Thursday, April 4, 2013

CSM8 Voting Recommendations



The day has come, its time to go to the polls and vote for the 8th Council of Stellar Management! And as one of your retiring representatives, it is both my responsibility and my pleasure to endorse the candidates I want to replace me and my outgoing colleagues. I'll make this introduction short so I can move on to the actual list, and save the detailed explanations as to why I've selected these individuals for last for those readers who want to know more.

There is no "Faction Warfare" candidate per se this year, and no real dedicated "low sec" candidate either. Many of you have asked me who I'd recommend in place of myself, and my answer to you is to vote according to the following list. It's simple as that. These are the 14 best candidates eligible for CSM8, and a team that I know I can work with even without being a CSM member to make sure our concerns are heard and fought for. I've had the honor of getting to know most of these candidates personally throughout the last year, and I know they are all individuals that will listen and work with players like myself regardless of their background or political affiliation.

TL,DR:
Were you happy with my performance the last year? Would you have voted for me again? Voting the following list (in specific order) is an easy and convenient replacement for voting for me with your accounts, had we run with the old election rules and had I chosen to stand for re-election.

Without further ado, my personal ballot:*


Trebor Daehdoow
Malcanis
Ripard Teg
Mike Azariah
Steve Ronuken
Mangala Solaris
Psychotic Monk
Roc Wieler
Ali Aras
corebloodbrothers
James Arget
Korvin
Kesper North
Mynnna


A general explanation of my decision-making process:

Many of you are confused and overwhelmed by the new Wright STV electoral mechanics. That's just fine. There's little value in trying to overly strategize here, the value of the transferable system means that you should put the ones you want in the council the most at the top of the list, and make sure that the list as a whole reflects the 14 you want elected to the council above all other votes.

There's already an alleged leak of the prescribed HBC/CFC bloc ballot, which if remotely close to the real deal simply reaks of irresponsible political leadership trying to prove a ridiculous point and "punish" CCP for handing them a "clear advantage" via the Wright STV system. It's nonsense, its rooted in ignorance, and it'll result in a weaker council if such a stunt were to indeed be employed. The bottom line is that the voting results will be proportional to voter turnout. This is simple mathematical truth, no amount of metagaming can change this. If nullblocs only bring 50% of the total vote to the polls, they'll only obtain 50% of the seats, even if they list an entire slate of 0.0 candidates. This mathematical truth about Wright STV is widely known by CCP already, so there's zero opportunity here to "teach" CCP otherwise. YOU, the voter, get to decide what percentage they take this election, not any arrogant bastard that says otherwise.

This reality affects my ballot as well. Just as I think its reckless and counterproductive to put weaker candidates on a ballot because they happen to align with a coalition's political interests, I think its reckless and counterproductive to exclude a candidate from your ballots because they "already have enough votes" from a bloc. Your vote has 14 different stops on its way to being discarded – make sure everyone single one lands on a member of your personal dream team (or mine if you trust me).


For those that want to know why each of these candidates belong on your ballots:



Trebor Daehdoow – Trebor is the real deal, there isn't much more to say than that. His CSM experience is unmatched, his wisdom has been critical throughout the year during difficult periods of working with CCP, and above all he has demonstrated unbreakable patience in "playing the long game" when it comes to accomplishing goals. Patience that has paid off in spades as one by one he continues to check off boxes – Black Ops improvements, PI improvements, UI improvements, POS improvements, CSM White Paper reform, Voting reform, refocused attention on 0.0, resource rebalancing. Trebor asks tough questions of both CCP and fellow CSM members – which is exactly why he's been a lightning rod for propaganda from parties threatened by the "inconvenient truths" exposed by his work.

Malcanis
– Malcanis was of great inspiration during my original campaign, and I was one of many that lamented the fact that he was not running alongside me. He has fiercely defended everyone's right to play the game wherever and however they please, and has long elevated the conversation surrounding high sec to include respect for the fact that veterans live and play there too. He is one of New Eden's greatest philosophers both from a game play perspective as well as politically, and doesn't have any patience for the bullshit and metagaming that people try to inject into the process. I can say with complete confidence that he'll bring respect and acclaim to the CSM as an institution during his term, and provide extremely valuable insight during a time where CCP is positioned to reap the maximum benefit by using him as a stakeholder in their development process.

Ripard Teg
– Ripard is without question the most prolific blogger in the EVE community, outspoken, hard-working, and meticulous in presentation. He will no doubt be a strong voice for independent organizations in the changing 0.0 landscape this coming year. Like Trebor, Ripard has a knack for drawing criticism from within certain political circles that perceive him as a wily threat. But even if you agree with some of their cynical rhetoric (like that he's been blogging for two years just to build up for an inevitable second run), you still can't argue that he hasn't earned his seat at the table. Ripard Teg will no doubt be a clear and consistent source of information for those looking to stay plugged into the CSM's activity.

Mike Azariah
– Year after year, Mike continues to stand for CSM as one of the most highly deserving and vastly underrated candidates on the ballot. Mike has a warm heart, a keen intellect, and a strong voice yet stubbornly refuses to present himself as anything other than who he really is – a role playing "carebear" who refuses to get caught up in the greater metagame. The result is that Mike usually ends up failing to captivate voters despite being a better man than most who end up on the council. This year the changes to the voting system offer him the best possible chance he could ever have given this too-honest-for-politics campaign strategy, and I encourage each and everyone of you to capitalize on this opportunity and put Mike at the top of your ballots as well. Mike Azariah will no doubt bring wisdom and patience to CSM8 along with insight into a demographic that CCP cannot afford to ignore – those of us with families, full-time jobs, and who want to enjoy EVE on our own time at our own pace.

Steve Ronuken
– Steve is one of the younger candidates on my ballot, but one I was particularly impressed with after hearing his interview with Xander Phoena. He's down to earth, thoughtful, and demonstrated a good understanding of the role of the CSM in working with CCP. In addition to valuable experience with industry (which I think will see a heavier focus this coming year than the last), Steve is also a third party developer, a skill set that is greatly needed on the Council. CSM8 needs an API expert to observe and advise CCP during the CREST rollout, and Steve Ronuken is well-qualified to accept the mantle of responsibility from Two step as he retires.

Mangala Solaris
– Mangala represents an iconic institution within the EVE community, RvB, which has performed with great success a similar role as the Faction Warfare system in providing a home for all of us impatient players who simply want to log in and blow shit up. Not just me personally, either. In fact - casual, accessible mixed-gang PvP is such a staple form of play in the EVE universe that countless veteran players continue to spend hours flying on RvB or FW alts every week while bored out of their minds elsewhere in the universe. Given the state of the war dec system (its still barely functional) and the fact that FW is once again churning the way I always knew it could given the proper grease, my hope is that both Mangala and Psychotic Monk will continue to engage CCP on the state of wars in EVE and assist in bringing them to the point where they generate real conflict.

Psychotic Monk
– Monk is what many would call a griefer. He's the guy that wants to kill you, even though you don't want to be killed, and the more you don't want to be killed, the more enjoyment he gets from killing you. And guess what? This is one of the most common reasons people enjoy EVE in the first place. There are bound to be some intense discussions about safety, consent, and the role of PvP in EVE Online in the coming year, and Monk will be a strong voice for those that like to help create the very danger that makes the game so thrilling and meaningful. James 315 built himself a cult following based around these ideals (mixed with some old-fashioned schoolyard bullying), but ultimately chose his cult over the chance to work with CCP and enact real change. Psychotic Monk on the other hand has eschewed much of the ridiculous rhetoric that would only serve to watered down his message at the negotiating table, a wisdom and maturity that has not only earned him respect amongst the community, but also a place on my personal ballot.

Roc Wieler
– Despite all the bravado, the pushups, and the image he sells, there's something remarkably unpretentious about Roc Wieler when you actually sit down and listen to him speak. He is simultaneously capable of respecting and defending the fact that this is a role-playing game and that we're all putting a mask on to dance in the ballroom, but he doesn't place this joy on a pedestal or protect it at the expense of wanting to do something greater for the community. Much like Mike Azariah, his refusal to engage in the dog-and-pony show each election season could easily be called out as a sign of laziness or a form of campaign self-sabotage, but ultimately my responsibility is to elect people who I think have the right combination of talent and respect for the position, not those who learn how to play an arbitrary and often irrelevant political game in the run up to the proper CSM term. Roc has approached me with a desire to personally look out for the Faction Warfare community's needs wherever applicable this coming year, and I look forward to working with him should he be elected.

Ali Aras
– While Kelduum has done a great job advising CCP all year with regard to issues affecting new players, his retirement leaves a void here that I think will be filled very effectively by Ali Aras. Ali isn't simply declaring herself an advocate for those new to the game, she's experienced the very frustrations that drive people away from the game in the first place, and yet returned to redouble her commitment not only to the game but also to the player community. This not only suggests that CCP is heading in the right direction where this is concerned, it mandates that CSM8 have a powerful and informed voice for those just starting out in our universe. I will tell you this, everyone – Dust514 is already bringing the first wave of new trial accounts to EVE proper, and its essential we have talented representatives who will make it a matter of personal responsbility to ensure these players have a wonderful time and stick around for years to come.

corebloodbrothers
– coreblood is another perennial candidate well-qualified for the job but who often under-performs during election season because of the unfortunate realities of a conventional FPTP voting system and lack of a large bloc in 0.0 to support him. None of that detracts from his resume, nor from his absurdly logical and balanced approach to CSM work in general. Dont just take my word for it, take the time to listen to corebloodbrothers' interview with Xander Phoena and I think you'll seem the same enthusiasm, intuition, and good judgement that I do. Corebloodbrothers eschews the conventional treatment of CCP as the enemy, and clearly understands that the CSM accomplishes the most when it partners with dev teams in solving mutual problems encountered during the design process. For all of you that enjoy small-gang PvP and want knowledgable and effective representatives keeping an eye out for us, corebloodbrothers belongs on your ballot as well.

James Arget
– There's no denying the fact that wormhole community has proven itself a powerful voting presence in the last two elections, and with Two step standing alongside Trebor as one of the loudest voices for electoral reform amongst the various members of CSM7, smart money is on this new voting system guaranteeing a WH candidate despite the explosion of volunteers for the job and competitive race. It's precisely because of this close race within the wormhole community that I want to make sure my ballot counts here too if needed. James conducted himself extremely well during his interview with Xander Phoena, answering tough questions with sensible answers and demonstrating skill at articulating a nuanced point of view effectively. CSM8 will be stronger with a shrewd voice for the wormhole community on board, and James Arget is my pick for the job.

Korvin
– Simply put, the Russian community in EVE hasn't gotten their money's worth out of the CSM this year (however you want to interpret that, I'm sure there's a hilarious if distasteful RMT joke in there somewhere). Korvin on the other hand is a known quantity as a CSM representative and comes recommended by others who have worked with him previously. I see no benefit from such a large portion of the player base continuing to suffer from voter apathy or cynicism, and I'd love to see Korvin seize the moment and reverse the trend. Last but certainly not least, I see value in Ripard Teg's desire to build more consistency into the CSM's practices and communication, and am happy to help him build a team he can work with to achieve this goal.

Kesper North
– Kesper is the CEO of Gentlemen's Agreement, and will likely be voted in as part of the CFC ticket. However, Kesper is also one of the most grounded candidates on the ballot and deserves a seat alongside Mynnna. Like myself, Kesper started his EVE career as a diplomat, a skillset that I believe is crucial to success at what we do. CSM work is nothing but diplomacy. Alhough he's having a blast being remembered as the hero of the revolution, the truth is that The Mittani's success came from him casting aside unnecessary formality, by treating CCP staff as human beings rather than a collective enemy, and from understanding (and supporting) CCP's corporate goals. He was never in a rush to give players the pitchforking they ironically now idolize him for, and despite criticism over "taking the wrong side" he continued to remain practical throughout the crisis – harnessing the voice of the player base through media exposure but never inciting riots in an attempt to bludgeon CCP with a personal agenda. This lesson has deeply influenced my own work on the CSM, and you'll notice my entire ballot here is filled with people who understand this critical nuance as well. Kesper North is certainly no exception.

Mynnna
– Mynnna needs little introduction, and many would argue doesn't need my vote either, but he deserves a seat on CSM8 and I'm happy to include him amongst the 14 I most want to see in office. Mynnna's knowledge of the game's economy is unparalleled, his work ethic is well-demonstrated not only through his extensive public writing but also to me, personally, throughout our ongoing conversations during the last term. Mynnna is one of few candidates who's really stepped forward and sought to learn as much as possible from CSM7 about the responsibility he's accepting rather than taking this opportunity for granted. And while The Mittani constantly grappled with reconciling his position as CSM Chair and as the primary propagandist for the CFC, Mynnna derives far more pleasure from tearing down the tinfoil and riling people up with simple truths instead. I have little doubt that Mynnna will use his grounded perspective (uncommon amongst those in his position) to bring success and respect to the CSM along with the rest of the candidates I've listed today.


*Positions 1-4 are all tied for top choice. Each will be number one for one of my four accounts, the rest in the order as listed.