The Activist CSM

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I think your last paragraph sums it up nicely. The EVE community are indeed drama addicts, and the last 2-3 years have conditioned us to be believe that if no one is yelling then nothing it being said. Right now, what exactly are CCP doing that's wrong? Not all that much - basically all of the things they're doing are widely popular (at least amongst those who actually read the devblogs and understand what's being done); the argument is about what they're *not* doing. And yelling isn't necessarily the appropriate medium when you're trying to present a reasoned and detailed case.
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There is virtually no gmaing media"gmaing", little typo there ;)Good article, still. What I think creates some difficulty in the CCP/CSM/Players triangle of communication is the NDA, but there is little to justify the lack of CSM <-> Player dialogue going on in general this term. Hell, even Seleene's blog hasn't been updated in nearly three months, that is not since the fall report.
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Probably one of the best opinion pieces on themittani to date. Agree 100% sir.
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HOLY SHIT A CSM MEMBER IN THE WILD!
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Thanks for the return comment.Do you feel that CCP currently has the right focus for the development of next year's expansions? Is the CSM document intended to signal where you feel that focus should be (or not be?)Much like Ripard, I am unimpressed with the cataloging of the players into various groups and then the assignment of what looks like fairly arbitrary values to those groups.
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"CCP does not have a clue what they actually want to do next; the actions or apparent lack thereof of the CSM are a direct result of this."To directly address this problem --- when you are involved in an advocacy group and the focus of your efforts is unclear on a direction then that is exactly the moment when you must step up your activism and seek to define that direction. The clearest example of this was Mittens work in CSM 6 following the Incarna debacle. Without his clear activism in pushing the direction the focus of the Crucible expansion could easily gone astray.Clearly CCP has refocused after Incarna, but Eve is a game of veterans who very well remember how the drift of focus lead to Incarna in the first place. In the absence of clear direction from CCP, I at least want it in my elected representatives of the CSM. I would argue Hans clearly has fulfilled this in the FW discussion earlier in the year. But benefit of the doubt is the first thing Eve teaches you not to give anyone.
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Huh? I post comments fairly often on here. Or are you asking why we aren't writing articles for the site?
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Excellent article. Proof that a little thoughtful analysis goes really far.
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Speaking of my own personal opinion, no and yes respectively.
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I'm on the writing staff XD
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Comments are great. But I think you should be leading the discussion. Jester oftentimes sets the tone because in the absence of leading a discussion you are following it. Many of us won't willingly enter the cesspit of the official forums. You guys are following in the footsteps of expectation CSM 6 set. That isn't necessarily fair --- but Eve as a rule isn't any more fair than RL. By not introducing the document you guys wrote with an explanation or attempt to preemptively address what you had to know would be issues you gave your critics a huge opening. Better communication across the board early would have alleviated the difficulties you face now.
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You should perhaps look at more then just blog posts. Hans is a regular guest on the Podside Podcast, and we also feature many of the other CSM members. Alekseyevk Karrde will be on this Saturday's Podside to talk about the summit, wardecs, bounties, and many other things. There are more then just blogs and forums as means of communication.
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Quick get a scram and web on him! Primary is Hans Jagerblitzen. Primary is Hans Jagerblitzen.
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At what point in the process (personally or as the CSM) do you break ranks (so to speak) and tell the players what you feel isn't right (as CSM 5 did)?
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Podcasts are not my preferred medium for gathering information. Given a set amount of time to engage, listening to several hours of discussion is far less effective for me personally than reading.Blog posts and forums provide for the ability to discuss with an author and get feedback. Podcasts unfortunately don't allow for that option outside of a specific programs rules and schedule.I've found the Podside Podcast entertaining --- but what are you going to be talking about for future eve development that isn't going to get "It's NDA" as a comment? I've read every devblog on the changes for Retribution --- I don't need the CSM to talk about what's done -- I want a discussion on what is coming. Get the CSM to talk about what CCP's focus is and where they want it to go and I'll listen --- and then complain some more probably.
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Most of the CSM is completely hidden. You never hear from them, it seems they really dont seem to care.The only ones I ever see anything posting/blogging areseleeneHansAlekseyevand rarely isslerhave to say this is the worst CSM we have had, which is dissapointing considering it had the best potential as far as I am concerned
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Mynnna you are coretwo from the eve-o forums ?I think you should consider running for CSM, think your knowledge of the eve economy would be of great value. I know I would vote for you, I waster my votes for this CSM on Trebor
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The CSM for the most part are always gonna be caught in the proverbial catch 22, they're damned if they do, and damned if they don't. I don't envy them their task one bit.
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This isn't "the CSM's" site, it's Mittens. If you're expecting them to come here and "spill the beans", it's NOT gonna happen dude.
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You're using the wrong brackets dude, use <> instead. the result
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Personally I think it's important for the CSM to coordinated on it and not blow an opportunity to push things in a better direction by getting too mad, too fast, and not present a united front.So as a CSM we've talked about it and, acknowledging that things are always changing and there's probably going to be more information and more interaction between now and then, the dominant view is that the upcoming summit will be a clear indicator of CCP's direction and how we should respond.
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Call me crazy, but if this happens, I bet it happens in the wake of the summit.I mean I said as much in the article already, but hey, it's worth reiterating.I do agree with many other people that the communication from the CSM has been lacking. "We're negotiating with CCP on the inside instead of loudly blasting at them in public" is well and good, but it's equally well and good to tell the players that. "Hey, we're talking with them about (topic), things are going well" whenever possible would reassure people quite a bit.
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As soon as we know there is a serious and tangible concern that needs to be shared with the players. Right now CCP has only shown us a glimpse into 2013, and frankly the value of some of what we've discussed is unclear until we've seen and heard more of the details.CSM5 indeed "broke ranks" and fired the first shots of the revolution with their open letter. However, they did so only after they were told what was coming in Incarna at the Winter Summit and coinciding with a long period of being shut out of communication with CCP. CSM7 on the other hand has had a good number of meetings with CCP's upper management and an opportunity to give direct feedback before plans were/are finalized.CSM6, in contrast to either of our situations, publicly defended Incarna up until its botched release, taking to the media with their dissatisfaction as quickly as the unpopular details floated to the surface. CCP still controlled the pace of information release through dev blogs and leaked documents, Alex was professional enough to know there was nothing to be gained by breaking NDA and accelerating an inevitable riot only to be denied influence over Crucible.
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"Clearly CCP has refocused after Incarna, but Eve is a game of veterans who very well remember how the drift of focus lead to Incarna in the first place.".....this IS the message we are sending clearly to CCP, and clearly to players as well via the release of our document. This year, rather than allow the CSM to be dragged into discussions only as a response to a crisis long after the high-level decisions were made, we'd much prefer to pre-empt potential problems during the planning period and protect CCP from preventable pain. :)
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"I've found the Podside Podcast entertaining --- but what are you going to be talking about for future eve development that isn't going to get "It's NDA" as a comment?"The exact same stuff we can talk about on blogs and forums regarding future EVE development. You're quibbling over specific media format when the reality is that right now, you're just not going to get us to talk about what CCP's focus is next year publicly. It's NDA."I want a discussion on what is coming. Get the CSM to talk about what CCP's focus is and where they want it to go and I'll listen --- and then complain some more probably."Next week we have three long days devoted to discussing what is coming, and we'll tweet out smiles or frowns either way. You can listen via our blogs and the subsequent minutes, and I look forward to your complaints. o7
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Hans Jagerblitzen's Modified Damage Control?i think every CSM (not to mention CCP) has or should have one in a glass box on the wall, labeled "BREAK OPEN AND FIT IN CASE OF INCARNA 2."
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I am, yes. A CSM run is unlikely, however, for a variety of reasons. Provided those reasons hold and I don't run myself, if you want to vote for "me" in CSM8, the best bet would be to vote for whichever goon candidates run.
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Wormholes need love too!
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The blogosphere has no fucking idea what's going on anywhere.
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And well, I said blogosphere, I really meant two people. Sorry. Whole lotta good stuff coming from elsewhere
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If you go through the CSM7 member list, it takes only a little knowledge about the members to come up with pretty reasonable explanations for this.I was about to write it all out in a reply, but the reply started getting really long, so I think I'll just turn that into an article to answer the question of the missing CSM 7 members. Expect it shortly.
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Need less political sniping in my eve news site.

The seventh Council of Stellar Management has come under fire in the EVE community recently for not being "activist enough." Whether this is a sentiment actually shared by the players at large or simply a few bloggers with a taste for drama is hard to tell. Much like the "dittoheads" who slavishly cite Rush Limbaugh, the arguments against the CSM always seem to refer back to the arguments of a handful of bloggers. One such blogger is Ripard Teg of Jester's Trek; in a lengthy two-part post, Ripard addressed the issue of whether the current CSM was 'activist enough'. 

In his first article, "Activism", Ripard waxes poetic (there's a pun there, but it's not intended, I promise) about "the good old days" of so-called activist CSMs, how each successive CSM went (as far as CCP's original vision of the CSM was concerned) more and more rogue, ultimately for the betterment of the game.

The second article, "Talkers and doers", can be summarized as "The CSM7 are a bunch of yes-men." He argues that the current CSM is merely agreeing with whatever CCP wants to do. The evidence, Ripard contends, is in the "Eve Online Development Strategy" that I wrote about recently. This document was the CSM7's proposal to CCP as to where the game should go over the next few expansions, purportedly formulated with input from various players. While he has some valid criticisms about this document (such as how stereotyping your players is bad), the main thrust of his argument is "there's no original thought here, the CSM is just parroting what CCP said they want to do."

This is the part where things get a bit inaccurate, to put it politely. I'll be fair and concede that if you look at the evidence presented, and don't think about it too hard, and are already inclined to have a somewhat low opinion of this particular CSM, then it would be a perfectly reasonable conclusion to reach.

Obviously, I have a different conclusion.

CCP does not have a clue what they actually want to do next; the actions or apparent lack thereof of the CSM are a direct result of this.

Ripard argues that CCP has "publicly stated" what they want to do and the CSM is just parroting those statements. I argue: no, not really. During the Alliance Tournament, CCP Greyscale talked in vague terms about how awesome the POS revamp could be and CCP Soundwave talked about ring mining, but all we've heard since was that CCP had to delay the POS revamp. Balance between nullsec and highsec industry, "bottom-up" income, all that good stuff? CCP Greyscale posted two devblogs encompassing those subjects and more back in August 2011. While I like the look of them, it's a whole lot of spitballing that we've heard a whole lot of nothing about since. Greyscale's loud disclaimer that it's "just a roadmap" is hardly encouraging. In essence, all CCP has publicly stated is "hey, these might be neat things to do", which is very different from "hey, these are neat things to do, so we're going to do them."

Therein lies the key to what I think the CSM is currently doing. In his posts, Ripard praises the fifth CSM (2010-2011) as having "opened the flood-gates to the CSM as a two-way communication channel", but it's a matter of record that communication from CCP was extremely lacking. I believe that CCP's response to that very incident was to label the CSM as "terrorists" and all but shut them out. When CCP won't talk to you, activism is all you have. In addition to repairing the relationship with CCP, the sixth CSM (2011-2012) also dealt with the backlash over Incarna and pushed CCP into Crucible. Aggressive activism was appropriate there as well, although frankly the players were happy to crucify CCP on their own anyway. Nonetheless, when someone screws up, you don't make nice and tell them it's okay. You take them to task for it; in the case of game developers, all the better to do it by threatening their public image.

Today, though? You could argue that not knowing what you're doing is screwing up, and you'd be right. Still, is publicly lambasting CCP about it the best approach in this situation? I don't think so and obviously neither does CSM7. I think the CSM knows CCP already has the right ideas, so they repackaged them and handed them back as the development strategy document. I think they have for the most part intentionally neglected to take to the "bully pulpit" and push the agenda themselves, as pointing to vocal players who write about similar changes is far more genuine proof of player support. I think that the task the CSM has taken upon itself is to negotiate in good faith, in an attempt to get CCP to actually commit to these changes. To borrow Ripard Teg's own post title, it appears that they are trying to get CCP to actually do, not just talk. Whether this sort of approach is superior to engaging in outright activism in public remains to be seen, but a comparison between the two isn't the argument Ripard Teg is trying to make... by all indications, the comparison has not even occurred to him.

In the interest of being completely fair, I will admit that Ripard Teg does make some good points about this CSM, both now and in the past. Communication from CSM7, especially when compared to CSM6, has been lacking. There is virtually no gaming media presence, although perhaps understandably; that was The Mittani's thing and few players have the panache to do it well. Notably absent this year are some valuable (but less provocative) tools of the past, such as Trebor's "prioritized crowd-sourcing" polls. And their ideas on some things are, well... dumb. Voting rights comes to mind.

But I digress. I'm not arguing that CSM7 is the best Council in history, merely that I feel their actions are being misinterpreted by Ripard Teg and others. If I'm right, and the seventh CSM has negotiated with CCP successfully, we'll know it. The evidence will be in the summit notes, in future devblogs demonstrating firm commitment and a clear path forward, and probably in a barrage of smug tweets and blog posts from the CSM members as soon as the NDA allows. On the other hand, if I'm right and CCP didn't commit, I suspect that we'll get some of that activism the drama-mongers miss so much.

Of course, I may just be wrong about everything. Maybe the CSM's critics are right. Maybe there really isn't something deeper going on here and this CSM really is just a bunch of yes-men. In that case, what we'll see is something like smiles and happy tweets from the CSM during the summit, followed by the EVE equivalent of the Star Wars Galaxies NGE in Spring 2013. In a situation like that, Ripard Teg & Co. are welcome to derive whatever pleasure they can from being right. Me? I'll probably be playing another game. I doubt I'll be alone.

Mynnna
Seven year veteran & economics guru of EVE Online as well as CSM 8 representative. On the side I play PS2, WOT and Hearthstone.