How to Spread the News, Part 2


One of the suggestions in the comments from my last post has really got my imagination going. Chaya Grossberg suggested that we can all edit Wikipedia entries. I went in and got surprised at how easy this was. Then I checked the hit rates on Wikipedia to see how big an impact this could have, and I was totally amazed.

In a year, more than a million users will look up terms like psychosis and depression. For borderline personality disorder, there are 2 million hits per year. Some search words are protected against editing, but other big ones like “psychosis” may be edited in seconds. With over 90,000 hits per month, you can be sure to positively influence over 3000 genuine information seekers per day if you write something positive on this topic.

By hitting the EDIT button at the top, you can edit the page from the start. Many only read the first paragraphs, so to make sure your message is noticed, place it as early as possible in the main text , or as early as possible in the sub sections. You can even make your own sub section high up on the list.

Your posting may be modified by others, so be vigilant. Sign up so you can have your article on a watchlist.  This is where all MIA readers may contribute. Keep an eye on changes on all relevant search words and report them on the MIA forum so that somebody may change the info back or challenge the change.

The important thing on Wikipedia is references. All statements need references, the more the better. Luckily Robert Whitaker has provided a bibliography for all his statements in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” and his first book “Mad in America.”  I am sure he would not mind if some of the phrases he uses to describe these article are used directly. Quotes may be used, of course and may make the Wikipedia text more interesting and readable.

Robert writes for an intellectually sophisticated audience, so some rewriting into simpler (although less elegant) language may be useful to touch the common Wikipedia user.

Words on Wikipedia have no influence on readers if they don’t understand the text. Here we can do a really great job. It is possible to avoid complicated terms, have short sentences and still come across as scientific and balanced. Many professionals sympathetic to the biomedical model write what is total gibberish to most people e.g. about genetics.

It may be a good idea to present counter-arguments to what you write, and then just crush this argument in the next sentence.

I have just made a lot of changes to “Psychosis.” Have a look! And the reference section is now flooded with Harrow and Breggin.

We can make standard phrases with references that may be used to counter arguments. Here is an example:


Dr Jay Joseph has shown that the basic condition for twin research is flawed. The environment of identical twins has to as different for each of them as the environment of the siblings they are compared to. If the twins have more similar events happen to them e.g. because they spend more time together, then we cannot draw the conclusion that it is the genes that give them similar disorders. Even for identical twins reared apart, similar events may happen to them because of their similar temperament, looks, and personality. Two very active twins may provoke the same type of harsh discipline in different adoptive parents. 

If they are adopted because the mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, they may have been equally unattractive for placement and therefore got the least qualified adoptive parents. 

Thus, the environment, including events that happen to the identical twins, is more similar for them, than for the siblings they are compared to. Therefore what looks like a genetic likeness when it comes to mental disorders, may be just that identical twins have more similar events happen to them. This makes all calculations about heritability based on twin studies very inaccurate, and according to Dr Joseph, we cannot say that Schizophrenia or any other mental disorder is inherited. He also points to the fact that no gene has been found for any psychiatric disorder. In spite of 40 years of searching and many enthusiastic claims, no finding may be trusted, since none have been consistently replicated. 

Here is another version that I wrote first, but the language here is probably so advanced that 50% of readers will skip it.

Dr Jay Joseph has demonstrated that the basic premise of twin research of equal environment for identical and non-identical twins is flawed, and therefore twin research cannot be used to prove inheritance of e.g. schizophrenia. The reports of high concordance of identical twins when it comes to schizophrenia is also greatly exaggerated, often reported at 50% even if the more realistic rate is 14%. This means that all statements about heritability of psychiatric problems are scientifically questionable.

Here are two references that you can paste in. If you put the  <ref> before the reference and </ref> after then you can paste it after the text and it goes automatically to the reference section.

<ref>Joseph, J. (2003). The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology under the Microscope. PCCS Books. ISBN 1-898059-47-0. </ref>

<ref>Joseph, J. A. Y. (2005). “Research Paradigms of Psychiatric Genetics”. American Journal of Psychiatry 162 (10): 1985; author reply 1985–6. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.10.1985. PMID 16199857. <ref>

This may be pasted into all sections on all articles dealing with genetics

Here are some other topics that can be added to many articles

  • Degenerative course of illness
  • Efficacy of certain medications
  • Dangerous side effects
  • Research being sponsored by the makers of the drugs
  • Conflict of interest for the article in the reference
  • Recovery without drugs
  • Good treatment options
  • Unreliability of diagnosis
  • Stigma from diagnosis.

If these phrases are posted in the forum here on MIA, each with a reference, others may put them in anywhere appropriate.

Some articles, such as Schizophrenia, are semi-protected. Only registered users (free) who have made 10 edits and have the patience to wait 4 days may edit. That should not be a problem with a small army or editors from MIA.

With all the psychiatry topics in Wikipedia, we may influence millions of info-hungry persons every month! That is very good activism!

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  1. This is a REALLY workable idea! There are a lot more readers than editors and it shouldn’t be too hard to establish credibility with sufficient references. The interesting question will be whether there is a reaction from the establishment to try and “correct” our authenticated version of reality where it clashes from the fantasy version preferred by the psychiatric elite.

    Let’s do this!!!!

    —- Steve

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    • Oh yes there will be a reaction from the establishment to try and “correct” I have done Wikipedia edits on mental health topics and they just got wiped out alot of the time. Then I was falsely accused of vandalism and blocked.

      I don’t want to do anymore editing , I will donate time to watch for “corrections” and suggest topics for improvement.

      I worked on this page but it still needs much improvement.

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    • 3000-6000 will read each of the big posts like “Psychosis” or “Borderline Personality disorder pr day, so anything that stays up only for a day will be very influential. So far the edit about the WHO studies has stayed since the 22 september, Harrow and Breggin, has stayed untouched, and I see now that some of you have includes Schaz and Laing. This is great!!! Keep on editing. After 10 edits and 4 days you will be able to edit “Schizophrenia” too!

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    • In my enthusiasm it may seem like I have encouraged readers to engage in edit wars on Wikipedia. This is completely against the philosophy of Wikipedia.
      The other editors are usually very respectful, but they want consensus. This is actually quite a good thing.
      So do like this:
      1. Act on your own behalf, don’t gang up!
      2. Read the Talk page for the theme (up to the left) and see how things have been discussed. This is very interesting!!
      3. Submit changes you want on the talk page before you go in and do an edit.
      4. Be respectful, assume good faith and go for consensus.
      5.When it comes to references, Wikipedia prefers secondary sources,, summaries of resarch, not individual original articles. That means that Anatomy of an Epidemic would be better than the individual articles. Review articles, Cochrane and other meta studies are considered ideal references.

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  2. wow – excellent idea. I especially like the suggestion of using the MIA forums as a way of monitoring the edits and encouraging participation in this project.

    I really appreciated the brainstorm and encouraging comments from your first post. It gave me some encouragement in undermining some online posts from big pharma astroturf groups.

    Online campaigning could play a small but significant part of undermining mainstream psychiatry so I’d like to see more of this sort of stuff on MIA.

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      • “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.” Those who trust in help from people claiming to be doctors, who are instead being harmed by those doctors, aren’t all necessarily stupid. They’re now online discussing the psychiatric industry’s newest crimes against humanity.

        And I know, from what I’ve read that’s written by psychiatrists, that psychiatry is concerned about the internet. I hope you’re right, copycat, “the internet is mainstream psychiatry’s worst nightmare.”

        I pray we take them down.

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  3. Wow, I think it is great that we are now seeing tactics and strategy being discussed more on MIA. As I’ve said before, thanks to people like Bob Whitaker et al, we have lots of facts and arguments to fight the typical psychiatry/drug company BS. Now it’s time to get all this out to the public.

    Articles like this are making me feel hopeful that we are turning a corner. The time is now to fight back.

    Thank you for this article.

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  4. I really hope to hear how this goes.

    Wikipedia is corrupted by whoever has the resources to control the narrative. Dissenters are usually hounded out through frivilous community litigation, or overwhelmed by time wasted in endless debate.

    Not for a moment am I suggesting not to try, just consider your time wisely.

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    • What do you think of ‘schizophrenia’ as the tempting target. The block to recovery is the lack of knowledge of alternatives. Wiki is one of the first places people go to look.
      Years ago – I got a little bit of recovery advice from a good Samaritan (a psychologist) who promised me that there was such a thing as getting better. After that I was able to find my own way.

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      • @Fiachra

        I feel that you are pointing towards a real difficulty…. most people who enter the MH system never come into contact with people who have a message that doesn’t conform to the traditional message…

        If I am right we are both in the UK…. I’m sure you know a version of Recovery has been taken up thats more or less congruent with medical model thinking within NHS services…. spaces where Recovery conversations take place are forums where people can hear about alternatives so thats something….. but it all a matter of luck and just meeting someone who themselves has been exposed to other ways of thinking…. its a bit of a problem…..

        Totally agree about schizophrenia…… its objectifying, degrading and dehumanising… all labels are of course…. one hopeful thing is their is a back lash of sorts going on against all the labels not just schizophrenia……

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        • Thanks poet,
          I understand what you’re saying. Wikipedia though, describe ‘schizophrenia’ in illness terms – whereas the only successful Recovery is through non drug Recovery.

          Other real solutions could be inserted.

          The Recovery I have experienced has been through mainstream practical psychotherapy (if you like), this was where the solutions for me were. But one of my main problems was to do with withdrawal syndrome.

          What I was amazed to see some time ago on Wikipedia was a type acknowledgement (on the Seroquel / Quietiapine page) of the capacity of these drugs to create mental illness.

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    • I agree! Twitter is also an underused tool for our movement. Twitter can help to get more people to show up to protests such as the APA conventions (at least those who are willing to come out of the closet) and have the means to travel to such protests. But for those who don’t Twitter can still help get more people to participate in mental health alerts and legislative alerts!

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  5. Please do it ladies and gentlemen, we need to educate the public. I tried to edit Wikipedia a while back without much success, but may have been on one of the protected sites. We have the medical evidence on our side, let’s try to get the truth on Wikipedia. I know it’s already more truthful, than when I was originally researching on it, so think there is hope.

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  6. Ilooked up psychosis on wikipedia and I found some good stuff but I also found this:

    A 2014 study found no evidence that familial risk accounts for associations between childhood physical abuse and psychotic disorder, or that it substantially increases the odds of psychosis among individuals reporting abuse.[91]

    This contradicts with Richard Bentall and John Read’s research. Here is an article about that:

    Perhaps a forum thread on each wikipedia page could be started and someone host a discussion on collaborative editing of the page? that many sources could be bought to bear

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    • I tried doing just what you wrote Seth, and I did it before you responded. I got confused at the response when I tried adding references.

      So I’ll ask you to be a bit more polite young man, when I say I need guidance I mean I need guidance.

      I’d like an apology

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      • John, An apology for what? I took time off a busy schedule (I do my best work at odd hours) to give you exactly what you asked for– guidance. I myself could not believe it was so easy because I’m a klutz with the computer. I left out a word though. “All you need do is CLICK ON “edit.””
        I also could not believe adding references was mostly automatic. What I do is to write the first and copy and paste the symbol to close references
        I’m not a 22 year old computer wiz. I’m probably your age –over 60.

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  7. I have tried to straighten out historical confusions that often occur on Wikipedia. For example, reading something along the lines of the American Psychiatric Association began in 1844, this is misleading, the Association of Medical Directors of American Institutions of the Insane, with 13 initial members, that evolved into the APA, first met in 1844. It is important to make these little distinctions just in case readers should happen to confuse medical directors of institutions for the insane with present day psychiatrists, and all 80 some thousand members of the APA.

    Historically accuracy can work in our favor. Schizophrenia, for example, has only been around since 1908 when Paul Eugen Bleuler introduced the term. Something to think about. Its pre-history though would require a great deal of elaboration. This is particularly true when it comes to Wikipedia’s Posttraumatic Stress Disorder page. History there starts with a Shakespeare character (i.e. absolute nonsense). Then you get something like this:

    Although PTSD-like symptoms have also been recognized in combat veterans of many military conflicts since, the modern understanding of PTSD dates from the 1970s, largely as a result of the problems that were still being experienced by US military veterans of the war in Vietnam.

    Followed by:

    Previous diagnoses now considered historical equivalents of PTSD include railway spine, stress syndrome, nostalgia, soldier’s heart, shell shock, battle fatigue, combat stress reaction, or traumatic war neurosis.

    I’m afraid we just missed everything up to 1970, including such important events as WW I, in this fashion. PTSD as a diagnosis didn’t just arrive fully cooked over night at somebodies doorstep. One is not going to get it out of this kind of depreciating of the enterprise of history. Also, criticism of the diagnosis itself. It just isn’t there. Is PTSD a “disease”, and/or could you have soldiers sloughing their duty in some instances? The question just isn’t asked, not on the Wikipedia PTSD page anyway.

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  8. Kjetil:

    Thanks for launching such a great idea! This is very simple and hopeful strategy for shifting how our culture views mental illness through education, resulting in human rights and more effective, humane alternatives. I love this community. We have within our movement several important things:
    1) We are on the right side of history
    2) We are passionate.
    3) We have a wealth of talented, creative, and smart individuals in our movement.

    In the future, I would love to get involved in Wikipedia! Looks like you have already inspired quite a few people who are talented writers and passionate about honest information, so I trust the edits you suggest are in good hands. I have a question in the meantime. Is Wikipedia translated into other languages?

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  9. Wow. Glad to see someone talking about this!

    I had considered making it a project to do exactly such a “correction” on Wikipedia, more particularly on the way it seemed to portray the mental patients’ liberation movement as the rough-edged “crazy” precursor to the new, improved “consumer” movement. But it seemed like a daunting task. I think this would be a great way for internet-savvy people to put energy into resurrectng a real movement and edcating the public. Maybe like-minded people could form one or more “task forces” to deal with specific subjects, with participants consulting with one another to hone the edits in the best ways possible.

    On the other hand I question using Twitter, though I understand the reasoning behind it. Using Twitter in my mind — unless someone can explain a difference to me — could be as dangerous and potentially self-destructive as using Facebook. (If the latter is not apparent let me know & I’ll re-post some info.)

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  10. At the wikipedia article on psychosis there has been many edits. Check on your edits. Get a regular account. If you find a problem (1) you are supposed to write about it on the “talk” page of the article (you have to create this) , then (2) you can change it back after you have explained yourself.

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  11. Here is the comment I got from a Wikipedia user who removed the edits:
    Biased Editing in Psychosis Article[edit]

    I just read an article from the Mad in America website saying that the author is rewriting the psychosis article to basically fit his opinions and perceptions of psychosis. He is describing to others how they may do the same while flying under Wikipedia’s radar.

    I normally don’t write anything on Wikipedia, but I know that bias and personal opinion is generally not tolerated, and I wanted to inform the staff. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

    Here is my reply: (you may copy any part of it to use in similar rebuttals)
    I am sorry that you saw the necessity of removing 2 edits that were quite sufficiently referenced. The WHO studies are considered good unbiased references, compared to almost all research on drugs done by the makers themselves. I don’t know why you accuse me and others of flying under the radar. Wikipedia is a very democratic site and all you have to do to watch what I am doing is to be on the watchlist. Next time if you are going to remove something please base your reasons on research!

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  12. Kjetl
    Obviously this idiot is going to say we are biased no matter how many references we have. “Bias and personal opinion is generally not tolerated” he’/she says. He forgot to add “unless it is the bias of the APA or any of the official organs in charge of manufacturing consent.” And who AUTHORIZED him to remove our additions? On a stylistic level alone it is now colorless and boring. That is how APA propaganda is. He substituted propaganda for information and he calls this “objective.”
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

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    • I just discovered that it is quite common for people to undo each others edits. So I undid the deletion 3 times and was informed that I was in an edit war since I had done this within 24 hours. Once my undoing was reversed within 2 minutes, so I thought it was done automatically.
      I discovered that you can justify yourself in the talk page, edited just like the article, and then you are more likely to be accepted.
      The talk about the article (upper left corner) is actually quite interesting, to see how the discussion has been going through the years. A lot of interesting info and article links.
      I undid the deletion again today, so now Harrow and Breggin are back for a while. This is why we need an army, to revert with justification, politely and all over the place. Do not be rude or edit without justification.
      I don’t know how to find your edit, Seth, but maybe you can paste it back? Maybe it is an idea to not take it in the beginning to not provoke too much? Anyway, with your caliber, you can match anyone in the justification for why you post!

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      • ” I don’t know how to find your edit, Seth, but maybe you can paste it back? Maybe it is an idea to not take it in the beginning to not provoke too much? Anyway, with your caliber, you can match anyone in the justification for why you post!”
        Yes I did not copy the damn ting. I did at first, but it’s gone. So it will take me an hour including the references to reconstruct. I don’t have time now. Eventually I’ll re- do it. I put it in the beginning because you said it would have the most impact.
        Oh there’s a talk page for justification. Thanks. Yes I can do that. To talk about psychosis and not mention Szasz and Laing is pure censorship. It’s presenting the official view as if it’s the only reality.

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        • No need to reconstruct. Maybe.

          There is a method to find your original writing, it is still there on Wikipedia but hidden.

          If you look at the “history” page of an article, you will find a list of the edits with their dates.

          There is a compare function. If you compare two edits (click on a black period between open-close brackets) a new page shows the differences between the two days.

          In this page you can find your original writings, no need to reconstruct.

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          • Marksps, You’re right. It’s there. Fantastic. That saves me an hour or so. Now if can we overcome the other obstacles to keeping revisions up….
            THe original article is so dull-reflecting the mediocrity of the mental health establishment that if we don’t put it near the top I doubt many people will read it. And below someone said there is a list of canonical journals–the rest are unacceptable.

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          • “is so dull-reflecting the mediocrity”

            You have to accept the text can only be slightly altered, but we can still alter it with Whitaker’s medical references.

            I made a dent in Wikipedia , then a editor named “Formerly 98” erased my material in by removing the psychiatry section.

            I would have to find the original person who put “psychiatry” in and ask them to put it back, but it is a lot of work to find the start of that section.

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    • Oh you noted that. Does that mean that we cannot quote critics of the medical model? Szasz, Laing, Goffman etc?
      Discussion to consensus on the talk page?. On the Wikipedia talk page? How can we possibly expect consensus with NAMI types patrolling these entries? THis is not democratic. Someone posts the official APA view of “psychosis” and the epigones label any dissenting positions “subjective,” “biased”–it’s a good modern way to silence heretics, ie those who reject the dominant paradigm.
      Seth Farber, PhD

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  13. We are not a “flash in the pan”, we have endurance. As Wikipedia is democratic, if we have a majority of editors and sourced information, changes(edits) will stay in place.

    The examples of mental illness are from people who have been drugged off and on all their lives.
    No one writes (this medical) drugging as a possible cause for their continual “bad” behavior.

    The legal drug dealers will have to face the facts one day, that they made people worse instead of better, with the continual use of drugs on their patients(slaves).

    “A slave is he who cannot speak his thoughts.” Euripides (484-406 B.C.)
    Today the slave is not allowed his/her thoughts.

    We still have our thoughts and the freedom to write, we should continue to express reasoned arguments against the drugs.

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  14. User:Jmh649 removed ===Neuroleptics=== from Causes of schizophrenia 21:32, October 1, 2014‎

    Harding(1987) reported that twenty years later 25% to 50% of the patients were completely off their medications

    John Nash,_Jr. does not use neuroleptics.

    Neuroleptics have been proven to shrink the brain, this brain damage must contribute to the schizophrenia.

    Do you think you can win an editing war fight with a doctor(Jmh649)?

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  15. Hi Kjetil,

    I live in Oslo, and I was excited to see that there is at least one person in Oslo, or at the very least Norway, who writes about this. Kuddos to you. Thank you.

    I stumbled upon this video of a Norwegian lecturer on my facebook-page today, and immeditately I thought: wow, I really hope this catches on and spreads throughout this country. The lecturer talks about Open Dialogue in Norway.

    Here is the link:

    My own interest lie not only with open dialogue and such approaches to therapy, but also to include the spiritual perspective in therapy. I believe therapy cannot be a complete package for “sick” people unless it includes the spiritual aspect of the human being. I would like to mention a big name in this field: Stanislav Grof (The Stormy Search for the Self; Healing our Deepest Wounds). Perhaps you’ve heard of him.

    I previously have some experience working in a psychiatric hospital, and it was an utterly depressing and deflating experience. I wanted to become a psychologist at one point, but I lost interest. There is so much bull**** in the mainstream field, to put it bluntly. But my interest in healing, self-development and spiritual growth remains, however; and I would love if these sorts of approaches would spread in Norway.

    Check out the video!

    Wishing you well.

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  16. Bluesky, I have been writing from this perspective for years–I am a dissident psychologist. My recent book on the Mad Pride movement– as a new phase of the survivors’ movement–is in the tradition of R D Laing.
    I wrote a number of brief articles on the theme of my book. They have the link to my book on Amazon, The Spiritual Gift of Madness

    You can contact me at [email protected]
    Seth Farber,Ph.D

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  17. Thanks for your proactivity! Have you heard of Jan Pols? He is a psychiatrist (I think Norwegian) who is totally against forced treatment. I read his book online.

    I hope everyone will do as you suggest. I’ll try it myself. We should make a list of all the terms a victim of psychiatry might try to find on Wiki and go after all of them. I remember how demoralized I was when I read what was on there a few years ago–it was all estabishment/coercive stuff.

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