CSM X Election – Recommended Voting Slates

CSM X StoryheadThis is the third in a series of articles on the CSM X Election. Those posts will be:

  • Full Endorsements – Candidates I strongly recommend for all voters. Under 12% of the candidates earned a Full Endorsement.
  • Provisional Endorsements – Candidates I recommend for specific constituencies, but not for everyone. They generally are solid, interesting experts or good candidates that are made a bit redundant by either each other or other Full Endorsement candidates. Under 16% of the candidates earned a Provisional Endorsement. So less than a third (27%) of the field earned any sort of endorsement.
  • Recommended Voting Slates (this post)
  • Who Not To Vote For And Why (all the rest – potentially after voting opens – this may change or be eliminated, still considering).
  • Election Predictions (after elections close but before results are announced)
  • Election Outcomes Analysis

If you haven’t already, start by checking out the Full Endorsement and Provisional Endorsement posts above. That will tell you the pool of candidates who will appear on the ballots below. Unlike many people, I am a strong believer in a 14-vote ballot. If you fill out less, you are potentially throwing away your vote. Statistically speaking, it is critical that you have at least five, and ideally seven or eight, to ensure that your vote goes to a winning candidate. Fourteen ensures it. If scripted voting is allowed I will try to come back and add links for those some time after voting opens.

I build these slates and endorse candidates the way I do so that I can present what I believe are solid, viable choices for multiple kinds of voters. I am a believer in a balanced CSM – one that includes various backgrounds and player types as well as both generalist and specialist, both newbie and bittervet. So these slates will reflect that. You will also note that the ballots tend to go in chunks – first: key wins for that playstyle, second: key wins for the CSM as a whole, third: strong mid-tier candidates that connect with the playstyle, and lastly tiebreaker plays for influential groups.

For those looking to jump straight to your own slate, here you go:


I am a wormhole voter myself, so let’s start there.

Wormhole Voter Slate

Wormhole voters have had an interesting run the last five years. Two Step got in handily as the only candidate for a while. Then for CSM 8 we successfully “stack voted” – there were five candidates that everyone was disciplined enough to vote 1-5, and we got two in (James Arget and Chitsa Jason) and almost a third. Last year, the field was diffuse, there was not unity, and we only got one (Corbexx) and almost two (Asayanami Dei, later elevated when another CSMer was kicked). So the lesson is this: Order Matters. If you live in a wormhole it is absolutely crucial to vote the top two as the top two (reverse the order at your leisure) if you want any chance to see two wormholers on the CSM. My ballot will be:

  1. Corbexx – Incumbent workhorse, Wormholes
  2. Ariete – Wormholes
  3. Sugar Kyle – Incumbent workhorse, Low Sec
  4. Steve Ronuken – Incumbent workhorse, Third-Party Dev
  5. Chance Ravinne – Newbie wormhole bomber CEO, marketing breath of fresh air
  6. Ashterothi – Podcaster, new wormhole CEO, lore champion
  7. Bam Stroker – Coordinator of EVE Down Under, PL pilot
  8. Gorski Car – Solo and small gang fitting and tactics expert
  9. Mike Azariah – Incumbent disruptor of groupthink, highsec and Incursions
  10. Psianh Auyvander – Noir Academy leader, Merc candidate
  11. TIE – Pick your favorite
    • Jayne Fillon – Spectre Fleet founder, NPSI candidate
    • Khador Vess – RvB FC and candidate
  12. Cagali Cagali – BRAVE Director, wormholers love shooting BRAVE
  13. Manfred Sideous – PL Uber FC, promoter of sov balkanization
  14. Endie – The Best Goon™, slayer of sacred cows


Next we’ll look at highsec, and the new player vote.

Highsec & Newbie Voter Slate

The highsec showing was generally weak this year, but the good news is that two of the top four incumbents are highsec players. There are also enough incumbent workhorses and newbie-friendly candidates this year to round out a solid ticket.

  1. Steve Ronuken – Incumbent workhorse, highsec industrialist, Third-Party Dev
  2. Sugar Kyle – Incumbent workhorse, famed newbie helper, Low Sec
  3. Corbexx – Incumbent workhorse, Wormholes
  4. Chance Ravinne – Newbie wormhole bomber CEO, marketing breath of fresh air
  5. Bam Stroker – Coordinator of EVE Down Under, community champion
  6. Mike Azariah – Incumbent disruptor of groupthink, highsec and Incursions
  7. Cagali Cagali – Brave Newbies Director
  8. Khador Vess - Red vs Blue FC
  9. Ashterothi – Podcaster, new wormhole CEO, lore champion
  10. Psianh Auyvander – Noir Academy leader, Mercenary trainer
  11. Jayne Fillon – Spectre Fleet founder, NPSI candidate
  12. June Ting – CEO of Of Sound Mind
  13. Manfred Sideous – PL Uber FC, promoter of sov balkanization
  14. Endie – The Best Goon™


On to Lowsec, with the strongest incumbent in the race.

Lowsec Voter Slate

If you live in lowsec, your #1 is a no-brainer. The rest of the slate is rounded out with strong incumbents, community candidates and lots of pew-pew.

  1. Sugar Kyle – Incumbent workhorse, Low Sec
  2. Corbexx – Incumbent workhorse, Wormholes
  3. Steve Ronuken – Incumbent workhorse, Third-Party Dev
  4. Ashterothi – Podcaster, former Faction War Director (Aideron), lore champion
  5. Bam Stroker – Coordinator of EVE Down Under, PL pilot
  6. Gorski Car – Solo and small gang fitting and tactics expert
  7. Jayne Fillon – Spectre Fleet founder, NPSI candidate
  8. Chance Ravinne – Newbie bomber CEO, marketing breath of fresh air
  9. Psianh Auyvander – Noir Academy leader, Merc candidate
  10. Mike Azariah – Incumbent disruptor of groupthink, highsec and Incursions
  11. Khador Vess – RvB FC and candidate
  12. Cagali Cagali – BRAVE Director
  13. Manfred Sideous – PL Uber FC, promoter of sov balkanization
  14. Endie – The Best Goon™, slayer of sacred cows


Next: a nullsec slate for distinguished independent voters.

Nullsec Voter Slate (NPC and Independent)

Maybe we’ll call this first one the NPC Null vote – a vote for those with no bloc overlords to kowtow to, strong independent entities. Also the N3 slate since their bloc candidates were either poor or very late to the table. You will note a whiff of politics in this slate – specifically I have intentionally raised lower-ranked bloc picks like Bam Stroker higher in order to give them some potential chance to rise higher than their top-of-bloc counterparts. That is also why, despite giving them a Provisional Endorsement, you don’t see ballot-toppers like Sion Kumitomo or Corebloodbrothers anywhere in this list – they will handily win election without anyone outside their bloc.

  1. Bam Stroker – Coordinator of EVE Down Under, PL pilot
  2. Manfred Sideous – PL Uber FC, promoter of sov balkanization
  3. Cagali Cagali – BRAVE Director
  4. Endie – The Best Goon™, slayer of sacred cows
  5. Sugar Kyle – Incumbent workhorse, Low Sec
  6. Corbexx – Incumbent workhorse, Wormholes
  7. Steve Ronuken – Incumbent workhorse, Third-Party Dev
  8. Gorski Car – Solo and small gang fitting and tactics expert
  9. June Ting – CEO of Of Sound Mind
  10. DomanarK – Black Legion candidate
  11. Jayne Fillon – Spectre Fleet founder, NPSI candidate
  12. Chance Ravinne – Newbie bomber CEO, marketing breath of fresh air
  13. Ashterothi – Podcaster, former Faction War Director, WH CEO, lore champion
  14. Mike Azariah – Incumbent disruptor of groupthink, anarchist


And finally, yes, I am actually going to try to (partially) contradict the pre-built bloc slates with some good advice.

Nullsec Voter Slates (Bloc)

So this section will be a bit different than those above. Of course my recommendation is that you vote the slate above even if you are in a bloc. But let’s say you want to at least do your bloc duty for the frontrunners. Then give your overlords their top three, and make your own decisions after that. The top three are the primary indicators anyhow and no bloc I’m aware of has ever seated more than three.

Note #1: For N3 the candidates were weak enough, and for Provibloc singular enough that I’m just going to suggest that you insert their top candidate (Gorga for N3, Corebloodbrothers for Provi) at #1 in the above ballot and drop out DomanarK or Jayne from the end and have done.

Note #2: For the Bloc Candidate section anyone with an asterisk (*) is NOT a recommended candidate by me but I expect the bloc leader to declare them one. You are encouraged to buck your leadership in these cases.

For the other blocs…

  1. Bloc Candidate #1
    • CFC: Sion Kumitomo – Transparency and metagame
    • HERO: Cagali Cagali – BRAVE
    • PL: Manfred Sidious – PL FC
  2. Bloc Candidate #2
    • CFC: Endie – Goon Intel and
    • HERO: June Ting
    • PL: Bam Stroker
  3. Bloc Candidate #3
    • CFC: Thoric Frosthammer* - LAWN – I recommend other null candidates instead
    • HERO: Migui X’hyrrn – TEST
    • PL: Xander Phoena – PL / Crossing Zebras
  4. Sugar Kyle – Incumbent workhorse, Low Sec
  5. Corbexx – Incumbent workhorse, Wormholes
  6. Steve Ronuken – Incumbent workhorse, Third-Party Dev
  7. Nullsec Cross-Ballot Choice #1 – Pick one you didn’t pick for 1-3:
    • Bam Stroker (Pandemic Legion)
    • Manfred Sidious (Pandemic Legion)
    • Cagali Cagali (BRAVE)
    • Endie (Goonswarm)
    • Corebloodbrothers (Providence)
    • Sion Kumitomo (Goonswarm)
    • June Ting (SOUND)
    • Xander Phoena (Pandemic Legion)
    • DomanarK (Black Legion)
    • Migui X’hyrrn (TEST)
  8. Nullsec Cross-Ballot Choice #2 – Pick another from that list
  9. Nullsec Cross-Ballot Choice #3 – Pick another from that list
  10. Gorski Car – Solo and small gang fitting and tactics expert
  11. Chance Ravinne – Newbie bomber CEO, marketing breath of fresh air
  12. Psianh Auyvander – Noir Academy leader, Merc candidate
  13. Ashterothi – Podcaster, former Faction War Director, WH CEO, lore champion
  14. Mike Azariah – Incumbent disruptor of groupthink, anarchist

Go Vote!

So that’s all of them. Remember to order is important. But most of all remember that voting is important. Otherwise you get the CSM you deserve. I’ll be back after the polls close with predictions.

Posted in CSM, CSM 10 | 1 Comment

CSM X Election – Provisional Endorsements

CSM X Storyhead

This is the second in a series of articles on the CSM X Election. Those posts will be:

  • Full Endorsements – Candidates I strongly recommend for all voters. Under 12% of the candidates earned a Full Endorsement.
  • Provisional Endorsements (this post) – Candidates I recommend for specific constituencies, but not for everyone. They generally are solid, interesting experts or good candidates that are made a bit redundant by either each other or other Full Endorsement candidates. Under 16% of the candidates earned a Provisional Endorsement. So less than a third (27%) of the field earned any sort of endorsement.
  • Recommended Voting Slates – Here’s the TLDR of how you should vote.
  • Who Not To Vote For And Why (all the rest – potentially after voting opens – this may change or be eliminated, still considering).
  • Election Predictions (after elections close but before results are announced)
  • Election Outcomes Analysis

Yesterday I posted my “Full Endorsements” – 9 candidates I think everyone should vote for. So what am I doing adding another endorsement post today? There are two reasons.

First, the field this year is not only the largest ever, it has some of the biggest power-hitters in the game, turning out largely because a sov revamp is on the table this year and every nullsec entity worth its salt – CFC, N3, HERO, Provi, PL, BL, and many smaller entities – wants a seat at the table for that discussion. Many null blocs are fielding multiple candidates. I am hoping to help null voters winnow the field.

Second, while there are only 9 I think everyone should vote for, there are several solid candidates for subsets of players, and I believe they should get their due as well. I want to highlight the best from those playstyles.

Find a place for each of the nine fully-endorsed candidates and fill in with the folks below to taste. On to the endorsements.

Wormholes

Long story short – there’s only one other than Corbexx that’s worth your time this year. I have had a few people question me on this. You thought there were others? Well, a real wormholer is not someone who appears to be pretending to live in a wormhole in the hope of getting bloc votes (Bane Cortex), and it’s not someone who is running on an “I Love ISBoxer” platform and augments that platform with wormhole mining as a key focus (Angrod). There’s only one other worth your vote.

  • Ariete. Ariete, from my point of view, is the only other “real” wormholer in the race. Ariete is on the right side of all the wormhole issues (yes, in the town hall he got a bit sidetracked on “coalition tools” but his Cap Stable interview was right on the mark). The Cap Stable guys didn’t quite get his candidacy (in summary show #7) but this isn’t too surprising since none of them are primarily wormhole players – the TLDR is we believe and expect that Bob wants us to have two on the council – the rest of the wormhole field sucks and Corbexx needs a second. Ariete is that guy. He has already shown a willingness to organize things for the good of the wormhole community, having organized the town hall/debate with Corbexx a few weeks ago. He has lived in wormholes for several years. If you are voting a wormhole slate he should be your #1 or #2 to maximize chances of two wormhole candidates (not #3 or lower – learn from last year!). I am hopeful that with only two real candidates and not the typical 4-6 candidate clutter that we can once again put through two candidates right out of the gate. Disclosure and point of pride: Ariete is an EUTZ member of Sleeper Social Club, my alliance. That said, if you are not interested in or connected to wormholes, he may not be a great fit for your slate.

Specialty Candidates

Outside of nullsec and wormholes, there are some key “area experts” that I was not convinced quite rose to the level of “everyone should vote for them” but were very strong contenders within their field of influence or capability. Given the overwhelming number of nullsec candidates this year, I recommend these folks if you are not a nullsec-dweller or do not like the nullsec candidates I have recommended. Some or all of them are likely to make my personal (aka my wormhole recommendation) ballot. In alphabetical order…

  • Gorski Car. I’ve gone back and forth about Gorski over the last couple of months. In my Winter Summit post I called him out for not being visible, not being at a summit in person, and not really communicating well – as a moderator of Reddit’s r/Eve, he sure was one of the biggest shitposters. Gorski at least had the guts to come back at me in my blog comments and point some things out that I had missed. So I started digging deeper. The contacts I had said that he was indeed a shitposter by nature, but was being careful to draw a line in CSM dealings and was a very smart ship fitting guy. Then he started blogging and tweeting (despite telling me he was “not a fan of writing blogs or tweeting”) and I started paying attention when he joined Slack. Frankly, his three blog posts so far (on autocannons, Skynet and the Svipul) are absolutely top shelf and he needs to continue writing. I’m still not sure he can divorce himself from the shitpost persona. But man if he can he’ll be a tour de force that we want on CSM. Also he’s in Verge of Collapse and lives in Thera, both of which earn him bonus points. If you’re into ship balancing and fitting, Gorski is your guy.
  • Jayne Fillon. Jayne is a proven content creator, period. Jayne also has a talent for and history of pissing people off, period. Is there reconciliation for this? I think so. Jayne’s work driving Spectre Fleet over the last 18 months or so has been a pretty amazing success story in its own right, and the emergence of the NPSI meta over the last couple of years can be laid at his feet along with a handful of others (notably RvB/Ganked, Bomber’s Bar and the occasional Agony Unleashed roam). With Mangala Solaris of RvB/Ganked fame stepping down from CSM, Jayne seems a natural to step into his NPSI shoe. Unfortunately for Jayne, there’s also a claimant to Mangala’s RvB shoe, which makes things more complicated. I am impressed with Jayne’s level of visibility and what he’s done to make NPSI “a thing” over the last couple of years. If you live for the goodfights first and corps and alliances second, vote for Jayne.
  • Khador Vess. Khador is the RVB candidate, a fleet commander for the Blue side. His platform is well-detailed and pretty solid, even if it isn’t bold and out there. He hits the right notes and says the right things. Where Jayne is the natural fit for Mangala’s NPSI side, Khador is the natural fit for Mangala’s RvB side. The two of them likely will go well together on any ballot, but I suspect only one of the two of them will actually make it in. I do think that Khador stands a strong chance of picking up some of the EVE University (read: highsec fightin’ newbie) vote as well.
  • Psianh Auyvander. Psianh is the best mercenary candidate, head of Noir Academy. He has had a lot of positive press from across the broader Eve community as well, from a lot of different and diverse faces. In addition, I have not found a good representative of “the darker side” of highsec – I could not endorse any of the “griefer” candidates this year. I think that the Merc class can help give some voice to the wardec world (making it fun for both sides) and give some “less dark” viewpoints that the more thoughtful of the ganker class might like along with the Merc class. I also think that bounties and fights for hire need a voice on the council. I do think his platform as stated in his thread is a bit weak and needs additional detail on his passions around mercenary game play. If you want a mercenary voice on the council, vote for Psianh.

HERO Coalition

Speaking of the Wormhole voting method, it looks like HERO is taking a page out of our stack-and-pray method. HERO has apparently decided to support all three of its considerably strong candidates equally rather than naming a slate or a front runner – just telling members “vote your conscience so long as they’re your top three”. Unfortunately, both BRAVE and TEST have a legacy of unstructured voting. Two years ago it led TEST (then the largest alliance in the game) to go unrepresented and last year BRAVE voted in the most inactive member of CSM 9, later given the boot. But predictions are a post for another day, so we’ll focus for now on endorsements. The bottom line is that “someone from HERO” (or from Provi) is a good choice for most ballots because with the CFC, PL and N3 pushing for sov changes, someone needs to represent the little guy as well. The good news and bad news is that HERO really does have three well-qualified candidates – something N3 can only wish. But picking which one is difficult not only because all three are qualified, but because there is no clear front-runner. I think you can safely vote for any or all of the three of them. Let’s discuss each briefly in order of my (admittedly nearly tied) preference.

  1. Cagali Cagali. Cagali is the Director of Education, Recruiting and HR for Brave Newbies. Of the three, I place him the highest by a very thin margin. Much like Matias Otero before him, it’s hard to argue that Cagali is not a strong driver of content, especially for newbies who are the lifeblood of the game. That also makes him extra conscious of Matias’ failings and he has stated specifically that he has taken that into account to avoid. His bona fides are pretty much unquestioned – and given the size of BRAVE, the primary thing standing between him and a seat on the council is how disciplined his voters are. On top of that, he has in-thread endorsements from Corbexx, Sugar Kyle and Bam Stroker, some of my top candidates, add further credibility to his candidacy.
  2. June Ting. I put June just behind Cagali. June is the CEO of the Of Sound Mind alliance. She is well-liked by her alliance and has a reputation as a strong leader. June was Ali Aras’ campaign manager for the CSM 8 run that put her in the spotlight and has a very good idea what made Ali successful in CSM 8 and less so on CSM 9, so she has close-up in-person understanding of the commitments. She has been visible and active not only with her alliance and coalition but in the community. The unfortunate part for June is that Ali was almost too successful – June is to some extent running on Ali’s platform, which has in my opinion already gotten so much traction that it already has a life of its own in CCP (which it didn’t when Ali was first elected). June also occasionally comes across as abrupt, although on asking some people familiar with her in-alliance, their judgment was “no more so than any other nullsec leader”. I do have concerns about the fact that she will be unable to attend any sessions in Iceland – I have read too many times how much more productive those sessions are in person. That said, I know that Sugar, Corbexx and Steve were all successful this year outside of summits as well (so June can be), and Ali has explicitly endorsed June.
  3. Migui X’hyrrn. While I’m not as sold on Migui at the same level as Cagali and June, I do think Migui is worth a look for HERO voters specifically. He is another strong leadership candidate, the Head Diplo and Finance Director from TEST. Migui does have some interesting ideas around lore (although Ashterothi represents similar views) as well as some love for Lowsec and some good points around the late lamented battlecruiser/battleship meta. In another year, with a less-strong cast of candidates, I think Migui would have ranked higher.

Greater Nullsec

Yesterday I endorsed several bloc Sov Null candidates, including Bam Stroker (PL), Manfred Sideous (PL) and Endie (CFC). I think those three will be good for the game regardless what kind of space you hail from. There are several other candidates that are also worth a look, but in my opinion only if you are at minimum a nullsec resident, or ideally within their bloc. Listed here alphabetically.

  • Corebloodbrothers. Yes, after being lukewarm on Core for the last two years, I’m going to give him the nod this year. The simple facts are: 1) He won the #1 votes last year hands down – Provibloc is not a joke, 2) He represents a key area of nullsec that is the major outlier in nullsec that is “non bloc”, and 3) He got clear endorsements from both Sion Kumitomo and CCP Leeloo for his hard work at the Winter Summit. I’ll be honest – I still don’t entirely see it, even reading the summit minutes. Sion put it very well: “there was a vast swath of the term where I thought he was mostly out of game. He wasn’t at meetings, didn’t talk in channel much, and rarely posted. Had I not met him at this last summit, that’s where this blurb would end. Instead, I discovered that he was unable to attend remote meetings due to work, and instead of dropping feedback in public areas, he tended to contact CCP directly and privately. He’s also smart, active, willing to take a stand.” It’s unfortunate – I’m still in that “that’s where this blurb would end” place. Core is invisible to me – and to a lot of people I think – outside Provibloc. I think that’s unfortunate, because maybe the rest of us could gain from the insights he is sharing privately rather than publicly. I hope this term he opens up to the rest of us a bit more, and I hope his followers decide that they should vote for more than one person on their fourteen-vote ballots this year. Don’t say I haven’t given you some good ones to choose from, Provi!
  • DomanarK. I liked what I saw of DomanarK, and he’s gotten some good press from other candidates. As a Black Legion member he has some nullsec PVP cred. As a podcaster he has some community cred. And as a guy with an alt in Rifterlings he has some Lowsec cred. So my gut check says that he is likely to bring value to the conversations. I like his interest in the bounty system, which I think needs a complete overhaul. However, I didn’t feel like I ever got a completely clear picture of him or his candidacy, so I couldn’t bring myself to endorse him more broadly. If you are a BL member or fan, or live in non-CFC non-N3 nullsec, he’s probably a good one to have on your ballot.
  • Sion Kumitomo. I keep going back and forth with Sion, but I think in the end and taken as a whole he is a hard worker and a strong and intelligent voice from the CFC side (he is after all The Mittani’s right hand metagame guy – by definition he’s smart). You may not like what he says if you don’t like CFC, and make no mistake, that’s who he’s there to represent. But he has been a visible and strong presence this year – much more so than I ever expected. I’ve enjoyed a handful of interactions with him on Twitter and am impressed by his demeanor on Slack during conversations that draw out the trollbait from others. I am a long-time advocate of better CSM transparency, which is why during CSM 8’s tenure I wrote a little thing called Nondisclosure. I commend Sion for kicking that discussion off this election season and by doing so made it a key part of the discussions for every serious candidate. That said, I don’t think his methods in doing so were productive – he unfortunately didn’t quit while he was ahead and degenerated pretty rapidly into what most (including me) perceived as mudslinging. Because of his chose methodology, I am not as convinced that he will be able to be successful on either the transparency agenda or the sov agenda. But if you’re a CFCer or an advocate for CSM transparency, you’d be a fool not to at least consider voting for him.
  • Xander Phoena. It’s been a pretty rough and ugly couple of months for Xander. He seemed to be doing well (outside looking in) all through CSM 9’s term until just before the Winter Summit, when he blocked Sion and Corbexx on Twitter. From there on, it was all downhill, and the crapstorm came out in public over the next month. Xander and Sion have been slinging mud at each other in public ever since. It’s unbecoming and it’s also what has me listing Xander here rather than on the full endorsement page. Don’t get me wrong – I like Xander. I think he is an excellent podcaster and publisher. I think that CCP Leeloo explicitly calling out that Xander has not broken NDA, plus the evidence that he was invited to the Winter Summit on CCP’s dime says that he is not looked on unfavorably by CCP. Unfortunately, outside looking in, it’s impossible to know the truth for anyone who has not been on the CSM. Which argues, again, for transparency. I recommend Xander for all PL voters as well as people who are fans of Crossing Zebras and the podcasting community in general. However, I think he has an uphill battle this year. If he doesn’t make it, I am very excited to see his return to both regular short-form podcasting and CSM 11 interviews. Disclosure: I have written a handful of articles for Crossing Zebras.

One other side note: There are 6 candidates (Crante, Erweb Maken, Miralisa Issa, Purinpu, Roban Crause and UAxDEATH) who were not vetted by me because they are candidates for specific Localizations (French, German, Russian) and did not post on the standard forums. Since I don’t speak any of those languages, I have no basis to judge one way or the other.

So those two posts should give you all the candidates you need for your ballots (sorry N3, I am indeed recommending you ignore your voting orders. Again.). There are easily enough for everyone to pick fourteen. I’ll be back next post to tell you what order I recommend putting them in on your ballot depending on where you live.

 

Posted in CSM, CSM 10 | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

CSM X Election – Full Endorsements

CSM X Storyhead

So this year has been pretty crazy for those of us who comment on CSM elections. I wrote a thing on the coming election and incumbents a month or so ago, but a ton of new news has come out in the last month, so it is in many ways now invalid. The coming series of posts are my final recommendations as we approach the opening of voting.

Key Resources

First of all, I want to salute a few people who have really made it possible to digest the massive field of 77 candidates.

  • CSM Forum Threads. I believe it is a bare minimum for an endorsement that you get a post here. I did my first round of eliminations based heavily on first posts by the candidates themselves.
  • Cap Stable Podcast. These guys have done a ton of interviews that are great to really get to know the candidates. Most who did not do an interview do not deserve your consideration.
  • Nosy Gamer. His CSM Wire website was a great consolidator of info so you could get everything on a candidate in one place.
  • CCP Leeloo. While the timing of the release of the official candidate list has made my last few days horrible (with seven eliminated declared candidates and 25 net new candidates no one had any info on), she released the list days early with handy spreadsheets that made it somewhat less painful.
  • Marc Scaurus. While heavily Lowsec focused, his Just for Crits text interviews gave significant insights into candidates with Lowsec or small-gang declared as their focus.
  • Foo. He did a “TLDR” very short 4-question survey with willing candidates here.

I spent a fairly ridiculous amount of time researching the candidates. I read all the initial posts in the forums. For those without a forum post I read their candidate announcement. For about half the candidates, I read their entire thread. I listened to all of the Cap Stable Analysis “roundtable” shows. I listened to about 15 of the interviews. I read about 10 of the interviews from Just for Crits. I skimmed a couple of the lighter touch interviews posted by Foo. When added to the CSM watching I’ve done over the last four years, I’m pretty confident I’ve got a good picture of the candidates.

My Viewpoint

I have said in many forums, most explicitly here, that my ideal CSM would be made up of a host of experts sprinkled with a few generalists. This continues to guide my thinking. Diversity is good.

In addition, there are a few things that are anathema for me if espoused by any candidate. These are the classic wormhole no-gos, things like wormhole mass stabilizers. I also tend to shy away from most things that either wholesale eliminate risk or wholesale eliminate a playstyle – as I said, diversity is good.

Fortunately, neither of those raised their head much this year – everyone in the broad race this year is about newbie work and sov work, neither of which have many negative triggers for me. The one that does and is active this year is the topic of AFK cloaking. I challenged both incumbents Steve Ronuken and Mike Azariah on this as well – more on their responses when I get to them. Anyone else who listed it in their platform was eliminated from my endorsement list.

Coming Posts

This year I will be posting at least three posts before the election opens, and maybe one other after it opens, plus hopefully a fifth or sixth after elections close. Those posts will be:

  • Full Endorsements (this post) – Candidates I strongly recommend for all voters. Under 12% of the candidates earned a Full Endorsement.
  • Provisional Endorsements – Candidates I recommend for specific constituencies, but not for everyone. They generally are solid, interesting experts but very focused on their space or solid candidates that are made a bit redundant by either each other or other Full Endorsement candidates. Under 16% of the candidates earned a Provisional Endorsement. So less than a third (27%) of the field earned any sort of endorsement.
  • Recommended Voting Slates – Here’s the TLDR of how you should vote.
  • Who Not To Vote For And Why (all the rest – potentially after voting opens – this may change or be eliminated, still considering).
  • Election Predictions (after elections close but before results are announced)
  • Election Outcomes Analysis

Endorsements

So enough preamble. Candidates who get my full endorsement are those who I believe have provided value (what kind of value varies significantly by candidate) and who I believe will add value in the coming council and should be considered for votes by all voters. Unlike previous years where I would endorse but not suggest for ballot, with the massive field this year it required a bit less nuanced approach. If they are on this Full Endorsement list, they should be on your ballot, regardless of what space or group you come from. Some may already be slam dunks, and others may be long shots – remember the predictions post and ranking/slates post come later.

Some will be surprised by some of my choices. Other selections will seem blindingly obvious. I did give some weight to electability – there are so many sov null candidates on the ballot this year that I intentionally limited the number that rose to the level of a Full Endorsement (many of the best of this second tier will appear on my Provisional list). In addition there were several interesting highsec advocates, but with two candidates from highsec getting a Full Endorsement, I did not see potential for a strong impact from others.

As I made my list, what shook out was a defining set of characteristics that most shared:

  • Optimism about EVE’s future
  • Alignment with overarching CCP goals
  • Proven ability to work and deliver (what “deliver” means variable by candidate)
  • Desire for positive (not “undo this”) change
  • A unique perspective that candidate delivers that others don’t, or a level of expertise others can’t match

In alphabetical order (rank order will come with the voting slates):

  • Ashterothi – It will surprise some that I think Ashterothi is up to the task above many other qualified candidates. Ash is a proven hard worker, driving multiple podcasts (disclaimer: I have appeared on one of them, Hydrostatic Podcast) as well as the recent introduction of Slack. He is a CEO of his corporation. He has long experience in Faction Warfare (which is lacking a serious candidate this year) and just took his corporation into w-space to live. In addition his RL job is mobile app development, an area in which I think CCP is sorely behind the times and could benefit from some CSM expertise. That he has a soft spot for lore is just the icing on the cake for me.
  • Bam Stroker – Every single person I talked to about Bam recommended him. I’ve enjoyed interacting with him on Slack. His post was somewhat convincing, but his interview sealed the deal for me. He is running as the “uber community outreach guy” – and I’m sure that will be his focus as the organizer of EVE Down Under. I also think that the AUTZ contingent needs some love from CCP (playing in Central US has several issues (latency) and I can only imagine struggling with this from Australia). But the fact that he combines these things with being from Pandemic Legion and thus having some clear experience in the Sov Null game adds up to a very strong candidate.
  • Chance Ravinne – Some have already decided to tar Chance with the “opportunist” brush – and indeed he is working hard to make real money from his EVE association, not through RMT, but through content generation. He does a lot of video work and recently wrote an EVE book. He started his own corporation and took a pile of newbies “no fucks given” into w-space (where newbies can’t make it) to live. Not everyone is happy he’s selling his book since most of the rest of us give our work away, but that’s our choice, not a necessity – and what Chance stands for is a paradigm shift. What makes me like Chance is one simple fact: He’s right. From this field of candidates, while others may legitimately make a claim to the Ali Aras legacy, I think Chance is the true heir to Ali (circa CSM8 elections) – the upstart newbie who grabbed the reins and charged off into the void to start their own adventure and lead others to it as well. He talks about how marketing of videogames in particular is becoming more and more dependent on large YouTube audiences – they are a crucial feeder to the marketing channel. All I need to do is watch and listen to my ten-year-old son to know this – his household names are not TV actors or bloggers, they are YouTube Let’s Players for Minecraft. His generation as they get older will be looking to this space to decide what to play, not PC Gamer like I did. To top that off, Chance has RL marketing chops and a truly infectious enthusiasm for the EVE we all know and love – the one with narratives of the adrenaline rush, the hunt, the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. If this game has a future, Chance represents that future.
  • Corbexx – Corbexx bust his butt to improve wormhole space. He has blown me away over the last year with his capability, drive, and ability to marshal information to effect change. In a corporate setting, what gets you results is not whining and throwing things – it is marshaling information and showing the conclusions this information draws you toward. I am comfortable saying that I think without Corbexx, lower class wormholes would not be as viable as they are today. Corbexx single-handedly built a set of communication channels for his wormhole stakeholders that we have not previously had. He did personal outreach to members of the w-space community who did not reach out to him. He read other peoples’ proposals and asked to champion them (including this one I proposed on dead POS towers) if he liked them. If you’re a wormholer and he’s not #1 or #2 on your ballot, you’re a fool. And if you’re not a wormholer, you still should want one to get in, and a proven hard worker is what you want – give him a slot, even if it’s #14.
  • Endie – Wait, what? I’m endorsing a Goon (note: I’ve done this before, see also mynnna), and not only that, but asking everyone to vote for him? I can hear the “Hell no” from here. But before you lock that decision in and decide not to even give it a thought, I encourage you to go listen to his interview at Cap Stable. This guy is the one (along with the next endorsed candidate below) Goon that I want working on Sov, which will be front and center this year. Not Sion, who is self-declared as a metagamer not a player primarily, and not Thoric, whose campaign is all about why CCPs moves are the wrong ones and how they’re mean to the blocs. Endie plays. Endie has posted things over the course of the last three years that have led me to believe either he’s playing an incredibly solid long con (he is after all the head of Goon Intel) or that he truly believes what he says and that balkanizing nullsec is a good thing – even for the CFC. “We don’t want to sit atop a rotting throne” is destined to be come a meme – and I’m choosing to believe it will be in the positive rather than ironic sense. I won’t lie – Endie sat on the borderline of being fully vs. provisionally endorsed for me. Here’s the kicker. If you put him on your ballot, even 14th, it boosts his chances to be one of the permanent seats at the summits. A Goon is going to be sitting in one of those seats. Given the other choices, I would prefer to see Endie warming that seat.
  • Manfred Sideous – My first exposure to Manny was his interview with Crossing Zebras podcast after the battle of B-R. This guy just had his ass handed to him in the most expensive, pivotal battle EVE had ever had as the lead FC for Pandemic Legion. And how did he react? He was calm, assured, positive, and all class all day. His demeanor alone conveyed why he had been in charge that day. Since then I have tracked him a bit more closely and have only continued to be more impressed with both his ideas (he was one of the first to call the jump range changes) and with his approach. He should be at the top of PL’s ballot, but that shouldn’t stop him from being on everyone’s. Check out his Cap Stable interview as well. He is the one you want alongside Endie at the table to hammer out the nullsec position on Sov this year.
  • Mike Azariah – I will admit I waffled a bit on Mike this year. I’ve argued that CSM needs an elder statesman before, but in this case there is a lot of returning incumbent firepower already, so that isn’t reason enough alone. In addition there have been some unsubstantiated rumblings of dissatisfaction, but none that I could get anyone on the record about. So … I can only make decisions with what I have in the public eye. And what I have in the public eye is solid – Mike appears on pretty much every podcast everywhere all the freaking time. I know Mike’s voice better than anyone else’s in CSM. Some may not see value in this, but I do – I think that it personalizes what’s going on “behind the NDA curtain”. He blogs. He posts. No one can accuse him of hiding from things. He hasn’t been such a clear functional delivery machine as Corbexx, Sugar and Steve, but he has lived up to his promises to both communicate and be an independent disruptive influence with the casual player in mind. And as for the AFK cloaker bit? He said the right thing when I hit my decision point – he doesn’t like AFK anything – it’s not about the cloaks. Keep that position, Mike.
  • Steve Ronuken – Steve is a guy who I’ve always been tough on because he has always put a plank in his platform about AFK cloaking. He didn’t get an endorsement from me for CSM 8. I judged Mike stronger and told Steve he should go raise his profile on 3rd-party dev creds. And Steve went out and did so. I gave him only a “second tier” endorsement for CSM 9. He got in and has absolutely blown me away with his ability to effect change. I believe that he has probably had a more direct effect than anyone on CSM 9 directly on the capabilities that CCP has been able to deliver. While Sugar and Corbexx have been instrumental in driving positive change within the game construct, Steve has wrought change to the construct itself through his knowledge and contribution around CREST and 3rd-party app development. The combination of Steve Ronuken and CCP FoxFour has been a powerful force for positive improvement this year, and I think is a model for CSM/Dev partnership unlike any other. In addition, as a self-described “allergic to drama” person, Steve’s hands are cleaner than those of any other incumbent when it comes to the mudslinging that has gone on for the last month. I still don’t love his position on cloaking. But his positives have been so significant and impossible to ignore that I will swallow my objection to them being on his platform at last.
  • Sugar Kyle – Last alphabetically, but as with last year, Sugar will be the top-listed non-wormholer on my personal ballot this year. Sugar has been the absolute workhorse of CSM 9. Go peruse the CSM 9 Winter Summit minutes. While everyone else is there with an opinion or two and a discussion point or two, Sugar was a tour de force of information, action and data. Question after question, point after point. I’ve heard through the grapevine that her constituency is occasionally pretty hard to please. That’s sad, because frankly she is in my opinion the hardest working member of the entire council – and if people aren’t pleased with her, well … then they need to step up and run themselves. Sugar is the only real dedicated Lowsec candidate, from the largest field of candidates ever. Sugar, more than anyone else, has earned your vote. If you vote for no one else on my endorsement list, you should vote for Sugar Kyle.

Nine of your fourteen slots can and should be filled with the folks above (even if they’re slots 6-14!). Best of luck to these candidates.

I’ll be back with the next post to give you some solid options with which to fill the other 5 spots on your slate.

Posted in CSM, CSM 10 | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

The Pathway to The Next

Gate

If you’re not already familiar with The Seven Events of the Apocalypse (also known as The Prophecy of Macaper) – you’re in luck. I wrote an overview of this key piece of New Eden lore for Crossing Zebras. You should go read it, then come back here.

Back? OK, so now that you know what the Prophecy is and some of its background, you’ll notice that in the CZ writeup I didn’t spend a lot of time on what my personal beliefs are around it. I prefer to keep the crazier parts of my crystal ball gazing and tinfoil hattery right here at home. So since we’re here, let’s speculate a bit.

From the Formless Void, There Springs an Entity

The first three events are pretty much not in dispute, so we’ll start with #4. The fourth event as listed in the chronicle is, in my opinion, pretty misleading. It is a perfect example of why what we really need is the full text, not just these snippets. The chronicle lists “the appetite of nothing expands over the world.” In fact, this is just one phrase in a much larger scenario that is covered in the Erebus description, and it spends a great deal more time on something entirely different: The Entity.

“From the formless void’s gaping maw, there springs an entity. Not an entity such as any you can conceive of, nor I; an entity more primordial than the elements themselves, yet constantly coming into existence even as it is destroyed. It is the Child of Chaos, the Pathway to the Next.”

In fact, the mention of the darkness and the appetite of nothing is clearly stated as something that happens AFTER the entity!

Over the course of time, I have slowly but surely come to believe that The Entity is The Other – a creature born of pure thought and AI deep within the Sleeper Construct, desperate to get out and into the human (or Jovian) world. This seems probable for several reasons.

  1. It is entirely likely that The Other escaped and came into the New Eden (and Jamyl Sarum’s brain) through “the formless void” – also known as a wormhole.
  2. The Other is clearly an entity that Macaper, speaking a century before the capsuleer era, could have conceived of.
  3. The Other is a true infomorph, a thing that inhabited a body without ever having had a body, a free-roaming mind. Such a creature would be “coming into existence even as it is destroyed” – does this not describe capsuleers and wormholes as well?
  4. The definition of “primordial” is being of the earliest state of development, ancient and of basic nature. The Other is the very first of its kind, and is as basic as a thing can get – pure thought, pure energy.

The appetite of nothing is just the icing on the cake. Macaper’s prophecies seem to have a poor grip on geography – when she says in earlier events that “a roaring stone silences the world,” she literally meant a single world, not the entire known set of worlds. So it can be safely assumed that “the appetite of nothing expands over the world” could mean one, world, not all worlds or the universe. The key question is, what phenomenon is both the appetite of nothing and the formless void? The Seyllin Incident and opening of wormhole space are a pretty good bet, and their clear connection to the actions of The Other make this one feel pretty solid to me.

Theory: The Fourth Event is actually a combination of related events: The birth of The Other, his escape to New Eden, and the Seyllin Incident.

The Little Brother Is Good At Math

Talocan SymbolThe fifth event, “the little brother makes the final sorrowful steps home; he is not welcome”. With CCP’s recent EVE Online Now post linking this quote with the new Drifter battleship, it seems very likely that the Drifters are the fulfillment of the fifth event. But how does this make them “little brother”?

We still have a lot to learn about the Drifters – who they are, why they are technically “Jove”, what the integral-like symbol is that adorns their ships. I recommend reading Tarek Raimo’s excellent summary of the Jove, which describes some of their trials and tribulations. The simple fact is that the Jove were a very fractious lot in their First and Second Empires. There was infighting on all sides and both of these empires collapsed in internecine warfare.

At some point, the Sleepers packed up their stuff and headed out. At another, the Enheduanni began to split from the main Jove. It is entirely possible that the ancient race of Yan Jung were also of Jovian descent, although this was never conclusively stated in any canon source. But the most likely culprits were none of these.

One group of potential Jove descendants are acknowledged to be “masters of Spatial Manipulation and Hypereuclidean Mathematics.” One group has mastered the art of extreme travel via self-made gates and wormholes. One group has intimate ties with the Sleepers as well as their own things. That group is the Talocan.

CCP has given many signposts to this. This link on EVE Online Now gives three entirely separate hints:

  • The symbol looks like something passing through a wormhole
  • The symbol is very close to the mathematical symbol for a volume integral, which is a nice mathematical metaphor for bending space-time via wormholes
  • The quote is Albert Einstein, from a paper called “Geometry and Experience” that specifically deals with hyper-euclidean geometry.

Most of the remaining recent hints from EVE Online now have been of two sorts: Jamyl Sarum giving cryptic warnings about messing with the Sleepers, side by side with quotes from Charles Darwin and statements on the criticality of being adaptable. These two dovetail nicely with the Talocan – their sites in known space are ancient, and their sites in wormhole space look little newer. But it is clear that they were Sleeper linked, and not necessarily in a good way. The suggestion in the wormhole relics is that the Talocan were somehow forced to adapt to adverse circumstances.

Theory: The Little Brother is the Drifters, otherwise known as the decendents of the Talocan. Some catastrophic event forced them to begin a long, atypical migration home – possibly taking “the long way home” from w-space via the slow boat method or as more nearby refugees from the events of Caroline’s Star.

It Depends What You Mean By “One”

The sixth event, “what was many now becomes one when one becomes four” I will admit frankly that the jury is still out – we simply don’t have enough information. It is so vague, so widely applicable, that I believe that we won’t really know until it hits us what this is about.

My suspicion is that this will eventually relate to the new stargates in some way. Maybe it will be that many parts are required to make that first gate, and the gate makes some sort of four-way connection. Maybe it will be legions of separated capsuleers and factions coming together to fight a Jovian or Sleeper empire split between four Jovian subfactions.

On a brief aside note, the “Jove” on Sisi apparently have had an architectural meltdown – none of their stuff matches. I do think that we’re going to see a split in the Jovian line. The old Jove ships and stations don’t match the Sleepers (and Seekers) don’t match the newly-revealed Drifter battleship and massive “listening stations” (which upon further review do match each other). These stations might even be Enheduanni – it would explain why the ships are scanning them, plus the stations’ weird there-one-minute-gone-the-next behavior is almost quantum-like in behavior. Where have I heard that before … oh yeah, Theodicy. Where the Jovian Grious says, “The technology of the Enheduanni is much more advanced than our own. They possess absolute mastery of quantum physics and particle science, and the telltale sign of their presence is non-linear teleportation.”

To add fuel to the fire, there has been a behavioral evolution of the Drifter battleship on the Singularity test server. A week ago, the Drifters were acting like companions, guardians to the Circadian Seekers (which are obviously Sleeper ships from a design point of view). Now, the Drifters seem indifferent to the Seekers – when the Seekers warp in, the Drifters warp out, sometimes together and sometimes separate … and both are scanning the gigantic listening stations.

So the four could even be Talocan, Sleeper, Enheduanni and (classic) Jove. But for now, it’s too soon to tell.

Return of the Dark Light

“Imagine if the bars to your prison were all you had ever known.
Then one day, someone appears and unlocks the door.
If they have the power to do this, then are they really the liberator?
You never remembered who it was that closed you in.”

– Ior Labron, Founder, Society of Conscious Thought

GatefireFinally, the seventh event, “return of the dark light from the heart of the mother” is both ominous and telling. I think this will be directly related to the opening of the first gate. It is obvious that Jamyl Sarum, and thus The Other, know exactly what will happen with that gate. In The Prophecy trailer it is made very clear that the Amarr Empire (read: either the Empires, or the Other, or both) are not happy with that gate being opened – and not just for simple “because power is bad” reasons – it is implied given the level of hardware that the Amarr throw at it that this is, as Macaper would put it, apocalyptic stuff.

So here’s my furthest out on a limb tinfoil. I do think that “the heart of the mother” is a return to Sol or the opposite end of the EVE Gate. But what is most curious is “return of the dark light”. That means that the dark light used to be here. It is known, somewhere in ancient history.

What if the EVE Gate didn’t collapse? What if it was destructively closed … from the New Eden side, in a desperate bid for survival as a destructive force sought to pour through it? And now, full of hubris, we hope to reopen it. Maybe the Drifters are here not to attack us, but to prepare us for the day when we have to flee to another new space, drifters ourselves, as the dark light we allow in when we open our cage devours New Eden.

Posted in Commentary, Lore, Speculation, Tiamat | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Early Thoughts: CSM X Elections and the End of CSM 9

CSM X Temp Storyhead

IGNORE THIS POST – FOR FINAL ENDORSEMENTS CLICK HERE

Update Feb 20, 2015: This post was written and posted one month ago – in the middle of the winter summit. I’ll admit it was written in some ways to prod people to action, both on CSM and at CCP. But what a month it has been for the CSM – I can say that there was an unprecedented amount of action following this post, and that has changed several of the opinions I state below. This post was before the FunkyBacon drama. Before the Sion/Xander drama. Before Corebloodbrothers was lauded by CCP Leeloo and Sion both. Before Gorski started blogging. Before Mike took a few slings and arrows as well. Before we learned there would be 77 candidates for CSM X.

So a great deal has changed. I’m leaving the post up for posterity since it is something I wrote and published and matches what I knew at the time, but you should not use the below as a guide for voting or representative of my final election endorsements, which have benefited from a bit more … transparency.

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So this year I’ve been taking a different approach to my CSM-watching, and I’m not ready to say much yet on new candidates. I’ve surprised a few people by not knowing who (outside of incumbents) is running despite the fact that the first CSM 10 devblogs have begun. This is reflective of three major things weighing on my mind about the progress of CSM 9.

  1. The fact that the winter summit has not yet finished or published. I suspect that (foolishly) the elections will need to take place in a vacuum relative to the participation in the winter summit, which will artificially reduce information in the election. I encourage CCP to either rush these out before February 15 or, at minimum, commit to get this done before the opening of elections in future years. UPDATE 1/21: Of course, within less than 12 hours of posting this I had to eat crow. Kudos to CCP Leeloo, CCP Falcon, CCP Logibro and CCP Manifest for doing what people would have sworn was impossible less than a year ago (and very, very improbable 24 hours ago) – they are releasing the minutes for each day less than 24 hours later. Well done. This will seriously help people make decisions about the incumbents. That said there are still days left that might change some of the below.
  2. The fact that in past years I have wasted time reading through candidate threads and interviews for people who later didn’t make the official list. My time is limited and I want to spend it efficiently. In future years I’d like to see CCP finalize the candidate list a month before elections start, to give us a solid, final list earlier.
  3. The horrible turnout last year is making me rethink my whole philosophy on CSM elections, and I’m trying to determine how I’m going to leverage my new point of view, if at all, in this forum.

That said, I have definite thought on the CSM 9 incumbents and my current take on them, so I’ll tackle that here rather than later. They are in the unfortunate position that unlike new candidates, who get the benefit of the doubt, incumbents are judged on their record. Please keep in mind that my endorsement list is not yet final (EDIT: It is now, it’s here) and those in the “on the bubble” section may move into endorsed status when I get to my official post in a few weeks, particularly if the summit minutes show positive signs. In short, 4-5 of my ballot slots will already be filled by incumbents.

Early Incumbent Endorsements

I have been impressed by the work of these folks, and recommend them without reservation, tied to both their performance and their representation of their player segment. In order…

  • Sugar Kyle. Sugar has been the workhorse of the CSM this year. Sugar represents not only her constituency but most others. Those she doesn’t understand much, she reaches out to and actively partners with – she is linked clearly with Corbexx for wormhole work and Sion for sov null work. She is genuine, smart, and cares about this game. She blogs about her CSM experience constantly. She hosts Q&A sessions with EVE University regularly and often. She pushes entirely new player listening efforts. I already know that she will be the highest-ranked non-wormhole candidate on my ballot (again). If you are in lowsec and doesn’t top your ballot, you’re doing it wrong. If you are anywhere else and she’s not in your top 5, same. Her attendance at both summits despite not being a “permanent” should tell you something.
  • Corbexx. Corbexx has been, in my opinion, the strongest worker on CSM other than Sugar. He has been a huge force for communication and direction for wormholes. He almost singlehandedly proved to CCP the need for increased income in low-class wormholes and fought the good fight for many other items. I’ve worked with him off and on in various channels and he is a great listener and supportive not only of wormhole causes but broader causes as well. While he doesn’t communicate with the wide world at the level of Sugar, Mike or Xander, he is in constant contact with the wormhole community and has built entire new cross-alliance and cross-class communication channels for this purpose. I consider Sugar’s regular collaboration with him above other CSM members as an endorsement of the first order. His attendance at both summits despite not being a “permanent” should tell you something. Corbexx will top my ballot. If you’re a wormholer, he should top yours too. If you’re from anywhere else, he should be in your top 7.
  • Mike Azariah. Sugar and Corbexx, to me, stand head and shoulders above the crowd this year. And while Mike might not be a good fit for a lot of people, he is a strong voice for the Incursion and RP communities and a prolific communicator on his blog and numerous podcasts. While Mike is not at the level of the two above him, he is still a no-brainer for re-election. Mike will be on my ballot, I just haven’t decided which position.
  • Steve Ronuken. Steve has been, perhaps unsurprisingly, a technical tour-de-force on this year’s CSM. I think it could be said without falsehood that many of the things we got for third-party development this year rest heavily on collaboration between Steve and CCP FoxFour. While the three above have arguably been better player representatives, I think Steve has probably been the most valuable player resource for CCP. I want him connected with Iceland just to keep being that resource. Steve has also been, I suspect, a good voice for the highsec community. I still think he’s wrong on AFK cloaking, but he hasn’t pushed that agenda and so he’ll make my list somewhere for his experience, hard work and expertise.

On the Bubble

As noted above, these two candidates may eventually get an endorsement from me. They may or may not make my ballot (for instance, even if I endorse him I’m unlikely to put Sion on my ballot because as with Mynnna last year, he doesn’t need my vote).

  • Sion Kumitomo. Sion has been interesting for me to watch this year. I slapped a mental “typical Goon non-player metagamer” sticker on him early on and effectively dismissed him. Over the course of the year I saw a more nuanced person, communicator and CSM rep emerge and began to change my opinion to be more positive (much as PGL grew on me last year). I think he is adding value and his recent comments in the CSM dev blog are interesting; what I haven’t decided yet is whether they make me more or less likely to recommend voting for him. I really, really want to see the winter summit minutes, and in his case my endorsement decision at some level rides on this. The last-minute drama with Xander Phoena isn’t helping (more on that below). Right now I’m leaning positive because it’s obvious that Sugar has respect for him and I trust her judgment. Sion will get in regardless as one of the top two CFC candidates.
  • Xander Phoena. Xander is a tough one for me. There are a lot of things I like, although if I’m honest most of them are related to how he runs his website (which I was pleased to write for recently) and his past podcast success, not with how he’s done things or represented his constituents on the CSM. I think CZ has emerged as a fantastic content site, probably the best “magazine format” EVE site there is today (I consider TMC and EN24 “news format”). I think Xander still has done the best CSM interviews ever, in the run-up to CSM 8. He’s kept his word about blogging weekly about CSM activities. I think he’s genuinely a decent guy. But he’s also been the most contentious remaining (there were a couple of early retirements that top him) member of CSM 9, due to being kicked out of his corp and becoming uncomfortable in his alliance (where he was once a diplomat) because they were pissed at his representation of their desires. Xander is a stubborn cuss, does what he thinks he must for the good of the game as a whole, and holds his beliefs strongly, which is good – but his approach to representing it is too often terrible. As small as it seems his Twitter blocking of Sion and Corbexx comes off as petulant. He is unfortunately prone to coming off as thin-skinned and defensive, and like it or not he’s an internet spaceship politician and needs to care about these things if what he wants re-election. He needs to be a diplomat and a net content addition at the summit. I also think that (with the disclaimer that I have not yet done the math with the new candidates) with his base eroded, he stands a seriously reduced chance of getting re-elected.

Not Endorsed … But You Might Not Agree

These two guys are running again as well. Neither appeals to me or interests me much currently. I’m open to that changing but it will take a real sea change as I read minutes and threads and listen to interviews to move them up.

  • Corebloodbrothers. I haven’t been able to get excited about Core. I have seen a lot of cheerleading but not a lot of constructive activity. A lot of “good fight” tweets, but that doesn’t equate to CSM quality for me. I haven’t seen any real communication of substance. Maybe the summit minutes will show something different. His constituency does seem to like him, so while I don’t endorse him, if you’re a Provi person and like what he’s done, go for it. He proved last year that he can get elected and I think he will get in again, whether I endorse him or not. I only ask one thing if you are a Core voter … have at least 5 people on your ballot. Don’t throw your rolldown votes in the garbage again this year.
  • Gorski Car. He got bumped up after someone else resigned, I saw a couple tweets, that was it. Nothing here for me to endorse based on his record. He’s the only incumbent who has never attended a summit. Maybe he’s communicating somehow with someone, but I don’t know who or where. This also means I have no idea if he’s added any value whatsoever.

Not Running

Fully half the CSM has decided not to run again. Many of these are CSM 8 incumbents, and I suspect they are simply, utterly burned out. My thanks to all of them for what they did do … which in some cases I know and in other cases I’m less sure of.

  • Ali Aras. I’m not sure what happened to Ali. She was the absolute superhero of CSM 8, and she seemed to simply disappear into thin air after the CSM 9 summer summit. It’s such a drastic shift from her massively multi-modal approach to CSM 8 that I hope that whatever happened to her time this year it reflects positive RL things, like a promotion or good family news or a new job or something.
  • Mynnna. Like Ali, I sense burnout here, and he himself suggested as much. I think his expertise will be missed, but I can’t say I don’t understand why he would be burnt. I am hopeful that after a rest period he will pick up his blogging pen again; I always find what he writes to be insightful and educational on parts of the game I don’t always even comprehend.
  • Asayanami Dei. I thought he did an OK stand-in job, and I think he saw what the real load would be and opted out. He was unfailingly positive and helpful when asked. He didn’t do much in the limelight after the summer summit, but helped Corbexx on occasion with some items. Based on his tweets I think he saw himself as an “assistant” in some ways and is happier not to run again. So his decision not to run is probably the right one.
  • Mangala Solaris. Mangala seemed to fall entirely off the radar in the end. I wasn’t sure why until I read something recently about him “working in Antarctica”. I guess that would put a damper on your CSM career. Clearly a good choice to not run again.
  • Progodlegend. PGL is back at the summit again this week, but honestly I’m not sure what the circumstances are. I had to ask other CSM members to find out he was there. Maybe he did some work this year but I didn’t see much via any communication. He stood for election to CSM 9 somewhat reluctantly (wasn’t going to run, then did for lack of other candidates) and thus a year later I’m sure he’s well ready to be done.
  • DJ FunkyBacon. He started strong, and then disappeared into thin air. His last serious content as a CSM member in looking at Twitter and blog stuff was mid-November, when he was talking about opposition to corp aggro changes. Since then, a lot of non-EVE and a lot of milquetoast, which was very much not par for the course. My guess: he decided his voice was landing on deaf ears, and maybe even got the cold shoulder from CCP for his approach, and he effectively quit without stepping down. It’s too bad, since I think strong anti-easymode and FW voices are also important.

Stay tuned, more to come as the list gets finalized (UPDATE: Final list is up, click here) and I start learning about the adorable (?) newbie candidates and seeing which perennials pop up.

Posted in CSM, CSM 10, CSM 9 | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Shattered Planets and the Seyllin Incident at Crossing Zebras

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If you ever wanted a layman’s version of everything you really need to know about the Seyllin Incident and the shattered planets, with a healthy measure of isogen-5, the Sisters of EVE, and a dose of Blood Raiders and Thukker, check out my overview posted today at Crossing Zebras.

The CZ guys requested I write this as part of their recent lore series. It was great working with Niden and Tarek; I found Niden is a solid editor-in-chief to work with.

This also prompted me to redo a bit of the site – you will now find a couple of revamped sections at the top, one that highlights all my off-blog activity from podcasts to guest writing pieces on other sites, and another that highlights the fiction pieces that have earned contest awards.

Thank you, my fellow pilots, for all the support you’ve given this blog and my writing over the last five years. Fly dangerous.

Posted in Commentary, Lore | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Unchained” Wins First Place in Pod & Planet Day in the Life

In case you somehow missed it on Twitter and Reddit, I’m very pleased to announce that Unchained, a speculative story about the creation of The Other, won the top prize in the Pod & Planet Day in the Life category! It’s really an honor to win given the high-caliber judging and competition. Telegram Sam does a great job getting sponsors and judges every year – if you didn’t compete this year, come back next October and get in!

I’m especially happy that Kirith Kodachi won this year for his entry Borrowed Time. I honestly believed he should have won last year’s 8000 Suns category for The Life of Nina Cruz, which didn’t even make Honorable Mention, so I’m thrilled for him this year coming away with the top prize. I was also happy to see prizes awarded to some of my perrenial favorite authors like Drackarn and Sugar Kyle.

There were numerous amazing stories this year, and you can check out all the winners here. You can check out the entire list and links to all the stories here.

Posted in Contest Entries, Lore, Original Fiction, Speculation | 2 Comments