over a somewhat evil scheme I pulled against her (took two of her leaders out of play, turning 1 to the dark side).  After the game I offered to switch factions next game.  She vehemently refused saying that she plans to crush the Empire with her Rebel forces.  She seemed honestly offended by the offer.

Women are not allowed to be competitive in public though.  It's threatening to men.  Men can't handle being beat (in anything) by women.  I've seen guys who, when they lose a game, are incredibly generous.  They congratulate the winner.  They offer up advice.  They talk about their mistakes.  They have an open discussion about the match...when they lose to another guy.  I've seen those same guys lose to a woman and absolutely lose their mind.  "I let her win." "I didn't try cause it's a girl." "She got lucky."  "It was the dice."  "She was cheating." "She made so many mistakes, so I lost because I felt bad."  "I've won enough stuff that I figured I'd just throw this tourney and let other people win some stuff."  "I didn't want the best prize, so I tossed that game."  "I didn't want her to cry, so I let her win."  

Beyond that, gaming spaces are populated by a lot of not-friendly-to-women sort of people.  My wife is into games, comics, sci-fi, and all sorts of nerdy things.  She has a comp sci major and a math minor.  She works in the software engineering field.  She walks into comic book stores and is treated poorly.  Some staff just outright ignore her, or try to direct her to 'girly' things.  Other patrons make comments.  If you've spent any time on Reddit, you've seen the sort of misogynistic folks that inhabit our world, and a lot of them are big into comics, games, tech.

When women are constantly submitted to that sort of behavior, they just avoid those sorts of situations.  I know that I can go to any tourney and more often than not, nothing negative will happen.  The occasional incident is easy to brush aside as an isolated incident.  My wife however has to go into any situation expecting problems.  She has to be mentally prepared to deal with some jerk acting like an idiot.  She has to be prepared for snide remarks, or disapproving looks for invading a male dominated space.

I've seen how my wife and daughter are treated in online gaming situations.  I've compared it to how my son and I are treated.  It's a totally different world.  The hostility is entirely real.

Here's a nice example of this sort of thing.  My wife is a member of the party committee at her office (the only woman in the office).  Everything had already been decided, plans set in motion, non-refundable deposits made, etc for the xmas party.  Two of the guys on the committee started offering up new ideas.  These ideas were strictly against office policy (conflict of interest due to ownership of venues, company funds, that sort of thing).  Their boss had just reminded them of this policy a mere 2 weeks earlier.  When my wife reminded them of the policy, they said they didn't believe such a policy existed, and if it did, it was dumb.  They continued with their ideas.  She informed them that it was really too late to change plans anyways, because deposits had been made, plans had been set in stone, emails with details had been already sent out.  They persisted anyways waving away all those concerns.  She informed them about the policy yet again, they continued to call the policy dumb but finally relented.  After the meeting, they both went into the boss's office and complained about how bossy my wife is, how she won't listen to other ideas (she didn't initiate any of the original plans), and how she's mean and controlling.  They both quit the committee.  They never told the boss how they were trying to go against company policy.  Nope, all my wife's fault.  These gentlemen are both duster wearing, fedora equipped fellows.

Here's a couple more stories.  There's a car mechanic here in town.  Runs his own place.  Talented guy, good prices.  I know next to nothing about cars.  I can change a tire, and my oil, but I don't have the faintest clue about the inner workings of a car engine, or what a carburetor does.  If I go to this guy's shop, he'll talk for hours about cars, car problems, specific stuff about my cars, brands, models, problems they have, etc.  I try desperately to leave but he never stops talking, and I don't understand any of it.  My wife took automotive repair classes.  She could drop an engine and overhaul it no problem.  She could probably rebuild a carburetor (thats a thing right?).  She tries to engage him about this stuff and he basically ignores her.  I personally love this, so I always send her to deal with this guy so I don't get stuck there in another multi-hour long conversation about the common issues of mid 90s pontiac bonnevilles.

In a previous job I worked in social services.  I supervised a staff of mostly women.  There was one client who was particularly difficult to deal with.  He screamed and shouted at all the female staff I had.  He berated them, ignored them, called them liars, insulted them, yelled at them.  The staff were never in the wrong.  They were providing good service and all the correct info, the guy just treated women like dirt.  When I dealt with him, he'd barely talk above a whisper and was always very polite...even though I was giving him the exact same info.

When you face that sort of behavior all day at work, in public, in the media, in politics, etc...  You don't exactly go out of your way to submit yourself to more of it during your limited recreational time.  It's not surprising really.  I've stopped going to venues because a big enough contingent of players or staff at those venues are complete jerks.  I don't go to businesses where I get rude service.  I avoid generally unpleasant social settings.  The only difference is women run into this more often than men.

As long as at least a small, extremely vocal group of misogynists inhabit the gaming world and people continue to let them treat other people like dirt, women, in general, will avoid competitive gaming situations.  This is the goal of the people that act this way.  By letting it happen unopposed, we only encourage them to continue this behavior.

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Trans woman here, my fiancé is AFAB NB. We both love Armada, but only play casually. For me, I'm just not very competitive, never have been, and the events I've gone to in the past (mostly MtG prereleases) were too much for me. I'm far enough along in transition that I get treated differently than before, but not so far that I can consistently pass, which can be incredibly uncomfortable and **** sometimes. So I don't think I'll be going to any events for a while. My fiancé is more competitive than I am, though, so maybe I'll get dragged along to one some day.

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You know why gaming is so attractive to so many different people?

No politics.

When you bring politics, any politics, into a gaming space it becomes toxic and splits the community. Let people be who they are outside of the game and fight your wars outside, don't bring it inside and(most) people won't have a problem. Describing a whole community as "gatekeeping" is the opposite of helping. I see a lot of confirmation bias and "smelly, misogynistic gamers just don't like women" here.

Here's the problem: an established group of people may adjust to bring in a new member but only if that new member also adjusts to the group dynamic and deosn't demand sweeping changes to accommodate them. This rule is gender neutral, if I enter any space I don't expect that group to immediately accommodate my interests, I instead lurk mor get to know my fellows and how they act. That guy who smelled a bit? Didn't notice as his nose is scorched due to his dad smoking 3 packs a day. `Show some tact and let him know discreetly. That guy who got tilted? Emotional problems due to horrible family life, the fact that he's here in the store and not swinging from a rafter is kind of a miracle. Approach it with tact and he'll probably apologize. Have. Some. Tact. You are entering a space populated by, traditionally, the bullied, mocked and looked down on, they are as threatened by you as you are by them. This is their space that you can become a part of and make it yours as well.

A group constantly bullied as "smelly, misogynistic, man children, still living in their parents basement pushing plastic army men around" is going to have a lot of hesitation and a little push back against new members, especially from a group that typically bullies them, women.

 

P.S. Not saying its ok to be a **** though, I'm saying have some tact and thicken up your skin, it's not as bad as this thread is making it seem.

Edited by Teh HOBO
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25 minutes ago, Teh HOBO said:

Describing a whole community as "gatekeeping" is the opposite of helping. I see a lot of confirmation bias and "smelly, misogynistic gamers just don't like women" here.

I agree with your first statement, but not the second.

Believe me, I'm as fed up as you are with the "all male gamers are smelly misogynists" stereotype, because like all sweeping generalisations, it's demonstrably untrue to anyone who cares to remove their blinkers. But I'm not seeing anyone here claim that is the case...if anything, most of us agree that the Armada community is pretty decent.

Yes, there needs to be tact on both sides and give-and-take...but it has to be on both sides. As you yourself identified, gaming is something that should be enjoyed by everyone...not merely those who were "there first".

51 minutes ago, Teh HOBO said:

A group constantly bullied as "smelly, misogynistic, man children, still living in their parents basement pushing plastic army men around" is going to have a lot of hesitation and a little push back against new members, especially from a group that typically bullies them, women.

Women who are interested in wargames aren't likely to be the ones mocking guys for playing them! It strikes me as rather unfair to push back against one group of women for the sins of another.

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3 hours ago, Dobbs Mottley said:

I agree with your first statement, but not the second.

Believe me, I'm as fed up as you are with the "all male gamers are smelly misogynists" stereotype, because like all sweeping generalisations, it's demonstrably untrue to anyone who cares to remove their blinkers. But I'm not seeing anyone here claim that is the case...if anything, most of us agree that the Armada community is pretty decent.

Yes, there needs to be tact on both sides and give-and-take...but it has to be on both sides. As you yourself identified, gaming is something that should be enjoyed by everyone...not merely those who were "there first".

Women who are interested in wargames aren't likely to be the ones mocking guys for playing them! It strikes me as rather unfair to push back against one group of women for the sins of another.

I am always open to new players, however I also support groups that don't want new players or only a certain type of players. If a group of guys don't want women in their group why is this a bad thing? People are proposing a women only tourney in this very thread. Women have plenty female only spaces, no one has any obligation to let you into their circle of friends, again, I'll play anyone who's there to play as long as they don't bring politics and can handle some banter, but some people have had bad experiences and that stuff leaves scars so they are who they are, shrug and move on. As for the sweeping generalizations, well, you aren't looking that hard then:
 

Quote

 

(disclaimer: when I say men, I don't mean all men.  If you think I do, you may want to reflect on yourself

Women are not allowed to be competitive in public though.  It's threatening to men.  Men can't handle being beat (in anything) by women. 

 

This is what I'm talking about, this attitude that it's men v women and men are the problem. This is why many men are touchy around women in their hobby, just like women are touchy around men walking into their spaces. Like I said, if a group doesn't want a certain type, let them, ignore them, make your own group let people make their own choices and, like you said, Armada is a very welcoming community if there aren't many women then its not because the fedoras are chasing them all away.

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42 minutes ago, Teh HOBO said:

I am always open to new players, however I also support groups that don't want new players or only a certain type of players. If a group of guys don't want women in their group why is this a bad thing? People are proposing a women only tourney in this very thread. Women have plenty female only spaces, no one has any obligation to let you into their circle of friends, again, I'll play anyone who's there to play as long as they don't bring politics and can handle some banter, but some people have had bad experiences and that stuff leaves scars so they are who they are, shrug and move on. As for the sweeping generalizations, well, you aren't looking that hard then:
 

This is what I'm talking about, this attitude that it's men v women and men are the problem. This is why many men are touchy around women in their hobby, just like women are touchy around men walking into their spaces. Like I said, if a group doesn't want a certain type, let them, ignore them, make your own group let people make their own choices and, like you said, Armada is a very welcoming community if there aren't many women then its not because the fedoras are chasing them all away.

Those are some interesting political views there bud

Now, before I get politically incorrect, I have to say the armada community is better than most. That being said.

Men are totally the problem. Saying women should just adapt is bull. Imagine you were at a tournament and one of your opponents made a comment about your ***. How would you feel?

How would you feel if someone grabbed your breast? They were just joking though.

How would you feel if when your girlfriend came by for a role playing game, this guy kept trying to ask her out. And when she mentioned having a girlfriend, the guy thought it was appropriate to ask for a threesome? 

Now, this type of stuff happened with 40k and warmachine, but the same logic applies. Who should change their behavior?

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On 12/16/2018 at 2:39 AM, LostFleet said:

It just makes me think, when I try to recruit I always think of male friends but don't consider female ones. 

This is a really good point that I didnt really notice about myself until now. Though, I'm curious if there are more causes to it. I have more male friends for instance, and I usually only try to bring people in After they've showed some sort of potential for interest in the hobby (and they tend to be male). 

That being said, of the women I've gotten to teach to play I didn't notice any difference between how quickly they picked it up compared to any of the guys.

I did ask my wife @Admiral Theia about her interest in a women only tournament, and she agreed she'd be a little more willing to do that kind of tournament, but she isn't too enticed by playing competitively instead if casually. 

I also picked her head a little more about this topic and she expressed that she felt extra pressured to do well as a women because when she is the only one in the store she tends to get a lot of attention. She also expressed a fear of mansplaining, which has happened even when she is just there to hang out. And then when she did show that she actually knew how to play the game she got swarmed for the rest of the time we were there. It was positive attention, but still overwhelming when she just wanted to relax at the store and somewhat dissuaded her from returning.

Personally I don't think there is a quick fix for this, but we can all help by making little changes in how we approach this issue. Invite more of your female friends to play, don't treat them any differently if they show interest, don't "test" their knowledge or skill, and try not to make a big deal out of it. And most importantly, don't be a ****. 

It'll take time, but this problem does seem to be (slowly) improving.

 

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5 hours ago, NightAngel47 said:

I also picked her head a little more about this topic and she expressed that she felt extra pressured to do well as a women because when she is the only one in the store she tends to get a lot of attention. She also expressed a fear of mansplaining, which has happened even when she is just there to hang out. And then when she did show that she actually knew how to play the game she got swarmed for the rest of the time we were there. It was positive attention, but still overwhelming when she just wanted to relax at the store and somewhat dissuaded her from returning.

My own wife hates going to game stores for this very reason. When I worked at a GW store in college, it was like village of the freaking damned. The only reason she does these days is shopping for me. I can only imagine how bad it is for a woman actually trying to play. I know @duck_bird had a few creepers at NOVA that talked to me about her. It was the same with both of those idiots: 1) "wow a girl that can play, lol" and 2) "I don't see her husband around, so I'm gonna take a pass lol." Thankfully, neither were Armada players and neither of them actually followed through. I hope I had something to do with that, but I can't know for sure. Sadly, I imagine these types of passing chuckleheads are all too common for female gamers, which drives down participation. It's a ridiculous thing to see this day and age, but here we are.

Edited by Truthiness

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