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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Faction Warefare
- 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.