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.
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.
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.
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 WhyI decided not to bother with this one. TLDR don’t vote for Jenshae Chiroptera or Xenuria.
- Election Predictions – My bets on who will actually be elected to CSM X
- Election Outcomes Analysis
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.