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I'm relatively new to blender, I can't figure out what they are called or even what it is that they do. Please help. Thank you

strange arrow things

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    $\begingroup$ They don't do anything other than visual layout, they are Reroute nodes. As there are now several of them in line Blender shows in which side result is going to. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 10:11

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Since Reroute nodes don't have any input or output sockets, they are essentially just one floating isolated socket it is impossible to clearly determine at first sight if one connection is coming in or out of said node.

For this reason, to make it clearer to the user, output connections show an arrow pointing in the information flow direction.

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