Monday, April 1, 2013

Why The Silence About The CSM 8 Elections?

Last week I wrote that I wasn't going to write any more posts about the CSM 8 elections.  I guess I should really write why.

This latest trip down the Eve rabbit hole started by trying to understand the new mechanics CCP will use to conduct the elections.  I found the Wright single transferable vote system, or at least the documentation provided by Trebor, confusing.  So confusing that I got the system mixed up with others.  Fortunately mynnna wrote an explanation that made sense.  Well, the mechanics made sense anyway, although I still find the whole system a bit confusing.

I guess I am always going to disagree with the single transferable vote systems over the traditional whoever gets the most votes wins systems.  I think that is a philosophical difference over the concept of the "wasted vote."  The proponents of the "wasted vote" theory argue that if a person casts a vote for a person that does not wind up winning a position that the vote was wasted.  My belief is that casting a vote for a losing candidate is not a waste as it does show interest in minority points of view.  I believe that the single transferable vote system, whether intentionally or not, acts to marginalize those points of view.  Using the CSM elections as an example, last year 24% of votes were cast for candidates who did not win seats on the council.  This year?  If I understand how the Droop quota calculation works, that number will work out to 1/15th, or a little less than 7%, of the vote.  Twenty-six percent is a large number that CSM 7, if it really wanted to claim to represent all players, could not ignore.  Seven percent, on the other hand, is a bunch of fringe people whose views are fairly safe to ignore.

My theory, on the other hand, is that a "wasted vote" is when a vote is cast for someone the voter knows very little to nothing about.  I'm not referring to the bloc voting that is going to occur this year that the new voting system almost makes mandatory to win a seat this year.  I'm referring to the practice that CCP is encouraging to fill in all 14 slots on the ballot, even if you don't hold strong views on a subject.  Picking one good candidate is very doable.  Picking 14?  Only the hardcore will do that with any sense.  The people with only a casual interest?  Let's just say I think some candidates with some pretty odious real life views have a better chance to get in with this system as voters scramble to fill 14 slots because not filling out all the slots would waste their votes.

From here my interest turned from why the voting system mattered to why the Council of Stellar Management mattered.  The answer shocked me.  I really don't know what the CSM is anymore.  In the past the CSM was a group elected to represent the players to CCP.  Now?  Given some of the statements coming out of CSM 7 concerning their stakeholder status and activities associated with it I'm not sure that's considered the most important job they do.

So I am not going to cover the CSM 8 election.  I think covering an election intelligently for an institution I don't understand is probably not a good idea.  What I probably will do is start writing about the CSM as an institution and ignore the personalities in the campaign as much as possible.  I really need to do some research and figure out if CSM is important enough to spend my time following and writing about it.

NOTE:  I realize that today is 1 April, more popularly known as April Fool's Day.  For those thinking this post is a prank, SURPRISE!  I'm really serious and this actually reflects my current views.


  1. High fives. I'm on that page as well but decided not to post about it. I'll vote for the person I wish to vote for. I'll follow along as they do things and ponder actual topics as they come up in the future, but I'm not joining into this watch/guess/engage/write burn that is racing around.

  2. I'm not sure what filter you're putting STV through - maybe it's a two party system - but try looking at it from a multi-party system where often with FPTP you have parties winning majorities even, where they got less (in some cases far less) than a majority of the vote. And then the winning party declares that since they have a majority of the seats, they obviously have a mandate from the people, and off they go. This leaves the majority of voters (who did not vote for the winning party) in a situation where their will has clearly been side-stepped (or at least min-interpreted) and they start to wonder why they should bother to vote, especially when this happens election after election resulting in lower and lower voter turnout. This leaves many clamouring for some form of Proportional Representation, either direct, mixed-member, or STV.

    Whether PR works in EvE, which has no parties, no parliament, nothing for a majority to grab and rule is another question entirely.

    1. Yeah, that's probably one of the main reasons there isn't more of a push to use a different voting system in (for example) the US where the political world is dominated by two parties.

      I often find myself arguing over the 'wasted vote' thing with friends and family members.

      Although I'm not entirely sure how STV really fixes the problem you hint it, unless it was done at a person by person level. Proportional seems the best in that situation. (but I'm not an election expert or anything :P)

  3. I believe it was Mabrick who described the CSM as "lobbyists," and Trebor who said that was a good description. After all, the CSM is advisory, not legislative. They influence decisions; they don't make them.

  4. "Whether PR works in EvE, which has no parties, no parliament, nothing for a majority to grab and rule is another question entirely."

    NullSec is voting as a bloc, and so are effectively a party. At least with STV those not voting as a bloc have a chance of getting something resembling proportional representation. Under FPTP organised blocs clean up un-organised groups every time.