Overdue update of comments policy

This one has been on my mind for some time but the recent manner in which things have turned a bit ugly on the comments side of the site means that I can’t put it off any longer. I know there’s plenty of anger, frustration, disappointment and all the rest swirling round the joint since Sunday week but I feel it’s now gone past time to call a halt to a number of undesirable practices that have taken hold in the comments in recent weeks.

First, a few background stats to set some context for this. The very first comment on this site was posted back in April 2007, just over two months after the site’s inception, by the redoubtable An Spailpín Fánach and since then a total of 22,035 comments have been posted by an ever-widening online community. Concomitant with the rise in the number of comments being posted is, of course, the volume of traffic on the site itself – over 2.4 million cumulative hits with almost half a million of these recorded during the third quarter of this year and over 217,000 in the month of September alone.

Every time I’ve raised the issue of the house rules for comments, I’ve been at pains to stress that this place would be much the poorer without the lively online community that has built up around it. As interest in the site has grown, so too has this community, some of whom have been posting comments for years, others for just weeks. People come and people go, as happens in all walks of life.

What concerns me now, though, is how the tone adopted by those commenting – and I’m speaking here, in the main, about those who have come on board more recently – has become significantly more tetchy and argumentative. Several spats have broken out (more than one in the dead of night) and more than one person has, despite having been given fair warning about what’s acceptable and what’s not, ended up on the comment moderation naughty step. It’s all getting more than a little ugly and it’s a trend I want to see reversed and fairly sharply.

Back to those stats: with those kind of numbers, I think it’s now fair to assume that any comment made about specific players or the management team will be seen by people close to the person involved, perhaps even by the person himself. It was never my intention in creating this site that it would provide a platform for those who simply want to abuse or engage in trash talk about Mayo GAA people (those involved on the pitch and off it) but it’s been depressingly clear to me since Sunday week that there are plenty of posters out there with this agenda. My advice to these posters is simply to take your vile product elsewhere.

So in aiming to right this particular ship, I’ve done a re-write of the house rules for comments and the updated version is here. I’d appreciate it if everyone posting comments on the site could take the time to read, digest and abide by the rules. The debate that takes place here will be all the healthier as a result.

88 thoughts on “Overdue update of comments policy

  1. WJ just taking issue with your figures there I reckon you have had a fair few more than 1,102 comments, i think that figure was just the comments by the two lads locking horns last night 🙂

    Connnacht draw tomorrow i believe ?

    Let’s get this show back on the road folks, we are all in it together.

  2. You’re right, of course , Roger – it’s just over 22,000. I was reading off the wrong line there.

    Glad you liked that one, Anne-Marie. It required some careful thought!

  3. “come onto the site for trolling purposes are politely requested to go fuck themselves”. Classic!
    I am relatively new to this site and thoroughly enjoy it. Believe me, for a techno-dinosaur like me that it takes some doing to get me into blogs/posts/etc. However, there has been a marked dip in the tone and a slightly more aggressive nature to some of the comments from some of the posters. The place for that is out the back of the local at half one in the morning full of porter and curry sauce. For logical, reasoned, passionate debate, this is the place. Not that I don’t mind “out the back of the local at half one in the morning full of porter and curry sauce” (even though I don’t drink much) but it is more presentable on a platform like this.
    You are right to re-lay the law WJ. Keep up the brilliant work.

  4. Have you any idea how much time and effort that would involve, Tom? I used to do that years ago when the volume of comments was much lower but I wanted to let the debate become more free-flowing and also because for one reason or another (including the fact that I have a life and work aside from this) comments were getting stuck in moderation for too long. I don’t think it’s too much to expect everyone to act in an adult fashion and to abide by a few clear rules, though there will, I know, always be a minority who can’t or won’t play by these rules.

  5. Tom61 – I am sure WJ has a Job and family commitments beside’s moderating this site 24/7. You would like to think we are all mature enough on here not to have WJ moderate every single comment.

    I am fairly new here myself but that’s just my opinion.

  6. Tom – would you ever go and read the rules like a good man? The laws on libel are there to deal with cases of defamation but anyone who comments within the house rules won’t be defaming anyone. It all comes back to the rules and individuals’ abilities to abide by them.

  7. Glad to see this today WJ. I had become disheartened by the comments section here in the aftermath of the AIF, but looking forward now to seeing things getting back on track. A great site.

  8. I have read the rules WJ, that’s why I asked you the question. I didn’t ask you about people who stay within the house rules so maybe I should find a simpler way to ask the same logical question, to make it more understandable for you.

  9. Tom61 – I’m not getting into a protracted debate with you. It’s precisely because of you and a few other newcomers that I’ve had to address this issue at all. If you want to continue commenting on the site (and bear in mind that all your comments will continue to go via moderation until I’m satisfied that further transgressions of the rules are unlikely to occur) then just make sure your comments are within the rules, end of. I don’t have the time to pursue a meandering, ongoing bilateral discussion with you so that’s the end of this particular conversation as far as I’m concerned.

  10. Tom – you’re not listening to me, are you? I’m not interested in having a debate with you, so find something else to do with your time.

  11. My only interest is seeing improvements in the whole Mayo set up, if that happens then they are serious about winning an All-Ireland, if it doesn’t then they deserve nothing.

    I just don’t get this rewarding constant failure business, sorry.

  12. Thank you WJ.

    I had actually refrained from commenting recently and I personally have no interest in reading these negative comments.

    I would ask some of these posters to consider the time, effort & sacrifices all players, management & volunteers put in every year, to have our great county competing at the highest level year in year out.

    As for rewarding failure, this is complete nonsense. Mayo Seniors have been in 3 semis and 2 finals in the last 3 years. This is heroic stuff and next year we will be going for 4 in a row in Connaught.

    I coach underage in Meath (I know!!!). If our lads don’t win the county, are they failures??? On the contrary, our club is the pride of the village.

    The GAA is unique and we cannot let the soccer type commenters, making their vile and unappreciative comments seep into the blog of genuine GAA people.

    14 MO SAM

  13. WJ
    I’m glad you have taken these steps. I for one found some of the comments unacceptable and whereas I know there is a lot of frustration out there it is not necessary or helpful to Mayo football to go so hard on individual at a time when they themselves must be feeling like sh* t
    I like rule 14 too but could I suggest an amendment to the rule by adding the phrase……” or the nearest consenting adult”. at the end of the sentence :).

  14. Hey that smiley thing works:). Perhaps we all should do more of it…………smile that is! It’s not the end of the world and I am looking forward to the quarter finals in Castlebar over the weekend.

  15. Tom61, if that is your only real interest then find a way of expressing your point without A. getting sent to moderation, B. dragging the site down to Hoganstand levels, and, C. annoying the holes of the rest of us. I have read very few comments from anyone on this site that are actually agreeing with you. That, in itself is not the point though, but people are not even engaging you in fair debate because of the attitude of your posts. To read your posts you would swear that you were the only one unhappy, angry and frustrated with the outcome of events! I actually agree with some of your points believe it or not!
    The rules are clear and fair and it is not like the Gastapo are looking over our shoulders as we type. We are all entitled to express our opinion and no-one is right or wrong but you have a find another way of making your posts credible.

  16. Lads, as Steve said I am sure WJ has more to do with his time than moderate every comment made. The rules are there and that is the standard of site he wishes to maintain. As mentioned, there are other sites out there like Hogan Stand etc if people want a slanging match. I appreciate people get frustrated etc, and we know all about it following Mayo football, but the players or their relations must see these blogs and it is very insulting after all the effort they put in year in year out to be criticised so harshly. No one set out to lose a match, the season will be around again before we know it and plenty of football on before then. We will be back in Croker on AI Final day 2014, against Dublin again, I am convinced of it.

  17. Tom61 I have found a lot of your comments very good and I would agree with them but I have to agree with Pebblesmeller. You have heard the analogy, “like a dog with a bone” Willie Joe has great patience.
    It would be a shame to lose your input. You have said some good stuff and we need that kind of perspective, much like my own.

  18. Thanks for the fantastic work you put into this blog Willie Joe, as an emigrant its simply a wonderful resource for passionate Mayo Gaa fans overseas. Please keep up the good work. I look forward to reading this blog the days after we final lift Sam!

  19. WJ, I guess you have some emoticons enabled, (the common ones I suppose) and the less common ones disabled?
    while silly at times, they can lighten the mood or tone, of a post.
    Anyway, carry on (H)

  20. Willie Joe I love no 10. It’s a howl. No. 14 is good but I am slightly surprised at your use of such strong language. What kind of a message does it send to people like me who rarely use bad language, (I tell lies). I would worry about being influenced and breaking rule no. 10. I would have to hold you responsible for encouraging me to curse.

    Anyway, shite talking over, I will do my best to comply with the second part of no.3, don’t reply to jibes, etc. I have erred in the past and will try not to err in the future. I hate being scoffed and jibed at and am tempted to reply, but the Bible says we have to resist temptation or go to Hell. ( not a bad option, sex, drugs and rock n roll).

  21. Well done WJ about time to stop the nonsense . The discussion that took place prior to the final about the Mayo crest , was, I thought , the pits. It was the first time ever I found myself bored on this site, especially with so much more to talk about.

  22. Pebblesmeller, I’m not bothered if people agree with my point of view or not but just because they don’t say it doesn’t mean they don’t agree with.

    Its hardly my fault if some people don’t know what’s meant by steel and doggedness. Just because I say the group must work harder some people on here assume that I don’t recognize and appreciate the work and commitment that has already been done.

    Others seem to get ratty when I talk of the importance of curing the physiological problems of team Mayo.

    Had Mayo been prepared better going into the final then we would have won, no question about that. For me that is just a scandal and there are no excuses for it.

  23. I am breaking my own rule here but due to the bile they had surfaced in the last two weeks I said I would stay well clear of commenting for a few months.

    It was the equivalent of a drunk shouting the same opinion in your ear after last orders and telling you to shut up because you’re an idiot.

    In some cases I had never seen the names before and I’ve been using it for over two years.

    Keep up the good work people and retain the values that the site has always had

  24. Good man WJ, things were getting too much like hogan stand on here. I think some of the people on here forget that WJ has a life and a job outside this blog and should respect the rules or else head off to another blog. Im reading alot about the alleged rumblings in the camp before the game etc. It reminds me alot off the Irish rugby team in 2008, apparently war in the camp come the end of that years six nations, then, in the autumn of that year, a meeting was called, differences were aired, things got very heated and a few home truths were dished out. Following campaign, Ireland secure the grand slam after a sixty-odd year wait. surely we can draw some inspiration from that?.

    I personally cannot wait for the fbd and allianz to start again, where the players can completely re-focus and put this season to bed. We will be in the mix again next year, their is no doubt in my mind about that.

  25. Great site WJ and compulsive reading. Reading it for ages but only commented on it after AIF and that was in response to what I considered very unfair criticism of players and management. Obviously we were all gutted after losing and we responded in our different ways. Definitely think all associated with team deserve enormous credit for their efforts over the past 3 years. Imagine how they must be feeling since 22 Sept. I m not blind to the fact that mistakes were made or that some players did not perform but I m sure nobody went out to give less than their absolute best.

  26. I had got a bit fed up too with the bickering here. It was starting to remind me of YouTube where you scroll down from a song and all the comments were just telling someone else how wrong they were.
    As this site has now started issuing yellow cards can somebody explain next years black card please. Do teams have six subs to use? If all subs are used,as with Dublin in the final, does the black card then become the equivalent of the red card. Will these cards be used in all competitions. Will they start from January?

  27. Yes Nephin, that one was inapproriate and got under my skin, but I resisted the temptation to respond.

  28. Well done WJ. I fully agree with all your rules and I really appreciate the work you have put in to this f–king great blog.

    I know all the first rate Mayo supporters contributing here will continue to share their thoughts and knowledge. I hope we continue to see lots of those agreeing and disagreeing on subjects but within the rules in a good humoured and mannerly way. After all we wouldn’t want to be a fully argreeable bunch of back slappers. – that would get very boring.

    Good constructive debate, some great and some weird ideas too, the betterment of Mayo GAA and all the banter along the road (hang sandwiches an all) to the end game – Bringing Sam Back To Mayo!

  29. I hope the CB meeting on monday night has as good a ‘clear the air’meeting as Wj has done with this post-needed to be done,we were all a little tetchy.Duly reeled in!

  30. I too am obsessed with this blog, I find I am checking it daily and I love to read other peoples views (I love football but I am no expert). and this is the unique thing about this – people who know their football and love Mayo. keep up the good work WJ

  31. Seamus Mac – good questions.

    I haven’t a clue about the exact when, where, how the black cards will work. I do understand the why but I think until referees are directed to give red cards for dangerous cynical fouls, we will still have the problem.

    Let’s face it – you could technically get a straight red for throwing back your arm or a stray elbow to push off an opponent that tackling you to the ground like a good rugby back row should in that code, and he’d only get a yellow at best. Black cards could prove as useful as umbrellas in a hurricane !

  32. One would think so however, I’d say the only thing we’ll know for sure is whether or not James Horan is staying, or leaving. Thats of most importance.

    Despite all the discontent with some of his decisions and the resulting loss, we need to know if “he” wants to continue to lead the quest for Sam.

  33. Given there is no rule disallowing comments which are overly pedantic can I point out that it is ‘trash talk’ and not ‘thrash talk’ 🙂 P.S. thanks for running a great blog WJ, keep up the good work.

  34. I was just thinking of Tom Acton, RIP, who was laid to rest today and whom I met a few times last year in the nursing home in Ballina.A great man, with a great memory, we talked of many great games and great players including the short whistle All Ireland in 1948 v Cavan in which I believe he scored two goals. I know he played in the Connacht final of 1950 but he said , due to a hand injury , played no further part in the Championship. I would love to know and maybe some of ye can help, would he have got an A I medal.
    I know I could have asked him , but didn’t like to in case the answer was no.
    May he rest in peace.

  35. Just read through the updated rules, 10 and 14, has to be favourites.
    Love the site, as others on this site, I’m not living at home but this site makes me feel I am.
    Thanks a mill. WJ and all contributors .
    MaighEo Abú

  36. Now that the emotions have subsided a bit and the tone has improved, my own included – (apologies to anyone who may have taken offence) there is one bit of business that needs to be addressed.
    The rumours flying around about what did or did not happen leading up to the final are most unhealthy. This needs to be cleared up some way or other because rumours are like a cancer if they are not dealt with quickly.

  37. Good to see this update WJ.

    I have to admit the recent shite talk on here by some was not helping my post final blues, but sure that’s what scrolling is for I suppose.

    There’s been some change on here since I first visited 6 odd years ago, but for every ‘hoganstand’ type contributor that’s joined in the fun there’s been some excellent comments and analysis by many as well.

    And as always, this never ever fails to raise a smile for me –

    10.Bad language is perfectly fine, up to and including the bad ‘f’ word, but context is everything, e.g. “for fuck’s sake” is grand, “fuck you and fuck your mother” most certainly isn’t….

  38. WJ. Thank you for redirecting posters’ focus.

    After all, we all seek the same goal. Objective analysis of what happened is fine, but it must encompass what went before also. Mayo did not reach the final through luck. We all know in outline the failings in the final, but it is easy to be wise after the event. The management and players do not need diatribes to recognise those shortcomings.

    You asked yesterday if Mayo could win in 2014. I have no doubt that they can. We need to keep JH and Donnie, build yet further with new blood and give most of the side a rest.

    Mayo should fear no other county, as they have beaten the best but not in the final. I believe they will next year.

  39. Nephin, me dad was at his funeral yesterday and according to me dad, Tom Acton does have an AI medal from the 51 squad, although I don’t believe he played in the match. Course, my dad could be wrong but he is rarely wrong when it comes to these things. 🙂

  40. Fair play wj as more and more people use the site unfortuately you are going to get the odd clown.For the most part everyone is fine and only wants to see the best for Mayo,keep up the good work we would all be lost without this site to air our views and keep up to date.

  41. Tom Acton,RIP. Yes he did recieve an AI medal he didn’t play but was a sub in ’51. Apparently the CB didn’t have the funds to have a do for them and their medals were posted out to the team.

  42. Delighted to see your post this morning WJ! Get everyone back on track. I use my real name on here because it makes me think my comments through properly before posting. i.e. Stops me spreading rumours or defaming anyone! That’s not everyones cup of tea just I find it works for me! Number 10 & 14 are my favourites.

  43. I’m glad he did , but they were shown very gratitude for what they did.
    Thanks for info.

  44. Nice post Nephin. Set a man to thinking.

    Regarding the new rules; God needed just 10 and they were set for the whole worldl untill the end of time. We need 14 to keep us in check.

    That’s Mayo football for ya and all that it means.

    “Come On Mayo!!!’

  45. I would agree with that Diehard, but would suggest that the group of men among which this alleged dispute arose are the ones who must deal with it. I dont believe that I, who spent a lot of time any money over the past 30+ years following Mayo football has any right to be informed of this process we just have to trust them.
    On a related topic I heard a quote yesterday which I think is apt ” A wise man has many advisers”.. i believe it comes from proferbs.

  46. People forget that they are amature players and we shouldnt be directing these negative comments if we want any hope of them coming out to give it there all next year. There are people in other counties who would give it there right hand just to get out of there province. Your right WJ to put a stop to this and you should have a sraight ban for anyone who breaks the rules more than once.

  47. Someone said earlier they were hoping for a 4th provential title and a handy ad draw,sounds gr8 but am I mistaken or are conn champs due to play Munster runner up or whole ever beat them in qualifier rd ,with the Munster council puttin ck,ky in opp draws we are guaranteed one of them…if so,good bye easy draw.it might be a blessing in disguise,(a tough qf to sharpen us up)it will be game 4,can’t wait.MAIGHEO ABU. PS wj cheers for enforcing house rules,a plot of unpleasant stuff thrown about resently

  48. We might be lucky to get out of New York alive! And that has nothing to do with the football!!!
    I know a Roscommon man that travelled over a couple of years ago when the Rossies played in New York. He remembers getting on the plane at Shannon and getting off it at Shannon 5 days later. Only for the photos he would never know he was there. He was told that he really enjoyed it and that he had a great time.

  49. WJ As I have said in the past this a good site and great credit is due to you for policing it. I know it is widely read and referenced by many guys involved in football within the county. The tone has become sour of late and that is a pity. Like so many other fans I still support the second best team in Ireland and management and I feel sorry for their collective failures. Our mantra has always been Keep the Faith. Very easy during the second week of September not so easy now, but just as important

  50. Very good blog, its pretty much the only form of social networking I participate in. I think facebook and twitter are a load of aul dung. Stolensheep has gone to hell with no moderation and one poster who spouts the most deluded nonsense ever heard.
    Rule 14 is phrased to be funny, however as one from another county, I fail to understand why its directed at other counties and not all, including the Rhurbarbs. It borders racism. Also on that rule 14, you could have mentioned Mayo blog members to be mindfull of their thoughts to posters from different counties which is not always the best, I’m thinking the moody John Cuffe here.
    Us posters from other counties are capable of offering opinions from a neutral perspective, non clouded judement and all that. Also if a game between a Mayo team were to be played in Ros, bloggers on here may like an opinion on the game, as they could not attend, I’ m thinking Conroys performance for Davitts V Pearses in an intermediate club game played in Kiltoom.
    As I said between yourself and An Spailpin you are the best thats out there, rule 14 the natives may find good craic, I don’t. As a suggestion you could get help from a number of established posters to help you out with moderation on a time shared basis.

  51. Great site WJ and co. Looking forward to the start again next year! To all thanks and keep the faith. Best site on the www.

  52. Hello there, I don’t feel that people are just directing negative comments, some may be.

    Most are just airing their thoughts about the huge disappointment that happened and making realistic comments on where things went wrong and on the the way they can be improved in the future. Where is the harm in that? We praise when it’s deserved and surely we can do the opposite when it’s deserved.

    To the people in other counties, it would be great to get out of their Province but to constantly get out of the Province and be beaten back home again and again is not a pleasant experience. So swings and roundabouts!!

  53. There’s a few good points there. A neutral perspective is always good as many of the Mayo posters wear the red and green glasses, taking some comments as being anti-Mayo and negative. A broad and balanced perspective is needed to see things as they really are.
    By the way, sorry, Rossie fans would not be my favourites, Ballaghaderreen and all that. I do pray for ye at Knock!!

  54. To be fair, rule 14 is aimed at “those from other counties who post insulting or antagonistic comments or who come onto the site for trolling purposes”. So I reckon if you’re not in either of those two categories, you’ve nothing to worry about 🙂

    Good point re Mayo posters being mindful of comments on other counties, though this will always be a Mayo site and as such bias is to be expected. Keeping basic good manners in mind is probably as good advice as any there.

  55. Well done WJ again on another great year’s work. I agree totally with your comments about the negativity creeping in. This site is for Mayo FANS. We have enough critics in the national media who treat us as a bit of a joke. We have reached more finals than almost any other team over the past 20 years and while we clearly have a major problem when we get there, this achievement is one to be admired.
    Mistakes were made by players and management in our last final but I have no doubts over the integrity and commitment of both sets. This rubbish about drinking, travelling in cars etc.needs to be ignored.
    Personally I would not be optimistic about an All Ireland win in 2014 but we can’t withdraw from the Championship so let’s give it our best shot again!

  56. Just read that Tomás Ó Sé has retired. It’s on the web and worth reading the comments. I have never read such trash, personal, infantile insults, at each other as well. Willie Joe, on our worst day we were angels compared to that.

  57. Very important to keep the faith in the tough times PJ, thats what being a Mayo supporter is all about!
    Fair play WJ for inforcing the house rules, was starting to turn a bit like HS.

  58. Im coming late to this discussion but I’d like to make one point –

    For the love of (whatever religious deity you follow) will all who frequent and enjoy this medium display a little bit of common sense. Or basically cop the f’ck on!

    We have a great resource here and we should respect the time and effort put into its provision. It’s not a medium for abusing each other so anyone looking to sate their appetite for this pastime should look elsewhere.

  59. Re Tom Acton RIP and All Ireland medals. Tom probably got his medal but there was problems for some of the players. They were posted out for the 1951 men. Micky Loftus and I think Paddy Jordan and Willie Casey along with Jimmy Curran didn’t get their medals until five six years ago. The late Mick Mulderrig also a sub that day told me that the surviving players had to put on fierce pressure to insure Jimmy Curran got his medal a few years back. Curran scored all Mayos scores in AI semi final replay v Dublin 1955 . The late Fr Jim Nallen didn’t get the medal he won in the 57 or was it 58 junior final until a few years back either.

  60. Thanks John,
    Why was there a problem with some players. You would imagine if one got it ,all others would too,unless the fine Co Board of the time made a bags of it.

  61. For the life of me I don’t understand why anyone is surprised at the amount of negative comments posted here since the Final. After all, most of us were guilty of riding the waves as regards Mayo’s chances of winning, so much so that those who posted anything less than positive comment were almost deemed not worthy to wear the green and red. Now in the aftermath of another false dawn, which seems more difficult to accept than last year, it’s only natural that we look more deeply into what went wrong. It’s all well and good asking for flag waving and cheers and by God we sure did that, but following this latest defeat we’re only left with hurt and disappointed. So for all those who wear their heart on their sleeves, let’s for now, allow them a little more rein to express themselves!

  62. Mayo v Roscommon or Leitrim in Connaught semi final next year. Not a bad draw to focus the minds on next season.

  63. I am in total agreement with Mayo McHale both in his post above & with his post on the previous thread. It is no wonder that we had the amount of negativity that we had.
    That we had such negativity reflects well on this blog & on peoples concern for Mayo Football and there is no need for any apologies. Some posters got inappropriately involved with each other but that was the height of it.
    There was serious under performance in that All Ireland Final & there seemed to be surprise that the Dubs weren’t going to roll over for any coronation but their own.
    We will move on to the future (polls for 2014 & club fixtures) but it would be remiss of us to forget about Game 6. We can’t forever keep moving from Game 6 to Game 1.

  64. John Griffin – I’ve deleted that last comment of yours. You obviously didn’t give the updated house rules a close enough read – rule 3 is the one you need to have another look at.

  65. I hate All Ireland’s! I really do. The hype, the build up, the expectations, the fears, the tension and then the misery, the blame game, the what if’s, the rumours and then the onset of winter.
    All Ireland day is no longer a game of football for us mayo folk but seems to have become a forum where our status and self- image as a county is at stake – where we are almost put on trial as to our worth as a people. I get the feeling that the stakes are far too high and getting higher with every loss. I wonder does this impact on our players more than we think? It certainly has impacted on posters here!
    When ( yes I said when ) we succeed, God help us, but we will probably be too shell shocked to fully enjoy it.

  66. mayo mchale, Joey, diehard, what you are all saying is so true, it’s also so sad. We have a tough time as Mayo supporters and this year certainly didn’t improve things. We just have to pick ourselves up and go again!!!

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