Schedule: No matter what happened, the CSM 8 Summer Summit minutes were going to release later than those of CSM 7. The CSM 7 Summer Summit took place from 30 May - 1 June 2012 with the minutes published on 2 August. The CSM 8 Summer Summit took place from 28-30 August 2013.
Also, I wonder just how much of an impact the work on the expansions had on the release time. The 2012 winter expansion, Retribution, launched on 4 December, a full six months after the CSM summit. If anything, the summer vacation season made access to those who needed to review the minutes spotty and contributed to a 2-month time to release the document in 2012. CSM 8 didn't face that issue as the summer summit took place after the vacation season. However, that only left 2 1/2 months before the 19 November 2013 launch of Rubicon. With that little time before the expansion, CSM 8 needed to get the first draft of the minutes written up quickly if it wanted the document reviewed by those working on getting Rubicon released. I don't know the length of CCP's sprint cycles, but I imagine that once the cycle starts, getting the people involved diverted is difficult.
CSM: One thing comparing CSM 7 and CSM 8 stood out to me. CSM 7 just got the work done faster. The 162-page CSM 7 Summer Summit were released 62 days after the end of the summit. The process for the CSM 7 Winter Summit, held from 12-14 December 2012, saw a 113-page set of minutes released 33 days later. According to a post by CSM 8 Vice-Chairman Ripard Teg, the CSM had finished writing the minutes and submitted all sessions to CCP for review on 24 October, 55 days after the end of the summer summit. While CSM 8 Chairman Trebor Daehdoow stated that he intended, "to stream them out in small chunks as individual sessions are completed," that obviously did not happen.
Even if the plan to release the minutes in small batches were implemented, I don't believe the plan would have mollified those clamoring for the minutes today. Ripard reported on 25 September that of the 25 sessions held during the summit, only 13 were finished or close to finished. Getting all of the minutes published before Rubicon at that point was probably impossible. Even Ripard wrote that:
"Frankly, I think this is our CSM's first dropped ball since taking office. We could have, and should have, gotten this done faster. We're continuing to work it. I myself am determined to keep up with Trebor so I'm deciding which session to claim next. Hopefully the results will be in front of your eyeballs soon."I should add one more decision that CCP may have made that extended the time for seeing the minutes released. How were the minutes written? Did the CSM try to make them extremely detailed and leave in material that was very close to violating the NDA and let CCP sort it out? I can understand why they might want to do so, but that makes the process take longer.
CCP: I think that some things went wrong on CCP's end that led to the delay in the publication of the minutes. I've already discussed how the scheduling of the summit could have impacted the process. I also think that some of the personnel moves have impacted the minutes.
I don't want to pick on the new guy, but CCP Dolan does have a role. Of course, don't people expect the new guy to stumble a bit or take a little longer to get things done? Also, I can't imagine that CCP Dolan has the same relationships with the development teams as someone who's worked at CCP for 10 years like CCP Xhagen. Even in the best of times I wouldn't expect people to respond to Dolan as quickly as they did Xhagen.
At this point I have to wonder if CCP Dolan was on-board with the concept of releasing the minutes piecemeal or if he decided to wait until all the minutes were completed until he began distributing them for review and approval. I can see how if one of the developers were affected by 4 different sections of the minutes that CCP Dolan wouldn't want to go the dev up to 4 separate times as each section was completed. I don't get that from reading Ripard's blog, but I don't know what occurred behind the scenes.
Another factor that could have affected the delivery of the minutes is that EVE Online experienced some turmoil at the top with Jon Lander moving from the executive producer's role for EVE over to mobile development and then temporarily to EVE Valkyrie. CCP Unifex was replaced on an interim basis by CCP's Chief Marketing Officer David Reid. Jon Lander was a big proponent of using the CSM. David Reid, on the other hand, is wearing multiple hats. As the CMO, he is also trying to promote DUST 514. The fact that a brand new game, EVE Valkyrie, that no one knew about in March was dumped in his lap to start promoting in May probably left him stretched pretty thin. Could a lack of high level interest contribute to the slowness? I wouldn't have expected David Reid to have developed an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the CSM as I'm not sure the original plan was to have an interim executive producer this long. I personally thought that CCP would have announced a permanent replacement before the CSM summit was held.
Stuff Happens: EVE Online has experienced a very eventful 3-4 months. Everything from a kerfuffle over the Terms of Service to two scandals concerning SOMERblink plus the live event fiasco have kept the Community team hopping to put out fires. Add in supporting CCP's presence at EVE Vegas and the extremely successful PLEX For Good campaign and people were busy. However, isn't stuff like that part of the job that CCP Dolan needs to handle, just like making sure the minutes are published in a timely manner?
Conclusion: I wrote this article as an intellectual exercise because for some reason I am supposed to care that the minutes are still not published. But honestly, I don't care at all. I understand that as an institutional matter the CSM must publish them. But is my life affected if they aren't?
Perhaps my attitude toward the minutes is colored by the fact that I don't expect to read anything I haven't already heard about. Despite what I wrote in the introduction, I do follow the goings-on of the CSM. I read all of Ripard's posts about the CSM. And while Ripard is the famous blogger, I also read Mike Azariah's blog too. I watch Ali Aras' Space Hangouts and listen to her CSM updates on the Declarations of War podcast. I make sure to listen to Crossing Zebras when Xander does his interviews with members of CSM 8. If I can't listen to the CSM town halls live I download them from EVE Radio. I also follow CSM members on Twitter as many are active in #tweetfleet. I guess I should add I also occasionally visit the CSM 8 website to see if anything interesting is happening.
So I don't believe the lack of minutes is the end of the world. But who's to blame? A better question is probably who's not to blame. So hopefully at the next CSM summit everyone will get together and figure out how to get the minutes out for the winter summit before Fanfest 2014.