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Wanderer D


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Nov
7th
2012

Another Fan Fiction Rant · 7:25am Nov 7th, 2012

Have you ever thought about how much each single follower you have means in the grand scheme of things?

Think about it.

We fan fiction authors get a lot of crap about the status we have in the fandom. Less than musicians, less than sculptors, less than artists... and sure, we have our own scale of shame which depends on who is looking.

But seriously though. You can tell if you like a song pretty early on. Even if you need to listen to the whole thing, it takes you a few minutes that will basically allow you to decide if you want to put it up in your Ipod.

Same with art and sculptures. You look at them. Insta-like/dislike.

And we all sing praises to the merit of those artists, sculptors and musicians, who despite their incredible talent, only need a single moment to capture you. You like it, you follow.

Now think about your followers. Those that click on “Favorite” or “Watch”. These people have spent their time reading your story, anything from the word minimum to 10k, or even 20k-words-long, 3-chapters-long, incomplete stories.

What investment do they have to put in to follow you? It’s more than a glance. It requires immersion in your work.

Which is why I am so adamantly insistent on the how-to blogs and asking authors to participate; we are all part of this community, readers and writers alike, and we owe it to each other to try and be better at what we’re doing.

The basic grammar rule was due for a while, but it’s just that: basic grammar. We’re not going to proof-read for you, or edit. We will still pass sub-par stories, but that doesn’t mean I cannot try and encourage all of you to take the advice of those authors and to have some pride in your own work and treat it with respect.

What do I mean by respect? Well, going through the effort of finding an editor and a proof-reader is a good start. If you know that grammar gives you a hard time, well, those two will help you a lot!

Another thing would be to understand what you’re trying to do. Writing a good Trollfic (in the ‘satire’ aspect of it) is not simply about throwing words at a screen and putting together a grammatical nightmare whose only purpose is to provoke people into a fight. Seriously. It isn’t. If your point is to simply throw crap around and invoke the wrath of the reader, you’re basically wasting time. Theirs, ours, and yours. If you expect respect out of crap like that, you will be sorely disappointed. Sure, you’ll get a bunch of individuals with the collective intellect of a dead cactus who will praise you for writing such a thing, but really, you’re only showing that you don’t really have the capacity to write something worthwhile.

Same goes for those that publish their “very first fic!” with really bad grammar, obscene flow and cliched plot and then go and add on their summaries a variation of: “I would like some fan-art for this!” It almost offends me at times, when I see that. Basically, here we have a person that couldn’t be bothered to even check what they write... and they want fan-art. Wow.

Never mind that each piece of fan-art is an incredibly amazing and humbling thing to receive. But to demand it, when you cannot perform the simple task of respecting the language you are writing in? It’s almost an insult to any artist that might have otherwise considered it.

Where is the respect for your own work there? Answer: nowhere, because there never was. You didn’t even lose it. From the beginning you’re just throwing words and seeing what sticks; be it your poor attempt at humor at the expense of others, or your disregard for the time readers take to even look at your words.

Why are you wasting your time and ours? Fan fiction might not make you famous, but it can help you in the future.

Even if you are not going to be a professional writer, the criticism you can get here, the edits, the proofreading can teach you how to communicate better, which is an essential skill. Keep writing crappy sentences, making fun of stuff just to make people angry, and most likely, you’ll develop a bad habit of writing like that. It'll be fun writing a cover-letter.

"i th nk htah i wuld be purrfect fer this j0b bcause..."

Of course you might be one of those individuals that thinks that writing is really a waste of time, but then, why are you here? And furthermore, what are we doing by giving you our time? Here’s what I propose:

If you cannot show some form of respect for either your work, or this community, we should all ignore you. Not even down-vote your future “stories”. No comments. No “faves” except from those very few misguided individuals that already add your work to their favorites because they find a kindred spirit in you. I think, if you cannot show that you care for what you’re doing, you really don’t deserve any attention.

In fact, the kindest act I might be able to do for you, is simply to delete your waste of time. I mean, your story.

As for those others that do actually respect your own work, sometimes appreciation takes a bit of time, but when it comes it’s genuine. And with more and more of us showcasing the works of others that have done a good job? Yeah, you’ll get your followers. And they’ll be good ones.

tl:dr In a site where all the content is basically text? Shame on you.

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Comments ( 51 )

I feel you man. Every upload I put on gets 3 dislikes right off the bat. (Perhaps I should put more effort into my work)

It's sad when only like 15% of someone's watchers actually care about their stuff.

I actually used to have a 100 following at one point, methinks. However I asked, "Hey, why am I following this guy?" And then again, and again, and now it's down to a comfortable forty. I recommend everyone does a serious look-over of their followers if it exceeds a ridiculous amount. A lot of those people I couldn't even remember why I followed in the first place.

Anyway, digressions aside, well put rant. My past work might not show it, but my skills have been getting better. I'll show that by the next thing I hope to get published.

I have no quibbles here. Well said.

481608

I recommend everyone does a serious look-over of their followers if it exceeds a ridiculous amount.

I resent this dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/misc_Redheart_hmph.png

481613
I said ridiculous. Natrually, what classifies as ridiculous is widely open to interpretation. For me, it's over a hundred. For some, it's over a thousand. I follow people I enjoy following, whether it be blogs (Hi Wanderer) or stories, or simply because they're awesome people.

Speaking of...

I all ways read their stuff before i follow someone. If I like then i follow , if not then I don't

481618

Speaking of...

Uh-oh...

*checks notifications*

RazgrizS57 is watching you 2:38 am

Dis gun b bad... :twilightoops:

tl:dr In a site where all the content is basically text? Shame on you.

:rainbowlaugh:
These rants almost always make me laugh. You are good at writing comedy. :rainbowlaugh:

Now what good idea I saw here is...

throwing words and seeing what sticks

Probably worth a shot. :scootangel:

Edit. This reminds me of... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liRA6uVwmQw

My followers have always meant a lot to me because I have three stories, and the vast majority of them are there for The Immortal Game. They don't need to follow me when they can just favorite TIG to get the updates, and it really doesn't gain them anything because of how infrequently I post stories. When the small amount of work I've done with two comedies is enough to make someone feel like I've earned their attention, or when reading TIG makes someone interested enough in how I operate as a writer to follow me, that's pretty cool.

As for the idea of an author's relationship to their audience, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I'm against rules that would enforce any kind of quality standard beyond the objective and simple, but encouragement is different from enforcement, and I'm all for encouragement. How-to guides and author panels are (in my admittedly biased opinion) not just a popularity circle-jerk, they're a rallying cry to do better. They're a way of promoting hard work and skill-building over the traditional fanfiction standard of pumping something out in a day and slapping it onto the internet. A comment telling somebody that their mary-sue story made you get an aneurysm and die is purely discouraging, and so are added restrictive rules.

Wow that made my day! Thanks W~D!

I honestly try my best to write a story to the best of my ability. Just sometimes, when you get that dislike or bad comment for some stupid and non-legit reason, you kinda feel like this:

But it's a give and take with fan fiction. The writer actually has to give a crap, and so does the reader. It's not going to work any other way, one side cannot be without the other.

Inspiring blog post and a good explanation for the grammar rule (even though there shouldn't be any need for one, explanation or rule, that is).

These people have spent their time reading your story, anything from the word minimum to 10k, or even 20k-words-long, 3-chapters-long, incomplete stories.

Maybe it's just me, but I only follow authors if they consistently and over multiple stories put out good quality and interesting stories. Which means it's usually 100k+ words that are read before I click on the watch button.

Having only recently breaking the 100 Followers barrier, each and every one is important and makes me smile and do a giddy little dance. WDs blog, as always, is funny and spot on. Whenever I open a story and the grammar isn't even grade 7 quality I just want to smash my face into my desk. Flaws can sneak through even regirous editing, but when as story doesn't have proper punctuation or even use of quotation marks? That's just sad. :facehoof: :pinkiesick:

It's true, there are some who doesn't even bother with correcting the most obvious and eye-sore mistakes before posting!

Though, to be fair to some authors, there are some who are legitamately making mistakes due to English is a very minor language in their countries and their story is still very good to their standards.

tl:dr In a site where all the content is basically text? Shame on you.

I actually disagree with you on the tr;dl. Being able to write a good summary of any extended piece of text is a vital part of respecting your reader. It could be informally done and basically be your first paragraph or it could be the formal and ritualised abstract section of a scientific paper.[1] The abbreviation "tr;dl" kind of has a bad taste to it because it is often used to troll but I think rejecting summaries because of that is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

[1] tr;dl sections in scientific papers (which often appear labelled "abstract", "introduction" and "conclusion") are doubly vital both because scientists tend to be very busy people and because it's very easy to get lost in the details when reading of papers and so some sort of summarizing section to use as a map for navigating the text is vital.

I've always considered art to be, at it's heart, communication. Further, I consider writing to be the purest form of this communication. Painting and sculpture is visual, music is auditory. Literature is purely cerebral. I genuinely respect authors, and I'm one of those fucks who laugh in people's faces when they tell me they're artists. I wish more people took it seriously.

Thanks for all you're doing, Wanderer.

I feel a strong obligation to my followers. Especially since almost all of them are probably there for the one story. What I'm writing hasn't changed, much. How I write it on the other hand has changed. But you're right. It is about respect. It doesn't have to be a grave matter, but we should be able to have a good, enriching time. Ilu guys. :rainbowwild:

Pertaining to the grammar—
I am a dyspraxic/dyslexic. Spelling and grammar are uphill struggles for me— they are genuine challenges for me to overcome. Despite this, I force myself to write with as high quality as I can physically can.

So when I see so called 'normal people' with spelling and grammar worse than mine, I am understandably angry. How dare they lower themselves below me, how dare they not even attempt to achive more than I can. It is an insult. It's saying 'since spelling and grammar aren't important, I won't bother and neither should you'. But I am bothered. I do care about my writing. It will never be perfect, I understand that, but I can bloody well put some damn effort into it.

And do you know what I find more insulting?

"I m handicape so goe esy n I plse"

And? I am fucking handicapped! Yet somehow, I'm able to write better than a brainless monkey. Stop using whatever your disability is as a shield to protect you from the world, and treat it for what it actually is— an obstical that must, nay, will be overcome. There is a reason why I never mention my difficulties in the synopsis of a story— it's on my bio, and I will rant about it in comments, but I don't bring it up on the story itself. Because I see it as giving up. It's saying 'I can't write properly, but can you read it out of pity for me'. I dont want pity readers, and no one else should either. I want readers that genuinely enjoy my stories for being entertaining, not because they feel some sort of obligation to humor the 'special kid'. And once I have secured those readers, I have an obligation to keep on being entertaining— they are dedicating hours to me, it's the least I can do to return the favour.

Rant over. For now.

I am honestly confused by the concept of asking for fanart, period. I mean when I got spontaneous fanart of my OC it was so much more awesome than if I had asked for it. When I got a guild commissioned sketch for my MMO character and the artist had gone all out on it because he liked the character, that was also way cooler than if I had paid for the works.

481759
This. I don't get this either. Fanart to me is pretty much a recognition that there is somebody out there who likes your story enough to draw something (be it a scene or a character) from it, kind of like an informal award that your story is good (or at least likeable) enough.

481751

Well said. As a fellow dyslexic I feel pretty much the same way.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Don't you badmouth trollfics! >:V

Being an entertainer, even in as loose of a sense as this, is a very fulfilling experience for me. I've got around sixty-three human followers, (and 281 favorites on my newest story) and every time I publish a new chapter I feel happy to be possibly entertaining them.

On the subject of art, you never just say that people should make it. Sure, you can commission someone for it, (I've done so. The artist completed it willingly and was happy that I used it.) but humility is part of being a good author. If you can perceive your flaws as people point them out, then, chances are, you can and will try to improve, and that should be a major goal for any writer--that is, before having fun, that is.

It's simple; if you want to get anywhere in writing fanfiction, you usually have to try.

481826

:trixieshiftright:

Also, I too take into account those who follow me and read my stories, but honestly, while I do love every single one of them, I almost always tend to fear them rather than truly show I care about them. I could explain why, but that would require writing a story in itself. Simply put, I fear that I won't meet the expectations of my readers.

When one of my chapters ends on a cliffhanger, most of the reactions are...well, incredible, but rediculous.

I can't paste it here, because it would be counted as spam, but if you to this and scroll down to the comments section, you will see why I do, indeed, fear them over expectations. Granted, I am the author, so I have the freedom to do whatever I wish with my story, but if I tend to always believe that if I cock-up once, then everything will fall apart. :pinkiecrazy:

They expect a great story, but I can't please everyone :ajsleepy:

-Hivemind :twistnerd:

The grammar-filter is appreciated.
A feature for which I have often yearned is the ability to 'hide author' (or 'hide tag') from searches, browsing, etc. This way, as soon as I realize that an author is.. ahem... unlikely to produce anything I would want to read, I won't have to see their work again. Ideally, I could write a filter (in SQL perhaps?) blocking all HiE stories except those by a followed author.

I completely agree except for one detail:
There's no such thing as a good trollfic. They're all a waste of time. :ajbemused:

Let's see, i've been on FiMFiction for.... 6 weeks? I don't remember, and I'm too lazy to check. Anyway, I really only follow three people who I should continue to follow... I used to think of "Watching" someone, as being a sort of 'Friends list' rather than a 'subscription box.'
And now, after seeing Much Ado About Nothing (Surprisingly for the first time) I'm in a Shakespearean craze... So I'm constantly coming up with Shakespearean playwrites; A Village, an Oak, and a Castle in the Distance; A King and his Queen (Though A King and his Queen isn't technically an MLP fanfic...); and By the Windowsill (A mixture of modern setting, and Shakespearean style).

Edit: Why in the hay did I even write what I just said... Oh well, I'm too tired to question my logic.

Edit: Holy shit.... 21 weeks...

I'm not sure how to feel on the subject on the fanfiction community being the dregs of the fandom. I know that there are plenty of examples to show that we can create spectacular stories that just about anyone can like... but then I remember that there are examples that make us look like total doofuses.

Either way, I'm happy with how we've carved out our little niche here. I'm glad I'm here and able to interact with all the people that make this more than just watching a show about walking, talking merchandise.

Also, it should totally be a requirement for new users to the site to follow Wanderer D. Seriously. Like, they need to read through all the fanfiction blogs and click that they have read them so that they can finish registration. That way, when their future story gets disqualified for words best left in the gutter, they have no grounds to moan about it. The policy has spoken!

Great post and discussion!

I don't know if this is just me, (it probably is, things tend to be so) but I never thank people who favourite my stories or follow me, not because I'm not appreciative because I sure as hell am, but to me it seems that by saying thanks, you're almost negating their like for your work. I follow all of two people, because they are the two that truly inspire me with their work, so when people follow me or whatnot, I don't want to show I care by giving them some generic thank you message, I want to do it by writing. Each of my followers and each person who favourites one of my stories make me strive to do better, even if that means I have to give up the time I need to do work or socialise or whatnot, because I want to show them I care by actually producing something worthy of them following me. These ramblings probably didn't make any sense, but they were thoughts on the matter anyway.

Even if you are not going to be a professional writer, the criticism you can get here, the edits, the proofreading can teach you how to communicate better, which is an essential skill.

So true. This has been my main (and I wouldn't be too far from the truth if I said only) reason to write any of the pony stories. Alas, I'm a crappy writer. :pinkiecrazy: But! I'm much better at reading and I have to say that I have learned much more by reading and analyzing the works of many talented individuals over here than by writing sh*t myself. :pinkiehappy: What's more, reading your (yes, singular your, D :pinkiehappy:) guides on various story aspects, enjoying the fanfic panels (if only by stream) at various cons, listening to the interviews with the writers you (again, singular :raritywink:) organize (even though that's quite a new idea), reading RBDash's Vault interviews, all helped me understand what makes a good story. Combine this with my self-imposed rule of showing hanks to the writers by dropping a comment with a short review, or mentioning what I liked or disliked, or even simply thanking for the story they shared, it all taught me so much, and not only in writing but also in understanding the complexities of the English language (which, by the way, is not my native one :rainbowkiss:).

So yeah, thank you FimFiction writers, admins, moderators, and readers! :rainbowkiss:

In the various parts of our amazing brony fandom (like art, music, video, games, or animation), our little FimFiction community is closest to my heart. :twilightsmile:

482198

I know I'm probably going to get slapped silly for this, but to me, there is no such thing as a good or bad story (within limits of course).

Yes, there are all-too-obvious trollfics and stories whose key premise is parodying things that should never, ever be parodied, but this is the rule I've always lived by. That's why I will never, ever, ever, ever read ANYTHING in that RBDash-something rather's vault, simply because they were stories that...the vault's keeper likes. Now, I'm not saying that they're bad, but I won't say they're good either. I can't, because I myself haven't read them. I have no way of judging them anyway. Say, if I were offered a choice behind raising the middle-fingered salute in the face of the author versus reading their story I would most certainly take the latter, but that's where the mystery comes in. I say I will do, but then again I'm just a squishy mortal sitting in front of a computer screen on the opposite side of the world. :pinkiecrazy:

Besides, I like to dive into the hidden gems. :scootangel: Finding a story that is astoundingly well-written, has a good plot to it and has in no way received the recognition is should always warms my heart. :yay:

482020

No...just...well, I don't hate D, but such a requirment sounds quite silly :P

Unless you're looking for cover art, asking for fan art is silly. I can understand if you want something very specific for a cover, but even then it's a thing you do with humility and a little bit of shame.


Fan fiction is something I'm usually mildly ashamed of. Even fellow bronies I know, like my ladyfriend and others, won't/haven't read anything I've written. I mean, I write pretentious femslash and Lovecraft ripoffs. But I put a lot of myself into my writing though. I try to improve my craft with every tale I spin out, just as any self-respecting artist does. I pour my heart into 13,000 words of sustained prose and tweak and bother and fiddle...

It's frustrating to realize that no matter how hard I work, I'm *just* a scribbler at fanfiction, which is the gum beneath the shoe of the fanwork community. It sucks. When I talk to people who like ponies, I never mention it. It's embarrassing and fruitless. I can't be proud of it in the way that visual artists and musicians can be proud of their work.

I agree with all of this, especially that last line... people are on a reading website and yet they choose to post tl;dr? I mean, c'mon...

Wanderer D
Moderator

482251 Look at it this way: fan-art and fan-music can never challenge the original creator's creativity. But fan fiction can. That's why they cannot publicly admit to reading it.

I make sure to tell all my lovely followers that I :heart: them on a somewhat regular basis. Without them, I don't think I would be near as passionate in my writing as I try to be today.

482291

Look at it this way: fan-art and fan-music can never challenge the original creator's creativity. But fan fiction can.

Doesn't all type of art challenge the creator's creativity in one shape or another? Fan fiction probably is the most challenging, yes, but fan-music and fan-art also could challenge the creator as well.

Fan-fiction challenges the author in word usage. If it's not placed together well, the viewers may not be able to visualize the art being shown in the work.
Fan-art challenges the artist in scenery. If it doesn't have a well enough background, the viewers may pass it by since it doesn't catch the attention.
Fan-music challenges the musicians in imagery. If the music doesn't have feeling, the listeners won't know what the music is trying to visualize.

Now, I may be wrong of how I'm interpreting what you are saying about the challenge of the creator's creativity, but I think that you are say that there isn't a challenge for the creator in making fan-art and/or fan-music.

Wanderer D
Moderator

482426

Fan-fiction challenges the author in word usage. If it's not placed together well, the viewers may not be able to visualize the art being shown in the work.
Fan-art challenges the artist in scenery. If it doesn't have a well enough background, the viewers may pass it by since it doesn't catch the attention.
Fan-music challenges the musicians in imagery. If the music doesn't have feeling, the listeners won't know what the music is trying to visualize.

In a romantic way of looking at it yes, but I'm talking on the creative level of producing. A piece of fan-art can be looked at by anyone in the team without legal issues. Same for music. However, fan fiction, because it's the concept that counts, cannot be actually read by anyone involved in the writing process (openly). A piece of fan art that is vaguely similar to a scene in the show will never be thought as inspiring it, even if it did, it's inspiration on a single scene that they developed into something else. However, if one of the writers for the series or comics admits to reading fan-fiction and one of their stories is similar? That's a can of worms they don't want to open because too many similarities in plot can possibly (and stupidly) allow a fan-fiction author to legally sue the studio. (Which in and on itself is a completely stupid thing to do, and they will most likely not win, but it costs the company money.)

I have thirty watchers and exactly 8 of them ever talk to me or respond to my blogs. And I'm saying 8 because 3 of them have responded to exactly one blog post each.:ajbemused:
I mean, jeez, I'm even putting together a comprehensive guide to the world I'm building for everyone, and the most acknowledgement of my time is knowing someone faved my story and is now lurking in the background, silently judging me :fluttershyouch:

Sigh... I always try to provide good criticism or keep my mouth shut about other's stories. I just don't understand why someone would do less than pour their every level of effort into a work of art. It just makes no sense to me to make something half-a:yay:ed. As such, I always stress doing my best on every story I make, and I sincerely hope someone else finds it good enough to keep reading.

Am I really in the minority here?

tl:dr In a site where all the content is basically text? Shame on you. :rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:
Never change WD, never change :pinkiehappy:

482453 Thanks for the clarification. And I fully agree with your statement. I can see where the art and music may not have much concept, but fan-fiction can fully explain a scene, being able to influence the writers more than a comic or a musical number. I'm not much in the political side of things, but I would see that there would be a problem there if they read a story and created a similar plot line. But if a writer admits that they read a fan-fic or comic and was influenced, I would say that he/she is at least giving some credit instead of claiming the storyline as his own.

Gee, now I feel like a total over-achiever.

See, I realized that my first fic wasn't quite becoming what I had hoped, so I put it on hiatus. When I could get a good chunk of time (thank you college, from the bottom of my heart) I had planned to:
- Create my own cover art (since I know what I'm thinking and all)
- Map out the plot in its ENTIRETY
- Do a first fleshing-out process and give it a rest (chapter by chapter, not the whole thing)
- Run through my own work and see how I could improve it BEFORE sending it off to my proofer and editor (since they work hard, too)
- Send it off
- Make adjustments after getting it back (both times)
- Learn Inkscape
- Create my own art (since I want to)
- Post story with art

Obviously some of these will have to follow a waterfall-type pattern of getting out there, but... yeah.

No, I don't have that many watchers. I'm not doing it for the watchers-- I'm doing it for the experience. And just to see if I can.

Eh.

Mind = Blown

There's a lot of truth to your argument here, that following an author is an incredibly more meaningful act than following an artist.

Let's take a comic artist. They gin up a comic, and the average person spends maybe one minute looking at it. They might get 10,000 people to see their comic, and hundreds to comment on it, but the total amount of time invested in that comic is fairly small.

What about an author who gets 500 people to read their 10k word story? That's about 30 minutes of reading for most people.

1 minute x 10,000 viewers = ~166 hours
30 minutes x 500 viewers = 250 hours

Even though the author only had 1/20th as many people go through his work, the amount of time invested in him by his readers is higher.

This starts to get really crazy for some of the more popular stories on the site. Let's take a popular multi-chapter, long story for example.

JasontheHuman's Anthropology is 130,000 words long. Assuming you're an average reader, that's about 6.5 hours of straight reading. Almost a full business day, in other words.

As of the writing of this comment, nearly 11,000 people have read all the way through to the final chapter of Anthropology. So even excluding those people who started reading and stopped, or haven't finished yet, nearly 11,000 full business days have gone into the reading of this story by Jason. Said another way, that's almost 46 years people have invested in this single story.

46 years.

So when people tell me fanfics aren't as popular or as large a part of the fandom as artists or musicians, I just laugh. I did the math on my most popular story, a short one shot titled Naked Singularity (yes, that is a shameless plug), and it works out to nearly 9.6 years of readership. People have spent 9.6 years reading this one story.

How amazing is that?

To be honest, I don't really understand the meaning or the purpose of this rant.

But, that's okay. I still love you. :twilightsmile:

Wanderer D
Moderator

485619 Wow. Now I need to check how much time it takes to read mine! :pinkiecrazy: But yeah, it's amazing just how much our readers go through.

What investment do they have to put in to follow you? It’s more than a glance. It requires immersion in your work.

Nope. It only requires a glance. I have 24 pages of favorited stories, and I've joined about a year ago. And it's and instant "Watch" if it's the person's only story, or if they have good stories (judging from descriptions).

OK-story, horrible grammar? Favorite: HELL YES

Of course this is only me.

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