Friday, April 5, 2013

Conflicting Views On Voices from the Void 68

I know that I've stated I am not going to cover the CSM 8 election.  But sometimes events happen during a campaign that shed some light on the community as a whole.  Voices from the Void episode 68 is a good example.  The host, Arydanika, had four candidates on the podcast for a debate... 
  • Sort Dragon,  Head of the Honey Badger Coalition
  • Kesper North, the CEO of Gentlemen's Agreement
  • Malcanis, member of The Initiative. and famous ~good poster~
  • Mike Azeriah, jack of all trade and champion for the casual playstyle
Usually these people would never meet as a group, but internet space politics often produce some unusual events.  So while the podcast was about the election, the quartet got into a discussion about the nature of null sec vs. Empire players and how that will influence the election results.  They also discussed the nature of CSM and whether the player body would benefit from diverse opinions.  They also discussed why some in null sec want to totally dominate the CSM.  And those who live in high-sec might be interested to hear that the null sec candidates believe that James 315 would have been a good high-sec member of the CSM.  Podcaster Xander Phoena, who interviewed James 315 when he was still considering running for office, described him as having "an anti-high sec platform arguing for severe high sec nerfs which he believes will better balance the game."  Needless to say, null and high sec players have vastly different views on Eve Online.

The portion I found most fascinating, from 47:37 to 63:04, I transcribed and present below.  For those who wish to listen, I suggest starting at 44:45 to hear what Kesper said that triggered the discussion.  I hope you find the segment as interesting as I did.  It is not a strict transcription as I took out most of the "umms", "likes" and "you knows" to make it more readable.  Enjoy!

Sort Dragon - Unfortunately, the way that the CSM voting has been done for this year, because there is such a strong following through all the coalitions in 0.0., the way the voting is now it will be very hard for anyone from Empire to be able to get into CSM.

Mike Azeriah - Oh yeah, I know.

Sort Dragon - The way that it is run, and the tickets that I know my coalition and Kesper’s coalition will be running and two of the other big coalitions will be running will send the votes for Malcanis, Kesper, mynnna, (if I’m saying that correctly) and all of those particular people.  So unfortunately the people who may come from Empire, who would actually need to be coming from Empire to give the voice of people from mission runners or miners or even wormholers.  I do not think those people will get the votes that they need given the way that the system is running.

Mike - So what you’re saying is you would recommend to the listeners, seeing as the null has a lock on the seats, that the undecideds should put the highsec people at the top of the list just to give a balance to the CSM.

Sort Dragon - Yes.  If anybody in Empire wants to get through they need to get everybody in Empire to vote for them because I do not see how, and Kesper and Malcanis may not agree with me on this, but I do not see an Empire candidate getting through the potential gridlock that will be 0.0.

Kesper North - Actually I think it is possible just because there are not that many null sec candidates this year.  We’ve looked at the field of candidates that are available and I think it’s still possible that a few non-null sec, probably particularly wormhole guys, but I think it is still possible that some non-null sec guys can slip through too.  We’ve had a few candidates drop out of the election that the null sec ticket was planning on voting for like James 315.  He was pretty popular with us.

Mike - Yeah, but you can’t call him a high sec rep.

Kesper - He’s basically a null sec guy who dropped out leaving a space.

Malcanis - The thing with high sec is not that people can’t vote or necessarily that they don’t have ideas, it’s just that how often do you see a credible high sec candidate.  You get maybe one per election who gets voted in.  The null sec guys will put up 5, 6, 10 plausible, articulate, organized candidates.  Who’s running on the high sec ticket now that James 315 has bailed?  If you’re to take Joe Average mission runner who sits in Motsu or wherever the hell and he wants someone to speak for him who does he vote for?

Mike - Me.

Unidentified - (laughter)

Sort Dragon - Unfortunately the way that it’s going now, and to go on Malcanis’ idea further is that the thing in 0.0 is, and I know that Kesper’s coalition and my coalition will do a lot for, will be to create the perfect ballot to basically give to their members to instruct them how to vote.  Which is basically they’ll do the pictures because it is unfortunately this time a little bit difficult how the voting’s going to be run with the 14 to 1, so I know that the people will make a screenshot of how you need to vote to make sure that everything works.  And that will influence coalition members how they will be to vote.  Unfortunately there isn’t that same kind of following in Empire to do the same for example, Mike, to get in. 

Mike - Exactly.  That’s why I’m saying is that the null has the organization. The high sec where you have a whole bunch of scattered people who don’t want to be, and I’m not accusing of, but to be followers of the hive mind.  They don’t have the communication standard to be able to tell the people “Look, if you randomly vote it’s going to be a null sec bloc with maybe 1 or 2, as it was said, will get in just on the basis of there being 14 seats.”  We don’t have the organization in high sec to be able to communicate massively across coalition level.  I can’t talk to thousands upon thousands of players the way that you guys can.  I am doing it one at a time, sending emails one at a time, each personally addressed just trying to contact players.  So probably I’ve talked to about a thousand players so far in campaigning.  You guys can do that with one coalition broadcast and do an order of magnitude greater communication and send out a “here’s how to vote, guys.”

Malcanis - You’ve really got my sympathy there for that problem.  The plain fact of the matter is that people who live in null sec are used to talking with each other all the time and we live in an environment where if someone with a position of respect or authority within the group, whether it’s corp, alliance, coalition, says, “Guys, wake up, you need to pay attention to this,” the alliances that are still alive in null sec are there because they’ve learned that they do need to pay attention and they do need to act on messages like that.  Like you say, it makes campaigning trivially easy compared to how it is for a high sec guy.  But at the end of the day the people who live in high sec have chosen to live in an environment where they’re not operating under those constraints.  They don’t have to pay attention.  They don’t have to work with each other.  They don’t have to interact with each other.  There’s nothing stopping them from doing it.  It’s that they don’t want to. 

Now CCP have put in a system which they’ve made quite complex and they’ve been incredibly diligent in making sure that no vote is wasted.  You’ve got to work really hard to waste your vote. 

Mike - Vote for all 14 losers.

Malcanis - (Laughter) Yeah, exactly.  It will be quite difficult to not contribute at all.  CCP what’s-his-name...

Mike - Xaghen?

Malcanis - When I said this is really going to be nice for the null sec alliances, basically said, “I’m happy for the result to reflect the effort.”  In the past the coalitions and the null sec alliances voted inefficiently.  Mittens got ten thousand and whatever it was votes that could have elected three people, not just one.  That brought down the threshold, so for CSM 7 to get in the last guy, you only needed, what was it, less than 2,000 votes?

Mike - 1,600, thereabouts.

Malcanis -  Thank you.  This time, the threshold, because of the way the STV system works, the threshold is going to be high.  You’re going to need three, four, five, six thousand people, I say people, accounts, to put you on their list.  Not necessarily as number one because of the way the system works and the way that votes cascade down whether your first choice gets elected or not.  But a large number of people are going to have to know who the hell you are.  When I made my immediate response to the new voting system, I said this is basically a gift to the big organized groups.  Trebor jumped on me and said, “No, no, no, no, no.  This makes sure no one’s vote is wasted da, da, da, da, da.”  But I kind of think he missed the point that it raises that threshold of the number of people who have to know who the hell you are.

Arydanika - It does seem to promote those who have organizations behind them.

Mike - Which is null sec.

Arydanika - And is that good for the CSM?  Is that a good direction?

Kesper - Can I ask another follow-up question?  Is maybe we are going about this the wrong way.  Maybe not that it necessarily favors null sec but maybe this is a sign that high sec needs to evolve a level of organization of its own. 

Arydanika - Much like wormholes did when Two Step got elected.

Mike - I put the challenge before you guys.  If you are putting out these alliance and coalition wide platforms and if you want a balanced or a CSM that represents a lot of different viewpoints, that you pick a high sec person.  Somebody who doesn’t toe the company line.  Who has a viewpoint different than yours and you put them on your ticket as the high sec guy.  I’m not saying it’s got to be me but pick somebody outside of your own comfort zone just so that you have other voices.  Otherwise if you just have a whole bunch of nodding heads you might as well elect one guy to CSM and let the other 13 play the game.

Malcanis - Well said Mike.

Sort Dragon - The unfortunate thing is that at least for the coalition I’m in, Malcanis will have a position on that ticket, Kesper will have a position on his ticket for the CFC.  The unfortunate thing is that I think this will be the one and only time the voting is done this way because it will prove that the CSM will be one-sided towards 0.0.  People like Trebor will get in automatically because he’s been in before and has his own followers.  But the unfortunate thing is the reason why people have the organization in 0.0 is because of the risk.  They follow the people who lead their coalition be it The Mittani, be it Kesper, be it myself, be it Malcanis from his own alliance.  These people follow these people and do what they say because of the risk.  Without the leaders these coalitions wouldn’t exist; these alliances wouldn’t exist.  In Empire there is not that amount of risk.  Without someone wardeccing you you can’t go ahead and lose your big reaction farm, sorry not your reaction farm your research farm.  But in 0.0 if you don’t have a coalition, or an alliance for example,  you can lose your money making position without a problem.  And so this is why the 0.0 alliances, or the coalitions in the game, will have a full 0.0 ticket.  Because they don’t want to rely on one of the seats being on the CSM that isn’t from 0.0.   I do relate to Malcanis that that’s such a sad position to be in, but it is unfortunately it’s what CCP has done with the CSM this year.  And I hope if it turns out like I think it will, which is unfortunate, I hope that CCP goes back on it and changes it.

Mike - So Sort, what you’re saying is that you’re actually hoping to have an unbalanced CSM just to teach CCP a lesson?

Sort Dragon - No.  I’m hoping that my delegates that I want to get through from 0.0 get through.  Unfortunately like, I think it was Kesper was saying about James, he would have been a good Empire delegate.  He would have been good to get through.  He may have bit a bit, I don’t know what the best word to be using...

Mike - Extreme troll?

Sort Dragon - ...FC terms, would be, yeah.  Unfortunately, the people who could be getting through, like Mike, this is the first time I’ve met you.  I think you would have a great campaign from what I’ve heard from you on here.  But the possibility of you getting through is very slim because, yeah talk to me.  If there is a position on the ticket we can make I will quite happily put an Empire person through.   

Malcanis - I think it’s telling of the Empire candidates we have seen that two of them have come from an Eve Uni background, which is one of the few large organizations that are explicitly high sec focused.   High sec needs a champion.  What you are saying is exactly correct.  It will be very unfortunate if high sec has no voice.  Not necessarily because people who live in null sec hate high sec and want them all to die and “yarr get rid of CONCORD,” “burn them all,”  “there not me so I don’t care about them.”  But if nothing else, purely so that when we make suggestions to CCP or when we evaluate things when CCP are coming to us that we don’t, not out of malice but out of ignorance, or not having that focus, not having that experience, wave through suggestions or make suggestions that unintentionally tread on the average high sec guy unnecessarily.  We need at least one person with really, really strong high sec experience to make sure that we don’t screw up, basically.

Sort Dragon -  To be good in 0.0 you have to understand that without Empire there is no 0.0.  It doesn’t work together.  The ships have to come from somewhere.  The minerals have to come from somewhere and a lot of them don’t come from 0.0.  Everything comes from Empire. And the unfortunate thing is as you were saying with the votes is that it was possible for an Empire candidate to get in before.  Like you said it was 1,600 votes to get someone in.  But now-a-days the physical number of people in 0.0 -- for example the HBC has, I think, at last count 29,000 people.  Out of that 29,000 accounts, the CFC -- Kesper you’d have to correct me -- probably around the same number.  That basically means they can spread 29,000.  And out of that probably 70% of the people will vote for those people and they will vote for the ticket they are told to vote for.   When before it wouldn’t matter if combined about 60,000 people voted, there’d be still one little Empire dude who could have gotten 2,000 votes from Empire and could have got through.  But at the same time while Mittani would have gotten 10,000 votes or Malcanis would have got 10,000 votes there were still...

Malcanis - (unintelligible)

Sort Dragon - It was just a number.  It still would have been a position for the little high sec guy like Mike to have the opportunity to get through.  Because there still would have been that position of movement.  And Mike after this feel free to talk to either myself or Malcanis because I will be talking to Malcanis further on, and try to convince like, either go and talk to Mittani or go and talk to Powers who I think is running the CFC thing.  And unfortunately, the sad point is to get onto the 0.0 ticket the Empire person is going to have to come to the 0.0 person.  And that’s the sad truth.


  1. LOL.

    So they were all set to put a high sec guy on the ticket when the "high sec guy" was James 315, but anyone who actually advocates for high sec will have to plead his case and kiss the rings of the nullsec lords? Sort Dragon looks terrible here.

    Empire has a some great candidates standing this year: Mike Azariah, Psychotic Monk, Mangala Solaris, and Roc Wieler. Put them up high on your ballots. And respect to Malcanis and Kesper for recognizing that.

    1. Sort looks terrible if you're hearing this for the first time. But he's coming from a perspective where the CSM result is a done deal, decided on skype two weeks ago by the big nullsec blocs. That's what he's talking about - that if he'd met Mike 3 weeks ago he might have got him on the 14.

      He could be wrong but only if nullseccers decide not to follow the lead of our leaders.

  2. In my opinion if you listen to the conversation, Sort comes off reasonably. The thing missing from this transcript is the tone of the conversation.

    More telling though, is that if the CFC/HBC tickets that are circulating are true, a few "HS" candidates are listed, depending on your definition of such. But Mike is missing, which means either the hinted post-podcast convo never happened, or it happened and the Null Blocs still chose not to endorse him. You can make of that what you will.

  3. Well I put Mike quite high on my own recommended voting list, which will hopefull have gained him some traction amoungst the INIT voters if nothing else.