The elections for the eighth Council of Stellar Management (the CSM: a group of players elected to represent player interests, face to face, with CCP) are coming up, and I wanted to talk about them a little bit; something I haven’t done with past CSMs.
Does the CSM even matter?
One of the common threads of complaint about the CSM is that it’s all just a smokescreen for CCP: the CSM doesn’t have any real say, they aren’t taken seriously as stakeholders, they squander their influence on stupid things, or gain influence only in exchange for shilling for CCP to the player base at every turn.
Maybe that’s all be true, or maybe none of it’s true.
What matters is that the mere existence of the CSM is an unprecedented thing in the MMO industry. It may not be the perfect iteration of elected player representation and/or conduit to the developers, but the first company to try something very rarely gets it all right. The point is, it’s an opportunity that very few players in very few MMOs are given at all, and Eve players would be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity it presents.
Eve players are not known for being stupid, nor are they known for passing up the chance to take advantage of any possible opportunity.
Put another way: get off your ass and vote.
Speaking of which, what’s up with the Trickle-down voting system?
There’s a new voting system in place for this year’s election. It’s a bit odd: the only thing I’ve seen that even kind of sounds like this is the way Oscar voting is handled, which may be the only overlap on a Venn Diagram of “Oscar Race” and “Eve Online”, ever.
Basically it goes like this.
- Every active player account gets a Single Transferable Vote, or STV.
- Instead of voting for a single candidate, you pick up to as many as 14.
- Whoever you put in your #1 slot will get your vote unless they don’t need it (either because they’re already in the top 14, or they have no chance in hell of getting into the top 14).
- If they don’t need your vote, it will slid down to the 2nd person your list, and keep sliding down through your list until it gets to someone who can benefit from the vote, or your list is exhausted.
Some people will tell you that it’s important to fully fill out your preference list to 14, to ensure that your vote does something, but I disagree with this. For me, this system breaks the candidates into three groups:
- Candidates I think would really bring something special to the CSM, especially given the new design strategy that CCP is using for their upcoming releases, who might not get on the CSM without my support and the support of non-bloc voters.
- Candidates I don’t want to get my vote, who I refuse to put on my list anywhere, because I don’t want to run even the slightest chance they will bring their input to the CSM.
- Candidates who I don’t feel need my vote, because they should be able to get on the CSM with the help of their support base, or not at all. In short, this means that while I personally think Banlish is a good CSM candidate, I’m not putting him on my list because he’s the official TEST candidate and frankly if he can’t get his Alliance all pointed the right direction at the voting booths, that speaks to his overall effectiveness — it’s not a hole I’m going to dig him out of.
So who am I looking at?
- Candidates excited and motivated to participate. Every election, the CSM seems to acquire about 5 active members, and 9 hunks of deadwood.
- Candidates that bring a strong, coherent vision of the game that is different from the inevitable nullsec bloc candidates.
- Candidates that are knowledgeable and communicate well about many aspects of the game.
- Candidates that aren’t there to represent a single aspect of the game. CCP is now rolling out expansions with broad themes that will encompass changes to all aspects of gameplay in New Eden: there will be no “Wormhole Expansion” or “Nullsec Expansion” — as such, a single-flavor candidate is too one-dimensional for me, so no wormhole candidates or other specialty candidates with no obvious knowledge of other aspects of the game are getting my vote.
So here’s my picks.
#1: Ripard Teg
The number one position on my list is going to go to the person I think is an absolute must-have on the CSM, and that means Ripard. One only has to read a fraction of his blog to realize that he’s hugely invested in the success and growth of the game, has great skill as a communicator, and knows a great deal about many different aspects of the game: He’s a small gang pvper who pays his way with Industry efforts far more complicated than anything I’ve ever even tried; he’s done Incursions and PvE content extensively; he’s lived in wormholes for a good stretch of time (and did mining and other industry therein); he’s lived as a Sov nullsec resident. In short, he knows the game as well or better than any other candidate.
Best of all, while I don’t always agree with everything he says (he’s got a weekly feature on his blog that now ends with a disclaimer he added because of a long argument we got into), I can always understand why he sees the topic the way he does, and why he came to the conclusion he did. Sometimes he even changes my mind.
#? Ali Aras
Ali’s running on a platform aimed at improving new player experience and getting new players to move into currently-dreaded areas like Nullsec. Also, not for nothing, she’d be a feminine voice on the CSM, which I personally think is something both the CSM and Eve desperately needs. I like her views on the game, and I like her ideas on how to get new players into nullsec. If Ripard doesn’t need my vote, I’d be happy to see it go to Ali.
#? Mike Azariah
#? Roc Weiler
Roc’s a tough candidate to love, as his in-game persona is a little… off-putting. That said, the player behind the character is smart, knowledgeable, has a lot of relevant real-world experience, and obviously communicates well. He meets all the criteria I have for a good candidate, and he hope he makes it on — I just want Ripard on more.
#6 Mangala Solaris
To be blunt, Mangala will be my catch-all candidate. I’ve flown with the guy, I know the kind of play he represents as, basically, the RvB candidate, and I know I agree with a lot of what he has to say about the game. That said, he’s not my first choice, mostly because his stance on many topics seems a little half-formed. He’ll probably do fine once the rubber hit the road, but maybe not, and I don’t feel like risking higher-ranked votes on that chance. Like true bloc candidates, he may not need my vote, but if he does, and no one else does, he’ll have it, and be (at least) one voice on the CSM that doesn’t represent Nullsec power blocs who think everyone else in the game is a 2nd class citizen.
And That’s It
Only five candidates, but the candidates I’ve picked are those I feel strongly about and who I think are going to need my votes. Realistically, only one of these will have the votes it takes to make it on the CSM, let alone the coveted “always going to Iceland” top two positions. I consider it HIGHLY unlikely any of my votes will be wasted — someone on this list should need them, and if they don’t, I’d rather the votes fly off into the void than strengthen the position of anyone else on the field.