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(Or How we tried to bring a Goat to TechEd and failed)

 

In adjusting to the latest chapter in my life of insomnia being replaced by sleep-deprived sprints of feeding a newborn I started to think about my time with SAP Community. Nursing bub at 3am did not really require much mental gymnastics so the creative side of me took over and I concluded that it would be awesome to bring Goats to Tech Ed in Vegas this year. Now I must admit that I’ve never been to a Tech Ed and yes, I’m talking actual living goats. Fortunately, with time zone difference, Sue Keohan was a simply chat session away. She was on board and suddenly we found ourselves researching how to bring a goat to TechEd and brainstorming what that goat would do.

 

The goat would be randomly walked through the halls of TechEd with anticipation of people pausing mid-sentence and looking around them room to check that there really is a goat and wonder why it’s there. Curious and confident people would approach the goat herder (picture a person with a big bell calling our community sessions) and ask them why the goat at TechEd. Conversation and discussions would ensue about how the history of the goat and then who knows where the conversation would lead to – perhaps a chance to talk about community or anything as random as a goat. Well that’s what our rose-coloured glass had us envisage. We even thought to continue the community goodwill and throw in a few collection boxes for Animal Welfare (we were assured that these goats were social and would not be distressed by a few thousand humans scratching their heads).

 

We failed.

 

There will be no goat at TechEd.

 

Fortunately, our scheming hadn’t gone as far as a financial commitment of hiring the goats, purchasing the stickers and the plush toys – oh yes, you’d be surprised what procrastination and boredom could lead to. We even had design concepts in the pipeline! And of course, we’d hope to trend #sapgoat, #hannathegoat and #sapgoatpic. There was a moment where we both let our imagination get well and truly ahead of logic and practicalities.

 

I’ll admit that my activity levels have been almost non-existent these past few months. I’ll also admit that bub isn’t the only reason my motivation to login and interact has taken a nose dive compared to how obsessive I had been with community participation over the previous few years. Attempting to bring a goat to TechEd brought back memories of when I was last motivated and passionate with SAP Community. It made me smile and go looking for the status update of where the goat existed.

 

Our attempt to bring a goat to TechEd resulted in me searching through my inbox to find evidence of the goat’s existence. He (though we did call him Hanna) became lost in the land of the Interwebs as status updates were not migrated and Internet Archive didn’t collect them but fortunately I had been lazy in cleaning out my inbox and so I could piece together a few of the status update banters that started in June last year. Coffee Corner regulars may have also come across goat references and wondered what they were about.

 

It motivated me to write this blog. It reminded me of the most important part of the community: our people. It made me realise that the platform will continually evolve but we need to find a way to support each other before we lose anymore content quality.

 

The goat started as an attempt by Sue to use an analogy to explain to a beginner what the difference between a status and a question/discussion was. In this analogy, Sue tried to explain that a status update is like writing ‘I just got a new goat and he’s awesome’. Well, a few of us loved that idea and turned it into a status update and suddenly the goat came to be used as in several analogies and would randomly crop out from time to time. I have tried to piece together as many of these conversation threads based on emails in my inbox and have put them as individual comments below this blog.

 

Failing to bring the goat to TechEd made me realise that we can all rebuild community by bringing back the people who made it worth it for us. Failure brought me back: it inspired me to write this blog (a challenge to find the time) and want to log back into community and participate. We can bring back other friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and random strangers by investing a small amount of time on a regular basis to do at least one of these:

  • Encourage our colleagues to get back to community – sign up; login; post a question; reply to a question or like something. Explain to them the benefit of a strong community that shares knowledge freely.
  • Show appreciation for the content producers’ efforts – press like or upvote/downvote content; add a comment or a reply to a thread; and advertise someone’s blog or intelligent replies via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, other social media, internal work emails.
  • Continue to be constructive in feedback to SAP Community Team – keep raising Ideas and calling out issues of the platform. Go to the Ideas Place and vote for the Ideas in there; Read the release notes and roadmap blogs and add your two cents. Both negative and positive feedback are always needed!
  • Contribute to the content quality – follow the rules of engagement answer questions; mark your answers as complete; write blogs or even alert moderator to poor content. Get out of the shadows and actively involved.
  • Remember the goat

 

This investment – a cost of your time and willingness to share your thoughts and knowledge – brings a renewed interest in community. And with that,

 

Success

 

Would love to hear from you about the times you have been passionate about community and how you think you can bring the people connection back – and not just about the platform issues (although I acknowledge them). And what do you think you could bring to TechEd to help connect with people and inspire the community rebuild?

 

Finally, what could beat a goat for an out there, random idea that would have everyone scratching their heads? If you could bring anything to TechEd what would it be?

 

Cheers

Colleen, Sue and Hanna the Goat.

 

P.S. I’ve added some of the status update threads that I was able to piece together in the comment threads. This is based on email notifications that I received on the Jive platform (one of the reasons I see notifications as important). Feel free to add comments for the gaps or fill in the story gaps based on what you remember. Hey, feel free to re-continue the banter.

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  1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

    The initial thread “I just got a new goat and he’s awesome!”

     

    [Colleen] I just got a new goat and he’s awesome!

    [Sue] Colleen 🙂

    [Steffi] Goat or Coat? Either way: pictures? ^^

    … <potential gap in the status update>>

    [Steffi] 🙁 But… the hype was real

    [Sue] @steffi it’s all my fault… I was playing the ‘Status Update’ game, and may have taken it too far.

    [Chris] Ohhhh beat me too it….let Goat-maggedon commence! All goat related status updates!

    [Raphael] LOL

    [Steffi] @Sue: There is no taking it too far for you!

    There, I succumbed to the herd instinct. ^^

    [Steve] There’s a Business Trends blog post in here somewhere…

    …<potential gap in the status update>>

    [Sue] Perhaps HANA (c’mon, say it like a goat would)

    [Chris] Hannnnnnna

     

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  2. Colleen Hebbert Post author

    Background context of the “status update game” – Jive platform provided the ability for users to set a status update (something we will eventually see again). However, beginners seemed to have confusion as to the difference between a question/discussion and a status update. This game triggered the goat. Some member would trawl through all activity feed for status updates only and reply to members. Sometimes there’d be inspirational quotes which could lighten up our day but for the most part it was someone asking for help. It was in this that Sue tried to apply an analogy that a status update is like saying “I just got a new goat and he’s awesome”

     

    Re: [m.lee] – it appears I’m not the only All Active Status update follower

    [Veselina] Are status updates moderated? Just wondering why people use them so often instead of posting questions…

    [Jurgen] Yes, status updates are moderated too, but only if an alert was made. However it is not easy to create an alert. You have to click the hyperlink that tells you when the status was posted, then you get to the screen where you can do the alert.

    Users who do not know the difference between a question and a status update will probably also have difficulties to find and understand the rules.

    [Sue] @colleen I blame you for teaching us the game.  But @juergen was crushing it last weekend I think.

    [Jurgen] Susan, it was a sunny weekend with occasional flooding at my parents home. And where my parents live is no signal, so I could not really be guilty for crushing, but the next weekend is just hours ahead, and the  posts in MM today make me think there is already weekend all day in some parts of the world and the lights are switched off.

     

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  3. Colleen Hebbert Post author

    More banter

    Sue’s status update – I can’t believe what I’ve started here

    [Matt] Sue, I believe Colleen just called you a goat! 😉

    [Chris]

    …and trust me…I have had plenty of new t-shirt ideas now…..including Flying Zombie Goats….which I hear are taking over the Earth. =)

    [Chris] I still prefer the original quote…”I got a goat today and he’s awesome!”…….it just says so much in so little. =)

    [Raphael] Don’t forget the super goat 🙂

     

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  4. Colleen Hebbert Post author

    Even More banter

    Re: [juwin.thomas2] – ABAP SCN question: My client says his chickens are not laying eggs. Has anyone faced such an issue?…

     

    [Veselina] Roosters have some problems laying eggs.. your client might want to use hens. Another option is to use SDAAS (single deity as a service) to communicate with the chicken council and collect their demands.

    [Jelenna] Try the new object-oriented model: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_Chicken

    [Juwin] Now, he says his GOAT is not giving any milk 🙂

    [Jose Antonio Martinez] Has your cliente switch to goats, I have heard in SCN  that there are more successful than chickens

    [Matt] No no no, this is not to spec! The spec clearly calls for the GOAT to lay eggs, and the CHICKEN to produce milk! But instead what was delivered is a GOAT eating weeds and a CHICKEN laying eggs! Although we are getting eggs, they are not coming from the GOAT! And weed-eating was not supposed to occur until Phase Two! And we still don’t have chicken-milk!

    [Juwin] Holy Cow!!!

    [Jelena] Also this must be achieved by configuration only. The client does not want to do any custom development. Or genetic engineering.

    [Veselina] One option (won’t work, but managers do the same and get away with that): tell the chickens that you will deliver today chicken milk or chicken meat – they get to choose.

    [Jelena] This update is a hoot! 🙂

    [Juwin] Our security team is also looking to this for any authorization issues. They are asking me to replicate the issue in a lower environment. Anyone can help me with step-by-step instructions? Thanks in advance.

    [Gretchen] The chickens are not laying eggs because they are still following the legacy process. The goats used to lay eggs, but this SP broke that functionality.

    [Gretchen] Matt, chicken-milk requires a Note that is not yet Released to Customer.

    [Matt] 1. Use cloned goat stem cells to create lower environment in petri dish.
    3. Replicate issue.

    [Richard] Don’t use Goats – they give Simone Milesi gas……….

    [Simone] Richard Harper
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/af/Even_Angels_Eat_Beans.jpg

     

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  5. Colleen Hebbert Post author

     

    Re: [susan.keohan] – I can’t believe what I’ve started here… 🙂

    [Matt] Sue, I believe Colleen just called you a goat! 😉

    [Sue] I’m so cool with that @matt.  @colleen may know me better than she thinks!

    [Robbo] https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/3b/f3/fb/3bf3fb6c9e67c414135a6b2277cc8ebc.jpg

    [Sue] Ooooh, excellent @Graham!  Now we all need those shirts 🙂

    [Chris] …and trust me…I have had plenty of new t-shirt ideas now…..including Flying Zombie Goats….which I hear are taking over the Earth. =)

    [Graham] I still prefer the original quote…”I got a goat today and he’s awesome!”…….it just says so much in so little. =)

    [Raphael] Don’t forget the super goat 🙂

    (1) 
  6. Colleen Hebbert Post author

    [Matt] Dear Goat Gurus,

    My requirement is for my recently delivered goat to eat weeds, but leave the flower beds alone. However, the goat is defective, as it eats flowers, grass, vegetable garden, everything! Please do the needful and send step-by-step instructions for customizing goat to the requirement. Include screen-shots.

    B.R.
    Goat Basis

    [Juergen] I got only a screenshot of wrong customizing, this goat is only going to the flowers: https://www.askideas.com/media/36/Butterfly-Goat-
    are you sure your goat didn’t smoke grass before that happened?

     

    [Matt] I followed screen-shot documentation provided for goat customization, and now client’s goat has wings! Client is unhappy, as goat is eating thatched roof of barn. Please urgently send screenshots for how to move weeds to roof of barn so goat can eat them.

     

    [Veselina] Instead of moving the weeds to the roof, you can try the following goat conversion: http://res.cloudinary.com/love-and-duck-fat/image
    It will probably solve the problem.

     

    [Jelena] Not sure if this will help but you can also try procuring a wolf or three piglets. Or a koala. [Add more irrelevant information here.] Award pinots if useful.

     

    [Matt] Applied solution suggested by Veselina, and now client has no more goat! But, meal was tasty….
    Now client has purchased koala, but it only eats eucalyptus leaves. Weeds are taking over the roof of the barn. This is not to requirement! Please help urgently!

     

    [Chris] http://scn.sap.com/people/christopher.solomon/status/117242#comments
    Please award points for correct answer.

     

    [Jelena] No worries, just give the requirements to the ABAPers! They can clone the goat and change its DNA as required by business. Or use voodoo to resurrect your goat.
    [2 days later in ABAP forum]”Dear gurus! I have a requirement to resurrect a goat…”
    [7 days later]Breaking news! The highly intelligent flying goat zombies are taking over the Earth!

     

    [Chris] @Jelena This flying goat zombie thing seems to have taken over the Earth and is quite popular. I don’t really care for goats nor find them interesting but can you please send me interview questions and answers for getting into this career. Also, if you have any certification questions and answers, practice exams and example certification documents, can you include those as well?

     

    [Veselina] And here is a system demo of an upgraded goat in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95RcgViUhdI (watch with muted audio, there is too much profanity)

    [Jelena] @Colleen – the humble ABAPers wouldn’t dare questioning “the autoritah” of the functional consultants passing the requirements to us. So whatever the spec calls for gets implemented. You want a modification? Yessir/mam! Just smile and code.

     

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  7. Susan Keohan

    https://people.sap.com/steffi.warnecke

    https://people.sap.com/christopher.solomon

    https://people.sap.com/matt.fraser

    https://people.sap.com/graham.robinson

    https://people.sap.com/veselina.peykova

    https://people.sap.com/steve.rumsby

    These are just some of the folks involved in the #goatfun.  I remember being so eager to get on SCN every morning (every day, several times a day!) to connect with people, to share some laughs, and then to follow some trails to look at questions and blogs.

    I think TechEd is a great place to connect with people – and of course, to further your professional development.  But you need to allow for the time to connect, and that’s sometimes hard when your calendar is booked three times over.  So I hope people remember to be open to approaching people and holding those oh-so-important conversations at TechEd and beyond – even if it’s not about goats.

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  8. Steffi Warnecke

    #GOATNATION!

    Awww, I miss the old times. The memories…

    At least we still have Coffee Corner.

     

    Finally, what could beat a goat for an out there, random idea that would have everyone scratching their heads? If you could bring anything to TechEd what would it be?

    I think nothing can beat a cute goat. If I could bring anything to TechEd, I’d choose me! ^^ That would surely get some heads scratched. *g*

     

    How to get old members back? It’s hard to say. I just try my best to not let the community feeling dry up completely. And to help others with comments, answers, alerts.

     

    My colleagues are not really using SCN and at the moment it’s not easy to find a lot of arguments to start doing it. Nonetheless I still tend to throw in a “Have you searched the community for it?” once in a while.

     

    So glad to see you back, Colleen! 🙂

    (4) 
    1. Susan Keohan

      Steffi,

      Having you at TechEd (with appropriate signage, of course) would bring people for sure!  So, how do we make that happen (and can you smuggle a goat in your luggage?)

      Cheers,
      Sue

       

      (2) 
      1. Steffi Warnecke

        Easy enough… TechEd needs to be in Germany again. 😉

        I’m not so sure about a real goat, but I would try to make it happen representing the Goat Community by wearing a (of course really awesome!) goat shirt.

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  9. Caroleigh Deneen

    Colleen, you made my day with this post:) I remember the goat and the giggles he gave us and I laughed again reading the comments here and imagining a goat walking through TechEd.

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      1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

        Steffi… a poor attempt of a mashup up of the two (Ms Paint copy/paste)… you get the idea though that you can have both avatars

         

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    1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

      Ah Caroleigh –

       

      if only the Goat had become a mission. You designed a brilliant badge. Although some of us used it as an avatar!

       

      Exactly, you’ve imagined it walking through TechEd Halls. Sometimes imagination is a much better escape from reality 🙂

      (2) 
  10. Veselina Peykova

    Whenever I log in to SC, I cannot help but think of dementors – it looks as if something siphoned all joy, fun and creativity from this place and left an empty shell of a platform.

    Just like Steffi, I am struggling to find arguments and persuade colleagues to participate. What is worse, with each day I find it increasingly easier not to engage – I logged in out of habit.

    Your action points are nice, in December 2016 I would have named them ‘inspiring‘. Now it is July 2017 and the only relevant one for me is ‘remember the goat’, at least for a while.

    Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

    (5) 
    1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

      Martin – in reply to your points

      1. I’ve been advised by others that Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T – “king of the petting zoo”
      2. There is a coffee corner thread discussion food of which Goat gets a mention. In the context of SAP Community, eating goat is a bit like eating Skippy

       

       

      (1) 
      1. Susan Keohan

        Can’t upvote this reply enough.   😉

         

        Martin deserved to be schooled a little bit.  But in the US, Skippy is general thought of as a brand of peanut butter.  I’m guessing Aussies have a different definition? Like, the family dog?

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                  1. Susan Keohan

                    Thank you for defending me, Steffi!  Of course Skippy and Flipper are not annoying – it’s their songs.  And I’d be happy to bounce along through TechEd with Skippy.  Getting Flipper there would be a different sort of challenge.

                     

                     

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  11. Ravi Gupta

    TechEd is, of course, a good place to get connected with people.  Thanks Colleen for making us remembering our old good sweet times. 

     

     

    <moderator removed external URL>

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  12. Gali Kling Schneider

    Colleen its great to see you writing here again and your post made me LOL, I missed the goats.

    I can’t agree more that community is all about the people and I hope members do take the time to fulfill your call to action (and not just what other items could be brought to TechEd 😉 )

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  13. Eng Swee Yeoh

    Thanks for the Goat-post, Colleen. I miss those days of expecting what new banter came up through the night while I was away. Unfortunately, work’s been crazy these days so it’s hard to catch up here.

    (2) 
    1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

      HI Eng

       

      Good to see you around 🙂

       

      I had a good chuckle sifting through my inbox and piecing together the status update threads. I forgot about the number of tangents and the wittiness of many of our community. The goat became applied itself to numerous analogies of the issues we all face in the SAP ecosystem.

       

      I regret deleting my emails. But this also justified why email notifications and status updates were important. At least one has returned to community. Hopefully the status updates will as well.

       

      Cheers

      Colleen

      (2) 
      1. Susan Keohan

        Eng, it is good to see you around!

        Hard to believe that Colleen had hoarded all those fun conversations 😉  – and eagerly awaiting the days when we can resume.

         

        (3) 
        1. Eng Swee Yeoh

          Hi Colleen and Susan,

           

          Yes, it’s nice to see that all of you are still around and despite the challenges of the platform, the “fun” bit has not totally died. It’s been tough to catch up on a lot of what’s been happening here lately, but it’s post like this and also the sorely missing status updates that makes it easy for me to jump in and out with the few pockets of spare time I have in the day.

           

          Ya, totally surprised at what Colleen managed to dig up!

           

           

          (1) 
  14. Jason Cao

    Excellent points Colleen! This community is full of interesting people with different perspectives – you never know where conversations will lead.

    A goat would definitely be a conversation-starter at TechEd. I would bring my vast collection of SAP-branded paraphernalia to TechEd, from beach towel, coasters, clock radio, lipbalm, to those ubiquitous nylon shopping bags.

    Thanks for sharing some spare time from your little one to post this important reminder!

     

    (1) 
    1. Susan Keohan

      Jason,
      I can totally see you lounging on your SAP beach towel, with the clock radio playing some good tunes, and SAP Coasters with adult beverages on them, as you apply your SAP lip balm.  Maybe we need beach chairs and beach umbrellas too?

      Then it starts to sound as though we’ll all be out by the pool, but I guess worse things have happened.

       

      (4) 
        1. Susan Keohan

          Awesome idea!   Certainly there are no health and safety issues with beachballs.  Otherwise, why would people be tossing them around at rock concerts.

          (1) 
        2. Jason Cao

           

          Love the Mentor Lemon Beach balls idea as well! It is the 10th Anniversary of the Mentors Program afterall – let’s have some fun! (I’ll look into the beachballs 😉 )

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          1. Susan Keohan

            +100

            I look in that goat’s eyes and I see Steffi.  Jeremy, that’s so wonderful!

            I wonder if we brought #hypnogoat to TechEd, if that would make people stop and join in the conversation?
            Or just take Bjoern Goerke’s place on the keynote and hypnotize everyone with #hypnogoat… but then we’d probably miss a great keynote.

            Thank you Jeremy!!!

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            1. Jelena Perfiljeva

              Well, there is usually the second, non-Goerke keynote that won’t be missed much, ahem. 🙂  Or maybe we could hypnotize the presenter into seeing the audience while everyone sleeps in or goes to the pool.

              (0) 
  15. Christopher Solomon

    Awww this takes me back. We had such goat times togther back then. I really looked forward to hopping on to SCN each morning to hunt for goats with my morning coffee (which also led to reading new Q&A and blogs and such). And then just as the traction was getting going, others were finally “catching on” and playing along, The Man came and put all our goats on notice. I heard he took them all to a family who had a big farm with pastures they could run and play in all day long. Sadly, that’s the day SCN stopped being “fun” for me and just went back to another “professional community” I check in on now and again.

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      1. Matt Fraser

        I think the vision is more one of telling the kids the goats were taken to a family with a big farm with pastures where they could run and play all day long, but in reality they taken to a factory farm where they became… goat-meat.

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          1. Matt Fraser

            Remember that fantastic dinner the day after your pet bunny “went to play in the bunny fields”? Mmm, it was good, wasn’t it? You had a slight bit of concern about its source, and maybe even a bit of guilt, but then you enjoyed it so much that perhaps you felt it best not to ask too many questions…. 😉

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  16. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Colleen, thanks for the memories! I was hoping to dig out an old post where I spelled out the SAP GOAT solution but alas, the old emails fell victim to the Outlook migration.

    But I’m surprised no one can recognize this as a great merchandising opportunity. Imagine the cute fluffy stuffed goats in the SAP colors with the SCN logo (does SCN have logo?). Or “SCN Goatocalypse” and “Goat Zombie ate my HANA Cloud” t-shirts?

    And this year for TechEd I’ve already threatened to bring the actual trophy for The Cutest Swag. The stars are clearly aligning!

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  17. Joachim Rees

    Hey Colleen,

    so nice to see you back and blogging!  Also, great to hear about bub – congratulations!

    I think I got the point before I even read your whole blog: that goat did something to strengthen our community back then (was that really only just a year ago?).

    I wasn’t that much involved, but I do remember being curious and at some point asking something like “so what’s this goat all about?” and getting a nice response explaining it.

     

    I also remember that some powers wanted to get rid of the goat, I recall Christopher posting something like “got my fingers slapped for posting a goat-reference comment”.

     

    The tasks you suggest we should do are not that hard – after having been away for a month (and not having been to active the weeks before that, either), I think I will be back now more often, giving the community another chance.

    best

    Joachim

    PS: Did I ever mention, that I actually have two sheep? They won’t attend TechEd, but if you’d ever visited me, you could see that they are awesome! (Expect when they killed our apple-tree – they got massive down votes for that! 🙁   )

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