CSM is a flawed concept

Per EvE wiki:

The Council of Stellar Management (CSM) is a player-elected council to represent the views of the players to CCP. Current CSM members can be identified by the golden title CSM under their image in forum posts, and a list is available in the Category CSM Candidates.

Players can raise issues to the CSM for consideration, and obtain support for the CSM to raise issues to CCP by posting in the Assembly HallChannel on the Eve-Online official forums.

So nominally the CSM is an advisory body to CCP.  This works in two formats.

  1. Players bring concerns to the CSM which in turn brings them to CCP.  CCP marries up these concerns with projects already in progress or contemplates new projects to bring about these changes.  With the exception of smaller “Quality of Life” issues, it is an uphill battle.
  2. CCP solicits information from the CSM.  CSM meets either physically in Iceland or electronically (over Skype it would seem) and discusses how to proceed with varying levels of player input.

It seems to me that #2 gets more attention from CCP.  Look at the summer of rage and/or the open issues vs. activities page for the current CSM you will note that by and large CCP pays more attention to their own agenda.  It’s their party they can eat whatever cake they want.  The CSM, especially the last two, have had a lot of success getting things done through method one.  The focus on small things, on quality of life, and on balance issues paid handsome dividends both to the popularity of the CSM and to player enjoyment, however when it comes to sweeping changes the CSM has not had much success short of riots in jita.

So now we are left with CCP solicitations.  The problem here is the method by which the CSM is elected.  A popular election with a totally open format grants great power to mega-blocs and provides a voice only for those who can gather the votes necessary.  Nullsec receives overwhelming attention and highsec, wormhole and lowsec tends to get both poorer candidates and fewer, with apologies to the candidates I support.

I propose reforming the CSM and renaming it to what it really is.  The Stellar Advisory Board.  CCP would solicit members for a 1 year term based on the category of player they represent.  The SAB would comprise of categories of which I would definitely include:

  1. Nullsec
  2. Lowsec
  3. Faction Warefare
  4. Highsec
  5. Wormhole
  6. Industry
  7. Community Relations

Nullsec would have 3 representatives to ensure 1 faction didn’t command CCPs attention, and I’d want 2 for each of the next 4.  Industry and Community Relations might get one each, I would also severely limit travel.  The entire board doesn’t have to meet with CCP twice a year.  Once would be nice, probably around fanfest, but to save CCP some money and to enhance the communication bringing only the relevant board(s) to Iceland (or Atlanta if an entire board is comprised of US folks) makes a lot more sense than dragging out the Wormhole and Highsec folks to talk about iterating on Dominion.

The smaller teams also limit meeting size.  Meeting size kills meeting content.  Ever been in a meeting with a dozen people?  It seems the more folks in the room the less gets done, and people feel free to ignore information that isn’t relevant because they can hide in the background noise.  With 5 people in the room you can’t hide.  A meeting with the Null, Low, and FW folks might have 10 people in the room, just the two lowsec constituencies you’d have 6 or 7.  Rather than having the CSM as this monolithic entity it becomes a more focused tool that CCP can call upon to help refine and temper their own efforts.

Now there would be issues.  This format still doesn’t fix the whole “CCP doesn’t need to listen to the CSM” problem, and the format for the election would need a complete overhall, combined with figuring out a way to make sure that a person is being honest when they say they report their activity with regard to alts and such, and voting might be a real mess.  My first thought as to handling it would be to have each account pick two categories that it can vote for, and vote for any candidate running for that spot.

The idea behind all this is to create a board that fulfills the goal of representing players, by providing picked men to represent them rather than having folks like Mittens claim to represent highsec or industry.  Not that he doesn’t understand it, but his heart isn’t really in it.  Let’s get someone whose heart is.

What about Major Kong?

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About Corelin

An Eve playing Fool who occasionally writes about the shenanigans he and his minions get up to.

Posted on February 10, 2012, in CCP Hijinx, CSM Hijinks, Things I think I think. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Gee we’ve never heard of this idea before. Good thing there’s no way to game this system, nope, no way at all.

    You see a problem of under-representation and are trying to doctor the effects rather than treat the cause. There is NO system that cannot be gamed and is still democratic. The real issue is that nullsec and w-space cater to a crowd that invests a greater amount of effort in the game. The so-called hardcore group, if you will. Of course these people will be over represented because they are more likely to vote. If they all happen to congregate in a given area, that area will see a higher representation. That’s democracy.

    • +1

      Setting up a “party” system (regardless of what you call the groups/parties/slots/etc.) just makes gaming easier. Now you also have to worry about other “minority” (not just in numbers, but also they don’t care enough to vote, not that they have less potential votes). Where’s the group for mission runners? Not all missions are in high-sec, so that category won’t work. What about Incursion runners? Would pirates go under “Community Relations”? Which kind of pirates, ones some call griefers or only people who prey on those entering low-sec?

      That’s not even to get into your fanciful forcing of keeping factions from dominated. How does allowing only three candidates for Nullsec “ensure 1 faction didn’t command CCPs attention”? How many Goons (not that this was a bad thing) get into the CSM? Why does Nullsec (a small portion of the EvE popluation) artificially get more candidates than Highsec (the majority of the EvE population)? What happens when (or even if) Highsec gets organized and puts up five candidates, they’re now artificially limited to 2/3 of the votes of somone 1/4 their size…minorities set to dominate a democracy? That’s awesomesauce!

      Just leave it a popular vote. If certain “groups” want to get a candidate in, then they organize themselves (kinda the whole point of EvE’s sandbox, yeah?) to get that candidate in.

  2. I’m guessing you never saw Babylon 5? Cause you basically just proposed the Gray Council, only with more “castes”. 😉

    As for the “democratic” factor, my literary diety, H.L. Mencken, Master Emeritus of Cynicism, once wrote a couple fitting quotes: “Democracy is the misguided belief in the collective wisdom of the individual ignorance,” and “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard.”
    And one as especially applies to Mittens: “Democracy is the art & science of running the circus from the monkey cage.”

    In light of the metagaming community and :loldemocracy: (especially in a game), I would propse that instead of a democratically-elected CSM, instead CCP engage the services of “Subject Matter Experts”.
    CCP should instead solicit applications from people to serve as SMEs and content advisors for such things as Industry & Trade, Missioning & complexing, FW, nullsec warfare, etc. They DEFINITELY have the means to successfully vet the applicants experience and knowledge — they don’t need API keys, they have full access to everything on your accounts.

    Unlike the CSM, where one can run on the platform of “buffing hisec” or “changing sov warfare” and then turn around and either 1) know jack and shit about the topic at hand, or opine upon topics of which they have no knowledge, or 2) (more likely) deliberately mislead and “metagame” to get a seat, then set out about their own personal agenda… esp since there’s no “recall” mechanic in place… a set of CCP-designated SMEs would be thoroughly vetted, subject to “background checks” well above and beyond anything even the most stringent of nullsec alliances could imagine.

    Hm. now I’m percolating. Prob should just write a blog post about this idea. 😉 But thanks for prodding it, Sata’i Corelin. 😉

  3. I actually think a more representational set up like this is much better in theory, but in fact would just be easier for the null blocs to game.

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