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Thread: Playoff Structure - Too long, but please read

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    FOBL Owner/GM Doc P's Avatar
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    Default Playoff Structure - Too long, but please read

    I'd like to reopen talks regarding playoff structure, in hopes that we can rally enough interest to launch an official poll.

    I don't know about everybody else, but I generally feel complete apathy when I look at the standings and at my win total each week. My team is solid, yet we're struggling a little bit. We have the VL's #1 SC right now, but we get beat down by POU and TRE. But guess what? I don't give a fuck. We're going to be in the playoffs this seaon, so who the hell cares what's going on now. I have fucking Gene Gill and Jerry McNeil stashed in AAA because I don't really care about winning the division.

    There's very little drama during the regular season. Plenty of drama in the playoffs, but that's only what, like 3 or 4 sims? The other 20-something sims during the regular season are generally drama free. At any moment, you have at least 1/4 of the teams trying to lose. You have another 1/4 of the teams who will win no matter what. And about half the teams are mediocre, knowing they may make the playoffs, but like their chances of getting a high draft pick about as well as they like their chances to win in the playoffs.

    With the top 4 teams in each division getting a playoff nod, I count only 8 teams in the league that are feeling any heat to actually try to win. I'll run down the teams, and who (in my mind), actually have something to give a shit about (I'll assume that absentee owners actually care): YES = gives a shit NO = doesn't give a fuck

    Fresca
    ARI - Doesn't give a shit, will be in the playoffs
    CAP - Same
    BAR - Same
    UTA - YES, gives a shit. Tied for 4th spot.
    ORO - YES, same as UTA
    MON - YES, same as UTA
    MIN - Nope. Trying to lose.
    MIL - Nope. Team blows.

    ICS
    UTI - Nope. Playoff bound.
    MBJ - No. Same
    IND - NO, but could argue YES since they are overachieving. Very likely playoff bound.
    GRN - YES, holding onto the 4th spot
    POU- YES, aiming for that 4th spot
    TRE - YES, same as POU
    COL - No. Suck.
    RIC - No, happily sucking.

    DEF
    NRW - Nope. Definitely will be a playoff team
    SAC - Nope. Very highly likely a playoff team.
    BRE - Nope. Could cruise to the playoffs easily.
    LAS - Nope. Same as BRE
    DAV - I'm saying no, because Morg is in rebuild mode. Dont' fall asleep, though, BRE/LAS, because this team can win.
    WIS - YES, because Bruno is trying to win, and he has the horses to eventually catch the #4 team.
    POR - NO. Golybing their way to another lottery pick.
    QNS - No. Letting Trey walk was a sign that they're tanking.

    Skates
    AYR - No. Playoff bound
    WIC - No. Same as AYR
    BOS - No. Same as AYR
    VIR - No. Same as AYR
    TRI - No. Not much hope here.
    DUR - No. Mali's probably packing it in.
    DES - No. Team sucks balls.
    HOL - No. Team sucks big meaty hairy balls.

    So in my mind, about 7 or 8 teams here have something to really play for. I know, you're thinking "Hey, fuck you! I have something to play for". Right. Ok, so bump it up to 10 teams then, if you're gonna be a bitch about it.


    Changing the structure to top 3 teams in each division would change things dramatically. Top team gets a bye. It has been confirmed that THERE IS NO RUST. I repeat, there is NO rust during a bye week.

    So now, let's see who gives a fuck:

    Fresca
    ARI - YES. Shooting for the bye.
    CAP - YES. Same as ARI.
    BAR - YES. Same as ARI
    UTA - No, probably won't make playoffs.
    ORO - No. Same as UTA
    MON - No. Same as UTA
    MIN - No. Sucks
    MIL - No. Sucks

    ICS
    UTI - YES. Wants the bye
    MBJ - YES. Same as UTI
    IND - YES. Same as UTI
    GRN - YES. Fighting for the #3 spot
    POU - YES. Same as GRN
    TRE - Meh. Could get in playoffs. Probly not. We'll say NO for now.
    COL - No. Suck
    RIC - No. Suck

    DEF
    NRW -YES. Wants the bye
    SAC - YES. Wants bye, but also fighting 2 other teams for bottom 2 slots.
    BRE - YES. Same as SAC
    LAS - YES. Same as SAC
    DAV - No. Not really, but could argue yes if they happen into a few more wins.
    WIS - No. This could change later, like DAV, with a few more series wins.
    POR - Nope. Suck
    QNS - Nope. Suck

    Skates
    AYR - YES, wants the bye
    WIC - YES, wants bye, and is battling 2 other teams for bottom 2 slots
    BOS - YES, same as WIC
    VIR - YES, same as WIC
    TRI - No, won't make playoffs
    DUR- No, same as TRI
    DES - No, suck balls
    HOL - No, sucks stubbly taint


    So what I'm saying is, current structure may keep 8 teams really interested, 10 if you're kinda lying to yourself.

    Top-3 structure with a bye would have at least 16 teams with a lot to play for. This would add a ton of drama, and would make winning the division something worth really trying for. You'd undoubtedly see more trading, more internal moves, maybe even some strategy.


    Current structure sucks.
    We could hash out bonuses later. But can we get some serious talks about this?
    I think the regular season would be a lot more fun with a little change.


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    FOBL Board of Governors Hollywood's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for posting this. I agree 100% that a change is desirable and would not only get more teams "interested" in winning, but would increase trading and FA interest because you have to be "good" to make the playoffs instead of "meh."

    If we changed the bonuses a bit or offered some type of payroll rebate, we could incentivize the mega-payrolls of days past.

    BYEs would be a blast, as well as re-seeding the playoffs, etc.

    Please, guys, let's hash this out.

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    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    Oh, believe me - I've had enough teams that I have felt have underperformed that even 4th place has me worrying about every game.

    However...I'm still behind the 1-bye, 2 vs 3 playoff format. A season like this I think I probably just sit and hope that we don't shit the bed. If I need 3rd place? I might be looking to add. If was in the running for a 1st round bye (which would come with free cash), I'd be even more likely to.

    Doc brings up a great point - there really is little difference in finishing 1st or 4th right now. This would most certainly change that, ratcheting the pressure to finish 3rd and giving a substantial boost to 1st.


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    FOBL Owner/GM Scarecrow's Avatar
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    I think this is nothing more than bullshit, and I'll give you last year's Columbus team as an example. At this time last fake season they were in last place at 13-24. They ended the season tied for 3rd.

    We gave a fuck, and didn't suck. So FU.

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    FOBL Owner/GM Doc P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow View Post
    I think this is nothing more than bullshit, and I'll give you last year's Columbus team as an example. At this time last fake season they were in last place at 13-24. They ended the season tied for 3rd.

    We gave a fuck, and didn't suck. So FU.

    Shocker. I think I pretty much predicted this post about half way through my essay.

    No, at 85 wins you didn't suck, per se. With a Pythagorean record of 81-81, COL was the definition of mediocre. Nobody would've argued that you absolutely belonged in the playoffs either, results aside.


    PLUS, the situation was different last season. The ICS was MBJ and UTI, then 6 teams all within a couple games of each other. I don't remember for sure, but I don't think the 3rd place team was playing .591 ball, and the last 2 playoff spots were certainly wide open.
    Last edited by Doc P; 04-20-2013 at 06:14 AM.


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    FOBL Owner/GM Thomkal's Avatar
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    We moved to the four teams make the playoffs structure because there was a lack of interest in the league because in part too few teams were making the playoffs. Moving back towards where we were then does not seem to be in the best interest of the league. The four teams make the playoffs also gave the less competitive owners (ahem like POU ahem) more of a chance to make the playoffs without making the mega moves the more competitive owners in the league do every season.

    As for POU being in the playoff hunt this season, this is the first season I tried to make my team less competitive. I let Kivlochan go in free agency and tried to trade Combs. (Combs by the way is 4-4 1.89 ERA). We are hitting like crap as a team (.231), but I've noticed a lot of teams are hitting like crap. We shouldn't really be 2 games above .500 right now. It's basically the same team as last season that went 69-93, minus Kivlochan.
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    FOBL Owner/GM Doc P's Avatar
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    If having less competitive teams make the playoffs is the point here, then maybe I'm in the wrong league.
    My proposal would broaden interest, instead of limiting interest to fringe teams.

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    FOBL Owner/GM frozenrope's Avatar
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    Doc, you know where I stand on this. 100% support, and not for short-term selfish reasons. I was advocating this when my team was sucking. Heck, I finished 4th 2 seasons ago and strongly felt I did not deserve to be there.

    I know this is an oversimplification, where Doc's definition of 'giving a fuck' is directly tied to their standings at the 44 game mark. Owner interest is more personal than that. But Doc is right in that there is hardly any incentive to win the division, because it yields so little benefit. (extra 400k or so and a home field advantage, which is marginally better than 50/50).

    I know we moved to the 16 team playoff format as part of a larger push to revitalize the league, including contraction of teams and divisional realignment. In that time period we've also bumped up the talent of the draft class, and changed administrative ownership after some massive burnout, which I think has helped in the long run. New owners and returning owners have helped as well. I feel that the league is strong enough to revisit this particular change and consider scaling back a bit.

    12 teams out of 32 is still a higher overall playoff % than our old 8 out of 36 team field. NFL has the same ratio (12 out of 32) and that has always felt like a better playoff structure than any of the major sports. I don't think you're less competitive, Dan, than myself or any other team in the league, and by removing just the 4th place slot would only marginally increase the criteria to making the playoffs. I haven't run up any stats on the Win/Loss difference between the 3rd and 4th place team, but can't be any more than a couple of games on average. It might be just enough to try and get that closer at the trade deadline or spend an extra million on that FA, both which keep the league healthy. And if you finish 4th? You can get a higher draft pick and earn 300k cash if the most recent proposal went through.

    And I'm not whining about my team. I think I've been around the league long enough to earn a little benefit of the doubt that my FOBL interest goes beyond just my own team. (Looking at you and blowing you a kiss, Buddy). I just feel that the incentive during the season and the off-season is to get the best advantage that you can in the playoffs, and not just make the playoffs. That's what drives action, what drives prices and trades. Finishing 1st should be worth more than finishing 4th.
    Last edited by frozenrope; 04-20-2013 at 02:33 PM.


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    FOBL Owner/GM Doc P's Avatar
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    I'm not planning on responding to every fucking post of course, but yes, I did purposely oversimplify things just as an illustration.

    And anybody who knows me knows that I'm not arguing this out of self interest. I argued for smaller playoffs even when I was a 55 win team.
    Last edited by Doc P; 04-20-2013 at 03:24 PM.

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    FOBL Board of Governors Hollywood's Avatar
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    The past few years I made the playoffs, I had no incentive to improve during the season because I knew I was going to finish higher than 5th, and that the playoffs are a crapshoot.

    Give me incentive to win the division (BYE) or a real risk of missing the playoffs by dropping to 4th place because another team makes a huge trade, and I'll react accordingly.

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    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozenrope View Post
    Doc, you know where I stand on this. 100% support, and not for short-term selfish reasons. I was advocating this when my team was sucking. Heck, I finished 4th 2 seasons ago and strongly felt I did not deserve to be there.

    Maybe we can have a self-governing opt in for the playoffs. Teams who feel like they deserve to be there are automatically in.


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    FOBL Board of Governors CubsFan915's Avatar
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    Can someone please explain to me how having less teams make the payoffs will increase owner interest? Obviously, I'm missing something here. Even the last two years when I've ultimately fallen short, I went into the season thinking I had a shot at the playoffs if things broke right, which is why I spent the money and overspent on Doug Coleman and Willie Parsons and (father back) Wally Murphy and Aurelio Gallegos. This is the first year I've known I had no chance at the playoffs when the previous season ended in a while, and this is the first offseason I've bagged things. If there had only been three spots in the past three years, I would have damn well known I was out, and that's $10M less in payroll in 2045.
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    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    I think Doc explains that, but to boil it down, he argues that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (and in many cases, 4th) place teams very early know that they are going to make the playoffs*, so there is really no reason to pay attention during the regular season. There's very little difference in finish as long as you make it in, as the playoffs are so much of a crapshoot. Once the playoffs begin, they are simmed SO FAST - basically the whole deal is over in four days - that the whole thing is a blur. So these owners can pretty much set things in the offseason, tune out for 26 (or so) sims, then come back to check semi-random results before getting ready for the next postseason.


    * 4th place teams may not know they are going to make it. Doc argues though that really these teams aren't deserving of making it. We've even had instances in the past where teams have unexpectedly made it and not even realized it as they had already written off the season (*cough* Queens *cough*).


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    FOBL Board of Governors CubsFan915's Avatar
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    I understand that. And let's leave aside the "fourth place teams don't deserve a playoff spot" argument for the moment. The Fresca currently has a three teams tied for 4th place, clearly behind ARZ, CAP and BAR. If we project these same winning percentages out to mid-June, don't we have three teams all fighting for a playoff spot that, quite frankly, may have already given up if we only have 3 playoff spots? Let's face it - in the Fresca, ARZ, CAP and BAR are going unless they get FACed over. They can pretty much "set it and forget it" either way (again, barring injury or such).

    Isn't 6 teams fighting for 4 spots better than the 3 teams having pretty much locked up the 3 spots and UTA, ORO and MON are pretty much outside looking in already?
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    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    Flip that though for the DEFCON and the Skates. Yes it's early, but there is a one-game difference between 2nd and 4th in the DEFCON but a four-game difference between 4th and 5th; there is a three-game difference between 2nd and 4th in the Skates, and a five-game difference between 4th and 5th. In both of these cases there might be more of a race if only three teams got in. You'd also have a scramble for the top spot in the Skates, one that really doesn't matter now. If AYR finishes 1st or 3rd, does it really matter?

    The bye would add a little extra carrot for the teams who are essentially already in. AYR/CAP/BAR, UTI/MON/IND/GRN.

    If you extend what Doc is saying, really there is no benefit in trying to shoot for first place. Really, you're better off shooting for say, 3rd. Things will probably be a little more interesting for you in the regular season - there's a little more of a chance that you may not make it. And, it makes more sense financially. Why spend that extra cash to try to finish first? There's really no reason. First place means nothing. All you are going to do is waste more money trying for one of the four spots. Yeah, you may have a few more lotto tickets in the postseason drawing, but that really doesn't mean much. Actually, I wonder if that's what the smart owners will eventually do. And when they do, does that depress FA bidding?


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    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    Note: right now, I'm not one of the smart owners. Highest payroll in the league and we may struggle to make it into the playoffs. That, my friends, is doin it rong.


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    FOBL Owner/GM frozenrope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuervo72 View Post
    . First place means nothing. All you are going to do is waste more money trying for one of the four spots. Yeah, you may have a few more lotto tickets in the postseason drawing, but that really doesn't mean much. Actually, I wonder if that's what the smart owners will eventually do. And when they do, does that depress FA bidding?
    I think smart owners are already trying to do it. Why spend 1m on a decent but not great 3B FA when I can just call up a little less decent 3B from the minors at 100k? And if I lose a few more games, I'll still make the playoffs. That could be one factor why middle-of-the-road FA bidding has gone down. It's being spent on the big boys, but the 3rd and 4th tier guys? Several reasons why, but that has to be one of them.


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    FOBL Board of Governors CubsFan915's Avatar
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    If we're concerned about making first place mean more, why not realign into 8 four team divisions, and only letting first place teams in? Less teams in the playoffs, and first place means lots, because it's all that matters! To hell with the middle class! Why have 20 teams out of 32 think they may have a shot at the playoffs when we can narrow it down to 12?

    Guess I'm just dumb, since I can't see how reducing the number of playoff spots is going to increase the interest in making one. Yes, it's a bit of reductio ab absurdum. I don't expect to compete for a playoff spot again for at least a real-life year (which gives me lots of incentive to stay invested, but that's neither here nor there) unless we decide to let everybody in, which even I, dumb as I apparently am, wouldn't support.
    Last edited by CubsFan915; 04-21-2013 at 10:12 PM.
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    I'm definitely not one of the smart owners. The only time I've made the playoffs was that three year span where Shaw essentially gifted me the playoffs by trading me his shit because he wanted to go in a different direction. During the entire span of my FOBL ownership, I've been content to field largely mediocre teams that didn't aim high, and hopefully didn't fall too low. For me, the fun of the FOBL has *always* been the narrative of bringing guys up, paying them until they retire, and letting shit happen as it happens. Competitive is not what you'd call me.

    So, from that perspective, here's my take on the 16-team playoff experiment: I've spent more money in FA since it started and worked harder to compete, because I figured even with my brand of risk-averse engagement, I might have a shot a being upper half sometimes. The sixteen team approach appeals to someone like me, because I'm naturally risk-averse. (Doc could regale you with some of the awesome trade offers he's made over the last couple of years that I wouldn't pull the trigger on because I'd rather guarantee a future hovering around .500 than take a shot at winning now and throwing the future to the wind.)

    The thing is...I"m not sure a league can be viable over the long term catering to owners like me. I'm like the Cleveland of the FOBL, and while every league needs a Cleveland, the excitement is really about what the gamblers, the planners, and the juggernauts are doing.

    Three teams with a first round bye would tend to encourage the sort of owner who is engaged in winning. I could get behind that, even if it wouldn't benefit me personally. (Which it likely wouldn't. I don't suspect I'm going to change my lack-of-management style any time soon.)

    That said, in a season like this one, where by some bizarre twist of totally unplanned fate we've ended up in the hunt 1/4 of the way through the season, if the playoff margin was 3 instead of 4, you'd might just see me making some stupid trades near the deadline rather than standing pat and letting the chips fall where they may. Me being stupid is probably the behavior we want to encourage rather than the alternative.
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    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    The key is to find the sweet spot for interest. I don't know where that is. It may not have been 8/36. But I'm not sure we're hitting it now if an owner that has won 120+ games three years running is saying he's bored, and essentially to call him in twenty more sims. Though maybe he's just too smart for the league*.

    Switching gears, I think there's another question that could be discussed. Why do we whip the hell through the playoffs? Under the old system where we only had 8 teams make the postseason, we set aside two nights for each series (granted, there was one less round). Now there are twice as many teams in the playoffs - half the league - and we accelerated the pace? Why?




    * I think there is also a chance that Doc, this being his first dance with it, is just now realizing that OOTP is just one, sometimes shitty, fancy-assed calculator. Most of us have already dealt with that disillusionment.
    Last edited by cuervo72; 04-22-2013 at 09:03 AM.


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    FOBL Owner/GM Drake's Avatar
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    I have this running joke in solo OOTP play for about ten versions running now that if you win 120 games, you're practically guaranteed to lose in the first round of the playoffs. It literally happens about half the time.
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    Totally on board with Doc's plan.


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    Quote Originally Posted by cuervo72 View Post
    Switching gears, I think there's another question that could be discussed. Why do we whip the hell through the playoffs? Under the old system where we only had 8 teams make the postseason, we set aside two nights for each series (granted, there was one less round). Now there are twice as many teams in the playoffs - half the league - and we accelerated the pace? Why?
    Ummm, I don't remember. :/

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    as far as number of playoff teams,i like 4 per division,if its anything like fofl it gives a guy like me who can amass talent but not gp as good as other guys a shot at the playoffs.in fofl I had a team as talented as any in the league,but would barely make the playoffs or miss em because I would lose two games to a less talented ben team every year,im sure in this league some guys are more talented/involved than others,,buts its nice to know,ya got a chance!...for my type of owner anyway,BUT....I also think winning a division should mean something as well....these are just my silly ideas,but they will be my contribution to this discussion...since their is supposedly no rust anymore...you could have teams 3 an 4 in each div play each other,the winner playing 2 seed, followed by the winner playin the div champ...or have seeds 2-4 from each div play a series,then have a series between the winners of those games an the div champ with the lesser of the wins,next series the surviving two teams followed by the series with no1 seed an whoever survived from the previous series matchups....both keep same number of playoff teams and make winning the div important and the second of the two options makes having the overall best record in the league important....not sure if either are even doable etc,its a long time for the div champs to not play a game etc,but sure makes it worth it to win the div while not lessening number of playoff teams

  25. #25
    Owner and GM, Washington Piledrivers and Virginia Woodchucks Subby's Avatar
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    Whatever doc wants.
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