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Cortland Swindlehurst wrote:

It's funny to hear they are utterly stumped, like nothing they do can stop the new user churn, when all of we users have so many ideas.  *sighs*

 Well, to turn that around, a lot of the resident ideas are pretty terrible. I see a lot of people suggesting things LL already tried and failed, I see a lot of people suggesting ideas that just aren't feasible (the idea that LL should bring back official mentors is the big one, yeah mentors work but as a system it just does not scale, you cannot have mentors on hand for everyone who comes through and the larger the mentor group you statistically get more and more "bad" mentors who aren't helping things and may even be hurting).

 A big part of LL's problem is that they have this product, Second Life, which is one part creative software, one part videogame, one part chatroom and one part social network...but LL as a company only has programmers on staff. They lack expertise in all of the other areas they desperately need to have experts in, like UI design, visual design, game development, social engineering, etcetera.

 As a result, they approach every problem from the limited perspective of a software engineer.

 Try to explain to a Linden how avatar size affects the value of land. How camera placement affects building habits. The importance of having a more visual outfits selection interface.  Why they need to draw people into social environments to get them mixing, not spamming "recommended" avatars to people via e-mail. You're going to get blank stares and a dismissive hand wave. 

 This is why it took about 8 years to get avatar masking. LL actually stated, in no uncertain terms, that they did not understand the purpose or why it would be so important. Eventually, after years of customer pressure, they relented, but I suspect they still don't understand why we wanted that feature.

This is why after ten years or more of developing SL, we still have starter avatars that are grossly ill-proportioned, with tiny heads, short arms and super long legs. Sure, the average SL user isn't going to be an art professional, familiar with human proportions, but the reason everyone else hires art professionals to ensure correct proportions in videogame/cartoon/comic book characters is because the average person does notice when things look "wrong" even if they can't say why and that comes across as, in SL's case, "bad graphics".

 

 So LL needs to work on hiring people who understand all this, who can make SL look better, run better, people who can make SL easier to use, people who can make it easier for a new user to wander in and start chatting with people who share their interests. People who understand what tools content creators need to create engaging content that people will want to interact with even if they're not chatting with someone else. People who understand what tools the average user needs to create an avatar they'll be happy with, which they'll identify with as their own, without requiring years of art school.

 

 Because LL has passed on every good idea to come their way since about 2004, they've got years of features, fixes and improvements, covering a broad spectrum of areas, which they'll need to finally start addressing if they seriously want to start retaining new users in greater numbers.

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:

Okay so... I'm joining this conversation very late and haven't taken the time to read everything that has been said before.  Speaking only to this post, I find Melita's assertion that, "Introverts don't dislike people", to be a gross generalization.  

...Dres

Of course it was, Dres. 

I think if you're going to characterise something that's been said though you might want to read what's come before it, and put it into context.

I don't think you understood my point. Others did. Whatever.

 

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I'm stepping into this thread very late and I apologize for not having the patience to digest the previous 11 pages of rich conversation.  From my perspective, the appeal of SL is its lack of defined purpose.  I don't play games, but I respect people who do enjoy them.  I dislike facebook, but I understand why many people find it a valuable part of their lives.  I get bored in clubs and see no point in Zyngo, but I have many friends who live for that aspect of SL.  Me?  I love to build and write scripts -- the more complicated, the better -- and I get a kick out of making clothing.  Lots of people either find that stuff intimidating or dead boring. 

SL is fascinating because it throws us all together and lets us find the parts that suit us best.  It challenges us to be more than 2D characters by letting us learn from each others' interests.  I do not RP, for example, but I have had clients with really cool RP ideas who need a scripter to bring them to life.  SL may not expect us to slay ogres, accumulate skill points, or find hidden treasures, but we can do all of those things somewhere in SL without having to duck off to WoW or some other program where we can only do one or two of those things.

That breadth can't appeal to everyone, and it's really hard to explain to a newcomer who has only experienced a 2D game before stepping into SL.  It's too ill-defined for someone who wants a clean kill-the-dragon experience.  It takes a while to appreciate, and many people don't have the patience for finding what's possible and setting their own expectations.  I have been here for 5 and a half years. The greatest number of people I recognize as "old-timers" are like me --- "old" timers in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.  I don't think we hang on because we are more "mature" than younger folks (We can be truly immature at times), but because we are more comfortable with setting our own paths.  We stay because SL lets us keep reinventing ourselves instead of slaying the same dragons over and over and over again. 

So, how can SL hold on to more newbies?  Cater more to newbies who enjoy uncertainty and want to do their own thing.  Stop trying to out-WoW the MMO games or out-facebook the social community software.  Back off a focus on ready-made tools and environments and re-emphasize "Your World -- Your Imagination".  Advertise to life-long learners and people who don't like to do the same thing every time they log in.  Put more effort into good information retrieval systems so that people can see what's available and how to use it, and quit worrying about how steep the learning curve is.  If it's appealing, people will learn what they need to learn.  Treat SL residents as complex adults and get out of their way.

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I completely agree. Back on page 3? I said, among other things;

"Everyone I know who has come here and stayed, including me, has spent a considerable amount of time just learning how things work, from the basics of movement to everything else. That requires an investment of personal time, and a pretty damned large one to start with. If Second Life is to remain the incredibly variable world it is, I don't see any way around that.

It's to be expected that there would be a great many more triers than stickers. This is NOT for everybody. It isn't like Facebook.

I think that the marketing should make that clear. There are plenty of people who not only don't mind spending time learning things, they actually enjoy doing that. Look in a mirror if you're reading this: you'll probably see one of those people."

And we aren't the only ones who see it this way; there were other posts in a similar vein. I really think that a strategy targeting people like 'us'—meaning the existing SL population—would work, although I haven't a clue on how to do that.

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Rolig Loon wrote:

... ... ...We stay because SL lets us keep reinventing ourselves instead of slaying the same dragons over and over and over again.

So, how can SL hold on to more newbies?  Cater more to newbies who enjoy uncertainty and want to do their own thing.  Stop trying to out-WoW the MMO games or out-facebook the social community software.  Back off a focus on ready-made tools and environments and re-emphasize "Your World -- Your Imagination".  Advertise to life-long learners and people who don't like to do the same thing every time they log in.  Put more effort into
good
information retrieval systems so that people can see what's available and how to use it, and quit worrying about how steep the learning curve is.  If it's appealing, people will learn what they need to learn.  Treat SL residents as complex adults and get out of their way.

applause 2.gif

(strong and fervent)

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Rolig Loon wrote:

I'm stepping into this thread very late and I apologize for not having the patience to digest the previous 11 pages of rich conversation.  From my perspective, the appeal of SL is its lack of defined purpose.  I don't play games, but I respect people who do enjoy them.  I dislike facebook, but I understand why many people find it a valuable part of their lives.  I get bored in clubs and see no point in Zyngo, but I have many friends who live for that aspect of SL.  Me?  I love to build and write scripts -- the more complicated, the better -- and I get a kick out of making clothing.  Lots of people either find that stuff intimidating or dead boring. 

SL is fascinating because it throws us all together and lets us find the parts that suit us best.  It challenges us to be more than 2D characters by letting us learn from each others' interests.  I do not RP, for example, but I have had clients with really cool RP ideas who need a scripter to bring them to life.  SL may not expect us to slay ogres, accumulate skill points, or find hidden treasures, but we can do all of those things somewhere in SL without having to duck off to WoW or some other program where we can only do one or two of those things.

That breadth can't appeal to everyone, and it's really hard to explain to a newcomer who has only experienced a 2D game before stepping into SL.  It's too ill-defined for someone who wants a clean kill-the-dragon experience.  It takes a while to appreciate, and many people don't have the patience for finding what's possible and setting their own expectations.  I have been here for 5 and a half years. The greatest number of people I recognize as "old-timers" are like me --- "old" timers in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.  I don't think we hang on because we are more "mature" than younger folks (We can be truly immature at times), but because we are more comfortable with setting our own paths.  We stay because SL lets us keep reinventing ourselves instead of slaying the same dragons over and over and over again. 

So, how can SL hold on to more newbies?  Cater more to newbies who enjoy uncertainty and want to do their own thing.  Stop trying to out-WoW the MMO games or out-facebook the social community software.  Back off a focus on ready-made tools and environments and re-emphasize "Your World -- Your Imagination".  Advertise to life-long learners and people who don't like to do the same thing every time they log in.  Put more effort into
good
information retrieval systems so that people can see what's available and how to use it, and quit worrying about how steep the learning curve is.  If it's appealing, people will learn what they need to learn.  Treat SL residents as complex adults and get out of their way.

Well said!

In my reply to Rod, who sadly has failed to do what he said he was going to do, that is come back and let us know that he has read through more of our comments, I wrote,

"In closing, SL retains a certain type of person. I believe among our common attributes, we are stubborn (as in we have a sense of stick-to-it-tiveness), sometimes rambunctious, tend to be rebellious and go against the status quo. We are imaginative and inventive. People who do not have these qualities are not as likely to stick around. If all they want is a pre-thought world to play in occasionally, they are not going to stick around because that is not what SL is about."

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Rolig Loon wrote:

I'm stepping into this thread very late and I apologize for not having the patience to digest the previous 11 pages of rich conversation.  From my perspective, the appeal of SL is its lack of defined purpose.  I don't play games, but I respect people who do enjoy them.  I dislike facebook, but I understand why many people find it a valuable part of their lives.  I get bored in clubs and see no point in Zyngo, but I have many friends who live for that aspect of SL.  Me?  I love to build and write scripts -- the more complicated, the better -- and I get a kick out of making clothing.  Lots of people either find that stuff intimidating or dead boring. 

SL is fascinating because it throws us all together and lets us find the parts that suit us best.  It challenges us to be more than 2D characters by letting us learn from each others' interests.  I do not RP, for example, but I have had clients with really cool RP ideas who need a scripter to bring them to life.  SL may not expect us to slay ogres, accumulate skill points, or find hidden treasures, but we can do all of those things somewhere in SL without having to duck off to WoW or some other program where we can only do one or two of those things.

That breadth can't appeal to everyone, and it's really hard to explain to a newcomer who has only experienced a 2D game before stepping into SL.  It's too ill-defined for someone who wants a clean kill-the-dragon experience.  It takes a while to appreciate, and many people don't have the patience for finding what's possible and setting their own expectations.  I have been here for 5 and a half years. The greatest number of people I recognize as "old-timers" are like me --- "old" timers in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.  I don't think we hang on because we are more "mature" than younger folks (We can be truly immature at times), but because we are more comfortable with setting our own paths.  We stay because SL lets us keep reinventing ourselves instead of slaying the same dragons over and over and over again. 

So, how can SL hold on to more newbies?  Cater more to newbies who enjoy uncertainty and want to do their own thing.  Stop trying to out-WoW the MMO games or out-facebook the social community software.  Back off a focus on ready-made tools and environments and re-emphasize "Your World -- Your Imagination".  Advertise to life-long learners and people who don't like to do the same thing every time they log in.  Put more effort into
good
information retrieval systems so that people can see what's available and how to use it, and quit worrying about how steep the learning curve is.  If it's appealing, people will learn what they need to learn.  Treat SL residents as complex adults and get out of their way.

Very well said I couldn't agree more, and would add anyone of any age can have a love for life long learning.

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Perrie Juran wrote:

In my reply to Rod, who sadly has failed to do what he said he was going to do, that is come back and let us know that he has read through more of our comments, ...

to be fair he has been back over there 2 times since he said that he would. can know for sure which ones he has read bc he click the Thanks button

can understand why he never responds here. was Qie i think who said why. anything rodvik might say on a official linden site is kinda official. or is kinda read that way or hoped by us that it might be

like he got some pain already for when he done that on his linden account wall about lastnames. so dont think would be good idea for him to do that kinda thing again

+

maybe one day we will get a comments Thanks or Like or Something buttons on here one day. be quite good i think. people like rodvik and other lindens can then just click without making any comment. just so we can know that they read it

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The policies and procedures for how LL treats paying customers is one of the root causes of people leaving. As soon as the new resident gets their "sea legs" and starts spending money, they soon find out just who's at the helm. A customer service base that is often rude and condescending. They're focusing on selling not servicing. 

This isn't new in the gaming community(yes, it's not a game, but to investors it is); sell more of SL, get more people into SL, but 

then they're on their own.

SL is very expensive for me to run a store here, and yet, they absolutely don't care about me or any other merchant. 

If you don't CARE about the people who create this world and PAY to do it, then imagine how the people who are new and don't pay are treated? Why people don't stay is a no brainer to me.

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Yes indeed, I'm impressed with Rodvik being in contact with users AT ALL, he is the first CEO of LL that I feel has actually some aproachability and who is using SL in stead of just ruling it.

And I also think that he may be regretting this a bit.

Because whenever you opens up a line of communication he probably gets flooded with all sorts of comments.

We can see that when he used his own SL profile page to discuss the last names thing, soon people were complaining about all sorts of things!

Some people mentioed the discussion on their blogs and more people joined.

And yes he has been back to the SLUniverse forums and thanked people for their response, even that is more interaction then Ive had with LL then before Rodvik showed up.

Call me naieve but it seems like Rodvik is trying his hardest and is very very busy.

However, I feel that there still should be more communication coming from LL, I don't expect Rodvik to do all the work himself and I have had more contact with him then any other Linden, and he is the CEO!

Maybe he should tell his employees to go spend more time on the SL forums too!

Or maybe they should start picking random people in SL and ask them for their imput.

They know who is active a lot, they know who has a lot of experience in SL, they know the people who build a lot, own groups, etc.

Just contact them directly and ask their opinion :)

 

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Jo Yardley wrote:

Yes indeed, I'm impressed with Rodvik being in contact with users AT ALL, he is the first CEO of LL that I feel has actually some aproachability and who is using SL in stead of just ruling it.

And I also think that he may be regretting this a bit.

Because whenever you opens up a line of communication he probably gets flooded with all sorts of comments.

We can see that when he used his own SL profile page to discuss the last names thing, soon people were complaining about all sorts of things!

Some people mentioed the discussion on their blogs and more people joined.

And yes he has been back to the SLUniverse forums and thanked people for their response, even that is more interaction then Ive had with LL then before Rodvik showed up.

Call me naieve but it seems like Rodvik is trying his hardest and is very very busy.

However, I feel that there still should be more communication coming from LL, I don't expect Rodvik to do all the work himself and I have had more contact with him then any other Linden, and he is the CEO!

Maybe he should tell his employees to go spend more time on the SL forums too!

Or maybe they should start picking random people in SL and ask them for their imput.

They know who is active a lot, they know who has a lot of experience in SL, they know the people who build a lot, own groups, etc.

Just contact them directly and ask their opinion
:)

 

well said Jo =)

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16 wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:

In my reply to Rod, who sadly has failed to do what he said he was going to do, that is come back and let us know that he has read through more of our comments, ...

to be fair he has been back over there 2 times since he said that he would. can know for sure which ones he has read bc he click the Thanks button

can understand why he never responds here. was Qie i think who said why. anything rodvik might say on a official linden site is kinda official. or is kinda read that way or hoped by us that it might be

like he got some pain already for when he done that on his linden account wall about lastnames. so dont think would be good idea for him to do that kinda thing again

+

maybe one day we will get a comments Thanks or Like or Something buttons on here one day. be quite good i think. people like rodvik and other lindens can then just click without making any comment. just so we can know that they read it

I went and looked at the time stamps in that thread.  It was started on June 25.  Rodvik posted his question on June 26.  Later on he said he was going out for the day but would be back.  On June 27 he posted a 'thank you," so yes he did come back.  Since then there is no explicit indication that he has looked at the thread again.

However, I do find this interesting and hope it is a sign that the thread is being monitored by someone at Linden Lab.

In a reply to a comment he made about "low hanging fruit," I brought of the issue that the screen shots and info in the Wiki concerning Land Management were badly out dated and incomplete.  This has now been brought up to date.  :)

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Managing-your-parcel/ta-p/700113

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Group-owned-land/ta-p/700079

I am trying to take this as an encouraging sign.  But unless they don't want us knowing who is monitoring the thread, a thank you would have been nice. Perhaps they need an account called "Linden Liason" there.

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i thought was 2 times. after he said he had to run and bbl then is quite a few Thanks after that. so i assume he did went away and came back to do that. then like you say is other Thanks later on next day (his)

is good that some stuff you raised has been sorted \o/

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That's a well-done report -- refreshingly honest and well-balanced.  It does illustrate one of the stumbling blocks that many newbies face -- their own crummy computer equipment and Internet connections.  I respond to questions in the Answers forum every day, a dismaying number of which boil down to explaining politely why SL is never going to run well on a bargain-basement notebook with a wireless connection.  SL is a bandwidth hog and it demands a strong, continuous flow of data back and forth from its servers.  It runs best on  machine with a high end graphics card and a big cache memory.  Newbies who expect a facebook-type social network experience or Wow-style graphics on an underpowered machine give up fast, and I can't blame them.  Nor do I make excuses for Second Life.  It is what it is.  You can't run a world that is user-created, multi-faceted, and constantly changing with simple software on simple computers. 

The young woman in the video also points quite correctly to another stumbling block for newbies.  SL is not a "drop in" world where you can visit for five minutes at a time.  It expects a time commitment.  People with busy Real Lives can't do that.  Building, shopping, and even chatting take blocks of time.  If you log out in the middle of an experience, it may not be there when you come back.  You can't just pick up where you left off in "Level Five" or whatever.  Again, I do not make excuses for SL.  It is what it is, and it appeals to those of us who do have the time and patience to spend in world.

I recognize both of those stumbling blocks because I dealt with them myself as a newbie.  I made my own decision to stay and explore.  I'm very glad I did.  It doesn't worry me that many newbies make the opposite decision, any more than it bothers me that they don't choose to take up yoga or violin lessons, or buy season tickets to the Red Sox.  As I suggested in an earlier post, people who find SL appealing are not easily put off by roadblocks.  They may grumble and fume at some of them, but they stay.  They're the ones who shape everything from the virtual landscape to the creative/merchant culture  --- the ones Linden Lab needs to focus on.

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Here's a simple thought:

"To better retain new users you need to do a better job of retaining old users."

We all are aware of the basic hurdles.  First there is getting through the sign up process.  The only real challenge is choosing a name.  The second is orientation.  Learning some simple basics, walking or moving, chatting, changing clothes. As Deltango pointed out, you do need an an IQ over 100.

But then Rod listed "Finding Something To Do."

If the Lab did a better job of retaining older users, the new people would find a richer world with more to do and more Residents ready and willing to help them out.

Because of my time in SL, I have a broader knowledge of what is available and where to find it.  So I am 'equipped' to help the new user.  I am better equipped to suggest things for the new user to do.

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"If the Lab did a better job of retaining older users, the new people would find a richer world with more to do and more Residents ready and willing to help them out."

----------------------------------------------------------------

Bingo. Not only that, but the experienced users are on TPVs whereas the noobs are using the default V2. When a noob asks me for help, my first question is, "what viewer are you using?" I must then log out of Phoenix and log in with Firestorm in order to provide a basic level of technical help. In all honesty, the catastrophic introduction of V2 (designed for Facebook 3D without any consultation with the residents) was yet another massive screw-up leading to the decline of Second Life.

And, let's again be perfectly frank, how many older players want to help someone called BobXXmax123fftrtrgone Resident? The last names problem was another disaster - and an easy fix - but Linden Lab screwed that one up too.

Since the new CEO is a Brit, he will appreciate a parody of Second Life:

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Deltango Vale wrote:

"If the Lab did a better job of retaining older users, the new people would find a richer world with more to do and more Residents ready and willing to help them out."

----------------------------------------------------------------

Bingo. Not only that, but the experienced users are on TPVs whereas the noobs are using the default V2. When a noob asks me for help, my first question is, "what viewer are you using?" I must then log out of Phoenix and log in with Firestorm in order to provide a basic level of technical help.


I may be missing the point, but if you're prepared to relog in order to help a new user, why not relog with the official viewer, or at least one -- like Catznip, for example -- with a UI sufficiently similar to the official one for your relogging to make much sense?   Or simply bookmark something like the very useful Virtual Outworlding guide to the V3.n UI, so you know what the other person is talking about?

 

 

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I, like most residents, never migrated from Phoenix to V2 because V2 was the Edsel, the New Coke, the John Carter of Second Life. According to Oz Linden (watch from about 33:00 to 36:00), V2 is currently used by a "significant minority" of residents. Phoenix is the most popular viewer, followed by Firestorm, followed by V2, followed by Singularity. By relogging from Phoenix to Firestorm, I can at least communicate to some degree with noobs using V2.

V2 was and remains a serious problem for Second Life. It created a Tower of Babel where before there was uniformity of viewer operation and terminology. It created a wall between experienced residents and noobs. It was hugely disliked when first introduced and remains, two years after its introduction - two years in which new signups were given V2 as the default viewer - a distant third. It may be the official viewer, but, in reality, it is used by a small minority.

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Deltango -- I didn't ask you what viewer you like using or not.  

I  just genuinely don't understand why, in the circumstances you outline -- new resident asks you for help,  and  you say, "Sorry, but I'm not terribly familar with V3 so bear with me a minute while I relog"  -- you don't log in with with the same viewer as the person you're trying to help.    That's why I do when I'm trying to sort out problems for my customers -- if I can't remember where something is in Phoenix, and that's what the other person is using, I relog with Phoenix to try to help them, not with Cool VL or Singularity.   

Put it like this.   If someone asked me where something is, or how exactly it works, in the Official Viewer,  and I couldn't remember, I'd find it far easier to relog with that viewer to look for it than to relog with Firestorm and try to guess, based on where it is in Firestorm, where it probably is in their viewer.   

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I guess I feel that life is hard enough already trying to use Firestorm (even when emulating Phoenix). I don't want to mess around with V2. To offer an analogy, Phoenix is the 'English' of Second Life. I can speak a little bit of French (Firestorm), but I'm not even going to try to speak Italian (V2).

For a noob, arriving in Second Life is like landing in Mumbai. It's a whole new world, a new culture, a new environment. One must explain to them everything from top to bottom in order for them to become oriented and to integrate. This job was a lot easier when everyone used versions of the V1 viewer.

If a noob seems truly interested in learning, I'm willing to switch over to Firestorm (emulating Phoenix) to hunt down all the new and strange names and locations for viewer controls. It's a royal pain, but some people are worth it. The point is that the V2 infrastructure (even when emulating Phoenix) is so awkward and user unfriendly that oldies like me treat it as a strange new religion. We live in our world and the V2 people live in theirs. If Linden Lab had understood Second Life, they would never have developed V2 in secret as a bridge to 3D Facebook. It was a mistake all the way from concept to execution. We continue to live with the consequences.

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