I Have Been Elected as the King of Cheese

Why does Cheese need a King?  Why not!

Kinda silly when you think about it.  Almost as silly as being elected the Chairman of the Council of Stellar Management.  What do they manage?  Well let’s look at what Management means:

1.  the act or manner of managing;  handling, direction, or control.

2.  skill inmanaging;  executive ability: great management and tact.

3.  the person or persons controlling and directing the affairs ofa business, institution, etc.: The store is under new management.
4.  executives collectively, considered as a class ( distinguished from labor).

I think we can throw out #2 and #4 in this case.  Neither really applies in context, so what does the CSM control what affairs do they direct?  None and None.  The CSM is not a management board and it is not a governing body.  We treat it as such and we elect it as such but they have no responsibility as a government or a managing agency.  The Council for Stellar Management serves two functions.  They advise CCP on such matters as CCP deigns to bring them in on, and they report to the players and to CCP on matters of concern to both parties.  I think this is where Ripard’s “Customer Relations” bit comes from, not to put words in his mouth, but it does seem the shortest chain of inferences.  The CSM talks to players as a sort of adjunct to CCP, and talks to CCP as representatives for the players.  They do not manage anything, they advise and council on key matters.

And yet we elect them like it’s a political matter.  We vote on them as if they were senators, not advisors, the Chair is treated like the presidency, not a “First Councilor” or some such.  This is silly.  This needs to change.  Any discussion of “election reform” in EvE that doesn’t take this into account is just kicking the can down the road.

I know I’ve advocated for this before, but somehow it didn’t stick so I’ll just wave my own flag again:

Stellar Advisory Board

The Stellar Advisory Board is an elected body of variable size, chosen by CCP and the players in concert.  CCP determines its needs for the year based on planned expansions and hot issues.  They take the slate of positions to the players, players announce their candidacy and are vetted by the current SAB and CSM in concert to make sure they are somewhat relevant.  Having Kelduum as a Null rep is about as asinine as having The Mittani as a dedicated PvE expert.  There’s better people for both jobs and having people from unassailable blocs filling those spots wastes time and resources and denies both players and developers valuable assets in that area and elsewhere.  Once the candidates are vetted we go into the election cycle.  Each account will get three votes to put in three different candidates, letting them pick which areas (plural) are important to them.  Yeah in theory the superblocs could potentially sweep by covering all the bases, but they will still need to pick what’s *really* important to them and cover the bases.

Imagine next year CCP says “Ok we’re going to commit to Nullsec here’s what we need”

  1. Alliance Management – 3 people
  2. Fleet Management – 3 people
  3. Group PvE – 2 people
  4. Large Scale Industry – 2 people

That’s 10 people and covers the areas CCP wants to hit hardest, now they turn to the secondary areas, all of which get 1 for the year

  1. Lowsec Specialist
  2. Wormhole Specialist
  3. Dust Link Specialist
  4. EvE Community Expert
  5. At Large Seat (3)

Total number is 17.  I would bring all these people to Iceland, but just once.  With the technology available to do meetings between continents and without the need to have all 17 there for many of the meetings I don’t feel that bringing them all there for a special summit is absolutely necessary howeve; I am told by Hans Jagerblitzen that “… you cannot undersestimate the value of having people in Iceland, in person.  And also, on record, other than the summit, which is highly publicized, all the other meetings we have with CCP are smaller number of people involved and ARE done electronically” which goes two directions, first it says that the CSM needs face time with CCP.  Second it says that there’s a lot that can be done with technology.  Bring them all in, couple days after fanfest, instead of 14 trips this hypothetical SAB is doing 17.  CCP can handle it for the far more directed information they will get.

Hans brought up another point which I hadn’t considered.  The CSM can help get CCP on to some sort of long-term vision for EvE Online.  The sort of “We want to see changes along this philosophy” from the perspective of the players who really do contribute the most to the game.  I think that CCP needs to have an “Emeritus board” of the most well-regarded CSM / SAB members to help CCP find that long term vision that has been notably absent from more recent developments.  I think it would be excellent to get the advice of people like Mynxee or Z0D or Sokratesz, especially as they’ve seemingly all left despite long and storied careers, on not just the nuts and bolts of the progression of the game, but the actual underlying philosophy.

Imagine if there were people representing the players who helped instruct new employees on why the game exists a certain way.  You think CCP Greyscale would have ever even briefly entertained the notion of having a situation where an agressed player was prevented from defending himself by game mechanics if someone like Mynxee or The Mittani had sat down with him at some point and said “Undock = consent to a level of PvP.”  You think that whole “Greed is Good” fiasco would have happened if T’amber had had the standing to make a statement to CCP on other ways to implement the RMT store?  Also to plug T’amber check him out on Facebook and check out the photo galleries.  You will be floored.

Bottom line:  The CSM doesn’t make sense.  We elect politicians to advise, we don’t select advisors to advise, or elect governors to govern.  We need to fix that.  We need to use this resource, this incredible community that supports EvE Online and match it up more precisely with CCP, not politicians, but advocates, not managing, but advising.  Not wasted.  Used.

About Corelin

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

Posted on September 18, 2012, in CCP Hijinx, CSM Hijinks, Things I think I think. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. The idea an advisory board is enhanced by the fact that CCP is clearly unhappy about the mix of players they are getting in CSM elections, so are trying to work out a way to rig the game… without looking like they are rigging the game… to get the results they want from the 15% of the player base that bothers to vote.

    If they are going to go that route, they ought to just do the whole thing by invitation and drop the pretense.

  1. Pingback: The Word I am Looking for is “Gerrymandering” « The Ancient Gaming Noob

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