Monday, June 16, 2014

First Thoughts On CSM 9

The winners of the election for the 9th Council of Stellar Management were announced at Fanfest on 3 May.  Perhaps six weeks is too short a time to look into its performance, but I think I'll do so anyway.

First, the opinions of the various individual CSM representatives seem more varied, and more public, than in CSM 8.  Perhaps I relied on reading Ripard Teg's blog too much, but I just seem to hear more from the individual members in the first six weeks with the current body.  Mike Azariah continues to post out of character on his blog as well as hotdrop podcasts and Eve Radio shows faster than Pandemic Legion descends on a ratting carrier.  Ali Aras is still holding her excellent Space Hangouts every two weeks on Google Plus as well as the CSM segment on the Declarations of War podcast.  But we have some new voices as well as four representatives are blogging regularly about CSM related matters.  Sugar Kyle continues to rival Ripard's legendary output on her own blog while elite EVE media mogul Xander Phoena also does a weekly CSM roundupDJ FunkyBacon and mynnna are also producing regular content, which provides their thinking about the direction of EVE.

Major JSilva is becoming a regular fixture on the BigCountry talk show on Eve Radio at 0000 Wednesdays EVE time while Corbexx is also active.  Both made appearances with Sugar Kyle at an event hosted by Eve University on 8 June as well as appearing on the Cap Stable podcast with CCP Falcon and CCP Leeloo.  I hear that Corbexx is active on the social media popular with wormholers, which might explain how I've missed most of what he is doing on the communications front.

On performance, I think that CCP's move from a 6-month to 6-week deployment schedule for EVE Online will keep the CSM hopping.  Building on the momentum established by CSM 8, CSM 9 has already held more meetings with CCP development teams than CSM 8 had at a similar point in time.  Actually, the current CSM has had as many meetings, with as many teams, as is typically held at one of the bi-annual summits.  In addition, CSM 9 has had an impact on the content pushed out already, particularly the freighter changes in Kronos.  I'm pretty sure that the CSM was consulted on moving the industry changes from Kronos to Crius, but I don't know for sure.

The "no officers" model I think has also had an impact on how the CSM reacts to out-of-game events that impact the game.  In the past few CSMs, the CSM tended to speak out with one voice on controversial issues involving CCP.  Not this edition.  When layoffs occurred on 5 June, the public reactions ranged from diplomatic to hopeful to anger.  Interestingly enough, the reactions didn't really contradict.  Xander's hopefulness that any restructuring will improve CCP and EVE Online does not conflict with DJ FunkyBacon's anger and disgust that such restructuring was required in the first place.

One other interesting thing about the "no officers" model and the reaction to the layoffs.  CSM 9's decision to not have officers would not have changed the CSM's reaction, as both CCP Dolan and CSM 8 had agreed not to elect officers until the Summer Summit.  So CSM 9 would have acted without a formal leadership structure anyway.

I should point out that, as an outside observer, CSM 9 does not seem as much in lockstep as CSM 8.  I've seen hints of the disagreements in various weekly updates and blog posts by the various CSM members.  Mike Azariah, on the latest Crossing Zebras podcast, confirmed that the debate is more lively than in CSM 8.  Adding two strong low sec personalities like Sugar Kyle and DJ FunkyBacon might do that.  Throw an industrialist like Steve Ronuken in the middle of an industrial revamp and I'm sure the discussions get rather lively.  That could relieve the concerns that the CSM is dominated by null sec interests, although we will need to wait and see what emerges from the next few releases.

Overall I'm pleasantly surprised by the performance of CSM 9 so far.  I thought that I'd have to wait a lot longer to see results, but this group of representatives has hit the ground running.  Hopefully the enthusiasm displayed so far will continue.

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