The 4th Estate
Next year could be a very interesting year in the blog community. Ripard Teg seems to be almost a lock to earn a seat, and maybe a ticket as a CSM. Mike Azariah is also running, so is Roc Wieler. Riverini has also thrown in his hat.
I don’t get it. I really don’t. Any one of these guys has the ears of New Eden to a greater or lesser extent. They can influence both the activity and thinking of the game sitting at home in their boxers and bathrobes. What’s more they offer a check on both the players and CCP by having the ability to raise the bullshit flag when things go crazy. Ripard Teg us a fantastic example. His clear, well written analysis is obviously brilliant, communicative and almost always spot-on. He’s volunteering to wear a muzzle for a year to serve on the CSM. If he wants CCP to hear what he has to say he can do it. He can post a blog and watch for the hits from Iceland. If he wants to influence and communicate to the players he can post a blog or send it to The Mittani Inc. Ditto for Mike. Ditto for Roc. Even more so for Riverini.
Sure they get to strut on the stage. Fly overseas a couple times, enjoy the limelight, but they trade off a lot. They get access to CCP directly, both formally and informally. They get to hear CCP’s plans and have some influence on where they go. Sometimes that even works. They have to sign an NDA too. They are limited in what they say by their agreement with CCP. Some of the most outspoken and capable critics of CCP, the communities, the structure of the game, and even other bloggers are going to be strictly limited. It’s one thing for an alliance leader like The Mittani to bear the muzzle, or even a middle manager like many of the current crop. Their responsibility is to their alliance. The muzzle sits lighter and they just have to avoid “insider trading” type moves. Their conflict of interest is in putting the profit of the alliance over the knowledge they gain. Bloggers are the whistle-blowers. When they get inside information that they disagree with their need is to trumpet it. When they get inside information that something amazing is coming out, they want to trumpet it. Their goal is to be a seamless conduit. Information spread openly and completely.
I know the CSM is supposed to communicate, but it’s far from seamless. Minutes take forever to release. They are heavily edited. CSM members are strictly limited in what they can say on their own. Sometimes they may not take full advantage of everything they can say, but other times they are very limited and suffer for it. The responsibility of the 4th Estate, the price for the pleasure we take in blogging is a responsibility to share. To take ourselves seriously (because internet spaceships ARE serious business) we have to hunt down stories, break them, follow up, and find out what we think EvE players need to know, and make sure they know it. A CSM might know things players need to know. They also might not be able to do a damn thing about them. Hopefully the muzzle rests lightly on the mouths of the bloggers. Hopefully those that serve on the CSM are able to maintain their level of service to the community. Their voices are valuable, make no mistake and if CCP wants to know what they think, you know they have the blogs bookmarked.