Blog Banter 34: Killers, Thieves and Lawyers

First:  Theme music
2nd:  Yes it’s a CSM post.  Blog Banter > my silly promises.

Right now the CSM consists of literally the biggest “Killers, Thieves and Lawyers” with backers enough to walk across their backs to Iceland.

The biggest issue they run into is that they are billed as something of a governing body.  They don’t set policy, They aren’t the arbiters of justice.  The Council of Stellar Management manages nothing.  This does make managing expectations a little difficult.  Up until about mid summer of 2011 this CSM was not exactly high on peoples rankings.  Especially when the Summer of Rage broke and they appeared powerless.  During the Summer of Rage the people on the CSM managed to channel all the anger of the player base and use it as leverage, the Devs were much more inclined to listen to the CSM, as much out of CCP desperation as anything.  Suddenly the reviled CSM became beloved.  Now they are expected to cure cancer.  Let’s reel this in now.

CSM 7 should be the last CSM.  Let’s replace it with the Stellar Advisory Council.  The Stellar Advisory Council will have 6 different focuses.  Nullsec Representative, Wormhole Rep, Low-Sec Rep, Highsec Rep, Industrial Rep, and 3rd party development/media rep.

Each focus would have two people.  Ideally they would come from different groups.  Individuals planning on voting would declare two “focus” groups DURING THE NOMINATION PROCESS.  Once you have declared a focus you will be voting in that election.  For example I’d declare Low-Sec and 3rd Party / media.  In addition to, while declaring for the election, characters must (of course) pick a focus to run for.  CCP will vet this.  If Mittens wants to run as a Highsec or Wormhole Rep CCP can take a look at his game activity, position and roles and say, “nuh uh, change it or lose eligibility” assuming they don’t just strip your eligibility for the election to punish shenanigans.

The Fanfest trip is still granted to the top X vote getters, with additional seats given to specific members CCP needs to speak.  Onus on CCP here.  In addition, consultations will be less high profile.  The devs should pull in everyone over the course of the year, but a lot of the consultations can be handled with trips to the nearest offices, to meet with relevant people.  There’s no point having the Wormhole and Highsec guy spinning their chairs in the back of the room or playing on their phones while the Nullsec and Industrial guys come up with a plan for player built stations to get more industrial clout.

There will still be 1 big annual summit with the big 6 (top vote-getter for each category) with topics broken up by “CSM at-large” categories, things that will change the entire game, and topics for smaller “working groups” so that once the “big picture” stuff is out of the way the working groups can focus on the issues of their constituents with the dev teams working in their arenas.

Finally… I DEMAND that the SAC be given fancy hats to wear at all their public appearances.

I'm using it every time I can

About Corelin

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

Posted on March 7, 2012, in Blog Banter, CSM Hijinks. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I very much like the idea of the name change because it more clearly represents what the CSM does and is intended to do. I’m not sure that game focus representation is practical (at least as you have defined it) simply because it is not necessarily compatible with future developments in the game that may expand the number of focus areas and thus potentially the number of seats on the Council. Making CCP responsible for vetting candidates more than is currently done (for age, passport status, and no EULA violations) is not advisable for three reasons: CCP has enough to do with their own mandate of game design and development, the Council represents “the people” so the “the people” should vet its members/candidates themselves through the voting process, and a player’s CURRENT activities in the game do not necessarily represent their knowledge of and prior (or even current, on an unknown alt) experience in the game. If CCP were to attempt to render judgement on any criteria that wasn’t absolutely 100% objective, they would be accused of unfair practices, having an agenda, and playing favorites. Nothing can replace research, discussion, and judgment rendered by the players themselves nor would any other approach have any credibility in the election of a Council that is supposed to represent those players. With the expanded coverage by players on blogs, news sites, and in podcasts, this already happening and will no doubt continue to organically increase with each election.

    Two changes I would like to see are voting procedures (to mitigate the effects of bloc voting) and the imposition of performance criteria on CSM members by CCP to ensure reasonable and visible participation from all members. CCP invests money in the CSM project; even for a volunteer Council, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to expect a certain amount of effort from Council members in return for that investment. CCP and the Council itself should conduct joint quarterly reviews of each member against measurable performance criteria to make sure everyone is fulfilling their duties.

  2. Agree with the name change. Agree with the posting from Mynxee in regards to attempting to force representation from certain areas.

    While I despise the notion of bloc voting, I don’t see any way of eliminating it (or even mitigating it to any great degree). I have voted so as not to have my vote part of a known bloc candidate, and that is as far as I can see how I can affect things.

    Performance reviews of CSM delegates by CCP (and CSM itself) should be done. However, before that review can even be contemplated, the standards need to be made clear to the CSM and candidates before the election. I.e. the earliest this can be set in place is for CSM 8.

  3. Hell, why even put the pretense of elections to it? CCP should just post that they are accepting applications for volunteer “Subject Matter Experts” in certain specific fields of gameplay they’re interested in iterating/pursuing/redoing/etc, and let CCP do the vetting, as you said, and pick who they think would be the most qualified people to advise them on particular issues or styles of play…

    • I think they should do that, but they still need to give the players a stake in things. The purpose of the SAC would be to provide a truly representative board of advisors to the Devs not just an internally selected board that runs the risk of turning into a rubber stamp of “yes men” or “groupthink architects” incapable of disagreeing with CCP.

      If the Council is comprised of CCP employees they would be far more limited in how they presented themselves. Mittens probably pushes things as far as he can and to be completely fair to him he has gotten results. Think someone could do what he does and expect a check on friday?

      • To be clear: the “SMAs” would be chosen from applicants among the player-base. CCP employees would of course be excluded from the application process. As for how “term limits” would work, that I couldn’t say.
        And of course those SMAs would be approached privately by all sorts of “special-interest” groups wanting to see a nerf here, a buff there…
        I think either way, you’re going to run into all sorts of issues, just as ya would in RL politics.
        I do agree though that changing the name to “advisory council” to more accurately reflect the true role would be a good thing.

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