Interview of a JetPunker #30 - Stewart

+30

Hello dear JetPunkers!

No, you weren't dreaming when you read the title of this blog: our dear Stewart is my special interviewee for this 30th blog in the series. But this achievement is nothing compared to the other one that's just happened: Stewart officially became the quizmaker with the most total takes on JetPunk, by passing relessness, who was at this rank for almost one whole decade! This historical event for our favourite website definitely needed to be celebrated by an interview, don't you think so?

Regular readers will no doubt remember that Stewart was already an interviewee in the tenth blog in the series, and I've said on several occasions that no one would be allowed two interviews. But don't you think this occasion is exceptional enough to break that rule a little? That's my opinion anyway, and it's with a great pleasure that I once again have the honour to interview him, on this very important day for both him and the whole website.

Also, if you have not yet done so, read Stewart's The Journey to #1 on JetPunk blog to mark this special occasion!

Interview

baptistegorce

Hi Stewart! Since the 30th interview will probably be published just a bit after the moment when you will pass relessness in the takes ranking, I was thinking that it could be interesting to interview relessness himself for this occasion (and you know that I like making "special" interviews for every ten). But I first wanted to get your opinion about it. First, do you think that he could be interesting? And then, if yes, would there be a way to contact him on the which he would read my message and eventually answer, since I guess he doesn't read JetPunk comments anymore?

Stewart

He doesn't read JetPunk no. I could give you his email. Interesting? Yes absolutely. I haven't interacted with him in a number of years though.

baptistegorce

Good... Well, it will be difficult, but I guess I could give it a try. Thank you very much!
One month and half later...

baptistegorce

Hi Stewart! It has been more than one month and reless didn't answer to my proposition for an interview. I guess he isn't interested. So I was wondering... Would you like to be interviewed again, since it will be for you too a very important moment in your JetPunk adventure?

Stewart

If you're happy to wait two weeks, we could do that, with pleasure, since I'll be first then.

baptistegorce

Great, so let's do that, thanks!

Two weeks later...

Stewart

‎ ‎ 

It happened!

baptistegorce

Wow! Amazing! You have all my congratulations, my dear King.

Stewart

Now we just have a few hours until it becomes officially official, at around 11pm server time when the ranks are recalculated daily, ready for the interview.

baptistegorce

Oh, yeah, true... Time to rush a bit. So let's start this second interview! You already introduced yourself in your first interview, but would you like to add some information or update your answer from early 2021?

Stewart

Well, there are a few bits I could update! I am now 25, instead of 22. Weird how time moves on, right?

I still live in the south of the UK, although I recently moved out of my parents house and into my own home. While it is a big financial step, it is also very exciting for me and corresponds to the fact my JetPunk activity has been unfortunately lacking these past few months. I hope to change that in the upcoming months though :)

I still work on JetPunk in my spare time, on top of the same full-time job I was doing back then. But of course with additional responsibilities now it is more to manage.

Since last time, we of course had the JetPunk 2021 - Year in Review blog and the JetPunk 2022 - Year in Review blog, I would definitely recommend giving those two a read! Most notably, Word Search began as a daily minigame on JetPunk, and then ended after 1 year, only to have all the puzzles re-released 2 months later with new Mega puzzles appearing every week or two (whenever I get chance). 

Also, over the course of a few years, we have finally worked and released the JetPunk Shop! The journey towards that was a long and challenging one, so it's best to leave that story to its original blog too: The JetPunk Shop Backstory.

I think that's the most important updates since 2021 :)

baptistegorce

You've certainly been busy with JetPunk over the last two years, despite your personal commitments!

Now we can turn our attention to what really interests us today: a few hours ago, you officially became the #1 JetPunker by number of takes. Even though you've known it was coming for months, how did you feel when it actually happened?

Stewart

It was quite a monumental ocassion when I finally saw the number go higher for the first time. As mentioned in my journey blog above, since January 2020 I have been the biggest quizmaker on JetPunk by monthly takes (bar 1 month), so I've known for a long time this was an inevitability. But with the variability of JetPunk's traffic, and the fact random boosts can happen at any given moment thanks to TikTok or other social platforms, the time at which I would overtake was always debatable.

I feel very proud of where I have got to now, and I can now rest soundly, knowing I don't have to keep working out when I would pass him.

Though, to be clear, this is not because I believe I must be #1, but because statistics had shown it was inevitable to happen.

baptistegorce

If you've just become first, it means that someone was first before you: relessness. What do you think of this “Sleeping King”, and do you have a message for him on this special day?

Stewart

Relessness is a... "character" for sure. I only really knew him from comments on JetPunk before, and the fact he was always #1 while I'd been on JetPunk. It was only when he joined the JetPunk discord that things got... interesting.

While he was nice, he was also quite arrogant and often abused his position as #1 to act like he was the king of JetPunk. In some ways, he was and had been treated as such in the past. But in other ways he was also not somebody I would be friends with in real life, as I prefer to surround myself with realistic and grounded individuals, as opposed to people that just make fun of others.

So, my message to relessness would be:

"Thanks for passing the baton, congratulations on holding the crown for 9.5 years, and I hope to be a good role model for future JetPunkers!"

baptistegorce

Let's see if he reads this one day now... Highly improbable, though.

In your first interview, you mentioned an email group with reless, Quizzer, scambi Gamer and you as members. Today, you have passed in takes all your mentors. How do you feel about that?

Stewart

Well, to clarifiy, I was actually wrong. Having looked back at the old emails, it was actually an email thread with myself, Quizzer, scambigol, Gamer, Jerry and Kolji!

Below is how it started, with scambigol sending this email to Quizzer, Jerry and Kolji. And then Quizzer passed on the email to myself and Gamer, whom he had conversed with in the past.

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For reference, the quiz scambigol created was this: Quiz on JetPunk Users.

For me it feels very weird knowing all the mentors and users I looked up to are now passed. As I mentioned in my first interview, I felt very blessed to have been in good contact with the big league users so early on, despite being a small user at the time. So I had always looked up to them in some way. I guess I can only look down now? Haha

baptistegorce

Haha! I'm sure that you will be able to find new challenges. And that's actually what my next question is about: now that you're the first, do you have any other quiz-related goals, or is it harder to plan ahead now? Do you also have goals as a blogger and site developer?

Stewart

Well, as a quiztaker, due to lack of time my level still remains on 69 for total and 68 for English. I'd like to improve that as time goes on. On the takes side, I am content knowing that every take I now achieve will be a record for regular users. Relessness managed so many records over time, being the first user to 300k, 500k, 1m, 5m, 10m and even 20 million! And now, every milestone will be set by me.

I guess one interesting goal will be to see just how much of a lead I can create. As mentioned, my takes are the fastest by some margin for any user on JetPunk, and until that changes, I should keep pulling further and further ahead of everybody else. I'd like the moment where I become at least 1 million clear of relessness, as well as when Quizzer overtakes relessness too, since we both came from small humble beginnings at similar times, and since his monthly takes are also greater than relessness, it is only a matter of time!

From a blog perspective, my only goal will be the Year in Review blog of course!

From a developer perspective, I have many projects and goals I want to complete, but nowadays it is a lack of time to be able to complete them unfortunately.

baptistegorce

What a great programme! You won't be bored on JetPunk in the next few years, that's for sure.

As the saying goes (almost), behind every great quiz creator, there are many JetPunkers. Are there any users of our favourite website who have really counted in your JetPunk life and whom you'd like to thank today?

Stewart

Quizzer6794.

He was the one who very kindly helped me out early on even when he did not need to. He was the one who put me in contact with the bigger JetPunkers and gave me advice when I needed it. He was also the one who encouraged me to come back to JetPunk when I went inactive during late 2016 to early 2017. So, yes, I have a lot to accredit to Quizzer6794, and while he is too busy in his own life now to participate much on JetPunk, I truly thank him for getting me to where I am today. And I hope the day he passes relessness will come soon!

baptistegorce

Quizzer would really need to be interviewed, one day... Oh, sorry, I was just thinking. let's move on.

Since you are working to develop JetPunk, many amazing things have been added to the site, including quiz analytics. Many quizmakers are very interested in stats, and you are probably part of them, so as a user, how long have you wanted this kind of implementation?

Stewart

Oh, well this question is easy! From day 1 of JetPunking :)

So, many people do not know that I had collated stats on my JetPunking career every single day until quiz analytics was released. That spanned 3.5 years of daily calculations, on some days ensuring I had scripts set up to capture screenshots when I would not be able to do so. All this data was collected into an Excel sheet I called "JetPunk + Life". This contained all the information on my university grades, on all stats for JetPunk, this is where I managed my finances, created all my word searches (the quiz ones, not the daily ones), as well as various other things. But as you can see, JetPunk has always been an integral part of my life.

Another important part of this document, was that from January 2019 I tracked the hourly takes of my quizzes which hit the front page. This later got turned into a google sheets called "FP Predictor", which allows you to input the current server time and the current takes of a quiz, and it will give you an estimate of how many takes it will get for the rest of the day! Unfortunately, due to significant traffic changes, the results are a little outdated now. But it was fun while it lasted.

Enjoy some screenshots of this document, including the little notes I used to write to myself as summaries!

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Hourly takes for quizzes that hit the front page

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Stewart's daily stats spreadsheet spanning all the way back to 2016

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The spreadsheet used to make all the original Word Searches
Stewart's top quizzes from December 31st 2016 and 2017

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As you can see from these images, stats have been front and center of my life on JetPunk ever since I started. I was never interested in being the biggest quiztaker, I enjoyed collating the stats because it was fun to collect them. Of course, seeing my progress improve over time helped as well :)

baptistegorce

Wow! What a huge an amazing work! Thanks for sharing these screenshots with us. And now we understand why analytics were important to create for you...

Let’s keep talking about stats. Could you tell us more about your predictions of the moment when you would pass relessness and become the first quizmaker by the number of takes? When did your first calculate how much time it would take, and how did your estimations evolve through time?

Stewart

Jump back to July 2019. For reference, at this time, reless was #1 (obviously) with 7.6m, then scambigol 4.7m, Jerry 3.9m and Quizzer 3.4m. I was at only 955k, not even 1m yet. This the data I began tracking the top 15 daily takes for almost 2 years.

I did this out of enjoyment, and because my spreadsheet above had signalled a very strong 2019 for myself. What I didn't realise was just how strong!

We get to August 31st, 2019. I have now a full month's data for each user in the top 15. I calculated the monthly takes for those users, expecting myself to be further down (given I was ranked #8 at the time). I had the 2nd biggest monthly takes! :O

This was flummoxing to me. Why would rank #8, with less than half the takes of the top 6, have the 2nd best monthly takes? And not just that, but it was almost double 6th and 7th place. I was very confused, and I was deep in conversation with Quizzer6794 about this on discord. This was when we first started hypthesising the possibilities.

You see, during 2019, for some time I was increasing exponentially. For those that don't understand this, it means every time period (in our case it was 2 weeks), I increased a fixed %. During summer 2019, I was increasing about 6.5-7% every fortnight. This was truly insane, and we extrapolated that this would mean I would overtake reless by the end of 2021. Bear in mind we are in August 2019 at this point! Even with exponential growth (which is completely unsustainable), it would still take 2 years.

Some time went by, and I remained consistently 2nd place each month, relessness slipping away with every take... That was until 2020 came around, and January 2020 I managed 437k in a single month. Not only the biggest month ever for any user, but also bigger than reless's record month of 328k! I was surefire set for a beating now.

The following is a screenshot from January 2020. It uses data from the first 20 days of January, and extrapolating them towards the end of 2020. This should give some sense of just how utterly insane my takes were:

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And this is just a simple linear trend...

If we now jump ahead to the end of 2020. I was now making ground on relessness monthly, though it was still close between the two of us. In January 2021, there was a prediction that I should pass Quizzer at the end of 2022. It was always known that Quizzer would pass Jerry and the pass scambigol, and then be passed by me.

Turns out, I actually passed Quizzer on March 25th 2022, which would be the last time I passed a user in ranking.

But yes, in January 2021, despite making ground, I was still predicted to be 5-10 years away from passing relessness since my daily gains were just not good enough.

Here's another quote from myself on JetPunk in July 2021... as you can see the prediction was dire:

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Jump to 2022 and this all changed, drastically. As many of you will know, 2022 was an absolutely massive year for JetPunk traffic, and it affected many many users, but culminated in myself achieving 1m+ takes in a single month a few times, with no user even coming close to that figure. On April 1st 2022, I had made a rough prediction which was along the lines of "If this current rate continues, I'll be #1 sometime next year [2023], whcih is much much sooner than I realised". This was the point I started taking predictions seriously.

As of July 2022, my official prediction was mid-May 2023, but this was based on traffic levels from 2022 continuing (which they did not). You can see from the following chart the staggering increase I had during March-June 2022:

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12th August 2022. I was 3.1m behind, and had gained 230k from reless in the previous 30 days. That gave an estimate of about 13 months to pass him. In fact, this estimate was incredibly accurate, given it was predicting September 2023. This was the first time I had officially said "I am guaranteed to pass him next year [2023]".

21st November 2022. Traffic had picked up again recently, and my calculations were now showing mid-July 2023 for takeover. Unfortunately, this traffic did not continue :(

18th April 2023. Traffic picked up again, projections were showing 100 days until passing relessness, this would be July 27th. I added some padding just in case the usual summer slump happens, and went for August 1st instead. It wouldn't be enough. This was also the moment I was officially less than 1m to go!

16th July 2023. Summer slump started early and hit hard. Reless gained better than expected (though the gap was still closing). Current prediction was now late September.

8th August 2023. Just over 200k left to go! There was an outside chance at passing in August, but September for sure was a done deal now. This is where I really had to start checking what front-paged quizzes both reless and myself had coming up, since it would be decided by who had the best final push!

21st August 2023. Just 140k away now, but QM had scheduled 3 of my quizzes across August 28th and 29th for the front page! If they played strongly, August 29th could be the day I take the crown!

29th August 2023. Unfortunately, the takes I had hoped for we scuppered from the 2 FPs, and I ended up not getting the record day I wanted. Now, calculations suggested I should take the crown September 2nd, with an outside chance of reless taking back September 3rd.

2nd September 2023,1:20pm EST. I have passed reless's takes including my 1 private quiz (around 1800 takes). 3 hours later, I pass him without my private quiz too!

baptistegorce

Wow! Interesting to see how did your predictions evolve. I didn't imagine that you would predict correctly more than one year before the actual event. Congrats!

We talked about past, but not that much about future. Reless has been #1 during almost one whole decade. Do you think that you will beat it, and do you have any objectives or estimations about it?

Stewart

I'd like to hope it is possible to be beaten. But for now I don't see that likely without a massive explosion of takes from somewhere. Whether that be a language I have few quizzes in (e.g. Finnish), or specific quizzes which go mega-viral!

baptistegorce

And if you had to be passed yourself one day, who do you hope and who do you think it would or could be? Do you even think that we already know this user, since when reless reached the 1st place, we all knew literally nothing about you yet?

Stewart

I would like to pass the baton to overtired. He has worked consistently and with maximum effort on singlehandedly reinventing the Click Quiz format, pushing the technical boundaries to their limits. He has steadily increased in takes over time, allowing him to reach #20 on the charts. While his monthly takes are too low to overtake me (so are everybody's though), they are consistently above 100k and I do believe he could do it. 

But also, as you say, when reless became #1 in early 2014, I wasn't on JetPunk for another 2 years! So maybe let's see who shows up in late 2025 ;) 

And to anybody who says that newer users can't make a big impression, I would point you to SpiritOfFire. Such consistency, from a user who has not created quizzes for a year yet even! And yet they're already #113 and climbing fast, thanks to their ingenuinity and reinvention of what an SVG quiz can be.

baptistegorce

Yeah,  for you and for those who may one day surpass you if it happens, it seems that creativity and consistency are important keys.

As we already said, you just passed reless. But surprisingly, mostly because of his relative inactivity, the “King of JetPunk” isn’t that well known by his subjects, the JetPunkers. Do you know interesting things about him which you could share with us?

Stewart

The only other interesting information I could share is the fact he studied Economics at Bristol University. Whether this had any impact on his JetPunking career I do not know.

baptistegorce

It would have been interesting to ask him about it. Maybe next time, who knows?

As I do habitually at the end of my interviews for a pretty long time now, I’ll ask you if you would like to pass a message to the JetPunk community. And on an exceptional day, I’m sure you have many things to say.

Stewart

I guess it might be cliché, but if you're passionate about something then never give up pursuing that dream. Even if something seems so impossibly far away, as it did for me 7 years ago, there is always a chance that what you do can lead to amazing things. So keep on doing what you love, whether that's JetPunk, or any other interests in your life!

baptistegorce

Thank you very much, my dear Stewart, for this beautiful message, and for the rest of your amazing answers as well. And you have once again all my congratulations!

Q&A

nichster

You have had a very fascinating rise and I still remember some of your earliest!

Are there any quizzes which you realised had made a big or catastrophic mistake upon release?

Stewart

One that comes to mind was more a linguistic error than anything. When I released Counties of the British Isles, and it eventually got featured, there was a lot of backlash because apparently British Isles is derogatory to Irish people. This was definitely the time i felt most overwhelmed by the negativity on a quiz. I'm sure there's been times where I've released or updated a quiz with errors, and panicked to fix it, but I can't remember them for now.

Dimby

Stewart, you have so many great quizzes with many thousands of takes. But do you have any quizzes you loved making that didn’t get as many takes as you’d like?
Stewart

Thankfully, I feel lucky that most of my high effort or proudest quizzes have received the recognition I'd like. One notable series which slipped through the cracks was Number Pyramid Puzzles, this series is over 5 years, utilised the quiz editor in a very powerful way for its time, and is also maths which is something I enjoy a lot. 

The other series, from early 2022 actually, was the Days of the Week Quizzes. This series, created during a time of low quiz output for me, did okay, thanks to a few spotlights, but it took hours of research for each one, and I was very surprised it hadn't previously existed. I'd like to hope it might be featurable one day, as I believe it to be an approachable series for the general public. But that's for QM to decide!

DictatorTal

Stewart, we all know you have an understanding of JetPunk that none of us can ever reach. But is there a quizmaker whom have you never discussed, privately or publicly, and find to be very underrated by the larger community? If so, I'm curious as to whom.
Stewart

There is not, I have often been quite public and transparent about my favorite quizmakers and other topics on JetPunk. The only thing I am usually secretive about is future updates, since we cannot guarantee a timeframe. For example there is one I started February 2022, and is still nowhere near complete and hasn't been worked on in 8 months. I haven't had time to, and revealing what this update is would satisfy nobody!

DictatorTal

Where did you get the inspiration from some of the more "puzzle"-like quizzes you've made?

Stewart
 I always had a lot of puzzle books growing up, and I still get them for birthdays / Christmas etc... Some puzzles are straight from those books, re-imagined for JetPunk, and some are more inspirated from books like that. I've always enjoyed puzzles though, that's for sure!

DictatorTal

Do you ever venture out into the RUC?

Stewart

My activity on JetPunk has been severly limited by life events right now, so I don't get the chance to even keep up with new features, let alone recent user quizzes. I have had ideas for quizzes even which just sit there in my create list, with no progress because of time :(

DictatorTal

What is one moment on this journey as a quizmaker that you're looking back on now, and didn't realize until this very moment how impactful it would be on your JetPunk career?
Stewart
I would say the JetPunk Discord in fact. I always knew the discord had benefits, but I never thought they'd had significant effects on my JetPunk career, as you call it. The reason for this is that, every single non-English quiz on my account I have had help to translate to that language effectively via the discord. Some might say it's not fair to have languages on my account I do not understand. But equally I only do this for the high-effort quizzes I have made, since most translators would prefer to keep the translation on my account, since I did most of the technical work for the quiz.

SpiritOfFire

Why didn't you try a bit harder to get #1 sooner so Poirot could maintain his monthly streak of interviews? Will regular users ever be able to see quizzes/quizmakers ranked by daily/weekly/monthly/yearly takes?

baptistegorce

Haha! It's true that just a few days would have been enough, but I'm fine in breaking my streak of interviews if that's for a such exceptionnal event. ;-)

Stewart

I doubt it. It's actually quite intensive to load takes for a whole user by day, which is why it's limited to Premium. Equally, that's why the "user comparison" you see here is currently limited to just me, since we can't have too many people using it. While I could go back and compute the results and release them, they couldn't be done "on demand" since this would cause too many issues. What I could potentially do, is perhaps a monthly blog of "Biggest on JetPunk - August 2023" for example, with the biggest quizzes that month, as well as the biggest quizmakers. This is potentially doable, and if people are interested I could look into making that happen :)

As you understood, that's the end of this very special interview, published for a very special event. It was a true pleasure, and a huge chance for this blog which is, as you know, quite special for me. I would like to thank Stewart a lot who offered me this amazing occasion, and you even more, my dear readers, who made the long survival of this blog series possible. Thank you a lot!

I also owe you an apology. I promised you one interview each month for the year 2023, and it looks like I failed it. I hope you'll excuse these few days of delay, which, as you'll easily understand, were necessary to make this blog interesting. If you have any complaints, please contact relessness, as he hasn't allowed him to be overtaken quickly enough. Thank you for your comprehension.

As announced several times before, the 31st interviewee will be chosen with a WITJ, so stay ready and keep an eye on blog releases over the next few days!

One last thing: Stewart very nicely proposed to turn the comment section of this blog into a Q&A. So feel free to ask your questions, and if Stewart like them, his answers will be added to the blog. Isn't this a great opportunity for you too to become an interviewer, just for the time being?

Thanks for reading, and long live to Stewart!

12 Comments
+6
Level 66
Sep 3, 2023
Thanks for the interesting read, and cheers to Stewart for his contributions to this website!
+3
Level 54
Sep 3, 2023
Glad you enjoyed your reading!
+7
Level 55
Sep 3, 2023
Very interesting blog to read through: Stewart has had a very fascinating rise and I still remember some of his earliest quizzes!

Question for Stewart: Are there any quizzes which you realised had made a big or catastrophic mistake upon release?

+3
Level 78
Sep 3, 2023
This was wonderful to read. Thanks for the interview, as always!

Stewart, you have so many great quizzes with many thousands of takes. But do you have any quizzes you loved making that didn’t get as many takes as you’d like?

+2
Level 65
Sep 3, 2023
Thanks for the interview and a massive congratulations to Stewart for becoming #1.
+1
Level 43
Sep 3, 2023
So users can have more than one interview!? :smirk:

/j, congratulations Stewart for this milestone and thank you for another great interview, Poirot

+1
Level 43
Sep 3, 2023
Also, gotta say these sheets made me drool
+1
Level 84
Sep 3, 2023
Stewart, we all know you have an understanding of JetPunk that none of us can ever reach. But is there a quizmaker whom have you never discussed, privately or publicly, and find to be very underrated by the larger community? If so, I'm curious as to whom.

More questions:

Where did you get the inspiration from some of the more "puzzle"-like quizzes you've made?

Do you ever venture out into the RUC?

What is one moment on this journey as a quizmaker that you're looking back on now, and didn't realize until this very moment how impactful it would be on your JetPunk career?

+6
Level 72
Sep 3, 2023
I wondered who the special 30th interviewee would be, and this is certainly very fitting - a great interview, as always. It is an honour to be mentioned.

A question for Stewart: Why didn't you try a bit harder to get #1 sooner so Poirot could maintain his monthly streak of interviews? Will regular users ever be able to see quizzes/quizmakers ranked by daily/weekly/monthly/yearly takes?

+3
Level 69
Sep 4, 2023
"While he was nice, he was also quite arrogant and often abused his position as #1 to act like he was the king of JetPunk. In some ways, he was and had been treated as such in the past. But in other ways he was also not somebody I would be friends with in real life, as I prefer to surround myself with realistic and grounded individuals, as opposed to people that just make fun of others."

Bizarre and deeply unpleasant behaviour to take public pot-shots at someone like this without any apparent provocation. Particularly as, by your own admission, he probably won't read this and therefore has no opportunity to reply. Classy.

+7
Level 58
Sep 5, 2023
So you think you can't talk about someone if they can't read about it?

Let me check your profile just a second... Yeah, you seem to have the History badge. Hmm... really strange way of thought then...

+1
Level 66
Sep 8, 2023
I agree with you mostly.