Doing Better at a "Worse" School

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Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:12 pm

bjsesq wrote:Volake wrote:
What posters seem to be neglecting is that this "small pond" factor (you're likely to do slightly better at a school with lower student LSAT scores and UGPA), although never going to be enough to justify the lower school alone, could make a difference at the margins. In conjunction with a significantly lower net cost or other factors that make the lower-ranked school more desirable, the "small pond" factor could be decisive in close cases.


Please, describe such a case


Well, the case would emerge wherever we can acknowledge that there's a close case between T14 (sticker) vs. T1 (full ride or even FR + stipend). Perhaps the situation could be made even harder by personal factors militating in favor of the T1 with $$$$.

It would be prudent for the applicant to consider the small pond factor in the entirety of their analysis, while acknowledging that it's only a small advantage.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:19 pm

Volake wrote:
bjsesq wrote:Volake wrote:
What posters seem to be neglecting is that this "small pond" factor (you're likely to do slightly better at a school with lower student LSAT scores and UGPA), although never going to be enough to justify the lower school alone, could make a difference at the margins. In conjunction with a significantly lower net cost or other factors that make the lower-ranked school more desirable, the "small pond" factor could be decisive in close cases.


Please, describe such a case


Well, the case would emerge wherever we can acknowledge that there's a close case between T14 (sticker) vs. T1 (full ride or even FR + stipend). Perhaps the situation could be made even harder by personal factors militating in favor of the T1 with $$$$.

It would be prudent for the applicant to consider the small pond factor in the entirety of their analysis, while acknowledging that it's only a small advantage.


I can understand considering it, to the level of "Oh, that's nice", but I can't imagine when it would ever be decisive.

Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:29 pm

Volake wrote:
bjsesq wrote:
Volake wrote:
What posters seem to be neglecting is that this "small pond" factor (you're likely to do slightly better at a school with lower student LSAT scores and UGPA), although never going to be enough to justify the lower school alone, could make a difference at the margins. In conjunction with a significantly lower net cost or other factors that make the lower-ranked school more desirable, the "small pond" factor could be decisive in close cases.


Please, describe such a case


Well, the case would emerge wherever we can acknowledge that there's a close case between T14 (sticker) vs. T1 (full ride or even FR + stipend). Perhaps the situation could be made even harder by personal factors militating in favor of the T1 with $$$$.

It would be prudent for the applicant to consider the small pond factor in the entirety of their analysis, while acknowledging that it's only a small advantage.


I can understand considering it, to the level of "Oh, that's nice", but I can't imagine when it would ever be decisive.


Well, to say that it is incapable of being decisive is to say that it has 0 value. I don't understand how a higher likelihood of being ranked higher in the class, which increases your likelihood of many kinds of legal employment is of 0 value. This is true even if the factor is very modest, like a 2-15% average ranking difference between a T14 and a T1.

Perhaps, you are suggesting that "tough choices" between options such as these are not actually so close on closer evaluation. But it seems strange to suggest that there are no dilemmas that are still difficult after responsible research and analysis. Small =/= negligible.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:43 pm

Volake wrote:Well, to say that it is incapable of being decisive is to say that it has 0 value. I don't understand how a higher likelihood of being ranked higher in the class, which increases your likelihood of many kinds of legal employment is of 0 value. This is true even if the factor is very modest, like a 2-15% average ranking difference between a T14 and a T1.

Perhaps, you are suggesting that "tough choices" between options such as these are not actually so close on closer evaluation. But it seems strange to suggest that there are no dilemmas that are still difficult after responsible research and analysis.


I'm not saying it has zero value; I'm saying that it's completely swamped by factors that matter more.

Imagine that you like green-eyed girls, and "all else being equal", you'd like to marry a girl with green eyes. But now try to think about ALL the characteristics you'd use to evaluate potential brides, both subjective and objective. Can you truly imagine a scenario where two possible candidates are perfectly equally-attractive to the point where eye color is going to be the tie-breaker?

For the last time (at least from me) - if the "big fish/little pond" factor is truly large enough to warrant consideration, that means that you've moved down far enough in the rankings that job placement will have taken a bigger hit than you can hope to offset by finishing higher in the class.

Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:49 pm

I'm not saying it has zero value; I'm saying that it's completely swamped by factors that matter more.

Imagine that you like green-eyed girls, and "all else being equal", you'd like to marry a girl with green eyes. But now try to think about ALL the characteristics you'd use to evaluate potential brides, both subjective and objective. Can you truly imagine a scenario where two possible candidates are perfectly equally-attractive to the point where eye color is going to be the tie-breaker?

For the last time (at least from me) - if the "big fish/little pond" factor is truly large enough to warrant consideration, that means that you've moved down far enough in the rankings that job placement will have taken a bigger hit than you can hope to offset by finishing higher in the class.


I would think the eye color comparison would be closer to liking the school colors of one school rather than another. The matter being discussed here bears closely to one's employment prospects.

So are you contending that the "big fish" factor would be negligible between a T1 and T14? I would say small, but not negligible.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Volake wrote:
So are you contending that the "big fish" factor would be negligible between a T1 and T14? I would say small, but not negligible.


While not zero, it's small enough that it's overwhelmed by the differences in job placement, unless you're going to wildly skew your other criteria (such as assuming that a biglaw/A3 job out of the T14 and a mid-law/small-law job from a T1 are equally-desirable outcomes). No matter how you juggle the schools' characteristics (tuition, scholarships, cost of living, job placement, family considerations), I don't think you can come up with an example where the choice based on those factors would be different than the choice based on those factors PLUS the "big fish/little pond" consideration.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby UnicornHunter » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:11 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
Volake wrote:
So are you contending that the "big fish" factor would be negligible between a T1 and T14? I would say small, but not negligible.


While not zero, it's small enough that it's overwhelmed by the differences in job placement, unless you're going to wildly skew your other criteria (such as assuming that a biglaw/A3 job out of the T14 and a mid-law/small-law job from a T1 are equally-desirable outcomes). No matter how you juggle the schools' characteristics (tuition, scholarships, cost of living, job placement, family considerations), I don't think you can come up with an example where the choice based on those factors would be different than the choice based on those factors PLUS the "big fish/little pond" consideration.



I would go even further than this. If somebody needs to consider the "big fish/little pond" factor in order to justify going to a school, they probably shouldn't go to that school.

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patogordo
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:17 pm

this entire discussion is rendered fucking retarded by the differences in grading between schools. there's a reason lower ranked schools tend to tell you your exact numerical place in the class while HYS barely have grades at all.

Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:25 pm

While not zero, it's small enough that it's overwhelmed by the differences in job placement, unless you're going to wildly skew your other criteria (such as assuming that a biglaw/A3 job out of the T14 and a mid-law/small-law job from a T1 are equally-desirable outcomes). No matter how you juggle the schools' characteristics (tuition, scholarships, cost of living, job placement, family considerations), I don't think you can come up with an example where the choice based on those factors would be different than the choice based on those factors PLUS the "big fish/little pond" consideration.


You don't call it zero, but you treat it as zero for the purposes of decisionmaking. And in a close decision T1 ($$$$) vs. T14 (sticker or little money), there will "overwhelming" pros and cons associated with either choice. There are circumstances where either option seems very attractive for different reasons such that it is difficult for a rational decisionmaker (with a given set of interests he/she wants to pursue)to choose. In these situations, smaller factors, such as big fish, could be decisive. Think of a kicker in a poker game. To say something is incapable of being decisive is to say (for the purposes of decisionmaking), it has zero value.
Last edited by Volake on Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:03 pm

Volake wrote:
While not zero, it's small enough that it's overwhelmed by the differences in job placement, unless you're going to wildly skew your other criteria (such as assuming that a biglaw/A3 job out of the T14 and a mid-law/small-law job from a T1 are equally-desirable outcomes). No matter how you juggle the schools' characteristics (tuition, scholarships, cost of living, job placement, family considerations), I don't think you can come up with an example where the choice based on those factors would be different than the choice based on those factors PLUS the "big fish/little pond" consideration.


You don't call it zero, but you treat it as zero for the purposes of decisionmaking. And in a close decision T1 ($$$$) vs. T14 (sticker or little money), there will "overwhelming" pros and cons associated with either choice. There are circumstances where either option seems very attractive for different reasons such that it is difficult for a rational decisionmaker (with a given set of interests he/she wants to pursue)to choose. In these situations, smaller factors, such as big fish, could be decisive. Think of a kicker in a poker game. To say something is incapable of being indecisive is to say (for the purposes of decisionmaking), it has zero value.



Fine. If you have the highly-contrived example where two schools have offered you full tuition & fees scholarships, plus living stipends that exactly cover the cost of living at each school, and they have identical job placement prospects for the type of job you want in the location where you want to work, AND the students at both schools are aiming for the same types of jobs in the same proportions so that student self-selection into or away from certain types of jobs isn't a consideration, and one student body has significantly lower LSAT/uGPA numbers, then it would make sense to go to the school with the lower-performing student body.

But I still contend that you won't find a real-world example where the choices are so close that the big fish/little pond factor is decisive. That's NOT to say it's valueless - like I said earlier, there's an "oh that's nice" value to it.

kartelite
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby kartelite » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:13 pm

If it has any value at all, it can be a decisive factor. Basic premise of utility theory.

jarofsoup
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby jarofsoup » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:21 pm

patogordo wrote:this entire discussion is rendered fucking retarded by the differences in grading between schools. there's a reason lower ranked schools tend to tell you your exact numerical place in the class while HYS barely have grades at all.


Agreed.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:23 pm

kartelite wrote:If it has any value at all, it can be a decisive factor. Basic premise of utility theory.


I'm not defining "value" as "suitability as a deciding factor" - I'm using the normal, human definition.

Let's say you have two people engaging in four competitions, with individual cash prizes for each competition. and an overall winner determined by who accrues the most money during the four individual competitions.

The prize for each of the first three competitions is $1000, and the prize for the fourth competition is $500. Winning the fourth competition has value - the winner goes home with $500 he wouldn't have if he had lost. But the result of the fourth competition will never determine the overall winner.

The outcome of the fourth game has no utility as a deciding factor, but $500 is $500, so there's value there.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby rickgrimes69 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:25 pm

kartelite wrote:If it has any value at all, it can be a decisive factor. Basic premise of utility theory.


Then it has no value. Because it should never be a decisive factor.

Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:32 pm

You're suggesting there's a minimal quantum of value in a factor for it to be capable of being decisive. I see in your fourth game example why a minimal threshold exists, but not here.

There are countless threads that say T1 ($$$$) vs. T14, and some of them suggest that given the preferences of the poster, it may be a close choice. To say that in none of these cases the factor in discussion could be determinitive seems unreasonable.
Last edited by Volake on Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:34 pm

Volake wrote:You're suggesting there's a minimal quantum of value in a factor for it to be capable of being decisive. I see in your fourth game example why a minimal threshold exists, but not here.

There are countless threads that say T1 ($$$$) vs. T14, and some of them suggest that given the preferences of the poster, it may be a close choice. To say that in none of these cases the factor in discussion couldn't be determinitive seems unreasonable.

How could it be? Once you've conceded that the difference is small, there is no reason why this factor should come into play at all. Take Georgetown vs. American, for example. Even granting (probably incorrectly) that you'll finish several percentage points higher at American than Georgetown, at every point on the continuum you're better off at Georgetown.

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patogordo
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:35 pm

you're taking a barely statistically significant apple and comparing it to an orange. it's not just minimally decisive, it's quite likely misleading.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:44 pm

Volake wrote:You're suggesting there's a minimal quantum of value in a factor for it to be capable of being decisive. I see in your fourth game example why a minimal threshold exists, but not here.

There are countless threads that say T1 ($$$$) vs. T14, and some of them suggest that given the preferences of the poster, it may be a close choice. To say that in none of these cases the factor in discussion couldn't be determinitive seems unreasonable.


And yet, that's exactly what I'm saying.

I don't think you're appreciating just how much job prospects fall off compared to students' LSAT/uGPA. Just within the T14 + Vandy/USC/UCLA/UT, the LSAT medians only vary by seven points, and median GPA only varies by 0.22 points. But the biglaw/A3 percentage for job outcome goes from 86% down to 40%.

All else being equal, I'd rather be a big fish in a little pond. But "all else" will never be equal, or even close enough to equal that the tiny variance in 1L grades that LSAT/GPA accounts for will be determinative. People may talk about "close choices" here on TLS, but an honest accounting would probably reveal that it's not really that close.
Last edited by ScottRiqui on Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby AllTheLawz » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:57 pm

Yeah Im going to go with no one who has ever received a law school grade actually believes in this "small pond" crap. HYS kids with a single H (putting them in/around the bottom third) get multiple offers at firms that only even offer screening interviews to top 10-20% students at schools ranked in the 20-30 range. Does anyone really think a bottom third HYS student is going to just waltz into WashU/GW/BC and automagically rank 50%tage points higher in the class?

Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:05 pm

How could it be? Once you've conceded that the difference is small, there is no reason why this factor should come into play at all. Take Georgetown vs. American, for example. Even granting (probably incorrectly) that you'll finish several percentage points higher at American than Georgetown, at every point on the continuum you're better off at Georgetown.


You're mistaken in looking at those two graphs and then stopping. If all that was in consideration were job prospects, then the reputational advantage from the better school far exceeds the indirect employment benefit you'd gain from the big fish factor.

But there are other significant factors, such as the net cost of attendance, which is likelier to be much lower at the lower-ranked schools. These other factors' values may vary considerably depending on the preferences of the applicant. If a applicant was particularly risk-averse, they may be ambivalent between full-ride with stipend at the lower-ranked school or sticker price at a t14.

Now, imagine two worlds. One, the one we are in, in which students from higher ranked schools, on average, do slightly better on tests. Let's say, for the purposes of simplicity, that this will result in a given student to be 10% lower in rank at the higher school

In the other world (one that is implausible but important for illustrative purposes), law schools randomly admit students, and so, there's no reason to presume that any school is better than another in test-taking ability. Better ranked schools still inure the same employment advantages.

So, say there was one applicant with identical preferences in each of these worlds (A in our world, B in example world) who was offered $$$$ at lower-ranked school x and sticker at higher ranked school y.

There seem to be circumstances in which the preferences of A and B (better job prospects, but significant debtload, etc.) could make it such that it is a close-call, such that A would choose the lower-ranked school, but B would choose the higher ranked school.

Perhaps to numerically model the values associated with each choice

School x: 900 (value of debt avoidance) + 420 (value of job prospects)
School y: 1300 (value of job prospects)

In this case, a small value of big fish factor, such as 25 could make the difference between a given student attending higher-ranked school y vs. lower-ranked school x.

I am merely making the modest suggestion that an applicant consider this, not as a be-all-and-end-all, but as another factor in their school selection process.

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spleenworship
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby spleenworship » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:11 pm

How the hell did this thread even get to 4 pages?

The OP has had his answer multiple times from the look of things. Special snowflakes don't melt in the heat of the words on a computer screen guys. It takes the harsh sunshine of reality. Stop posting and this situation will resolve itself on its own.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby AllTheLawz » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:12 pm

Volake wrote:
How could it be? Once you've conceded that the difference is small, there is no reason why this factor should come into play at all. Take Georgetown vs. American, for example. Even granting (probably incorrectly) that you'll finish several percentage points higher at American than Georgetown, at every point on the continuum you're better off at Georgetown.


You're mistaken in looking at those two graphs and then stopping. If all that was in consideration were job prospects, then the reputational advantage from the better school's reputation far exceeds the indirect employment benefit you'd gain from the big fish factor.

But there are other significant factors, such as the net cost of attendance, which is likelier to be much lower at the lower-ranked schools. These other factors' values may vary considerably depending on the preferences of the applicant. If a applicant was particularly risk-averse, they may be ambivalent between full-ride with stipend at the lower-ranked school or sticker price at a t14.

Now, imagine two worlds. One, the one we are in, in which students from higher ranked schools, on average, do slightly better on tests. Let's say, for the purposes of simplicity, that this will result in a given student to be 10% lower in rank at the higher school

In the other world (one that is implausible but important for illustrative purposes), law schools randomly admit students, and so, there's no reason to presume that any school is better than another in test-taking ability. Better ranked schools still inure the same employment advantages.

So, say there was one applicant with identical preferences in each of these worlds (A in our world, B in example world) who was offered $$$$ at lower-ranked school x and sticker at higher ranked school y.

There seem to be circumstances in which the preferences of A and B (better job prospects, but significant debtload, etc.) could make it such that it is a close-call, such that A would choose the lower-ranked school, but B would choose the higher ranked school.

Perhaps to numerically model the values associated with each choice

School x: 900 (value of debt avoidance) + 420 (value of job prospects)
School y: 1300 (value of job prospects)

In this case, a small value of big fish factor, such as 25 could make the difference between a given student attending higher-ranked school y vs. lower-ranked school x.

I am merely making the modest suggestion that an applicant consider this, not as a be-all-and-end-all, but as another factor in their school selection process.


And what we are telling you is that this is a dumb factor to consider because it is not predictable at the individual level and, once you discount for that fact, any effect is insignificant and likely within the reasonable margin for error. You might as well factor in your comfort with testing under timed pressure and then weigh the number of profs offering take-home exams vs in-class exams. Or the average temperature in December to account for the likelihood of you getting sick during first semester exams.

kartelite
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby kartelite » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:15 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
kartelite wrote:If it has any value at all, it can be a decisive factor. Basic premise of utility theory.


Then it has no value. Because it should never be a decisive factor.


Okay, let's break it down for you. Say the "small pond factor" plays a 2% role in someone's decision. If School A is 74% on other components and School B is 75% after all other considerations, then the 2% bump could make School A a better choice. In this case it's decisive.

Volake
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby Volake » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:18 pm

And what we are telling you is that this is a dumb factor to consider because it is not predictable at the individual level and, once you discount for that fact, any effect is insignificant and likely within the reasonable margin for error. You might as well factor in your comfort with testing under timed pressure and then weigh the number of profs offering take-home exams vs in-class exams. Or the average temperature in December to account for the likelihood of you getting sick during first semester exams.


Yes, there are people that UGPA and LSAT correspond to law school test performance better than others. But I don't see how that makes it "dumb." Why would a law student prefer 10% boost to .5 probability of 20%?

EDIT: And in response to the person who says that the original poster's question was answered. The answer the majority seems to be giving assumes that little = nothing .
Last edited by Volake on Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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patogordo
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Re: Doing Better at a "Worse" School

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:23 pm

the best thing about forums is the part where you ignore the good responses and respond to the dumb ones




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