In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
WordPass
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In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:48 pm

hey guys,

So I finished my DS and have used it for a few schools. I really struggled to keep it to two pages and it's just barely there. Apparently UPenn (somewhere I would seriously really consider going) says their max for additional statements is a single page, double spaced.

My DS is something I feel does add depth to my application so I'm not sure exactly what to do. Can anyone help trim it down? I feel as if it'd be hard considering how so many things tie in together with a diversity statement that's already done and pushing two pages (for a one page requirement).

Also, is this a good/bad idea?: I've been contemplating emailing them, politely asking if my statement could exceed the 1 page mark. I could maybe also provide a rationale, something along the lines of wanting to fully and accurately reflect the experience I'm trying to convey.

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malleus discentium
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby malleus discentium » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:05 pm

WordPass wrote:hey guys,
Also, is this a good/bad idea?: I've been contemplating emailing them, politely asking if my statement could exceed the 1 page mark. I could maybe also provide a rationale, something along the lines of wanting to fully and accurately reflect the experience I'm trying to convey.

lol no

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:58 am

Is there any particular reason why I shouldn't? I don't think there would be much to lose and I'm guessing the worst would be that I would end up needing to cut it down.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby ChemEng1642 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:57 am

WordPass wrote:Is there any particular reason why I shouldn't? I don't think there would be much to lose and I'm guessing the worst would be that I would end up needing to cut it down.


They have guidelines for a reason. Other people are capable of meeting it - you should be able to as well. It would reflect on you poorly if you claim that you cannot fulfill a certain requirement that several others are able to.

This doesn't mean that they would say no. I can see the response basically saying "You do what you feel is best", but it might hurt your application.

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:06 pm

Thanks for the response.

I think I understand that they have a guideline for a reason and that others are capable of fulfilling the requirement. I think I might've just submitted it if I didn't understand those things. But this idea that asking would be detrimental to my application is what I'm a bit skeptical about ....and I'm sure it's common sentiment here that people should err on the side of caution. But are you saying it would reflect badly on my app based upon your thoughts or have you experienced this or even heard of a situation where it's been perceived negatively?

I'm genuinely curious.

I don't think I'm a special snowflake and don't think I necessarily deserve special treatment for any particular reason. However, I know a person who has asked for things of this nature, and was granted the allowance ... it worked out in his favor. Is there even anecdotal evidence that you have of this being on the bad side or are you just making a call based on the things you may know about admissions? Because if you've actually seen it be a bad move, then I'd likely find another solution.

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malleus discentium
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby malleus discentium » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:54 pm

WordPass wrote:Thanks for the response.

I think I understand that they have a guideline for a reason and that others are capable of fulfilling the requirement. I think I might've just submitted it if I didn't understand those things. But this idea that asking would be detrimental to my application is what I'm a bit skeptical about ....and I'm sure it's common sentiment here that people should err on the side of caution. But are you saying it would reflect badly on my app based upon your thoughts or have you experienced this or even heard of a situation where it's been perceived negatively?

I'm genuinely curious.

I don't think I'm a special snowflake and don't think I necessarily deserve special treatment for any particular reason. However, I know a person who has asked for things of this nature, and was granted the allowance ... it worked out in his favor. Is there even anecdotal evidence that you have of this being on the bad side or are you just making a call based on the things you may know about admissions? Because if you've actually seen it be a bad move, then I'd likely find another solution.

You are going to ask for an exception to a guideline that everyone else has been able to follow because your essay is too good to remain in the guidelines. That is the definition of a special snowflake.

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:05 pm

malleus discentium wrote:
WordPass wrote:Thanks for the response.

I think I understand that they have a guideline for a reason and that others are capable of fulfilling the requirement. I think I might've just submitted it if I didn't understand those things. But this idea that asking would be detrimental to my application is what I'm a bit skeptical about ....and I'm sure it's common sentiment here that people should err on the side of caution. But are you saying it would reflect badly on my app based upon your thoughts or have you experienced this or even heard of a situation where it's been perceived negatively?

I'm genuinely curious.

I don't think I'm a special snowflake and don't think I necessarily deserve special treatment for any particular reason. However, I know a person who has asked for things of this nature, and was granted the allowance ... it worked out in his favor. Is there even anecdotal evidence that you have of this being on the bad side or are you just making a call based on the things you may know about admissions? Because if you've actually seen it be a bad move, then I'd likely find another solution.

You are going to ask for an exception to a guideline that everyone else has been able to follow because your essay is too good to remain in the guidelines. That is the definition of a special snowflake.


I'm going to ask for an exception to a rule in order to fully paint a part of me I think is necessary they fully know about. I don't think I'm different from Bob who also happens to be applying to Penn ...as in, I don't think I deserve an exception for any reason at all. I haven't earned it and I'm not that special. However, I would absolutely love to include all parts of the statement and if given the allowance, will do so.

and yes, the statement is an excellent body of work if you wanted confirmation.

penn278
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby penn278 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:23 pm

WordPass wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:
WordPass wrote:Thanks for the response.

I think I understand that they have a guideline for a reason and that others are capable of fulfilling the requirement. I think I might've just submitted it if I didn't understand those things. But this idea that asking would be detrimental to my application is what I'm a bit skeptical about ....and I'm sure it's common sentiment here that people should err on the side of caution. But are you saying it would reflect badly on my app based upon your thoughts or have you experienced this or even heard of a situation where it's been perceived negatively?

I'm genuinely curious.

I don't think I'm a special snowflake and don't think I necessarily deserve special treatment for any particular reason. However, I know a person who has asked for things of this nature, and was granted the allowance ... it worked out in his favor. Is there even anecdotal evidence that you have of this being on the bad side or are you just making a call based on the things you may know about admissions? Because if you've actually seen it be a bad move, then I'd likely find another solution.

You are going to ask for an exception to a guideline that everyone else has been able to follow because your essay is too good to remain in the guidelines. That is the definition of a special snowflake.


I'm going to ask for an exception to a rule in order to fully paint a part of me I think is necessary they fully know about. I don't think I'm different from Bob who also happens to be applying to Penn ...as in, I don't think I deserve an exception for any reason at all. I haven't earned it and I'm not that special. However, I would absolutely love to include all parts of the statement and if given the allowance, will do so.

and yes, the statement is an excellent body of work if you wanted confirmation.


Don't do that. Lawyers and law students routinely have to work within time and page limit constraints that they would rather exceed. For example, Supreme Court briefs can only be 15,000 words- I'm sure the lawyers involved have a lot more to say.

Demonstrating that you can't be more concise and follow the same rules as everyone else applying will not help your application. You can and should cut it down.

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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:07 pm

Hey, point taken. I take it you go to Penn?

I'm curious if, in your experience, this is something that you've actually seen negatively impact an application before? For some reason, and with the research I've been doing, it seems like everyone says "no." and I completely understand why as I wouldn't be asking if I didn't think I should exercise caution with this ..on the flip side, I know people who've done it successfully before, and i've even read about a few people who've done it before as well. Yes, it might not work out the same for me, or maybe they're actually really special, but everyone seems to say "no." with absolutely nothing to back it up, like ...at all. All I'm wondering is if you've seen it happen before and if so, in what way did it work/not work.

Much appreciated!

Also, how exactly would inquiring about it harm me? I obviously wouldn't submit one without their consent, but I have a hard time believing that asking would be detrimental to or even hurt an application.

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Emma.
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby Emma. » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:55 pm

WordPass wrote:
and yes, the statement is an excellent body of work if you wanted confirmation.


:lol:

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ballcaps
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby ballcaps » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:13 pm

penn278 wrote:
WordPass wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:
WordPass wrote:Thanks for the response.

I think I understand that they have a guideline for a reason and that others are capable of fulfilling the requirement. I think I might've just submitted it if I didn't understand those things. But this idea that asking would be detrimental to my application is what I'm a bit skeptical about ....and I'm sure it's common sentiment here that people should err on the side of caution. But are you saying it would reflect badly on my app based upon your thoughts or have you experienced this or even heard of a situation where it's been perceived negatively?

I'm genuinely curious.

I don't think I'm a special snowflake and don't think I necessarily deserve special treatment for any particular reason. However, I know a person who has asked for things of this nature, and was granted the allowance ... it worked out in his favor. Is there even anecdotal evidence that you have of this being on the bad side or are you just making a call based on the things you may know about admissions? Because if you've actually seen it be a bad move, then I'd likely find another solution.

You are going to ask for an exception to a guideline that everyone else has been able to follow because your essay is too good to remain in the guidelines. That is the definition of a special snowflake.


I'm going to ask for an exception to a rule in order to fully paint a part of me I think is necessary they fully know about. I don't think I'm different from Bob who also happens to be applying to Penn ...as in, I don't think I deserve an exception for any reason at all. I haven't earned it and I'm not that special. However, I would absolutely love to include all parts of the statement and if given the allowance, will do so.

and yes, the statement is an excellent body of work if you wanted confirmation.


Don't do that. Lawyers and law students routinely have to work within time and page limit constraints that they would rather exceed. For example, Supreme Court briefs can only be 15,000 words- I'm sure the lawyers involved have a lot more to say.

Demonstrating that you can't be more concise and follow the same rules as everyone else applying will not help your application. You can and should cut it down.


dude, don't do it.

/thread

OR do it and be your own guinea pig. it's a bad idea by all accounts; if you still want to do it, then do it. this back-and-forth is completely pointless, as you've already received consistent advice.

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:18 pm

\thread

I decided to do it and be my own guinea pig.

Did you read my questions at all?

I wasn't trying to make it a back and forth. I understood the advice I was getting, but I was wondering where the information came from. I'm not going to simply take anyone's advice without skepticism if they literally have NO (zero, none) instance where they've seen it be bad or even marginally negative but are insisting on a hard "no." I appreciate the opinions, definitely. However, I was curious as to where it came from and if there was anything to back it up. There wasn't.

JustDuke
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby JustDuke » Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:52 pm

WordPass wrote:\thread

I decided to do it and be my own guinea pig.

Did you read my questions at all?

I wasn't trying to make it a back and forth. I understood the advice I was getting, but I was wondering where the information came from. I'm not going to simply take anyone's advice without skepticism if they literally have NO (zero, none) instance where they've seen it be bad or even marginally negative but are insisting on a hard "no." I appreciate the opinions, definitely. However, I was curious as to where it came from and if there was anything to back it up. There wasn't.


If you were trolling you were great. If not, let us know about results. Posting your DS would be awesome as well. And PS

run26.2
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby run26.2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:57 pm

Why wouldn't you just change your personal statement to include a bit of this and shorten your diversity statement? As others have said, lawyers are faced with length requirements all the time and those are almost never excepted. Part of the challenge is getting your point across in the space you're given (see, e.g., the Yale 250).

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:46 pm

JustDuke wrote:
WordPass wrote:\thread

I decided to do it and be my own guinea pig.

Did you read my questions at all?

I wasn't trying to make it a back and forth. I understood the advice I was getting, but I was wondering where the information came from. I'm not going to simply take anyone's advice without skepticism if they literally have NO (zero, none) instance where they've seen it be bad or even marginally negative but are insisting on a hard "no." I appreciate the opinions, definitely. However, I was curious as to where it came from and if there was anything to back it up. There wasn't.


If you were trolling you were great. If not, let us know about results. Posting your DS would be awesome as well. And PS


20% troll but I was also serious in most respects. I'll definitely be posting how it goes but I might also sit out this cycle. Will consider posting the DS/PS too.

run26.2 wrote:Why wouldn't you just change your personal statement to include a bit of this and shorten your diversity statement? As others have said, lawyers are faced with length requirements all the time and those are almost never excepted. Part of the challenge is getting your point across in the space you're given (see, e.g., the Yale 250).


It's a bit hard for me to explain now, and I don't want to go into detail, but my PS touches upon something and my DS elaborates on it. I know lawyers frequently have length requirements and what not but for me, this isn't a run of the mill ____ document. This is my application. I get everyone here loves to go by the book and frequently refrain from taking any risk ..I'm slightly different. Plus, I didn't think asking was that much of a risk or it would be "detrimental" to my application. I guess we'll find out soon enough :D

run26.2
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby run26.2 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:01 pm

WordPass wrote:I get everyone here loves to go by the book and frequently refrain from taking any risk ..I'm slightly different.

Yeah, you know, lawyers aren't concern with things called rules.

What I get is that lots of people think that they don't need to abide by the rules. What, then, are the purposes of having a rule that constrains the page limit to 1 page if anyone can break it? Or is it only you that can break the rule? Also, why not just break the rule, as opposed to asking if you can break it? Seems like very little risk taking to me.

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:00 pm

run26.2 wrote:
WordPass wrote:I get everyone here loves to go by the book and frequently refrain from taking any risk ..I'm slightly different.

Yeah, you know, lawyers aren't concern with things called rules.

What I get is that lots of people think that they don't need to abide by the rules. What, then, are the purposes of having a rule that constrains the page limit to 1 page if anyone can break it? Or is it only you that can break the rule? Also, why not just break the rule, as opposed to asking if you can break it? Seems like very little risk taking to me.


lol huh? I mean, you can isolate one portion of what I said and try and attack it, but the attack is weak, at best. I think I need to abide by the rules. I think that's the point. If I didn't, I wouldn't be asking.

I never said lawyers shouldn't abide by rules ...and I never said that rules shouldn't exist. I didn't even imply it. I never said or alluded to fact that anyone can break it either.

Also, there's a difference between breaking a rule and asking to "break" a rule. If those that have the rule in place grant an exception, I'm in the clear. If not, then I'm not and I don't break the rule. If those two situations, simply breaking a rule or asking for an exception by the folks who made the rule, seem analogous in the amount of risk, you need to strongly consider reweighing what risk means to you.

If we really want to talk about this whole "lawyers have restrictions/limits" thing (which I'm aware is a very real thing), then think about it this way. If I'm only allowed to hand in a single page rationale to the judge about something necessary to getting my client the best deal possible and it's over the 1-page limit, what do I do after I've tried to cut it down without eliminating major portions of it? I can either cut it down and do just that, or ask the judge if I may exceed. If I can, then I do and boom, I'm satisfied. If I can't, then I cut it down and at least I tried to remedy the situation in the best way I could.

Do I give shit whether run26.2 is only handing in a single page and not willing to ask? No, I don't. Maybe you do. I don't. My job isn't really to do that. If I think that the judge would look unfavorably upon my request and so much so that he or she would see my rationale in a negative light, I wouldn't do it. Again, in a situation like that, i don't think that would be the case. Essentially, I couldn't care any less who does or doesn't ask to exceed the limit and it isn't my job to worry about whether it should be allowed for everyone. In no way was I or would I argue for that.

Listen, if YOU wouldn't do it, cool. In the situation above, you might just cut it down and submit it. Great! But given the level of risk involved and the potential benefits, I think I would be stoked if I hired the lawyer who asked the judge for permission.

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:11 pm

Would have also appreciated any info on if you or anyone has actually seen this be detrimental to an application. At this point it doesn't matter tho! and I doubt asking would be a basis if they were to reject me anyway.

run26.2
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby run26.2 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:19 pm

Good luck with your application. My guess is that very few people have asked for an exception, gotten a response, and then figured out conclusively that it hurt they're application. I'm genuinely curious to hear whether they grant your request.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:31 pm

I mean, I don't think it's going to hurt to ask (in part because it seems unlikely they're going to ask your name before answering this question). I doubt they're going to make an exception for you, though, since you don't seem able to articulate a reason why you need more space beyond you want more space. There doesn't seem to be a good reason why you shouldn't be held to the same standards everyone else is held to. But hey, if you think it's worth it, go for it.

JustDuke
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby JustDuke » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:11 pm

WordPass wrote:Would have also appreciated any info on if you or anyone has actually seen this be detrimental to an application. At this point it doesn't matter tho! and I doubt asking would be a basis if they were to reject me anyway.


Nobody here is trying to dissuade you from doing what you planned. At this point its just a discussion. However you question and reasoning are alike to:

"Can I ask during job interview if its OK to have couple shots of hard liquor during lunch? I mean I am just asking. Did anyone ask for that before? It cant hurt its just a question".

How to argue with that?

Asking for exception is plain obnoxious. Person getting this request will either have to grant it, meaning that more of those requests can come. Or deny. Nobody wants to do either of those. So you probably will get an answer "Do as you think is best for your application". However, if I were to decide on candidate, i would be very hesitant to admit you. Because if you are asking for exceptions already, more will come once you are here. And nobody wants to deal with that.

Those rules are written for you, applicant. So that you don't write a multi-page drivel. Everything can fit into 1 page PS. And now you have even more with 1 page DS. No one needs a whole history of your life. There is need only for one snap shot, one idea of who you are. I can not possibly imagine something that just had to be 2 pages.


But you go ahead and do so. By all means. And if you post your DS here, would be much appreciated.

WordPass
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WordPass » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:55 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I mean, I don't think it's going to hurt to ask (in part because it seems unlikely they're going to ask your name before answering this question). I doubt they're going to make an exception for you, though, since you don't seem able to articulate a reason why you need more space beyond you want more space. There doesn't seem to be a good reason why you shouldn't be held to the same standards everyone else is held to. But hey, if you think it's worth it, go for it.

I can come up with something better than "I just need more space" but wouldn't post it for everyone to read.

JustDuke wrote:
WordPass wrote:Would have also appreciated any info on if you or anyone has actually seen this be detrimental to an application. At this point it doesn't matter tho! and I doubt asking would be a basis if they were to reject me anyway.


Nobody here is trying to dissuade you from doing what you planned. At this point its just a discussion. However you question and reasoning are alike to:

"Can I ask during job interview if its OK to have couple shots of hard liquor during lunch? I mean I am just asking. Did anyone ask for that before? It cant hurt its just a question".

How to argue with that?


To this, hahaha HOW is this akin to taking a shot of hard liquor during an interview? What? I mean, I can sorta (barely) see how you can draw a comparison, but it isn't a good one.

JustDuke wrote: Asking for exception is plain obnoxious. Person getting this request will either have to grant it, meaning that more of those requests can come. Or deny. Nobody wants to do either of those. So you probably will get an answer "Do as you think is best for your application". However, if I were to decide on candidate, i would be very hesitant to admit you. Because if you are asking for exceptions already, more will come once you are here. And nobody wants to deal with that.

Those rules are written for you, applicant. So that you don't write a multi-page drivel. Everything can fit into 1 page PS. And now you have even more with 1 page DS. No one needs a whole history of your life. There is need only for one snap shot, one idea of who you are. I can not possibly imagine something that just had to be 2 pages.


But you go ahead and do so. By all means. And if you post your DS here, would be much appreciated.


Just because I'm asking for an exception doesn't mean more will come or I'd be a hassle to deal with in law school (maybe for other reasons) but this particular situation doesn't imply that.

Because you're not a member of the office of admissions, I'm looking for something more than the "if I were deciding on a candidate, i'd be hesitant..." The insight helps, as I'm sure many people here have some experience with applications ..be it simply reading up on it on a forum, but I'd like more than that before I dismiss what I see as an okay thing to do (though not without some risk).

I'm also guessing you're assuming my statement just goes on and on about nonsense about my life with tons of excess fat that I could liposuction out like that. It isn't. I COMPLETELY understand if it seems obnoxious, and you can be upset at that fact, but really, i'm not really here to make you feel like I'm not an asshole by asking. If you're the one deciding my fate, then absolutely, i'd more than happy to. but you aren't. So, unless there's some reason other than it's "plan obnoxious" or "HEY! this guy I knew with great numbers got rejected and asked admissions stop idiotic question" or "Hey! I know an admissions officer, he says don't ever do it ever" then I think i'd exercise what I think is my best judgment.

Bonus edit: I've consulted a few people on this. Some with a wealth of experience (in their 60s) from T14s and knowledge on admissions. I can't say they've felt this strongly about it as you guys lol

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:58 pm

WordPass wrote:I can come up with something better than "I just need more space" but wouldn't post it for everyone to read.

Srsly, though, what on earth is a good reason? It's an arbitrary cut off, but it affects everyone equally. What reason could someone offer that legitimately supports an exception?

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WhiskeyAndCupcakes
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:03 am

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Fri May 29, 2015 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Emma.
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Re: In need of a little help (UPenn DS)

Postby Emma. » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:51 am

I worked pretty closely with the admissions dept when I was in law school. I can say from experience that they really didn't like it when folks thought they were too special to stick within the rules that apply to everyone else.




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