CSM 8 Voters Guide – The Muddy Middle

csmlogo-blackThis is a continuation of my 4-part Voter’s Guide for CSM8.

You can read the endorsements post for details, but here is the TLDR of the endorsement post:

  • Great Candidates (alphabetical):
    • Ali Aras
    • Artctura
    • Ayeson
    • James Arget
    • Malcanis
    • Mike Azariah
    • Mynnna
    • Nathan Jameson
    • Psychotic Monk
    • Ripard Teg
    • Trebor Daedhoow
    • Unforgiven Storm
  • Terrible Candidates (Do not vote for under any circumstances):
    • Fon Revedhort
    • Sgurd Battersea
    • Travis Musgrat

But that’s only 15 of the 35 in the running, and you may not like them all. So what about the rest?

I will further subdivide those 20 below, but this time in rank order within their category (strong/weak Independents and strong/weak Bloc candidates). Again, this is based on my listening to every single Crossing Zebras interview of the candidates, analyzing about 2/3 of the Jita Park threads, reading blogs, and listening to episodes from 3 other podcasts (Voices from the VoidDeclarations of War and Down the Pipe) with multiple CSM candidates in a group. I’ve done the homework.

Strong Independents

These folks were almost, but not quite, worthy of an endorsement. In each case there was some concern that held me back from pressing the button. These folks will make up the bulk of the tail end of my ballot suggestions in the next post. Please note that I have pushed the null bloc candidates into a separate category so they are not ranked here.

  1. Mangala Solaris. The prolific RvB Fleet Commander is almost guaranteed a seat, and likely well-deserved. I like what I see of him on Twitter, and he’s a proven content-maker for the game. What held me back in his case was his interview with Crossing Zebras. I expected him to be more polished, more prepared, but he was a bit flatfooted by some of the things Xander threw at him … and they weren’t even that tough. I have no doubt he’ll brush up and do well. He’ll make it to most of my ballots because I think he’ll be a good contributor and I think highsec war via noob-accessible approaches is important. I also think he’ll be one of four candidates that splits the EVE University vote (along with Trebor, Ripard and James Arget).
  2. Cipreh. and…
  3. Chitsa Jason. Both are solid candidates, as I said in the Endorsements post. Either would do well and I’d happily support either as the wormhole representative post-election if they beat my preferred candidates. Their main problem is their direct competition (Ayeson, James Arget and Nathan Jameson), which is even better. Both will make my wormhole ballot, and highly placed. They will be in stiffer competition and may not make my non-wormhole ballots however.
  4. Corebloodbrothers. Core is excited about the race, and enthusiastic. He is the optimistic voice so few others are, and I think it would be great to get him in. Just listen to his Crossing Zebras interview. He’s so positive you want to run out and press button. Even notoriously hardcore Xander throws him softball after softball, skipping questions he asks everybody else (like “Do you think you have enough time to seriously commit to the time required for CSM 8?”). He is a 42-year-old IT manager father of 4. I am a 42-year-old IT manager father of 2. I could never find enough time to commit; how the hell can he? I want to support him, but his platform is light on content and I think Ali Aras is a better use of Provi-bloc votes.
  5. Korvin. I struggle with listing him here, because he did no interview, his posting is a shell, and the sum total of what I can find out there about him is that he’s a former CSMer and a Russian and that everyone who has worked with him before endorses him, as do several stalwart CSM candidates. While that’s not much, it’s probably enough to get him the Russian vote.
  6. Apricot Baby. The Player Formerly Known as T’Amber is an enigma. A former CSM member renowned mainly for player events, ship giveaways, amazing ship customization art, a little bit of roleplay and presciently selling off his main in protest of potential microtransactions even before the Summer of Rage, it’s hard to know what exactly he stands for this time around. His Jita Park thread and Candidate site show interests that are clearly in his area of expertise, but in my opinion are not the areas that the rest of the CSM or CCP are going to want to focus on. He is flat-out undeniably the most creative candidate in the race – given an inability to connect with Xander due to differences in time zones, he made his own CZ interview (go listen, it’s only 4 1/2 minutes) by grabbing Xander quotes and dubbing in a female voice answering that is frankly brilliant. But a lack of former CSM peers’ recommendations, and a platform that doesn’t intersect much with the concerns of the other likely members means he will probably not make many ballot recommendations. What I really want to have happen is that I want CCP to hire him in the art department and let him help Team Illuminati. EDIT 4/3: Apricot Baby has dropped from the race due to some RL job changes.

The Nullsec Leaders

The number of sov null candidates this year is staggering. That fact alone means that their quality is a wide swath from really excellent (Malcanis) to truly terrible (Travis Musgrat) and everything between. I’ve split the ones not listed in the Endorsements post into two groups – ones who are solid but potentially one-dimensional (this group) vs. the ones who are fundamentally flawed or indifferent (see below).

  1. Kesper North [CFC/Gents]. My first impression of Kesper, as part of his CSM interview, was that he was just another rinse-and-repeat null blowhard (he simultaneously preaches “CSM unity” and “all about null” in his interview with Xander, which screams hivemind null to those of us who don’t live there). But I changed my mind listening to him on Voices from the Void Episode 68 (regardless of your voter type you owe it to yourself to listen to this episode – it is excellent and very revealing). While I don’t agree with everything he says, he backpedaled from the all-null world, talked about his Faction War experience and showed much more smarts, savvy and leadership skill in this great cross-candidate conversation. He impressed me with his intelligence and ability to see the bigger picture. In addition, his RL experience as a software product manager will be a fantastic viewpoint to bring to the CSM table.
  2. Sort Dragon [HBC/PL]. Can I just say I love listening to the guy say “HBC” (he says “haych-bee-cee”)? He also says “zero point zero” instead of nullsec – and says it a lot. I feel like I’m at class in Oxford when I’m listening to him. He seems to have good leadership drive, has shown strong early moves in HBC leadership and was very open to a rather surprising highsec voting discussion in Voices from the Void 68 (seriously, go listen to this). But Sort’s downsides are pretty strong too – I actually had him rated higher until he took over leadership of the HBC. His candidacy thread is full of slams from his PL alliance-mates, which I found surprising – about him not playing the game since before Inferno?!? Also with a RL business to run, a PL corp to run, and the newly-wobbly HBC to run I struggle to believe him when he says he’ll have enough time to be a strong CSM member. I’d rather see him throw all his votes to fellow HBCer Malcanis.
  3. Riverini [N3]. I waffle with Riverini. He runs EVE News 24 and has good connections, but as a writer I often facepalm over EN24. He has a ton of good enthusiasm in his Crossing Zebras interview, but then he spends half the time obsessing over The Mittani, who isn’t running this time. He misses the days of CCP being bold and daring, which I understand, and he doesn’t like that CCP does a lot of fixes and calls them features. I can understand that too. But I don’t think he has a good grasp on the fact that to truly go back to the “HTFU” school of game design, CCP has to repair a lot of the old foundations first.
  4. Banlish [HBC/TEST]. I wavered on whether Banlish should be here or below. He strikes me as refreshingly “just a player” compared to many of the other bloc candidates, but that’s also his downfall. He thinks Marc Scaurus is still in the race as Lowsec candidate (he isn’t, and his name isn’t Marcus). He doesn’t really know Trebor’s name. He’s admittedly way behind on any media, social or otherwise. He’s playing severe catch-up on what CSM is all about. Poetic would call him an “endearing newbie” in CSM matters. That said, he has some good viewpoints I agree with, particularly around force projection (zipping across EVE in 20 minutes is OP). He also has some good null industry experience. So … he just barely makes the approved list. I hope his enthusiasm once tempered by experience will make him a good CSM, since he is likely to get a seat.

Weak Independents

There are a handful of others that are not bloc-affiliated that I don’t see making it for various reasons. They fall into this bucket.

  1. Steve Ronuken. I’d like to support Steve. He’s a highsec industrialist, which is chronically unrepresented on the CSM, and he seems like a nice guy and an eager, open communicator. He does some 3rd-party dev work and has taken out ads on EVE Kill. But I simply have too many reservations. As a former pirate, I’m not a huge fan of some of his suggestions for lowsec space (station ownership, POS hiding). He’s largely a solo player, and highsec needs more social bonding, not less. His competition is stronger than he is as well – Mike Azariah is a broader, more polished highsec candidate, and Unforgiven Storm a stronger industrialist. I would like to see Steve branch out this year to other areas of space, and expanded types of play. I’d like to see him put together a third-party app that had a level of renown among part of the playerbase, to give himself something specific to point to (be the next developer of an Aura-like, EVE Central-like, etc. tool and trumpet it) – he has loads of industry tools publicly posted on his site that I suspect could be rolled together into an impressive toolset and promoted by him. I think he could be a contender in future years, but I don’t see it this year.
  2. Roc Weiler. I wish I liked Roc. His player, Marcus, apparently does great music – I haven’t bought it myself but others rave. Marcus does good art. I loved Marcus’ EVE app, Capsuleer. But I can’t stand Roc Weiler. I’m sure Marcus is probably a great guy. I am very impressed with how Marcus has re-invented himself and adopted an impressively healthy approach to his real life. And Marcus will tell you that “Roc is a persona” or “Roc is a character”. The problem is that Roc keeps taking over Marcus’ microphone. And Roc is an arrogant, smarmy asshole. Roc is the guy in high school who was a football star, got all the chicks, and treated them all like shit. And Roc tragically answers every question asked of Marcus before Marcus can. Take a listen to Voices from the Void Episode 69 if you want to see what I mean. As Ripard Teg said, Marcus “doesn’t play to his strengths as a CSM candidate.” It is my contention that this is because Marcus too badly wants Roc, not himself, to be elected. I hope someday Marcus runs from an alt, and presents himself without Roc in any way, avoiding problems with this sort of thing that others have experienced. Because Roc doesn’t want to talk about anything other than his favorite subject: Roc. And that makes Roc unelectable. EDIT 4/3: This paragraph took on a bit of a life of its own, and Marcus took a step out from his shadow to introduce himself. I applaud him for this and hope he will run again – as himself – next year. Based on this, consider him moved up to the “Strong Independents” with a good future outlook.
  3. Daehan Minyok. Again, I’m sure Daehan is a nice guy. And I enjoy Podside now and again. But his candidacy is the candidacy about nothing. His platform is vague. He spent most of his interview with Xander saying, “good question” or “I don’t know”. His focus in the interview was around the petition and appeals processes and Walking in Stations, which aren’t even making the radar for the other candidates.
  4. Grand Admiral Simo-Hayha. Pretentious names aside, his candidacy profile starts out well enough. He’s a highsec mining candidate. He’s anti-wardec and anti-gank, presenting himself as the anti-James315 (or Psychotic Monk). Maybe he could be someone to present that viewpoint. But then he gets into the details of his platform and they are flat out terrible. As soon as I read that he wants to be able to build permanent gates to wormholes and implement sov there I wrote him off as clueless at best, saboteur at worst. And he stood up Xander, which loses you points in my book. EDIT 4/3: Simo-Hayha didn’t get enough votes to pass the Primary.
  5. Psycho Bitch. Maybe he’s not a troll. But he is a terrible writer. With terrible ideas. He never even tried to get a Xander interview.

The Nullsec “Hubris Candidates”

In Xander’s interviews, he often asked the candidates of null blocs if they were displaying hubris for caring little or none at all for anyone outside their corp, alliance or coalition. The folks I rated well had a good answer. Those below did not.

  1. Kaleb Rysode [CFC/GSF]. I wanted to like Kaleb. I really did. Kaleb is from the Goon diplo arm, Vile Rat’s legacy. I have been favorably impressed with every other CFC candidate at some level or another. Based on both pedigrees, I expected better. But Kaleb is, flatly, coasting. His platform is “communication” but frankly both Mynnna and Ripard Teg are better communicators outside his own silo. He speaks of collaboration but so does every other candidate. He admits he doesn’t log in much, preferring to metagame. And his platform? A video of CCP Guard dancing in Vegas. I’m sure there’s more to him than this, but I don’t see it. He gets first among the disappointing null candidates only because Mynnna endorses him, and I respect Mynnna.
  2. Greene Lee [AAA]. A current CSM member and Russian candidate. And yet his current CSM compatriots have all endorsed Korvin as the best Russian candidate. Greene doesn’t have much to say in his own favor either. But at least he has experience. For what that’s worth.
  3. Sala Cameron [HBC/PL]. He may be a good FC (during the Crossing Zebras interview Xander kept calling him “legendary”) and he does have a handful of things I agree with him on (excessive structures in sov, effectiveness of blueballing, need for better income opportunities in Lowsec). But he has a number of facepalm-inducing ideas he shares with the horrendous Travis Musgrat: the PL “war games” are a great idea and the perfect answer, force projection is not overpowered, Titans need a buff, and that Titan balance is a “very sensistive topic”. I LOL’d.
  4. Awol Aurix [HBC/TEST]. But at least Sala gets what CSM is about. Awol really doesn’t. Why should we vote for him? Because he’s TEST. Why should be be on CSM? Because he’s TEST. What his his communication plan? To talk to TEST. What is his platform? To do whatever TEST needs. Maybe he thinks Test is playing group PVE on their own shard. Test failed.
  5. Progodlegend [N3/S2N]. But at least the guys above these two dregs put in the minor effort to talk to Xander. To have a statement. Progodlegend stood Xander up, barely squeaked a candidacy statement, and his Jita Park thread has been “gonna be done after his test” for days. The thread is full of people calling him out for being habitually late. He hasn’t even been elected and he’s already absent. He doesn’t give a shit and you shouldn’t vote for him. EDIT 4/10: I finally got to see what makes Progod of interest to anyone by listening to his Lost in EVE appearance. He makes a pretty good accounting for himself here, and makes a decent case for why experienced FCs belong on the CSM. However he still mostly blows off the broader community, which keeps him in this category, and then talks about how great Travis is, which is laughable at best and makes you question Progod’s intelligence at worst. So if I were to do the ranking over again, he would move up one place, above Awol Aurix.
  6. Travis Musgrat [N3/NC.]. OK, so adding him again makes the count here 21, but it is worth re-stating that I pronounced Anathema upon him in the previous post. Seriously, avoid at all costs. Given Progodlegend and Travis as examples of their finest members, is it any wonder N3 remains a distant third to the GSF and HBC in game as well?

So there’s the rundown. Up next – how to put all this information into action in order to do all you can to get a good CSM … STV slate voting recommendations.

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6 Responses to CSM 8 Voters Guide – The Muddy Middle

  1. Thanks Rhavas.

    I really bricked my interview with Xander, spent too much time preparing built it up in my head way more than I should have and bottled it completely. Couple of folks I know outside of game listened and knew right away how I’d done myself in. Even now a week later I am still kicking myself on it, but its done & out there now.

    Thanks for the mention though. All publicity helps.

    • Rhavas says:

      Don’t beat yourself up too hard. I’ll be posting my suggested voting slates (one for wormholers, one for sov null, and one for everyone else) on voting day and I think you’ll be very pleased with how I rank you. People have rough days with Xander. 🙂

  2. Roc Wieler says:

    Wanted to drop by and say thanks for posting this. It was objective, well worded, and left me doing some genuine soul searching. In fact, I’ve posted you a reply on my blog if you’re interested.


  3. Pingback: Eleventh Hour Endorsements | Finders & Keepers

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