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.

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5 Responses to Early Thoughts: CSM X Elections and the End of CSM 9

  1. Agreed! Great article as usual, Rhavas.

  2. Gorski Car says:

    I communicate with ppl ingame, the eveoforums and reddit. Im not a fan of writing blogs or tweeting.

    • Rhavas says:

      Fair enough, I have an edit in the works for this post … do you have some particularly active topic threads I should check out in either place?

      • Gorski Car says:

        https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=5438174 I guess. Currently fighting the bads who think that my lack of time during the winter summit = I do nothing. I also moderate reddit.com/r/eve

        • Rhavas says:

          OK Gorski, thanks for the insight into where you focus your communication.

          I did some more legwork. You are, as you say, active on Reddit and on the Forums (although there it appears primarily in your CSM thread rather than broadly). My impression, to quote Jayne Fillon in a recent interation with you, is that “You seem to switch between shitposting wildly and dropping wisdom bombs. One of these doesn’t belongs on the CSM or in any official interaction with CCP.”

          Your response: “I dont see how my Reddit posts are official interactions with CCP. The **** I post on Reddit I mostly post to amuse myself and others for upvotes. It’s not how I speak on the CSM in any official channel.”

          Jayne backed down from that and said he meant it as a compliment, but from my PoV it’s pretty accurate on its face. The problem is that we, the general public who doesn’t know you from PL, or RvB, or VoC, only sees that most of your stuff is random shitposting, but then you kick out fantastic pieces of PVP balance input all through your candidate forum thread.

          How is the general public to know which persona CCP will get (this is another argument for transparency, IMO)? In the end, I do think that they need small gang and solo expertise, but if you get on I hope you will broaden your horizons so that you “can actually contribute with stuff” (to borrow your words) more across the board.

          If you do NOT get in, I hope you will take a shot at being a commentator at Alliance Tournament – I think that’s somewhere that you’d shine.

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