Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

CSMX(XL)

February 26th, 2015
CSM, Eve Online, X
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This year I am struggling a bit with the pre CSM election process. I still feel that the CSM is an immensely important thing for the eve community. The group of player advocates has in the past done some great things for the game, and its curators. It’s really hard given the NDA nature of the system to judge who was a “successful” CSM member but I do believe that we can see the difference that the council make when they are stoked by good members.

On the flipside however you can also see when the CSM has gotten lost on its way to the goal of improving the game. I feel that last year is certainly one of those years. Don’t get me wrong I think that there are still some great members of CSM IX, but the net effect of the council this last year feels like it has been detrimental to the relationship between the CSM and CCP. Again there are likely unseen corroborating issues behind this, such as the recent shakeups in CCP and the changes of the handlers of the CSM.

But that’s not the main issue which is putting me off this year’s process. No, what’s putting me off is the glut of candidates competing for the spots this year. 77 confirmed candidates is a crazy number of people. Even if we cut off the 26 candidates who didn’t even bother to post their candidacy platform on the forums 41 people still remain. Of those only 36 have done Cap Stable interviews, but that’s 18 hours’ worth of interviews to listen to. As a quick side note serious respect given to all those involved in the CS interviews, you guys are starts for going through all the effort involved in corralling these candidates and producing the interviews!e

It’s just a huge amount of information to process. I struggle to keep up with the real life elections here in the UK with only 3 major parties running and a few additional extras, how on earth am I going to find the 20+ hours needed to sift through the candidates to find the gems among the rough? I think I am going to have to cull the crop through a preliminary judgement based on their candidacy posts rather the diving straight into the interviews like I have in previous years. Ah well.

Fly with a ballot paper,

Hark

CSM of my Heart

Well here we are, with the Dust (pun intended) settling post Fanfest, one of the realities we must now face is who we have voted into CSM for the next year. The results ballot has been out for a few days already, but I have heard a rumour that there are still some surprises in store yet. Firstly I have heard hints that Ripard Teg Finished way higher than anyone expected (especially not The Mittani). Secondly it was picked up by our radar like ears is that there was a very close run between a few candidate places. All this was picked up through hints and whispers, and as such is totally unsupported, but interesting none the less.
Before we go any further we should first take a moment to thank and congratulate every candidate for the CSM. Just caring about out little game to run for CSM is enough to earn my respect. I look forwards to listening to you again next year.
Without further ado, here is the full list of CSM8. I have highlighted in green the candidates I put on my ballot:
–          Ali Aras
–          Chitsa Jason
–          James Arget
–          Kesper North
–          Korvin
–          Malcanis
–          Mangala Solaris
–          Mike Azariah
–          mynnna
–          progodlegend
–          Ripard Teg
–          Sala Cameron
–          Sort Dragon
–          Trebor Daehdoow
[8/14] placed
Looking at that list, I think I should be pretty happy (and well represented) with and by CSM8. It’s worth noting that despite the chest beating of the CFC and the HBC (helped in no small part by the political engine that is TMC.com), only 4 HBC and CFC candidates made the list, although the list is still very heavily Nullsec weighted (as it should be :P).
It’s worth point out first though that my ballot was based purely on who I thought best represented me (alongsidea few other factors), that does not mean that my ballot was my dream council. As there are 14 seats on the council, and 14 STV positions for each voter, it’s easy to equate a STV positions to “whished” council seat. This is a false assumption.
My ideal CSM is one which is made up of a fair representation of good candidates from all of eve demographic (which I believe we got). My ballot on the other hand was concentrated at ensuring that mydemographic was represented correctly.
I think I have really already discussed the candidates enough through my Impressionableposts in the last few months so I won’t go into any details on my feelings about candidates here. The people in green have had my support from the get go. However for the people not marked in green above, for the most part, I would like to say: you may not have been who I voted for, but I marked most of you as good candidates who didn’t represent me. My congratulations to you all.
Finally a few messages:
Ripard – As the first choice on my ballot, I am really pleased you got in. I met you briefly at Fanfest alongside Roc (who is also a stand up gent), and you confirmed the impression you give through your blog of a well-thought, well-spoken man. If the whispers I have heard are true, double congratulations are in order for your stunning position on the CSM.
Mynnna – At the very beginning it would be fair to say I was lukewarm towards your run. However since them you have done nothing but build yourself in my standings. I am very pleased (if not at all surprised) that you made it on. I offer you too my congratulations.
Trebor – Another candidate I met at Fanfest who turned out exactly as expected (a gentleman to the highest standards). I am very pleased you were dragged back into the council (kicking and screaming as I understand). You’re a needed connection to help build the new relationship for this CSM and the CSM of tomorrow. My congratulations again go out to you.

Blood Money: Bigging up the Top Down

It seems to me that lately one of the hottest topics in eve (at least within the 0.0 community) has been that of economics. Within that topic the current whipping boy has been the Top down economic model. Currently it is very out of favour and people are claiming that eves current “Top down” economic model should be replaced by a bottom up equivalent.  So being the rebel that I am I intend to not only give a stout defence to the Top Down model, but also attempt to show that currently eves economics could work (quite easily) with a true top down model (which we currently don’t have).

What’s good about Top Down?
With the current top down model a good amount of cash made by the alliance is funnelled down the ranks to its members in the form of SRP (at least in any good alliance). This means that because of the amount of money earned by the alliance pilots don’t have to worry about resupplying themselves with ships. This means that pilots have one less logistical hassle on their hands, and one less financial pressure. Further more a lot of alliance use their power to purchase and subsidise modules and equipment for their pilots. For example Capital fuel and Strontium are often supplied for pilots on operations. If we move away from a Top down model we would soon see the end of this. Because Alliances would become poor, and player rich, they would be expected to resupply their own ships and modules.
Furthermore because the alliance has is hands on the tap the provides these bonuses to their pilots, they can indirectly control when and if pilots are rewarded for their efforts. If for example you die in the wrong ship on an operation, the alliance can choose to punish your incompetence by not replacing your ship. Although it would please some of the more rebellious pilots, if we were to end Top Down, the alliance would lose this level of control over its members. Because pilots would be replacing their own ships, they would have the ability to claim that it was their own business what they bring of CTA’s. We could expect to see a lot more of “That Drake“.
What’s bad about Top Down?
Of course its not all sunshine and ponies in top down (or we wouldn’t be bashing it so much). Under the top down model the fear of losses fall to the alliance (assuming it is committed to SRP), as a whelped fleets cost is shouldered by the alliance wallet. This means that the people who make the tactical commitments (and can see how badly the odds are stacked) are the ones who might be risk adverse to a risky fight. If the pressure of replacing lost ships were spread across the entire fleet, we might begin to see risk aversion appearing in the more hoarding members of alliances, but the leadership would be less likely to pull a punch because of the fear of bruising a knuckle.
There are of course also issues, not so much with top down in general, but certainly with the implementation of it which we have at the moment. Firstly there is the lack of transparency in the system. Line members like you and me have no idea what alliance finances really look like. Oh sure alliances publish their books every so often, but any one with a healthy level of paranoia is going to be sceptical of any self published books. There are no independent bodies in eve, no government legislation, or prisons to discourage book cooking. I maybe I am part of the tin foil hat brigade, but I don’t believe any of the self published finances.
We also have the issue that even though we have a “Top Down” economic model in eve, in order to actually pass money downwards alliances have to go to a lot of efforts. I have run an SRP programme for an alliance in the past, and I can promise you that it is one hell of a hard and complicated job.
Of course both of these issues with the current implementation could be solved by the addition of mitigating features. If Alliances could publish “official” in game finance reports (with some changes to keep them honest) I might actually believe them. Or if CCP were to give alliances official and easy ways to pass alliance funds downwards we could eradicate these idiosyncrasies in the system, and unblock the channels through which money can flow downwards.
Some examples of how we could do this include the concept of salaries. Lets say that alliances can pay all of its members a salary for their employment in the corporation (you know like a real corporation would). Further more if we could then associate salary increase with certain roles and maybe even awards, we could allow alliances to properly reward the people who put in the effort.
CCP could also implement an official SRP method, allowing the alliance to set locations, times and approved fittings for their pilots which, when the criteria is met, automatically pays the cost of the loss to the alliance member. Bonus points if the alliance automatically contracts any fittings and hulls from the Alliance hanger to bereaved players.
If alliances really want to only reward active and engaged players, how about a reverse bounty system? Rather than rewarding for the death of a specific enemy, reward for killing. Allow the alliance to create a pot of cash from which money is paid to its pilots when they make a kill.
Finally there should also be a way for prospective members to view an alliances reward systems, so that they can be picky about only working for the alliance with the best pay-outs. Want the best pilots? We you’d better have the best pay!
This is all very well talking about but how will alliances get the money with which to pay all these fees and rewards? Were talking about getting alliances to push out much more cash than they currently do. Well firstly we need to ensure that all the money an Alliance makes goes through the official books to keep them honest. In order to do this we need to  add more to the game to make raising funds easier for an alliance. For example creating official “Renter” contracts would be a good start (assuming they have to be paid directly into an alliance wallet).
Moon Goo could also be changed to not only earn the alliance more money quicker, but also force the cash it generates through an accountable system. Lets say that to remove any moon goo from an alliance silo, you have to pay the alliance a fee, which is logged and published.
I should emphasise that these are just examples of how we could do things, not necessarily how we should do it. Basically we would need to give alliances better ways to raise money, but force them to account for these methods to the player base.
 
The current economic model in eve is broken, there is no denying that. But at the same time I don’t think we should write off the Top Down method. It does and can work, but CCP need to give it more support.

Impressionable: CSM 8 Interviews – Part 3

This is a series of posts which contain my opinions on the interviews given to Crossing Zebras podcasts by CSM 8 candidate members. The posts contain only my impressions and thoughts after listening to the interviews given and reading any linked material. As such they should not be used to base your votes upon. The interviews are an excellent listen, and I highly encourage any voters to take the time to form their own thoughts and opinions on who they should vote for. This is simply a public airing of my own personal selection process for a CSM candidate of my heart.

Although I am only interested in candidates of certain sub sections of the game (of which I am a constituent) I have decided that it is only fair to listen to all of the candidates interviews as you never know when their will be some crossovers into sections I am interested in. My end goal of this series is to have a ranked list of my top 14 candidates who I would like to see on the next CSM which will be announced once I have posted all of my notes on the interviews. My aim is to find a candidate who represents me the best. For the record I will be casting all of my votes for candidates in the order of the list this series produces.
Finally I would like to take the time to thank Xander Phoena for doing these interviews. They are without doubt some of the best journalism around the CSM election process I have seen to date. The questions were hard but fair, and I felt that he really dug into what was important for the voter. Considerable time and effort has clearly gone into research and preparation. Well done Xander. Furthermore if you are looking for a more subjective and neutral breakdown of the interviews you should look to Poetic Discourse for Stanziel’s overview of the subject.

The full list of my thoughts can be found labelled: Impressionableand consists of 6 parts:
Part 1: Xenuria, Unforgiven Storm, Roc Wieler, Rippard Teg, Night Beagle, Nathan Jameson
Part 2: Mynnna, Mike Azariah, Marc Scaurus, James 315, James Arget, Hunter Blake
Part 3: This Post
Part 4: Kesper north, Malcanis, Psychotic Monk, Steve Ronuken, Ali Aras, Fon Revedhort
Part 5: CoreBloodBrothers, Sala Cameron, Riverini, Artctura, Sgurd Battersea, Travis Musgrat
Part 6: Mangala  Solaris, Kaleb Rysode, Banlish, Awol Aurix,  Apricot Baby
Part 7: Conclusion
Daehan Minhyok
Deahan started on a good footing being a Nullsec candidate without an official backer. However he very much came as another candidate who will attempt to listen to every one rather than have his own opinions. As I said in the last post, I tend to find this a bit of a turn off. No candidate can truly represent every one, and any one who claims they are is only going to disappoint some one further down the line. Daehan does support the concept of helping smaller 0.0 alliances  which I think is good, and further more I get the impression that he has a good solid concept (as he should) of 0.0. He also talked a bit about bottom up economy, although I really felt that he didn’t do this very well, Certainly I didn’t get the impression that he could advise CCP very well on it, at least not from the interview patter. Mind you I should add that my point of view on Bottom up/Top Down is a little different to many (but more on that in a later post). I was a bit on the fence on Daehan, however I am afraid that his concept of a safer highsec kind of tipped the scales against him a little bit in the final stages of the interview. Not a terrible candidate by any means, but I just felt that I wanted some one who could swing opinion like a lightsabre, from the interview I got the feeling Daehan was more at home with a WiffWaff paddle.
Trebor
Lets be honest here, this isn’t really fair on the rest of the candidates. This series is supposed to be a first impressions set, and for Trebor (and a few others) that just doesn’t work. Who hasn’t heard of Trebor? I certainly have, and I have followed his time in the CSM quite closely. As such I can’t really form an impartial view on this interview. I shall talk about how it went, but let be honest, Trebor is the only person so far with solid evidence of his work and that is going to colour my impressions.
He did show a preference during the interview towards work on the UI and Industrial, as well as a lot of opinion on the New Player Experience (not all of which I agreed with, but more on that in a mo). I loved the concept of finding a way to make Mentoring new players a viable living for experienced players. He also proved (as if he needed to) that he had an excellent understanding of the CSM (I can’t believe I really just wrote that about Trebor). On the NPE Trebor did talk about the idea of cordoning off areas of Highsec for new players, which although not a deal breaker for me, I really don’t agree with. I just feel that cordoning off the NPE from the hard world of eve will only push the problem further down the line. If we bring in new players and teach them eve isn’t hard, its only going to hurt more when they do find the real eve. That said, if they were going to quit anyway, I guess at least CCP might get one PLEX purchase out of the deal before they hit the wall.
Trebor has such a good history, and I really have to say that I am going to be giving him a pretty good consideration, simply because he has a proven track record. This is only supported by the fact that he gave a great interview, answering perfectly and in a clear and concise manner, he showed how good he is in the political arena. Definatly high on my list, only loses on top marks because he isn’t a Nullsec candidate, sorry Trebor.
Sort dragon
I’m going to have a lot to say on this one I am afraid. I have mentioned this before, but I am very worried about any large Nullsec entity candidates. Simply because I worry that once installed in the CSM, their manifesto will dissolve in favour with whatever their sponsors tell them to do. Lets face it a lot of these CSM Block candidates would never get into office if not for their corporate sponsors, so why would they fight for us rather than them.
Now Sort is not a Pandemic Legion official representative (they don’t have one), but he does, pretty much at every opportunity state, that he would defer to a PL opinion (perhaps only because he shares that opinion at everyturn).
Titan Proliferation: Not a problem
The Blue Doughnut: just they natural way of things
Capital Projection: Live with it
However despite the fact that Sort would change none of the “big issues” of New Eden, he still states that he wants to return to the good old days of frequent large fights. I can respect that, but I believe that you cant not change things and still go back to the good days.
Just to confound things he was terrible at political talk. When talking about why Titan Proliferation wasn’ta problem, he used the example of the Cold War: Acknowledging that the world had an arms race which prevented fighting. Remember, this is his defence of why Titan proliferation doesn’t matter. Personally I want things in my pvp game that encourage fighting. That, pretty much shows the level of the interview. Sort waffled on alternating between stating the obvious, telling us how rich and powerful he was, and talking himself in circles, it didn’t impress me in the slightest.
During the interview he triumphantly told us that he wouldn’t commit to anything, as that was a “honey trap”. Sorry but if you won’t commit to anything why should I elect you? This led to the Coup De grace on my opinion of this run, when Sort effectively told us that he didn’t need to have any opinion, because the CSM had no power to do anything any way. The Mitanni called, he says “Bullshit”.
For the past few terms (some of) the CSM members have worked their nuts off to give the CSM more and more influence within CCP. Sure the CSM isn’ta junior developer role, and should go into the party with details in mind. But they have influence at early stages of the games design these days, so saying you wont even commit to a general direction of your efforts is ridiculous. The biggest limitation on the CSM’s power is the guts, guile and graft of the CSM candidates themselves. By giving this statement Sort has told me that he will be of no benefit to us the players. Sorry if that was a bit of a rant, but it really gets my goat that a candidate can make that kind of inference after all the hard effort made to get as far as we have.
As a final thought on this one, When asked how he would find out about the area of the game he was worst at (which he stated was missions), he replied with confidence and not a hint of irony: “I would go and ask PL, then do it myself”. Lets face it, if PL doesn’t know how to do it, it probably isn’t worth doing. At the very least I got a laugh out of the interview.
Cipreh
Cipreh is another wormhole candidate, of which there seem to be many. I would say that prehaps this is an after effect of the popularity of Two Step’s last term, however the same hasn’t happened with Faction Warfare.
He has a good spread of pvp history. Cipreh (along with a lot of the WH candidates) puts a lot of emphasis on the POS system as part of this platform. However Cipreh does have a realistic view on the revamp of the wormhole system, asking for a step by step approach; starting with balancing and fixing the current system.
Later in the interview Cipreh was asked some tough questions on the collapse of Narwhales Ate My Duck, which he handled with moderate skill. A good candidate with some good ideas, but as I stated before, I am really looking for a nullsec candidate.
Chitsa Jason
During his interview Chitsa was a very good speaker, who handled the questions well. As another wormhole candidate I was a bit worried when he stated he had good experience in Nullsec, because they frequently roamed within it. I’m sorry, but that does not give you any experience of living the life. Only a short one this because there werent many other holes to pick or things I had strong positive thoughts on. A good candidate I hope he does well.
Ayeson
Ayeson is technically a wormhole candidate, but he also has a strong side-line in the CREST and API systems, which I do consider quite important in the future of eve. Ayeson also spoke very well during the interview, and I couldn’t help thinking he sounded like a bond villain (which is a good thing on the CSM).
Again we did have the issue of a candidate trying to represent everyone, I have spoken on this a lot so far so I wont expound it any further. A good candidate who spoke very well throughout.
Summary
A better assortment of candidates, however I really do worry about the shear number of WH candidates currently running for office. With the new STV system we could see a very disproportionate number of WH CSM members. With all due respect I believe (as a candidate said during an interview) “Its Nulls turn now”. Time will tell on this one thought. I still hope I might see some more candidates in the next few interviews (in a few weeks time).
Fly Disproportionally,
Hark

Impressionable: Response – Unforgiven Storm

Following the first post in the Impressionable series Unforgiving Storm Responded to my first impression post. I have published below the email sent to me.
Loved the post, I would like to clarify some points that touch me a little bit:

“Sadly Unforgivien has put himself too firmly behind the POS (which I do feel is important, but not important enough for its own candidate). “

I support pos fixes, yes, but not only.

I have to say that knowing that the poses will not be revamped or fixed anytime soon was what made jump from my chair and push me to run for the CSM, but there so many other things broken in industry that im pushing to a fix like moon mining or inventions. I could be here for a while describing areas with problems related with industry that are broken or not work properly and I will put my force behind, other than just poses.

“and that he has a tendency to give solutions rather than show interest in facilitating finding one as a group;”

You notice that, is correct I agree, I have that tendence, it comes with my job, im a software developer, I do software design for a living for 12 years now. nice catch.

“we are not looking for Nicky Knowitall, but instead searching for Emma Enabler.”

I would like to add that with my job I learned that I dont know the truth, my word is not gospel, I dont have all the solutions and when you work in a group of 6 people like I do in a daily basis for 12 years, a flat group with no hierarchy, communication, compromise, working together  to achive a final result is more important than anything, what it matters in the end is that the problem that is front of us is fixed, not that its fixed my way.

Thanks for the attention and thanks for the review.

I will be expecting your next blog about the other candidates with interest.

Regards
Thanks Storm, its does you credit that you are looking to reach out and clarify your position over the CSM election. Its that kind of effort we should look for and expect from our CSM. I should just take this moment to add, to all representatives who might stumble across these posts, that I hope they will not take any of my comments personally. I very much doubt I could make a political stand better than they do. Every candidate who is willing to stand for election is doing their part to make this game better, no matter if their run is good, bad, successful or a failure. Your efforts are laudable, as you are working to try and help out community I greatly respect that.
That said I have not, and will not pull punches in this series. I intend this as an airing of my thought process around the CSM interviews, and as such I will write what I am thinking. A strong candidate, such as Storm, will take any criticism constructively, I hope any who read this do so.
Finally I wish all the candidates the best of luck in this years run.
Fly Responsively,
Hark

Impressionable: CSM 8 Interviews – Part 2

This is a series of posts which contain my opinions on the interviews given to Crossing Zebras podcasts by CSM 8 candidate members. The posts contain only my impressions and thoughts after listening to the interviews given and reading any linked material. As such they should not be used to base your votes upon. The interviews are an excellent listen, and I highly encourage any voters to take the time to form their own thoughts and opinions on who they should vote for. This is simply a public airing of my own personal selection process for a CSM candidate of my heart.
Although I am only interested in candidates of certain sub sections of the game (of which I am a constituent) I have decided that it is only fair to listen to all of the candidates interviews as you never know when their will be some crossovers into sections I am interested in. My end goal of this series is to have a ranked list of my top 14 candidates who I would like to see on the next CSM which will be announced once I have posted all of my notes on the interviews. My aim is to find a candidate who represents me the best. For the record I will be casting all of my votes for candidates in the order of the list this series produces.
Finally I would like to take the time to thank Xander Phoena for doing these interviews. They are without doubt some of the best journalism around the CSM election process I have seen to date. The questions were hard but fair, and I felt that he really dug into what was important for the voter. Considerable time and effort has clearly gone into research and preparation. Well done Xander. Furthermore if you are looking for a more subjective and neutral breakdown of the interviews you should look to Poetic Discourse for Stanziel’s overview of the subject.
The full list of my thoughts can be found labelled: Impressionableand consists of 6 parts:
Part 1: Xenuria, Unforgiven Storm, Roc Wieler, Rippard Teg, Night Beagle, Nathan Jameson
Part 2: This Post
Part 3: Daehan Minhyok, Trebor, Sort Dragon, Cipreh, Chitsa Jason, Ayeson
Part 4: Kesper north, Malcanis, Psychotic Monk, Steve Ronuken, Ali Aras, Fon Revedhort
Part 5: CoreBloodBrothers, Sala Cameron, Riverini, Artctura, Sgurd Battersea, Travis Musgrat
Part 6: Mangala  Solaris, Kaleb Rysode, Banlish, Awol Aurix,  Apricot Baby
Part 7: Conclusion

Mynnna
Mynnna was of particular interest to me as he is the official Goonswarm candidate. Goonswarm have always been an interesting entity to me and I am very pro their way of adding content to the game. Furthermore the pedigree of their past candidate in mind, and his famous ousting from the CSM, I was very hopeful we might see his prodigy running for this CSM (at least a political prodigy if not a drinking one).
Mynnna is not the Mitanni, not by a  long shot. He was clearly out of his element being given tough questions and switched between seeming incompetent and flippant at regular intervals. I just didn’t get the feeling he was taking this seriously, which is a big turn off for me. Perhaps it didn’t help that he was the first X-Z interview given and he didn’t really know what to expect, but even considering its not a great start.
Furthermore I am very worried about his stance on the topic of Moon mining. Or to be more specific Goonswarm’s standing on the subject. Mynnna himself talked a perfect game around the subject; verbally ticking all the boxes on the subject. However, I really couldn’t shake the feeling that behind the words, he is there not to represent the players, but to represent the Goons. Now I like goons but I don’t want any CSM member who is merely a mouthpiece for a Coalition/Alliance. I believe his term goals would merely be to protect Goonswarm’s best interests and not to stick with his manifesto. Please don’t think this is just hating on Goons, its not. I Would say the same were he the candidate for any ISK top heavy Nullsec entity. Add to this Mynnna’s lack of political savvy and seemingly blasé attitude and I’m not pinning a rosette to my jacket.

[Edit 2/4/13] I’ve also warmed a bit towards Mynnna these days, having actually been looking for more of his views. His Mittani articles make good sense and I am starting to think that his interview with Xander was a mix of a bad day and being the first in the firing line. He’s still not Mittans but honestly it was pretty unfair of me to make that comparison. 
Mike Azariah
Mike talked a lot of good sense which I found my head bobbing to. The only point where I felt he stumbled was around his advocacy for nerfing suicide gankers. His reasoning was leaky as a colander and I felt that Ripard made a much better case. Mike seems like a fair gent who is campaigning for better communications and as a hard worker for the group. He also wants to improve the CSMs understanding that CCP is a business.
That last point I disagree with a litle. I believe that in the relationship between CCP and the CSM, the CSM brings the player view and CCP brings the business view.  That counter interest is actually what makes the relationship work; with each side working from their angle to, generally, work out a good middle ground for both sides. If the CSM turns more business orientated that balance could fall over.
Unfortunately despite representing everyone and talking a very good talk, Mike simply doesn’t represent me.
Marc Scaurus
This is going to be a short one, purely because I cant find any holes to pick. Marc came across great and made a lot of sense. However as a Lowsec candidate he doesn’t represent me. Very interesting views he had on Lowsec, and I saw no issues with his postulation on what needed fixing in Nullsec. That’s said I feel that Low sec had its time in the last two patches; its Nullsec’s turn now.
Final thought is that of all the candidates who “Don’t represent me”, Marc is the one I am most comfortable with being on the CSM.
James315
I have to admit that I was looking forwards to this one having been familiar with James315’s history. However I enjoyed it for reasons completely different to the ones I was expecting. If I am honest I was expecting James to be a complete troll, waging into the interview under a banner of Lolz. But actually he came in with a very interesting and reasonable set of points.
I agreed with a lot of his thoughts on the safety of Highsec and the need for some changes around the balance between Null, Low and High. This said there are far more points I don’t agree with. I do not agree with Safe Highsec being the cause of the Blue Doughnut. I do not agree that drastic nerfs need to take place (I think this can be done more subtly, and in a balanced way). The real contention point is that on Alliance funding: James infers that the balance between Alliance and Pilot income is just fine and should be simplify elevated so both get more. He also infers that Moon Goo income is just fine as it is. I could not disagree more. An interesting and fun candidate, but not one for me.
James Arget
Another good well reasoned candidate who I think makes a lot of sense for the wormhole consistence. That’s not me though. I felt that James had some good points of view, and I also felt he was likely a very good source of opinion for new player experience. I also felt that he might have been a little deluded around the concept of teaching CCP the game. Even if what he says is true, how will he teach them? Night classes? Still a good solid candidate
Hunter Blake
Another very interesting candidate, Hunter is running on a Dust 514 platform. Unfortunately although I agree that we should work to integrate our communities together I do not agree that we should thus share a CSM with Dust; at least not without major changes to the CSM’s structure (increasing it’ssize, and setting seats for each game). I believe that the CSMs job is to convey eve online players concerns and feelings on eve online features to CCP. Giving players of a different (free to play) game the ability to vote on ourCSM would majorly dilute the influence the CSM has worked so hard to get. Potentially we could end up being marginalised on the CSM by dust candidates. I believe that a Council of Planet Management is a good idea, and I believe that the CSM and CPM should work closely together, perhaps with one member sitting on each others boards.
With Hunters primary platform not fitting my thoughts I am afraid that his secondary platform (Nullsec, which is even more important to me) doesn’t really fit much better. I do not agree with his views on capital changes and firmly believe that we need to fix the current Capital issues before we start adding new ones (of dubious inception) into the mix. I also don’t agree with his opinion’s on delayed local. I feel that Nullsec residents have already extensively discussed this issue within our community and that we have shown that simply delaying local is not enough of  a solution, more work needs to be done. If I am honest my first thought on hearing this part was “Another wormhole player who wants null to the W-space, yawn”. Lastly I do agree with his opinions on making stations destructible , if not for exactly the reasons he is siting. For the record Dust members hired to cap stations is one of the best original ideas I have heard so far.
Summary
Now that I have gotten through a good chunk of the interviews I am starting to see some common themes and issues. Firstly there seem to be two categories of candidates in my view. Nice guys who talk the good talk, but don’t really represent my views at all; and players who shouldrepresent me directly, with whom I just have no trust. Of course there are exceptions and grey areas on this.
Furthermore, perhaps its just the random sample I have had so far, but there is an extraordinary amount of candidates running solely on the platform of “I am a hard worker” and “I want to aid communication”. That’s great, and they are really important things for the CSM to work towards, but if every one I have listened to were elected in the conversation at their inaugural meeting would look something like this:
CSM1: Ok guys what’s our key aim for the year?
CSM2: I don’t know, but we should communicate on it!
CSM3: YES! And we ALL need to work really really hard!
CSM4: I certainly will, but what will we work hard on?
CSM5: Just one second I’m communicating our confusion with the players
CSM6: Sorry what am I working hard on again?
CSM: uuummmmmmmmm……
OK that’s a major exaggeration, but the number of people running on these points is above the proportion I am interested in. Furthermore there are too many candidates who represent “Everyone”. Now I think a few of these in the CSM is a great thing, but what I really look for is a good middle ground. In this search I am looking for a candidate who closely represents my opinions and  feelings on subjects which I think are important. I want that representative to be open minded and sensible, but any candidate who says they represent every one equally is, in my opinion a bad vote. I have a lot of opinions, and a lot of  conflictions, just in my own mind; So unless that CSM member is going to sit down for a few days with me and really thrash out how I feel on subjects, they are not representing me at all; they are representing the collective. I would like to remind people that the “Collective” think that Darius III is a good representative…
For one reason or another I have still only found one candidate who has struck this balance, and indeed only one who I was interested enough in to send questions to. I really don’t want to just have one person to rely on, so I really hope I’ve just had a bad sample so far. Never the less, the search goes on.

Impressionable: CSM 8 Interviews – Part 1

This is a series of posts which contain my opinions on the interviews given to Crossing Zebras podcasts by CSM 8 candidate members. The posts contain only my impressions and thoughts after listening to the interviews given and reading any linked material. As such they should not be used to base your votes upon. The interviews are an excellent listen, and I highly encourage any voters to take the time to form their own thoughts and opinions on who they should vote for. This is simply a public airing of my own personal selection process for a CSM candidate of my heart.
Although I am only interested in candidates of certain sub sections of the game (of which I am a constituent) I have decided that it is only fair to listen to all of the candidates interviews as you never know when their will be some crossovers into sections I am interested in. My end goal of this series is to have a ranked list of my top 14 candidates who I would like to see on the next CSM which will be announced once I have posted all of my notes on the interviews. My aim is to find a candidate who represents me the best. For the record I will be casting all of my votes for candidates in the order of the list this series produces.
Finally I would like to take the time to thank Xander Phoena for doing these interviews. They are without doubt some of the best journalism around the CSM election process I have seen to date. The questions were hard but fair, and I felt that he really dug into what was important for the voter. Considerable time and effort has clearly gone into research and preparation. Well done Xander. Furthermore if you are looking for a more subjective and neutral breakdown of the interviews you should look to Poetic Discourse for Stanziel’s overview of the subject.

The full list of my thoughts can be found labelled: Impressionableand consists of 6 parts:
Part 1: This post
Xenuria
First up: Xenuria. I gather there is some history with this character, none of which I have encountered, however he seems very keen to distance himself from that drama in this attempted run on the CSM. Xenuria himself comes across very well, however there were some issues with communication which troubled me.
Firstly he seemed inconsistent with his character; which may sound like an odd concern to begin with. But my issue is that to be an effective CSM candidate you have to be passionate about the area of the game for which you intend to run (especially if you have limited yourself to a single policy candidacy). Xenuria however has purposely distanced himself from his character, and is running for something his character (and by extension he)  does not really seem passionate about. In a lesser note I also felt that the answers given during the interview were a bit stock and “Give the people what they want”. I never got a feeling of dedication or exuberance at the chance to be a conduit to CCP.
The platform itself is also a bit of an issue with me. Running on a Risk vs Reward basis is a very interesting concept. But to me there is only really one major point or RvR which I feel needs major attention, and this is the subject of moon mining. Given that Xenuria has shown no interest in this area, nor any history or understanding of it; I do not feel confident giving him a part in the solution of this issue.
In summary Xenuria seems like a nice person, but the chosen platform just doesn’t sit well with me. Further more I get a gut feeling that should Xenuria get a vote, we would note hear much from him post election (this is unfounded but still my opinion).
Unforgiven Storm
Unforgiven Storm is a very interesting candidate, and one I wish we had more like. He is running as a grunt i.e. Not a bloc supported candidate, yet he is still very clearly involved in the 0.0 life.  He is also very passionate person about his chosen platform: industrialism.
I really like this candidate but unfortunately the industrialist area is not one I feel I consider my self a constituent of. If we had a 0.0 soldier candidate with as much passion for fighting as this man has for industrialism, he would have my vote.
Sadly Unforgivien has put himself too firmly behind the POS (which I do feel is important, but not important enough for its own candidate). My other concerns with him are the unfortunate issues of time commitment (which are out of his control) and that he has a tendency to give solutions rather than show interest in facilitating finding one as a group; we are not looking for Nicky Knowitall, but instead searching for Emma Enabler. Sadly I don’t think he will make it onto my shortlist and I am a 0.0 fighter constituent with a holiday home in finance. I do however hope the industrialists might consider him as worth looking at.
Roc Wieler
Roc has been a very interesting candidate for the CSM and in my mind I am pidgin holing him as running for the position of Trebor (seriously that is my own doing, he never even eludes to this slightly himself). Roc is running as a completely apolitical platform, and I really respect that. He is not campaigning on the strength of his history, or on his knowledge of any particular area of the game. Instead he is looking to use his tenacity and drive to better represent the player base. From the interview (and indeed having ready his blog for a long time now) I believe that these are not unfounded claims on his personality.
I do believe that the CSM does need a handful of people who do not have an agenda, who can drive the CSM train to its destination. Roc has shown that he has a great idea of what the CSM is, and I really do think that he could be a great driving force behind furthering the CSM’s agenda, what ever that maybe. I think he could be onto a winner with me
Ripard Teg
Ripard was a very verbose interviewee and I think that this is a good thing. Especially when it appears that the centre of your campaign is based around the concept of communications. It seems to me that Ripard has a very good grasp on communications and how the CSM could improve in this area. However, and this maybe simply because the interview didn’t touch on the areas I am most interested in; I really feel that I need to know more about how Ripard intends to act on the CSM.
Do I agree with him on the core of his campaign? Absolutely. But I know from his blog that he has a wealth of experience and opinions of many subjects which I too am passionate about, and I really need to know which if any he considers important within his role as a CSM member. Much like Mittens ran with the TiDi feature, I want to know that Ripard is going to run with other aspects of the game.
Will I give him a vote based on his communication platform? I don’t know, not without him showing that he intends to put effort into other areas of the CSM as well. I think Ripard is likely to be within my top 7, but it really depends on any future broadcasts of his others areas which will drop him in or out of my top 3.
[Edit: since penning this section Ripard has replied to some questions I sent him on his candidacy. This will be something I do for any candidates which I am on the fence over or for which I want to know more. We’ll see how this affects my feelings on the campaign in the final post on this subject]
Night Beagle
Liquid democracy is a core component to Night Beagles platform, and I am afraid that I disagree with the very premise. I agree that the current system of CSM voting is not perfect, but the concept of players voting for all proposed changes just doesn’t sit well for me.  Furthermore it worries me that players can be “Represented” by others. I would bet that within moments of this system being implemented 90% of the 0.0 alliances would have vote “Representation” as part of the requirements to join and this would actually remove power from the players.
I feel that Night Beagle is a nice chap, and I applaud trying to fix the voting system. However from his comments on not wanting to communicate, I get the feeling that he is simply a man trying to bend the system to his preference rather than the majorities. I am afraid that he does not represent me in any displayed way, to the point where I found this interview a little painful at points.

Nathan Jameson

Nathan is the first wormhole based candidate which I have heard from and initially I was very pleased with his stand. Although I do not consider myself a wormhole constituent, they are my brothers in terms of being combat pilots. This means that if a Wormhole candidate had some good views on PvP in general it would have no problem voting for them on that basis.
Nathan talked a bit about some of the specific issues around living in wormholes and around alliance/corporation management. Although he didn’t talk about PvP much, I felt that he was a good solid wormhole candidate it is unlikely that he will be on my shortlist as he didn’t seem all about the PvP. I also had a big concern about his commitments to the CSM. At one point during the interview he talks about stepping back from his dutys as alliance leader and letting his directors take control. When pressed however has admits that if he had to pick the alliance would come before the CSM in his priorities. This worries me a lot. Alliance go through a LOT of drama
, and it really isn’t inconceivable that a drama or emergency which required his attention might happen during the next year. Lets say for example two of his main directors had a lovers tiff and cause major issues in the alliance. Would we lose our wormhole candidate? Sounds to me like we would…

Ask the Jester not the King: Answers

 Answers to the questions sent to Jester. The original posts on the forums can be found here and here.

  • Can you list, in order of importance the key pillars on which you platform stands?
These are listed above, in the first post in this thread.
  • You are pretty outspoken on the lack of movement regarding Super Capitals and clearly this will be a big part of your platform. How will you deal with the possibility of being outnumbered by “Pro-Super Capital” members of the CSM?
Well just to be clear: we don’t know who is going to be on the CSM yet. There’s no telling how many “pro-super” CSM members there are going to be. That said, CCP Fozzie has made it ridiculously clear (in the December CSM Summit minutes, among other places) that he considers this a lower priority item than the other ship-balancing questions in front of the balance team. I personally think that this is a cop-out, but unfortunately for now it’s a hard-to-argue-with cop-out.
One thing I’m definitely going to do, though, is push CCP hard to publish the numbers of supers being built periodically.
Aside from this, I may have to bide my time on this particular issue. Because unfortunately, there are bigger issues facing the game: sovereignty, drawing in new players, and POSes, for three. But yes, super proliferation is going to be one of those issues that will get me speaking up when it comes up. They’re still an I-win button and there still is no counter to them, which are both bad things. It’s ridiculous to me how few supers died in Asakai.
  • As a prominent blogger in the eve community you have always been very outspoken and perhaps even cocksure of your views on certain subjects, often despite popular census. How will you gauge your opinions vs. the opinion of the masses? Further more how will you manage a situation where you realise you opinion does not match that of the majority of players?
My default will be to present the opinion of the players. If that’s not immediately possible, on contentious issues, I’ll pull in player opinion through surveys, EVE-O forum posts, blog posts, and other means. After that though, for a spur-of-the-moment decision where CCP demands an answer immediately, I’ll give the answer that I believe is the correct one based on my own beliefs and the opinions of players that share them with me.
That’s why players should be voting for CSM members that more or less fall in with how they feel about the game. Unlike a lot of other CSM candidates, the things I think are out there in public for anyone to read.
  • Having followed your blog for a long while, I am aware that you have experience in several aspects of eve online. Do you intend to stand as a candidate for the whole community, or is there a sub-section of the community you intend to stand for in particular?
    • If you intend to stand for all, do you worry this might cause conflicts of interest where different groups of electorates desire different outcomes from a discussion?
    • If you have a particular sub group, can you tell me why you feel you represent them more than others?#]
 This one is again answered in the top post in this thread. That said, if I have a bias, it’s going to be toward smaller alliances since those are the groups that have sheltered me my entire EVE career.
 Where there is conflict, I’m going to go with the side that I think is best for the game. See above.
  • If you could, right now, pick a single change which CCP would guarantee to work on during your potential term, what would it be? And can you defend why the change you have chosen is more important than others you base your candidacy on?
Sovereignty by occupation. How it’s implemented, I’d leave to CCP, but if I could push the game’s development in a single direction, that’d be it. Sov and the things that happen in null-sec are what drew the vast majority of us into this game, and has the power to draw tens of thousands more. Quite literally “putting your name on the map” is EVE’s competitive advantage.
  • Previously you have been accused of not communicating very well with the large eve community. Specifically not interacting with twitter or the forums. However recently you have changed this and become much more visible (especially on twitter). Considering that the CSM to player communications should be a two way channel, how can you assure us that this will continue?
It will be my job for it to continue.
  • Without going into specifics, what do you think is the best method to ensure CCP tackles an issue which is important for the community?
Getting the players involved in that issue.
  • A lot of people have discussed the concept of top down or bottom up economy within alliances. What is your opinion on this, and how (if at all) would you like CCP to change this?
I’ve blogged extensively on this issue, most recently in this post. tl;dr version: I think virtually everything in EVE should be built from the bottom up.
  • What do you feel is that most important change made to eve in its recent history? accepting that ‘recent’ is very subjective.
Tough one! After some thought, I decided on CCP’s altering course to get more players more involved in their development direction that led to the Crucible expansion. Up to this point, CCP was developing the game in the direction that they wanted to without listening to players very much at all and instead just saying “trust us, you’ll love it.” Now, they’re actually listening, which is a quite positive and important change.
  • In a single sentence summarise you opinions on the following in terms of your candidacy?
    • Safe high security space
There should be no such animal, but both sides should have near-equal risk.
  • The blue doughnut
 I think this is the biggest danger facing EVE right now, and has the possibility of rendering the entire game boring and irrelevant once EVE has a competitor.
  • Sov wars
What are these? Wait, that’s a question, not a sentence. One sentence: I really miss true sov wars where both sides have an equal chance of winning and wish they would return to this game.
  • Low sec
I think low-sec is in a pretty good place right now, after years of neglect.
  • You have talked before on the subject of CCP’s need to cement its position in the gaming market. Could you as a CSM member advocate a change to our game which did this, but was against the community’s wishes?
DUST 514.
Some very interesting answers, some of which were expected some of which were not. Jester answered these questions almostas I would want them answered. The only exception to this was his reply on the single feature he would want CCP to implement. My worries around this were co-incidentally published on the same day he replied (I wrote them first honest!). I am still searching for more CSM candidates who closely represent me (there is a series of posts one this coming out very very soon), and I hope to have someone else to write to shortly. It would be a sad day that I felt only one runner for the CSM represented me!
Fly with a fedora,
Hark

Ask the Jester not the King: Questions

[UPDATE 19/02 – 08:31]
Jester has replied to our questions in his campaign thread on the forums. I will re produce his answers here shortly.

The following open letter was sent to Ripard Teg of Jesters Trek earlier this month. The letter is unedited from its original composition. Ripard has since replied and his answers can be found here, and on his original campaign post here.

Fly politically,
Hark
Dear Jester,
My name is Harkconnan and I run a small eve blog called  www.extra-vehicular.com. As a long time 0.0 player, and reader of your blog, I am quite interested in your recently announced run for the next CSM.
I realise that it is very early in the your campaign, but I should like to ask you a series of questions on behalf of my blog regarding you candidacy because we are very interested in your stance on matters close our readers (and our own) hearts.
Ideally I would like to publish this letter (in an open letter format) on our blog in a week and would leave the format and medium of your answers down to you (of course I would like your permission to copy your answers to my blog as well). I also give you permission to publish this letter in anyway you see fit, provided I am given at least 1 days notice of your intent, and any edits are run past me first. I realise that you are a very considered writer, who will likely have his own campaign schedule and so of course any reasonable requests for a different schedule will be accepted.
Should you choose to answer the below questions or not, I would like to thank you on behalf of myself and my fellow writers for your contributions to the community so far, we hope this will continue through you campaign.
  • Can you list, in order of importance the key pillars on which you platform stands?
  • You are pretty outspoken on the lack of movement regarding Super Capitals and clearly this will be a big part of your platform. How will you deal with the possibility of being outnumbered by “Pro-Super Capital” members of the CSM?
  • As a prominent blogger in the eve community you have always been very outspoken and perhaps even confrontational on your views of certain subjects, often despite popular census. How will you gauge your opinions vs. the opinion of the masses? Further more how will you manage a situation where you realise you opinion does not match that of the majority of players?
  • Having followed your blog for a long while, I am aware that you have experience in several aspects of eve online. Do you intend to stand as a candidate for the whole community, or is there a sub-section of the community you intend to stand for in particular?
    • If you intend to stand for all, do you worry this might cause conflicts of interest where different groups of electorates desire different outcomes from a discussion?
    • If you have a particular sub group, can you tell me why you feel you represent them more than others?
  • If you could, right now, pick a single change which CCP would guarantee to work on during your potential term, what would it be? And can you defend why the change you have chosen is more important than others you base your candidacy on?
  • Previously you have been accused of not communicating very well with the large eve community. Specifically not interacting with twitter or the forums. However recently you have changed this and become much more visible (especially on twitter). Considering that the CSM to player communications should be a two way channel, how can you assure us that this will continue?
  • Without going into specifics, what do you think is the best method to ensure CCP tackles an issue which is important for the community?
  • A lot of people have discussed the concept of top down or bottom up economy within alliances. What is your opinion on this, and how (if at all) would you like CCP to change this?
  • What do you feel is that most important change made to eve in its recent history? accepting that ‘recent’ is very subjective.
  • In a single sentence summarise you opinions on the following in terms of your candidacy?
    • Safe high security space
    • The blue doughnut
    • Sov wars
    • Low sec
  • You have talked before on the subject of CCP’s need to cement its position in the gaming market. Could you as a CSM member advocate a change to our game which did this, but was against the community’s wishes?
Thank you,
Harkconnan of www.extra-vehicular.com

Eureka!

Eureka! I have the answer. Last night I finally realised the key reason I enjoy playing EvE, and what makes it different to other MMOs. I should back track a little bit here I guess (and perhaps stop running around with just a towel on).

A few days ago, my Alliance was called into a Coalition CTA. Now although that’s not unusual, the intel channels were lighting up like a Christmas tree; anyone remotely connected to any side of the Russian Civil War (including the truffle pigs NC. and PL) were logging in Supers & Capitals. Talk was that PL was going all out & Solar-n-co was going to call them on it. When we arrived (late to the part for reasons I won’t specify) we were greeted with a very puzzling sight.

Pandemic Legion had a Capital & Super Capital fleet of what looked to be around 100-200 ships. Seeing such a massive Capital Fleet with no support was not entirely surprising, but what was interesting was the location of the fleet. They were in a bubble, in an asteroid belt; furthermore the bubble was a PL anchored bubble. We were very puzzled, Why had PL bubbled themselves in? Why in an asteroid belt? Why use so many Capitals? (Oh no wait scratch that last one, this is PL).

Some people thought PL might have been betrayed by a spy. Others suggested they were playing Vikings and burning their boats. It was also suggested that perhaps this was a last stand and attempt to encourage Solar to fight PL in a winner takes all battle. Nobody knew (1), we spent maybe half an hour watching the fleet during which time very little happened. Eventually the bubble was killed (by PL) and the fleet warped off (not before really putting the shits up Arian, by aligning out straight through his stealth bomber).

Now PL are often trend setters (for good reason) in the field of tactics and I’ve said before that we can guess what everyone will be doing next month by what PL are doing this month(2). When PL started doing something unexpected I have no doubt across New Eden People were scrambling to try and work out why. Was it a new tactic? Was it betrayal? I didn’t understand what was happening now, but I knew someone would have a good solid theory in a few days’ time.

As predicted when I asked a friend if we knew yet what had happened and I was told it was a culmination of frustration within Pandemic Legion over three main issues:

1. Solar wasn’t engaging on their terms (i.e. whelping capital fleets against their bigger shinier capital fleets),

2. Red Alliance has seemingly stopped bothering to attend to their own defence (instead letting the truffle pigs do all the grunt work), and;

3. Because of the last two points; they were not fulfilling their reputation for turning the tide of any war they are hired to help with.

Now I have no idea if this is true, propaganda or just a guess. But this is why I enjoy EvE (oh there was a point to all this!). Every time something of significance occurs, within a few days someone will have a theory (of varying validity and verification) as to what lead up to the event. Our fights are not just events floating on a sea of content, but instead the visible tip of an iceberg plunged deep in the frigid waters of politics.

This doesn’t happen in any other game. WoW guilds could care less what lead to another guild downing a boss (after the server first at least). There is no politics in Rift because there is rarely any reason for one guild to interact with another. Oh occasionally the top guilds of each faction on a server might have a rivalry. But they won’t be posting blogs on the theory of why the main tank is using a “Shield of Unrelenting Back Pain”, instead of the “Scutum of Lesser Cowardice” they have. For supposed “Social” games, they silo you into guilds with little to no reason to interact with other similar groups. EvE doesn’t do this, a Corporation/Alliance who doesn’t interact with other Corporations/Alliances will always fail. Admittedly our interactions are not always benign (in fact they are mostly malicious) but we do interact on a level other games don’t encourage.

Perhaps I am alone, but this is what I enjoy about EvE. We get to pew, but we also get to try and understand (or figure out) what leads to the pew.

Thanks for reading; I’ll go back to my bath now,

Hark¬

(1) My other half also thought that they had mistaken the bubble for a POS…

(2) She also asked if next month half of Nullsec was going to be sitting in their own bubbles too.