First, a few things about how I endorse. My endorsements are not the same as my recommended voting slate. There are some great candidates this year that will not be getting my vote because frankly, they don’t need my help. They have massive voting blocs behind them and will get in whether I vote for them or not. Conversely there are some that are in my second tier that will end up high on my voting list because of my voting priorities. But more on voting slates in the next post.
Doing endorsements this year was a lot harder. I think the community owes Cap Stable and Legacy of a Capsuleer a debt of gratitude for their interviews, and the same for groups who have done debates or panel discussions, including Declarations of War, EVE University and Down the Pipe. But that said, I very much miss the style and approach that Xander Phoena brought to the effort last year on Crossing Zebras. As a candidate himself this year, he has stayed out of the interview business, but last year his approach was hard-hitting and almost always found a way to get the candidates to trip a little bit and show the differences between themselves and other candidates – and they were always over in 30 minutes (Cap Stable tried to stay within that this year as well).
Last year, I had a lot more time (I was mostly sitting in a hospital or living room as my wife recovered from surgery) around the election – this year I have been badly strapped for time so have only listened to about a third of the available content, based on my gut checks around viable candidates and my areas of interest. That said, as I have watched other endorsements get announced, I have seen little that surprised me and so am pretty confident in my list.
I approach endorsements through a very similar lens as Kirith Kodachi. This year I am separating my endorsements into two tiers rather than going through the entire candidate base.
First Tier Endorsements
The first tier are people who should simply be on everyone’s ballot. They will be good for the game regardless of your playstyle and you should want them on the CSM simply to make EVE better as a whole. In alphabetical order (ranked order comes next post):
- Ali Aras: In my Grading CSM 8 post, I gave Ali an A+, the only CSM 8 member to get that grade, and one of only two to get an A. Ali was the adorable newbie candidate last year and this year still considers herself a newbie-friendly candidate, but she has matured into a great veteran player and CSM member. Not only do I endorse her, but if she gets back on CSM, I strongly believe she should be CSM 9 Chair. She simply blew the doors off her first year as a CSM. Despite her excellent abilities and qualifications, however, she no longer has the Provibloc vote behind her this year, and needs your vote to keep her in.
- Corbexx: If you’re a wormholer, he hits all the right notes. If you’re not a wormholer, you should know that he is solid, experienced, and intelligent. He is a long-standing player of the game, formerly of Aperture Harmonics and now in No Holes Barred (NOHO). He is a champion of change, but in a thoughtful manner that works across space types. If James wasn’t running, he would be top of my ballot. Corbexx is this year’s Malcanis, in my opinion – smart, seasoned, and a keen observer.
- James Arget: James will be top of my ballot, for several reasons. 1) He now has a year of CSM experience under his belt, on top of his formidable knowledge of game mechanics. He has been endorsed by all of his CSM colleagues that have posted so far, a testament to his effectiveness despite being less visible than Chitsa. I remember one particular issue where it was clearly something that the sov null guys were up in arms about, but had no effect on w-space. He seemed buried in it – I asked him why he was so concerned. His quote: “I represent the entire playerbase, not just wormholes.” 2) He is passionate about the game, and especially about wormhole space. 3) He is a tireless worker. 4) I trust James. We have more than three years of time together in fleets. He is not only one of the lead FCs, but the founder of Future Corps and Sleeper Social Club, built on his original vision. That vision included having the good judgment to step down from the CEO role when other demands claimed his time, rather than dragging the corp down.
- Mike Azariah: Mike was a long shot last year, a surprise victor. He has showed his mettle time and again on this year’s CSM. He also represents a number of chronically under-represented groups in EVE, including missioners, incursion-runners, roleplayers and other highsec carebeary types. He has been a strong, intelligent and forceful advocate for their point of view and deserves to be there to do it again.
- Mynnna: Mynnna may be the smartest person on CSM 8. The Goons may have their quirks, but they didn’t get where they are by being idiots. Mynnna can spot the proverbial butterfly and predict with seemingly uncanny accuracy exactly how the playerbase will manipulate changes into economic chaos – because he knows what he would do. His insight is invaluable to the CSM and he deserves to be in any open slot you might have even if you’re not part of the CFC. More on that in the next post.
- Sugar Kyle: The CSM desperately needs a voice from lowsec. Sugar Kyle is the perfect lowsec candidate, in my opinion. She is not just a lowsec small-gang PVPer, although that is her core. She is also a lowsec hauler. A lowsec mission-runner. The founder and maintainer of a full-blown lowsec market that she created simply because she saw a need. A person who sits in E-UNI and Rookie chat and voice channels for fun to help people out. A lowsec manufacturer, with POS experience making boosters. And most recently, a Faction Warrior. In short, she is lowsec embodied. It is critical that you put her on your ballot for the good of the game.
I’ll talk about the order of these folks in the voting slate post.
Second Tier Endorsements
Beyond the top tier, there are some excellent candidates that while I can’t put them on the “everyone should vote for them” list, should be shoe-ins for various constituencies. These people are strong, solid, and worthy of your vote if their playstyle matches yours. The vast majority will be part of my personal ballot. Again in alphabetical order:
- Asayanami Dei: Asay is a wormhole candidate, and famously the videographer behind the Wormhole Fundamentals and U-Boat videos. While I find his focus on community sites a bit meh, he has the right wormhole ideas in mind and should be on your list if you are a wormholer.
- DJ FunkyBacon: FunkyBacon almost made it to the first tier. He is a faction war candidate with a ton of game experience and a high-profile community member through his EVE Radio show. If you live in lowsec, he should be second only to Sugar Kyle on your ballot. If you roam in lowsec, he should be in the top half. As a wormholer, I can tell you that these days most of our lowsec targets are FW or FW-hunters, so keeping this field of targets happy is a good thing.
- Jayne Fillon: While there is some level of controversy around Jayne, there is no debate around whether he is a content creator. He is a highly-visible public fleet commander associated with Bombers Bar and Spectre Fleet. If you’re a PVPer, you should strongly consider giving Jayne your support.
- Karen Galeo: Karen is that rarest of birds, a wormholer who is also a newbie. Ali Aras has already shown that a newbie candidate can be a fanstastic CSM representative. Karen took newbie to an extreme by setting straight off into w-space, something almost no one does. Big points for bravery, creativity, and HTFU. Younger players and wormholers should have her on their ballots.
- Mangala Solaris: Mangala is another proven content creator and player organizer. As the head of Red vs. Blue, he continues to show that he is able to put immense creativity into the game and find ways to make highsec more interesting. His new column at Crossing Zebras is insightful and useful, even for those of us who aren’t part of that space. Yes, there are stronger incumbents, but a vote for Mangala is a solid vote for the future of the game. Everyone who lives in highsec, is new player focused, or part of RvB should unhesitatingly vote for him.
- Mattias Otero: Mattias is the even-newbier, not-highsec mirror of Mangala Solaris. As the founder of Brave Newbies, he set a course that has gained growing fame for a year as it set out with “fun per hour” as its core metric. Brilliant. If he didn’t already have such a huge voter base, and I knew him better, I might have put him in the first tier. The guy can be nothing but good for the game with this as his base.
- Proclus Diadochu: Proclus is another one with a bit sketchier history – he is particularly famous as a forum troll. I almost had written him off before I listened to his interviews. He was surprisingly direct, refreshing and articulate. Much like Psychotic Monk surprised me last year, Proclus surprised me this year. He has lowsec experience as the founder of Fweddit and now flies with one of my favorite fight targets, Red Coat Conspiracy. I have now been convinced that wormholers and lowsec residents should vote for him with confidence.
- Psychotic Monk: Last year I advocated that Monk should get in, because someone needs to represent the dark side of highsec. Especially with the Erotica 1 drama, Ripard Teg on an anti-bad-culture roll (likely to surface again when his term is over), and James315 continuing to be the worst form of this type, the saner versions like Monk need a voice before they are stomped out for good.
- Steve Ronuken: Steve came very close to making First Tier this year as well. Last year I wrote: “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.” Well, he still needs to branch out in space – particularly wormholes. He gave me a good response to my questions around his AFK Cloaking position (which is IMO really a force projection position) that allows me in good conscience to endorse him but it still gave me a twitch that prevents me from putting him in the top tier. That said, everything else he has done in spades. He is a great face of the highsec industrialist for EVE. He has taken on the mantle of very visible 3rd party developer, with loads of tools provided to the community free of charge. He rescued evebloggers.com. I think his point of view is a badly-needed one, and several CSMs have already said that it is critical that CSM 9 have a good CREST person. All that taken together is enough for me.
- Xander Phoena: Xander is, I’m convinced, a good guy. I like his podcast, although I liked it better a year ago with less bloviating about “best podcast” and more clean, simple 30-minute commentary. Xander’s interviews last year were seminal – a master guide to how to incisively question and consider a CSM candidate. He has been a vocal CSM watcher and commentary man and an incredibly active community member. I have no doubt he’ll be a solid member if elected. The Goon Slate remains to be seen yet, but I’m concerned with his election chances. I think the ringing endorsement from Ripard Teg may be the only thing that pushes him over the top, since I suspect he’ll only be third or fourth on the CFC ballot, and he follows the ignominiously bad CSM performance of his CEO, Kesper North, who did Gents no favors in electioneering.
If someone is not listed here, unlike last year, it should not generally be considered a “strike against” them – since I did not do as exhaustive a review as last year, I may have missed a couple of diamonds in the rough. But I am confident that those above will serve you the voters well.
Next post I’ll cover how to vote to maximize your impact, and how I personally will vote.