Tuesday 31 March 2015

CSM conceptions and misconceptions

CSM (Council of Stellar Management) is a player representative body, voted in by the players themselves. 

From http://community.eveonline.com/community/csm/
The purpose of the CSM is to represent society interests to CCP. This requires active engagement with the player community to master EVE issue awareness, understanding, and evaluation in the context of the greatest good for the greater player base.

Notionally, they represent us, the players that voted them in.  In reality, CSM represent themselves.  Some work incredibly hard on the CSM, engaging both CCP and players alike; giving feedback to both groups.  Some ... don't.  This is just like real life, and maybe even real life politicians.

What the CSM are missing is a magic wand.  CSM can't please/fool all the players all the time.  By all means push your CSM representatives to deliver for you, but sometimes they just can't.  Usually for someone to be buffed, someone else will be nerfed.  Sometimes CCP will share with the CSM (or parts thereof), sometimes they won't.   Their roles are really what they make of them. 

Provided they have a pulse, occasionally turn up, and don't get banned in game, they will be able to see out their current term. 

This applies even when CSM representatives change allegiances. Corebexx in CSM 9, largely with his own efforts, 'encouraged' CCP to buff low end wormholes.  While he now is a turncoat, wearing the flag of another group is cause for those that care to carry out the will of Bob, it is not cause for him to give up his seat.

Sugar Kyle is a consummate diplomat on the CSM, as well as a strong workhorse.  This is regardless of whether she admits it (even to herself) or not.  Whether it be gathering feedback from many play-styles in Eve, mediating between vocal and boisterous groups, or providing a handhold in the new player experience, everywhere I look, I see Sugar working.  How she does this while still playing Eve and holding down a day job is beyond me.

Some see it their role to represent their constituency, yet discourage others from being involved. In response to the question "Why should my readers vote for you?" Sion answered "Because I'm a goon." (link , about 1/2 way down). These players should not be surprised when they get high support from their own 'base', but no support from elsewhere.  There is a reason Sion failed to get the second permanent seat.

Much has been made about the 2 permanent seats on the CSM, and I really don't understand why.  From http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/csm-x-candidacy-now-open/Summit can last up to 5 days and up to 10 members of the CSM will fly to CCP headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland to participate in person. 

CSM representatives that are active and useful, especially those that have a large support base will be attending 2 or more summits.  Not to denigrate either Manfred or Sugar, and as a consolation for Sion, the value of being a 'permanent' representative is bragging rights, and the option of being obnoxious in some form and still get to go to all the summits.  Do not be surprised if this year there are more than 2 summits http://community.eveonline.com/community/csm/ , There are at least two summits held each term...  If both Steve and Sion are not offered a spot at more than one summit, I will be astounded.

This year, some felt we had too many (100) candidates applying for CSM seats.  Of these, 75 passed the initial vetting process.  Even I had problems reading all the candidate statements. I think this is a wonderful problem to have. One of the recent CSM elections (I think it was CSM 8) had a pre-election endorsements round that was a bit of a farce.  31 of 35 candidates made it to the final election round.

I think (but do not know) that the primary reason for so many candidates was the removal of the  requirement to publish first life id's publicly.

There are options:
  • Most (first life) political systems use a deposit system to weed out the majority of troll candidates (Sometimes even this fails).
  • A rule could be added that a candidacy post with an arbitrary number of individual account public endorsement comments (50?) are required before an application is accepted.
  • CCP also have the option of going back to a qualifying round, but that is a hassle if it only knocks out 4 of 35 candidates. A qualifying round could be applied if there were over say 48 eligible candidates.

I am not convinced that under performing candidates are an issue.   If a candidate fails to get their message across, well that is merely an opportunity for improvement.  Get that name out there.  I know that some other bloggers (especially Gevlon) had a preference for some candidates that missed out (especially Lorelei).  Where was the guest post?  Where is the link to the blog?  Where was the blog during the campaign?  I also would not give up on Lorelei's spot just yet.  CSM 9 had a couple of 'casual' vacancies, and Lorelei is in a good spot to pick up a few extra votes if vacancies occur in CSM X. 

A couple of comments about the vote itself:
  • Eligible voters cast 36,984 votes, 15% increase on last year.  This is despite (or possibly even because of) some very negative press leading up to the vote
  • Wormhole voters, where did you go?  I know Corbexx did an outstanding job last year, but ... it is always better to have 2 candidates rather than one, as recent events have highlighted.
  • Voters who let their votes exhaust generally assist the larger coalitions.  There were many votes for medium and minor candidates that exhausted.  Candidates, make a voting ticket with other similar candidates and participate in voting exchanges (that is, recommend preferences to others if they do the same in return).  


  1. The main problem with troll candidates is that voters can either say "hell with this mess" and don't vote or they don't read the 75 pages, but vote after name recognition.

    Even worse, if the troll isn't a random drunk, but a Goon implemented one, it can run a serious platform. A voter who "only" reads the 75 pages can consider him a good candidate. It needs at least 75*20 pages of comments to figure out that the guy has no community support or only from Goons and NPC corp forum alts.Same goes for honest failures who simply don't know what it takes to represent the community. While theoretically STV solves that (troll eliminated, Mike/Sugar gets the vote), but practically people don't place enough candidates on their ballot.
    - Elimination: "Erika Mizune" with 633.496082 votes (Who doesn't get 1/4 quota can safely be called troll/failure)
    - Round beginning - 23 candidates remain
    - 35097 votes, 2340 quota (initial: 36983)
    1900 votes, almost a quota exhausted before all the trolls/failures were eliminated.

    While previous elections the qualifying round removed only 4-5 candidates, it's existence scared off the trolls.

    The blog of Lorelei contains 5 posts, all about the CSM. It's not a real blog. He could just use the CSM forum.

    1. I've tried blogging a couple of times in the past, and it never really took off. I promised myself that if I got elected, I would start up blogging. I came close enough that I am going to be giving it a try.

      I didn't actually want to put a 5 post blog up before the elections... 5 posts aren't really enough to make an impression anyway!

    2. "I'll blog AFTER being elected" is not good enough. Provide content first, expect votes after!

    3. Yes, I have learned something that I will be able to put into practice.
      Learning by doing... :)

    4. "I'll blog AFTER being elected" is what Gorski did this year, and it almost worked...

      As an aside, Gevlon, you picked one of the few unsuccessful candidates that I'd consider to not be a troll candidacy.

      Erika is part of the community and is active in the game: she DJs for EvERadio and does Nullsec . The only case I would make for her being a troll would be that she didn't understand the limited size of her base. DJ Funkybacon was elected by the FW group, not by EvEradio listeners.

      Deciding that a candidate is a 'troll' based on their belief in their chance of success seems unusually foolish. If you were to elect candidates based on their self belief, would that not lead to the election of those nullsec candidates you so despise

  2. @Gevlon :
    I agree on the vote exhaustion. I also feel that this is a failure on the candidates themselves.

    Name recognition is important. You need to be working on your CSM campaign *before* official electioneering. Probably without meaning to, Sugar is expert at this.

    I disagree it was the qualifying round that was stopping trolls, it was the removal of real life names that caused a nomination explosion. I think the benefits of removal of public first life names exceeds the costs.

    I am not opposed in principle to introducing a hurdle to nomination. I am just not convinced of a benefit.

    I know Gevlon pushed some candidates, but a guest post or 2 from those candidates would have been beneficial.

    @Lorelei; I very much agree with Gevlon's comment. Provide content first. Let me understand who you are throughout the year. I will at least skim *everything* from at least semi-regular bloggers. Also check out the consolidated blog rolls on the top right of this blog. Most of them have a place to submit your blog.

    1. I can't say I understand why so many people would hold back their candidacy because they were forced to put their real name out there.

    2. I personally believe that pseudonymity is the correct method to be on the internet safely.

      I am one of those people who really would prefer that my first life name is different to my in game name.

      If a CSM candidate does something extraordinary (lets say defect to a different group) and someone attacks that candidate, they lose internet based pixels.

      If a first life person is publicly attached to that player, then the attacks can also follow into first life.

      I also don't need to tell a would be conservative first life employer that I spend my private time making bacteria, hazmat detection systems and industrial explosives.

  3. Sigh, wormholers. We only had one other real wormhole candidate (Ariete) and we didn't get him in. I think this is partially due to the fact that he wasn't a big name in the community (people didn't know who he was). I'm even in the same corp as him and I didn't know about him until he announced his candidacy, although I was new to the corp of course.

    1. After Corbex, there just weren't any other wormhole candidates that were good enough to get votes. I'm not going to vote 2 w-space candidates just because they're representing w-space; they need to have a clue and/or represent my play style, too.

      Aside from Corbexx, many other wormhole candidates (many other candidates in general) seem to have forgotten they needed to be selling themselves to us, not the other way 'round.

      Besides, with Sugar on CSM, just about every play style going can count on having someone who'll take their issue to the CSM and CCP. While she may not be in null, or w-space, etc, she listens to every player who brings a concern and if it's an area where she has little expertise, as long as the concerns are spelled out, she'll take them and run with them.

      That sort of attitude is second on my list of who gets my vote.

  4. If you really want to limit the number of troll candidates, just make it so that a valid passport is required to run. That would have cut down the number of candidates, since folks in the U.S. generally don't have passports.


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