I never had the honor of being able to call him a close friend, nor the privilege of serving alongside him on the Council of Stellar Management, but Sean Smith - known to most of you as "Vile Rat" - still managed to touch my life in a meaningful way and left me with a priceless gift. I feel compelled to take a moment to share some of the advice he gave me during one of our last conversations before his tragic death yesterday during the attack in Benghazi.
Sean was a man that was passionate about EVE Online, but even more passionate about its player community, and it was this commitment to each of you that made him expect the very best from council representatives like myself. There is no way to sugar-coat the truth, Sean was disappointed with CSM7, frustrated that he didn't see a powerful entity waging war on behalf of the players he loved. This is understandable, as our term in office has not yet been marked by any of the intense trials or tribulations that previous CSM's were forged through.
"Using the CSM to take care of the players when injustice happens, makes me elated."
It is trivial at this point to speculate on whether Sean would have felt the same way had he sat with us this year, had he seen the fruits of the labor he poured out last year. I know he would have appreciated the fact that CCP is genuinely trying to do a better job of keeping the players informed about what they are working on, and a better job of listening to our advice. There is not a single doubt in my mind that the reason that each of us on the sitting council have enjoyed a relatively drama-free term is because of the painstaking effort that CSM6 put into fighting for our community last year.
"You are elected to do big things. It takes real work and a lot of out of game coordination."
Unlike a lot of EVE players who find themselves bored or frustrated with the sitting council, Sean refused to jump on a public bandwagon, and refused to throw stones. Sure, he could have politicized the situation and done an excellent job of dicing us to ribbons and set himself up well for the next election. He chose instead to reach out to me personally, privately, and gave me the gift of encouragement where others have simply dished out callous scorn.
One of the things I deeply admire about Sean Smith was his skill in diplomacy - in a game world steeped in never-ending war, Sean was a man who knew how to build relationships as well as destroy them. Knowing which path to take was a critical part of his success as a leader and representative.
"We absolutely didn't make everything a battle. You have to pick your fights"
The only way I know how to give back to Sean what he gave to the community is to challenge the rest of the my fellow representatives to honor his death by reaching for the same level of excellence that Sean provided. Whether we are in the midst of a crisis or navigating peaceful productivity, there is always more work to be done for the players we were elected to defend.
I won't ever have a chance to speak with Sean again, but I will never forget his warmth, his wisdom, and above all - his courage.