Have You Used The New Gutenberg Editor?

Thank you to Donna Connolly, who blogs at Retirement Reflections, for asking me a question about blogging after reading my recent blog post ‘Do You Have A Question About Blogging…’

Here’s Donna’s question in full.

#bloggingtips #blogging #Gutenberg #GutenbergEditor

Yes, I’m using the Gutenberg editor, Donna. I’ve written this post using it.

I’ve read more blog posts complaining about the new Gutenberg Editor than those that give it any praise or credit. I found that to be of great shame, given some of the circumstances surrounding the reviews it’s been getting.

Many of those who complained about Gutenberg hadn’t even attempted using it. They’d ended up getting to it by mistake; many panicking as soon as they saw what was in front of them on the screen.

Others had tried using it but had not given it the time it deserves. Just like learning to ride a bike, or ice-skating for the first time, I think we all have to practice and try new things out before telling the world just how good or bad something is.

You wouldn’t review a book before reading it, would you?

How many times have you read or heard this quote?

“The more you write, the better you will get at it.”

Well, the same goes for Gutenberg. The more you use it, the better you will become at using it.

Why ‘First Impressions’ shouldn’t always count.

When I first used the new Gutenberg Editor, I found myself getting very frustrated with it. It was new and, like most things that are new, I tried using it without reading any instructions or guidelines.

However, with practice, I soon got used to it, and it wasn’t long before I found myself liking it a lot. What I thought as a foe, soon became a friend.

#welcome #hands
Image credit: Pixabay

Since the beginning of 2019, all my new blog posts have been written using Gutenberg. I’ve been so impressed with it that I”m now gradually in the process of converting all my most popular posts to it.

I’ve come across a few bugs while using Gutenberg. However, rather than complaining about them and doing nothing about it, I’ve reported the bugs to WordPress. They’ve gone out of their way to get rid of them.

Is the Gutenberg editor better than the Classic editor?

In my opinion, yes it is. And it’s not only me that thinks my blog posts look better when written with Gutenberg. Many of my readers have told me that the layout of my posts are far better to read than what they used to be.

What are the benefits of using Gutenberg?

There are lots but, just for starters, I love the fact that my posts can now have sub-headings that stand out (like the sub-heading above this paragraph). Sub-headings help break up what otherwise can be seen as uninviting blocks of text. I’ve found reading the posts of other bloggers who have used Gutenberg to be smoother and far more comfortable to read.

My reading experience has become even more enjoyable because of Gutenberg.

Sub-headings also come with a choice of five different sizes. That may not sound very interesting or exciting, but it’s something I think gives blog posts, written with the Gutenberg editor, an edge over the Classic editor.

Even colours come into play.

Text can now be easily inserted onto a coloured background, to highlight it (like I’ve done with this paragraph). There are lots of colours available to choose from.

Size can also matter.

You can also change the size of the font in your post, as well as in each paragraph, from normal to medium, large or huge. I’ve changed the size of the font in this paragraph from normal to medium.

And how about starting a paragraph with a large initial letter? You can’t do that with the Classic editor, can you?

Pingbacks are guaranteed to work.

When I was using the Classic editor, a new page would usually open in the same window when a reader clicked on a link in my post. This resulted in my blog being closed down on their screen. That’s not something any blogger wants happening, is it?

This happened even though I had ticked the ‘open page in a new window’ box. I found that I had to go back into the post and tick the box again! It wasn’t happening with all WordPress themes but, with Gutenberg, it isn’t happening at all.

Gutenberg is completely mobile friendly.

Image by geralt on Pixabay

Unlike the Classic editor, you no longer have to worry if the theme you’re using is mobile-friendly or if your ‘mobile friendly’ settings are working.

As more and more readers read content on mobiles and tablets while on the go, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that they will always be able to read your posts. Therefore, you will know that you’ll never lose readers and visitors to your blog because they are not able to read your posts on a mobile or tablet.

Save time by instantly dragging and dropping images and links.

Gutenberg allows users to drag and drop images, links, music and URLs directly into a post. No longer does a user need to add images to their media library before adding them to a post. Gutenberg does this for you when you drop images and videos into a post.

Save time with no more cutting and pasting.

Another time-saving element of Gutenberg is that you can quickly move paragraphs (or blocks, as they are known) and images up and down the document by clicking on the ‘up’ or ‘down’ arrow that appears by the side of a block when editing it. No more copying, pasting and deleting as one had to do when using the Classic editor!

And here’s something else Gutenberg will save you time on. An editing bar appears at the top of each block, so you don’t have to scroll up to the top of the page for the edit buttons. This is especially useful when writing longer blog posts.

WordPress have plans for the Classic editor.

The word on the grapevine is that WordPress will be withdrawing support for the Classic editor at the end of 2020. That may seem like a long way off, but don’t make the mistake of not being ready for it when it happens. Give yourself plenty of time.

Tips and advice for using Gutenberg.

Donna asked me for some tips on how to use Gutenberg. The bests tips and advice I can give you is to give Gutenberg a try. Not only that, but gave it time. Don’t panic when you first use it. Take an hour or so to write and edit a post. Practice using it as much as possible.

I’ll be publishing some tips on using Gutenberg in upcoming posts.

But most importantly of all!

Remember what I said earlier about reading instructions? Well, I’ve found you two excellent guides on how to use Gutenberg. The first one has been written by blogging expert Janice Wald and can be found by clicking here. Click here to access the second guide.

There is lots more I could add about Gutenberg, but I want to end this post by thanking Donna for her question. Thank you, Donna!

#blogger #writer #retirement
Blogger and writer Donna Connolly

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Have you used the Gutenberg editor? What do you think about it?

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157 comments

  1. You’ve given a thorough review of the Gutenberg editor. I used it for several months. Then I had some questions and asked WordPress, in addition to some tech questions, I asked if I could use classic editor again. They said I had a choice by hovering the three dots at the right corner when editing and that I could switch back and forth to use either editor for different posts.
    I went on vacation for two weeks. When I came back, my blog was switched to classic.
    I’ve been busy promoting my new book so I didn’t have time to ask them any more questions. I like many features of the Gutenberg editor such as color of the text, font size, and blocks headings.

    My struggle was I couldn’t easily insert text after photos.I did it somehow after many attempts during editing, but it’s not as easy as the classic editor. The classic editor is like one long document. Since the Gutenberg has blocks, I had problem putting my courser in the next block especially after a photo. I include photos in almost every post.

    I participate many challenges. I find that the pingback is not as easily done as the classic editor. I got through it many times but I had to do it many times to make it right.

    1. Hi Miriam, all WordPress users have the choice and can switch between using the Classic editor and the Gutenberg editor. It’s not something that WordPress does for you. It’s an option all WordPress.Com bloggers currently have.

      Opening up a new block to start writing new text after an image or photo is done by clicking on the ‘+’ (add block) button which is towards the top left of the screen. The guides I have included links to in this post also have information on this subject. It sounds like you were an early user of Gutenberg so it may be that there were still lots of bugs in it. I still find the odd bug when using it, but WordPress has always been great at helping me out and getting rid of the bug when I’ve reported them.

      I’ve encountered no problems when creating pingbacks (unlike when I was using the Classic editor), so maybe those bugs have also been sorted out? In any case, if you do come across any bugs when using WordPress, do report them.

      Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.

      1. Thank you, Hugh. Yes, I started using Gutenberg in the early stage when the review was 50% satisfied. It was offered when I did the editing and I clicked it.
        I did like the presentation and many choices.
        I must go back to try it again.
        Yes, I may come back to you if I have further questions.

  2. Well Hugh! You really started something here, as I had been putting off using the new editor for fear of change. I immediately read the links you provided and wrote my first post using Gutenberg. I included some of the new functions you mentioned (and I feel very proud of myself for doing so) and guess what, the world didn’t end. I don’t know if others will see any differences but it really wasn’t that hard to use. Thanks for the push and I’d appreciate if you could pop by to see if it worked OK. Thanks again 🙂 and to Donna for asking the question too.

    1. Well done, Debbie. Sometimes, jumping in head-first can work. I haven’t seen your post yet (it’s in my inbox), but I’ll certainly be over to read it. The more you use the Gutenberg editor, the better you will become at using it. I’m still finding out new stuff about it, and I’m delighted with how my posts are now turning out. I’ve had great feedback on the layout and am glad that I invested the time to try Gutenberg out.

      And, like you said, the world didn’t end when I tried using it. Sure, I had some frustration when first using it, but that was down to me stepping outside of my comfort zone and not reading any instructions or guides on how to use it.

      1. Yes, it’s not too difficult at all Hugh and I’m slowly going back and updating some of my previous posts. I don’t find it that different except for the blocks, as I used headings and broke text up before. One thing it doesn’t seem to do is make the post full page width even though I’ve ticked the box at the bottom to do so. If I go back into classic editor to make it full width it messes up the blocks so I’ll just leave it like that. Thanks for stopping by my post and leaving a supportive comment too, it’s much appreciated.

        1. That may be something worth mentioning to the WordPress Happiness engineers, Debbie. It may be a bug nobody has told them about yet. I’m sure they will be helpful in sorting it out for you. In the meantime, well done on publishing such a great first post using Gutenberg. Without a doubt, it looked far better than when using the Classic editor.

  3. Thanks for the great answer(s) Hugh. I like a lot of features of the new editor, There are a few features I make a lot of use of (primarily mosaic galleries) that don’t seem to be supported. They have said that they will be, so, I hold out. It’s weird, on our self-hosted company site, we’ve been using a theme that includes many of the features of the new editor, primarily blocks, but then, I don’t use that for blogging.

    I am looking forward to your follow-up posts on this subject.,

    1. An earlier comment mentioned that there was no option for a ‘slideshow’ gallery, Dan. However, WordPress has confirmed that one is coming. They are still working on lots of features and, as they withdrawn support for the Classic editor, these new features will become more and more available to users.

      My initial thoughts on using Gutenberg cannot be mentioned here (because I’m family-friendly), but I’m so glad I stuck with it.

  4. I’ve bookmarked this to keep. I was one of the ones who chickened out and accidentally got back on Classic Edit. I guess it’s best to try NOT when you want to schedule blogs just before you go away, or you are finishing a blog late at night, but when time is open ended and it’s something light you want to write.

    1. Every WordPress user has the option of switching between the Classic editor and the Gutenberg editor (for now). I agree with you in not trying it out just before going on holiday. Like anything, it needs you to invest some time in using it. I started off with a quick post, and then gradually went on to writing longer posts using it. It’s certainly helped me save time when writing posts, especially the longer ones.

  5. Not sure how I missed this, Hugh, luckily I saw Donna’s post! I left Donna a lengthy comment which I won’t repeat here other than to say I LOVE the new editor! I’m a layout nerd and so picky about how I want things to look (laid out the high school paper by hand back in the day)…placement, composition, headings, etc are everything! Like you, I’ve made all my 2019 posts in the new editor and have not looked back. I use more headings now (so much easier), use the color blocks, and the quote blocks. I’ve been able to successfully refresh really old posts with ease. Currently I still use classic editor for a page, but eventually I will get that figured. I highly encourage anyone to watch the tutorial and layout a draft post and play around with it. My only problem was now I wait for the almost last step to schedule the time/date (used to do it first). Your post is informative and encouraging and we won’t blow up the world if we make a mistake, LOL!

    1. I only published this post yesterday, Terri. It’s probably why you didn’t see it until you saw Donna’s reblog.

      I’m glad to hear you’ve been using Gutenberg. In fact, I knew you were using it because of some of the features in your recent blog posts. Refreshing older posts in the Classic editor is so easy with just the click of a button. It’s also got me to update those posts, too.

      That’s a great idea about having a test draft post and using it when trying out Gutenberg. Practice makes perfect!

      It was hard for me to step outside of my comfort zone with using the Classic editor, but I’m so glad I made the switch. The time I invested in learning to use the Gutenberg editor has certainly paid off. And, as you say, nothing dramatic happened when I made the switch.😀 Just, in my opinion, better-looking blog posts that I now write far quicker than when I was using the Classic editor.

  6. 🙂 Hugh, I have learned to use the Gutenberg editor (And, I appreciate it too).

    I actually started using it when it was in beta (Back then, it was a bit buggy).

    Gutenberg has come a long way and I have no regrets of using it.

    1. Thanks for being one of the early volunteers to try it out, Renard. I can only see WordPress improving our experience of using it. I’ve found a few bugs when using it, but always inform WordPress about them. They’ve been great at getting rid of them.

  7. Thank you for answering Donna’s question and the tutorial links! The second one was very clear and gave me a lot of confidence to try Gutenberg out. My only concern is that, with all those formatting options (font sizes, colors, etc.) some bloggers’ posts might become pretty messy and hard to read. Just like over-edited photos, more is not always better. I prefer clean, calm, and easy to read. But, that’s just me and hopefully we will all find something – or things – to love about the new editor.

    1. The options are there for you to use if you want them. You don’t have to use them. However, I believe that many of them make reading blog posts far easier and enjoyable. For example, sub-headings help break up large blocks of text that can look very unwelcoming. I’ve definitely found that reading blog posts created on Gutenberg far more enjoyable and comfortable to read than those created on the Classic editor. Posts have more of an eye-appeal, and I’ve already seen an increase in visitors to my blog posts that have been written with the Gutenberg editor. Not only that, but they seem to get shared more, too.
      I hope you’ll give it a try. Don’t hesitate to come back and ask any questions about it.

  8. Thanks Hugh! I found your post through Donna’s Retirement Reflections. At first, like many I objected to changing but now I’ve practised with Gutenberg and realised that perhaps the Classic editor won’t always be around I made sure I started trying to get a handle on things. Whilst I prefer the Classic Editor because that is what I know and am comfortable with, I am getting used to Gutenberg. Thanks for the information and I’ve picked up a few extra tips. Have a great week!

    1. You’re welcome, Sue. I’m glad you stepped outside of your comfort zone and gave the Gutenberg editor a try. You’re right in that the Classic editor won’t be around forever. Once WordPress withdraw their support for it, it will start to misfunction. Once that happens, there won’t be anybody to fix it. That’s why it’s best to start using Gutenberg sooner rather than later. I thought I wouldn’t like it (but only because I dislike change). Now, I could never go back to using the Classic editor. For me, that would be like going back to standard wi-fi from super-fast wi-fi.

  9. I played with for a short time but return to classic when i could not find the simple editing tools. But that was jyst quick try on my mobile. I plan to give it a better go and get understand blocks and like you report what isnt useful or midsing, so by 2020 it the best. I had imaged by blocks the they meant columns and i really was looking forward to that, but might have got that wrong.

    I Didn’t know it was called Gutenberg.

    Very useful post as always

        1. The Gutenberg editor isn’t available on the WordPress App as yet. However, they have confirmed that it will be available in a couple of weeks. I’m sure they will an announcement about it.

      1. I just had a go at doing a column on my post scheduled for tomorrow. But this post was created on classic first. It is so hard to preview with gutenberg – really hard, so i don’t what my post will like tomorrow.. eeek.

        Question: we don’t have to convert all our classic post to the gutenberg. I am sure that wordpress would do that automatically for all our old posts? cause that far too much to convert.

        1. Like the Classic editor, Gutenberg also has a preview button. It sits right next to the ‘update’ or ‘publish’ button depending on whether you about to publish a new post or are updating an older post.

          No, you don’t need to convert all previous posts to Gutenberg. For example, I’m just converting my most popular posts to Gutenberg. However, there will come a time when WordPress will probably convert them all (once they’ve withdrawn support for the classic editor).

        2. That’s something I’ve always recommend not doing. Why? Because those followers (like me) who get email notifications that you have published a new post, will get an error message saying ‘page not found’ if you have rescheduled the post, as the original link to it on the email will have been replaced and will no longer work. When you reschedule posts, a new email notification does not go out. Also, the link on any social media shares will also no longer work if the post has been rescheduled (for the same reasons). Why does this matter? Because those who keep getting error messages may decide to either unfollow your blog or not come back because of too many error messages. Of course, it’s entirely up to the individual blogger what they do to ensure their posts get seen, but rescheduling too much can cause problems.

          For those who follow your blog via the WP Reader, they may get fed up seeing the same post from you on their reader list.

        3. Oh interesting. But on the same day as the post, i thought the link stays. It only when it is another day.

          Thank you for your thoughts it help me understand a bit more. I am still new and bad habits already.

          Anyway gutenberg doesnt allow it, so i have to behave..😏

  10. I have definitely not given Gutenberg enough time. I am one of those who got there accidentally and yes, I panicked… lol! The problem is that I simply don’t have the time to dedicate it to find out about a completely new system. When I sit down for writing then I have to get it going. But your post helps a lot and maybe I will give it another try. But for now, I will stick with the classic editor 😂

    1. I would recommend you have a test post in your draft folder that you can play around with when you’ve some time, Erika. Sure, we all have to invest time to try new things out, but using Gutenberg has gone on to saving me time when writing posts. My investment was definitely a good one. Now I have more time to write and read.

      1. I have it on my list. For now I am glad that I can still work with the classic editor. It really needs some practice to get some routine with Gutenberg. But I agree, it might be even easier once I am into it!

  11. This was very helpful, Hugh. I’ve been staying away from it mostly because I’m comfortable with the classic editor. But you’ve highlighted some new things that one can’t do with the classic (I like the sub-heading enhancements in particular). Many thanks for this post. I will give it a try soon! – Marty

  12. Hi, Hugh – Thank you for this very positive and thorough answer to my question. This is just the push that I need to take the leap. I have re-blogged your post on my site as I believe your answer will be very helpful to many.

    1. Thank you for asking the question, Donna. I’m so glad that you did. Thanks for reblogging and sharing my post with your readers. I hope they find it useful.

      Good luck with using Gutenberg. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you have when using it.

        1. Sounds a little like me when I first had a go at using it. I’m glad you had a go and like the layout of your post. The more you use it, the more you will get used to how it all works.

  13. Hi Hugh,
    Your review of Gutenberg was extremely helpful. Your positive review encouraging people to use Gutenberg relieved apprehension about trying it. Thanks for linking to my Gutenberg tutorial. It would be great if my tutorial could help your readers be more at ease with Gutenberg.
    Janice

  14. I’ve been postponing using it. I guess it’s time. I usually write my posts in Word then copy them to the Classic Editor. With the Gutenberg Editor, it sounds like I’d have to paste into blocks per heading instead of into one block. Thanks, Hugh.

  15. Thanks for the insight and tips, Hugh. I’ve used it for awhile, and do manage for the most part, but every now and then it frustrates me. I’m getting better, but still not in love. The thing that irks me the most relates to the Gallery. Am I wrong, or did WP remove the option to create a slideshow when using the Gallery feature? I had to download a plug-in, but I’m not overly fond of its presentation.

    I have since found the Classic Block which allows me to insert a slideshow gallery as I did before, but I haven’t been able to produce a slideshow with Gutenberg. Or am I overlooking something?

    In any event, excellent post. There are few things you’ve listed I still need to try!

    1. Hi Mae, a slideshow option is coming to Gutenberg. However, it will be a standalone block rather than part of the Gallery block. WordPress is in the process of working on it and making it available, although there is no ‘ETA’ as to when it will be available as yet. Keep a look out for it, though.

      1. This is excellent news, and I have no problem with it being a stand alone. The plug-in I’ve been using appears in its own block. Thanks for the info, Hugh. I will definitely keep an eye out for it!

  16. The biggest issues I’ve found are with publishing- sometimes I’ll get to the end of my post, set tags and such, then try to set publish date and it errors! So frustrating. I have to change to Classic in order for it to take.
    The other thing is HTML. The Gutenberg program allows you to load HTML, but it’s not user friendly in terms of previewing or making changes. I use Classic for that as well.
    Hopefully, they’ll clear up these issues or someone can tell me what I’m doing wrong 🙂

    1. I do know that there were bugs with scheduling posts on Gutenberg, but I’ve not had any problems with it for the last week, so I think WordPress may have cleared them up, Jacquie.

      In any case, they are continually working on improving the user experience with Gutenberg and are putting a lot of resources into it. I know they are looking for any feedback on what they can improve, so do contact them with any feedback that you have. At the end of the day, you’ll be helping other users as well as yourself.

  17. I tried it on a blog that I manage for a non-profit in town, and I didn’t find it that difficult once I messed around with it. I couldn’t figure out how to justify the text, which I don’t think it can do (or I haven’t figured out the shortcut). I like justified text. Picky me. I’ll admit that I do a lot of manual editing in the classic version, too, which most bloggers probably don’t bother with. This was helpful, Hugh. Thanks!

    1. In the editing bar that appears at the top of the block while you’re writing, there are ‘align text left’, ‘align text right’, and ‘align text centre’ buttons, Diana. Is that what you are referring to when saying ‘justify?’

      1. No. I did see that. Justify is where the edges of the text line up on the right as well as the left – like in a book – straight margins on both sides. In classic it’s shift+alt+J but that doesn’t work in Gutenberg. It’s minor though, if that’s all I have to gripe about. 😀

        1. Thanks so much, Hugh. The ALT-first didn’t make a difference. I tried the workaround, but honestly, to do that for every block would be time-prohibitive. When the time comes, I’ll simply not worry about it. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to research and find an answer!

      1. I will, Hugh. This is a big year for acquiring new skills. Right now I’m working on a book cover and editing a book of poetry. If the new editor makes it easier to write and format a post it will be worth learning.

  18. A good question and your usual good advice is very welcome, Hugh. I hadn’t tried the new editor – which, for some reason, WordPress don’t call ‘Gutenberg’ on their help page. Just another way to confuse the reluctant Luddite I guess! I’ve taken a look at it and will try it out for my next post. As you say, it’s as well to become familiar with it before it becomes the only editing option available to us.

    1. Yes, I agree, Clive. Many bloggers will either leave it until the last minute before trying Gutenberg out or be using the Classic editor that WordPress will have withdrawn support for and faced with an editor that is full of bugs.

      I had to push myself to try it out, but only because I feared the unknown by not trying it.

      I hope you enjoy using it as much as I do.

        1. I’ll share my experience at some point, but eight posts could be several months for me. I suggest you don’t hold your breath!

  19. Hi Hugh. Good info here, thanks for sharing. However, knowing you to be one who is concerned about how your posts appear across different devices, thought I’d let you know that aside from the sub-headings, none of the tweaks you mentioned (color, size, etc.,) showed as I read your post on my iPhone. No idea why that is, just thought you might want to know. ~ Cheers, Walt

    1. How strange, Walt. I checked my iPhone and iPad, and all the teaks show on them. There are subtle differences because of the screen size of each device, but the colours and sizes all show clearly on my devices. However, what’s more important is that you can read the post on your iPhone.

  20. Yep, I’ve been using it since it started being offered as an optional thing to try. It is better in most ways (still haven’t got over the loss of underlining easily though) but just reading your post here highlights I’m by no means an expert yet!
    I’m a ‘learn by doing’ guy too but they should have come up with a way of inserting instructions into us like in the Matrix films by now, surely?

    1. If only, Bryntin. I think practice makes perfect. I don’t like reading instructions, but sometimes you just have to ask for help.

      I’m glad you’re using Gutenberg and were not frightened off by it. From what I’ve read, too many people have been and will probably get left behind when WordPress pull the plugs on the Classic editor. I’m sure WordPress will continue to improve Gutenberg, so it can only get better. I know, too, that they are always looking for feedback so they can give the user an even better experience. However, they’ll only know to do that if we tell them.

    1. I put off using Gutenberg for too long, Sean. Now I wish it had been here when I first started to blog in 2014. I’m really impressed with it. Sure, there’s going to be a learning curve, but I didn’t want to get left behind when WordPress pull the plug on the classic editor.

      1. Lol Hugh, thanks. I’m a creature of habit. I’m pretty sure I’m going to hang with the classic editor until it no longer exists. But bookmarked this post for future reference 🙂 xx

  21. Great question, great post Hugh! It has been frustrating but indeed the Classic editor is very limited. I will get cracking learning the Gutenberg Editor.😊

  22. I’ve been using the new editor for a while and still haven’t quite worked everything out yet – but I have no complaints, I’m quite aware my failure to work it out fully is my failure, and nothing to do with the software! It’s definitely different to use than the classic editor, but so far it hasn’t once crashed on me, and that was a big problem for me before – so overall I’m really happy with it 🙂

    1. That’s all great to hear, Ruth. Like anything else, it will take time getting used to and finding out how it all works, but take a moment to have a look at the guides I’ve attached links to in this post, too. They will help.

      I’m still learning lots about it (e.g. I only found out today that I can centre sub-headings), but the learning process is all part of the fun.

      I’m so pleased you’re giving it a go rather than giving up on it straight away.

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