Dealing with Jerks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dealing with Jerks

    How do you all handle the inevitable negative comments that come from the community? Iím an active maintainer for a local park and while the vast majority of the feedback we get is positive, there is always the occasional guy on social media complaining that we are ę ruining Ľ or ę dumbing down Ľ the trails. Just today in fact, I was on my way into the woods, loaded with gear, and a guy passed by riding, he asked quickly if I was doing work.


    Hey man, you doing work?
    Yeah, weíre volunteers, today just working on an eroded corner.
    Cool but stop ruining the trail!
    Hey, were dealing with erosion and making it better.
    No, your making it worse and itís too easy now, youíre ****ing ruining it.
    That a dickish comment.
    Well your still ruining it!
    I built the trail asshole!
    Well your ruining it!!!


    All of this while the guy is riding off into the distance. He didnít even stop to talk or explain himself. Here I am loaded with gear. And he just blows by like that.


    I was mad so I called him an asshole. Probably out of line of me...


    So how do you deal with this? The work we do is sanctioned and approved. We are fixing eroded areas, widening, mud holes, and generally improving a trail that was made official. The land manager wants it to be an intermediate trail. So we work with that in mind.


    Anyway - there seems to be 5% of the riding population that will complain vocally about everything...


    This tool ruined my day.

  2. #2
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    Been in the non-profit volunteering gig at all levels for 20 years. The jerks are always present. They never go away. I'm always amazed how cruel they are sometimes to volunteers. They are mean to people using their free time to help trails. It truly is mind blowing. I've been doing it so long I just tune it out. Like you said, the vast majority are really happy with what we do. Sorry you dealt with that! Really sucks.


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  3. #3
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    Pow! Right in the kisser.

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  4. #4
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    I deal with them by ignoring them. Of course, if they get too assertive about their opinions I usually have an excavator around.....

  5. #5
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    The short answer is you'll never make everyone happy... in the sense that there's too many personalities, riding styles, skill levels, etc. Everyone wants something different, it's impossible to please everyone.

    A-holes will be A-holes regardless.
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    Stick in the wheel....

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  7. #7
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    I've been building and maintaining for decades and I tune everyone out - good or bad - as others said, you can't make everyone happy and don't even try. asshats will always be asshats. The very few times I've gotten pissed at someone, all I say is 'come to the next trail day and show me what you got' - always works.

    I've also found that the asshats have never gotten dirt under their fingernails from trail work.

  8. #8
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    Tell him to you canít hear anything he is saying until he gets 40 volunteer hours logged.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocket7 View Post
    This tool ruined my day.
    Take a step back and think about this... why give this person that kind of power over your day? They donít matter.

    Sounds to me like youíre doing all the right things for the right reasons. Keep at it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Tell him to you canít hear anything he is saying until he gets 40 volunteer hours logged.
    Perfect!

  11. #11
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    I have never ridden your trail but thank you for your hard work.
    The work you do is totally awesome not matter what anybody says!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocket7 View Post
    How do you all handle the inevitable negative comments that come from the community?
    Have you considered a handgun?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by habsfan View Post
    The very few times I've gotten pissed at someone, all I say is 'come to the next trail day and show me what you got' - always works.
    There really is nothing to top this. Tell him to get involved or STFU.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Have you considered a handgun?
    I know you're trying to be funny and you usually are. This ain't one of those times.

    OP, just keep doing what you have been. I agree with the folks who said to invite the d-bag to a trail day. Usually shuts them right up.
    :nono: :thumbsup:

  15. #15
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    You ran into a dude who is concerned about the trail being not challenging enough. Those are the good guys, even if he was abrasive. The real shitbirds are the ones who carry a saw and shovel and remove obstacles to make the trail lamer.

    So how do you deal with this? The work we do is sanctioned and approved. We are fixing eroded areas, widening, mud holes, and generally improving a trail that was made official. The land manager wants it to be an intermediate trail. So we work with that in mind.
    Grow a pair, maybe? Count your blessings?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    You ran into a dude who is concerned about the trail being not challenging enough. Those are the good guys, even if he was abrasive. The real shitbirds are the ones who carry a saw and shovel and remove obstacles to make the trail lamer.

    Grow a pair, maybe? Count your blessings?
    Good guys? Seriously? Grow a pair? WTF?

    I think we just heard the shitbird crow.
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock View Post
    Good guys? Seriously? Grow a pair? WTF?

    I think we just heard the shitbird crow.

    And now here you are, letting playground the insults fly. Perhaps some self examination is in order for you my friend.

  18. #18
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    Guy was a dick, for sure. However, there may be some legitimate feedback underneath the dick'ish comment. Perhaps you should take the feedback to the LM and explain that while you are maintaining the intermediate trails as intermediate, you recently have received feedback that some users would also like to see some harder / more difficult trails. Could be a win / win where you use the dick to actually get the go ahead for a new harder trail build!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Tell him to you canít hear anything he is saying until he gets 40 volunteer hours logged.
    I like this reply.

    Also, I like to let complainers know that "those who dig, DECIDE"
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  20. #20
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    ha I wuz riding the chunk and ran into two dudes building out more trail features and I said "oh boy this is awesome" while blasting thru

    next day same crew just 1000 yards deeper, and I stopped and said "Hey you guys rock here is 40 bucks beer money for later today thanks for building this"

    they did not take my money, saying "oh no need to do that..."

    those big jerks
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  21. #21
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    A box of tissues never goes amiss 😁

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  22. #22
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    Probably best to act like you are listening to them and will take their comments into consideration.

    Find a nice way to say that you're revitalizing the trail to what it once was and also building it for proper erosion control so the trail will last longer and require less maintenance.

    Our local trails have also seen banter that the trails have been ruined. At one point, they were told to not destroy at least one trail, during trail work activities.

    Trails are beat up bad with horrible ruts and full of rocks. It was ridable but at more risk. Efforts to clean that trail were to add a few berms that helped shed water, smooth out the horrible ruts and essential move the rocks off the trail. Same line (mostly), same steeps. Same off cambers (in a few places).

    Not everybody will be happy. New generation of riders who are learning will wonder why a trail was not cleaned up to be a beginner trail while senior riders will wonder why all the tech is being removed. It's a balancing act.

    Just remember, your actions are going to be seen within the community. Calling out names make you look worse when guy talks to his friends about your attitude towards fellow riders. Then rumors can spread. If I know you, and found out you called somebody a name, so what. I know you're human and know you as a person. If I don't know you, my opinion of you may change, say that I hear second hand how you treated riders in our community.

    Take the high road. Let the ones with strong opinions know you are doing work for the trail system as a whole but without telling them they are being an ass with their comments directed towards you.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    You ran into a dude who is concerned about the trail being not challenging enough. Those are the good guys, even if he was abrasive. The real shitbirds are the ones who carry a saw and shovel and remove obstacles to make the trail lamer.
    IMO, Whether he wants the trail harder of easier has nothing to do with whether he is a "good guy". He was spouting off about something he does not know s#!t about. I know his type: they think that since they ride trals (maybe even raked a rouge trail that got ridden a dozen times), they know something about how to build and maintain them, and in fact know better than those who actually do it. These are NOT the good guys. They are ignorant, entitled d-bags.

    If not for the fact that I have seen this happen myself (toward other trail-builders I know), I might think the story the OP is telling was BS. But it happens. People will b!tch about the folks who do all the work and in some cases actually built the trail.

    Honestly, as much as I dislike when people make a trail section easier than I like , I've got way more respect for them than the guys like the OP ran into. At least they are willing to put the work in.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    "those who dig, DECIDE"
    Yes. Around here we call that the "shovel committee".

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Probably best to act like you are listening to them and will take their comments into consideration.
    This works best if you actually DO listen, as it's hard to pull off acting like it in the face of true antagonism. Not impossible, just hard.

    Jerks are everywhere. It sucks. I always try to give builders as much positive energy as I can when I see them. Especially since I don't actually put any blood/sweat/tears into the trails anymore these days.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    Yes. Around here we call that the "shovel committee".



    This works best if you actually DO listen, as it's hard to pull off acting like it in the face of true antagonism. Not impossible, just hard.

    Jerks are everywhere. It sucks. I always try to give builders as much positive energy as I can when I see them. Especially since I don't actually put any blood/sweat/tears into the trails anymore these days.
    Exactly, my "real job / work" really focuses on all feedback, good or bad, as an opportunity to hear the message / driver underneath the actual feedback / complaint. That's more important to me than the words someone says.

    I've run into this scenario where someone has a comment while I am digging. I actually immediately invite them to stop and give me a hand for a few minutes so we can chat about it. Most people will stop even if they don't intend on helping and I usually can get in one or two probing questions. A few of the comments have been actually super helpful and I implemented their idea. I know I don't always envision the perfect line and sometimes that extra set of eyes really helps!

    I dig by myself 90% of the time, so any time I can get someone to provide real time feedback, I jump all over it!
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  26. #26
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    I have seen it and heard it many times.

    "You are ruining the trails" as they ride through or, my favorite, post online behind a pseudonym.

    Funny, there was not trails here before and I built these. Where were you in the planning, permitting, and most importantly building. We post work days in public places and forums. Too busy, not your cup of tea? Then STFU, go home, break out your finger bike, and pull of your rad moves in your room. I don't care, and other trail bosses, builders, and contributors should not either. Planning to make everyone happy is a guaranteed failure.

    My personal favorite "You are sanitizing the trails" from one group and "These trails are too rough" from another on the SAME trail. Yes, that is a real problem.

    I want the trails to remain forever. Water control is an important feature that prolongs the life. I know what I am doing after 10+ years. Please come and join me. I always love to hear other's opinions. I am not always right, just most of the time :-)
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankerboy View Post
    I have seen it and heard it many times.

    "You are ruining the trails" as they ride through or, my favorite, post online behind a pseudonym.

    Funny, there was not trails here before and I built these. Where were you in the planning, permitting, and most importantly building. We post work days in public places and forums. Too busy, not your cup of tea? Then STFU, go home, break out your finger bike, and pull of your rad moves in your room. I don't care, and other trail bosses, builders, and contributors should not either. Planning to make everyone happy is a guaranteed failure.

    My personal favorite "You are sanitizing the trails" from one group and "These trails are too rough" from another on the SAME trail. Yes, that is a real problem.

    I want the trails to remain forever. Water control is an important feature that prolongs the life. I know what I am doing after 10+ years. Please come and join me. I always love to hear other's opinions. I am not always right, just most of the time :-)
    Thanks for the replies. Especially this one!

    In this case, the land manager knows of the complaints about recent work dumbing the trail down and is working on a communication plan that explains the work and how it all fits into the larger picture. The guys that rip by have no clue really, they just see some guy making an eroded and slightly technical section, less eroded and slightly easier.

    I also think there is a little bragging going on. It feels good to puff out you chest and complain about "easy" trails.

    I'll continue to work with the land manager on this.

  28. #28
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    The best trail center I go to, or at least I did until Corona, is Glentress in the Scottish borders. Many of the trails have multiple lines, usually signposted, so riders can pick how hard they want their life to be. Even on the main climb up the hill there are log skinnies by the side of the trail which get progressively more challenging as you go up the hill.

    The post circled tells you the grading of the skinny. This is the easiest one and the first one you meet.

    Dealing with Jerks-glentress-skinny.jpg

    On other trails riders have carved out additional lines or shortcuts. Some of these get blocked off but if they're not too crazy and don't damage the main trail they are typically left in place.

    Some descents split with either a Red or a Blue option, meeting up further down the hill.

  29. #29
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    It seems that most of the time the people who complain the most are the ones who would never consider learning about trail construction and actually lend a hand o do the work. Interesting trail features are not made by letting a poorly built section of trail erode. If B-line features are allowed to be built on a trail (often they are not) then they should be built properly to hold up over time and use.

  30. #30
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    I only associate with assholes I like.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    If B-line features are allowed to be built on a trail then they should be built properly to hold up over time and use.
    Nothing holds up over time and use!

    Even with maintenance I've watched trails change over the years. It's inevitable. Trails do not stay the same whatever you do.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    The best trail center I go to, or at least I did until Corona, is Glentress in the Scottish borders. Many of the trails have multiple lines, usually signposted, so riders can pick how hard they want their life to be. Even on the main climb up the hill there are log skinnies by the side of the trail which get progressively more challenging as you go up the hill.

    The post circled tells you the grading of the skinny. This is the easiest one and the first one you meet.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	glentress-skinny.jpg 
Views:	47 
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ID:	1343411

    On other trails riders have carved out additional lines or shortcuts. Some of these get blocked off but if they're not too crazy and don't damage the main trail they are typically left in place.

    Some descents split with either a Red or a Blue option, meeting up further down the hill.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocket7 View Post
    This tool ruined my day.
    My counselor would say I would have ruined my day since its up to me how I react and after years of counseling, which in reality is more of an anger management, I started to get the hang of it and it feels good.

    Thanks to you and anybody else who does trail work.
    This is on my bucket list to do once the whole virus thing blows over.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Avid is spelled wrong, there should be an 'O' in there.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtrider127 View Post
    That helmet hanging on his back is a smart move.
    It's a very tame climb, lot of people do that.

  35. #35
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    Say "Thanks and have a nice ride".

    Then take a moment to reflect on the fact that in all likelihood, the number of positive comments you have received is far greater than the few negative ones.

    And that, no matter what you do, someone is going to be unhappy, and that it's not your job to make the users of the trail happy anyway, but to do the best job you are able to do. (My guess is that more than half of all trail users have no idea that trails need maintenance.)

    I don't get paid to engage with the public (or at all). I don't mind chatting for a few minutes with someone who is genuinely interested in what I'm doing, but it just irritates me to argue with idiots.

    A surprising percentage of trail users have the bizarre idea that the trail they like is going to remain the same if no one messes with it, and anything you do is going to change it for the worse. I've had zero success in attempting to convince users who are of the "let it develop naturally" school that the result is going to end with either the trail being abandoned by most of the other users (not their problem), the park management closing the trail, or both. You're at a disadvantage arguing with someone who doesn't believe in anything that isn't immediately in front of their face. Generally, these people have few friends, and little influence because they can be relied on to reveal their ignorance/stupidity when their mouth parts start moving.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy View Post
    I don't mind chatting for a few minutes with someone who is genuinely interested in what I'm doing, but it just irritates me to argue with idiots.
    You can't reason with stupid people. You just make yourself stupider when you try!

    There is a trail center near me which is no longer maintained. I don't know what happened but there was some kind of disagreement between the forestry commission, who own just about all of the land in Scotland you'd want to build trails on, and the people who built the trail. All of the trails are still there, still open etc but nothing gets done to them.

    Personally, I kinda like it but the trails do not stay intact. Sections are very overgrown, edges collapsed on bankings and some parts are really rough and broken up. I think it just makes it more challenging and fun to ride but it's clearly not as it should be.

    I imagine that eventually the trails will deteriorate so much they'll have to close them. There are trails at Glentress they've shut for that reason. Even with maintenance the trails change. There are paths and trails in the countryside around where I live that have vanished completely. Last week I went down into a glen I've not been in for decades and it was unrecognizable. It looks so different I would not have guessed where I was if I had been blindfolded and taken in.

  37. #37
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    Bottom line. You can't please everyone.

    I work on a bunch of local trails. Often solo because I am single and not having to answer to a family. I understand many of my friends have other priorities and responsibilities. They thank me and apologize to me for not being able to help out. And then there are the people who are telling me they don't like this or don't like them. But I don't see them out on the trails with me helping me. It's a whole myriad of I want this or I don't like that. Bottom line. Can't please everyone and I just let it slide off. In the end. I'm the one that maintains the trail and I'm an advanced trail rider but understand it's not about just me. It's about having a trail experience that is fun and challenging in its own way to each person. Some day I won't be here and the trails will either be or not be maintained by someone out there. And it doesn't matter because at least I provided a great trail experience for 90% of all the people who come from all over the world to ride here in Hawaii.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    You can't reason with stupid people. You just make yourself stupider when you try!

    ...

    Personally, I kinda like it but the trails do not stay intact. Sections are very overgrown, edges collapsed on bankings and some parts are really rough and broken up. I think it just makes it more challenging and fun to ride but it's clearly not as it should be.

    ...
    It's OK to like challenging trail! I get it why people become upset about buffing trail. I've had life-altering experiences on old, washed out trails.

    However, there is another aspect to this disagreement that drives me up the wall, the failure of the outraged folks to acknowledge a) the sheer quantity of trail that's deteriorating, and b) how small my efforts are in comparison. If there were a dozen people working at the problem, we might begin to make headway, but it should be glaringly obvious to anyone who takes a moment to reflect on the matter that this is not the case.

    The trail is falling apart at least as fast as I can mend it, if not more so. But somehow the problem is me. It takes a certain obsessive, willful blindness to think this way. How does someone this dumb manage to feed themselves?

    "You moved my favorite rock!", (referring to a piece of loose debris) is an actual complaint that will live on, as long as there are men to mock those who see trails through a microscope.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy View Post
    However, there is another aspect to this disagreement that drives me up the wall, the failure of the outraged folks to acknowledge a) the sheer quantity of trail that's deteriorating, and b) how small my efforts are in comparison.
    Exactly. That's why even a maintained trail will not stay the same. It cannot. Even just laying gravel. At first it will be lose and slidey. After a while it will compact and be firm and smooth. Then it will erode, collect water and be rougher. It evolves, which I think is great! My only real concern is eBike damage to climbs.

  40. #40
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    Some percentage of the population will always have a high douche index. Whether it is lack of fiber in their diet or genitalia features on the wrong side of the bell curve, they are what they are. Your karmic tank is full from trail building, and that's what matters.

    Oh, and don't make the trails too easy. ;-)

  41. #41
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    Keep up the good work. Every rider has an opinion. The only opinion that matters is the rider who shows up on work days to work. Boots on the ground decide. That's all.

  42. #42
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    I'm in the camp of offering them a rogue hoe and inviting them to the next dig day. Like someone above said, they may even be correct, but their delivery may be all wrong. In one particular case, my wife who's relatively new to mtbing and an IMBA rep. both agree with someone that I did not know that suggested a specific section needs widened.

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