Monday, April 7, 2014

The Nosy Gamer's CSM 9 Election Endorsements

Tomorrow is the beginning of the two-week period for the elections for the Council of Stellar Management.  So far I've listened to 32 podcast interviews and 6 CSM-related podcasts, including 3 Declarations of War CSM issue panels, as well as numerous EVE Radio shows focusing on the CSM elections.  I've also read numerous forum posts, blog posts and watched video blogs.  So while I haven't covered the election beyond listing player-created content over the past few weeks, I do know a lot about the candidates.

Since some people think I should put in my .02 ISK, I'll go ahead and put out my list of who I plan to vote for.

1.  Sugar Kyle.  Sugar Kyle is the top candidate on my list this year.  A resident of the low sec region of Molden Heath, Sugar brings more to the table than her skills in PvP.  During her career she's done significant amounts of PvE content from low sec combat sites to high sec incursions.  She's even mined in low sec on corp mining operations, although the source of some of the ore for the Orca she built was obtained in a typically piratical fashion .

Sugar also has experience in the industrial/trading side of the game, having established a successful market in the low sec system of Bosena in Molden Heath.  Showing that PvP isn't confined to space, she used her store to force down the prices of those gouging the low sec residents of the Heath.  While transportation costs will ensure that prices are always higher than Jita, her experience with jump freighters should prove useful in discussions on power projection and how any proposed solution could affect interstellar commerce outside the obvious null sec/Jita routes.

Sugar also has first-hand experience with one of New Eden's most burning issues: player owned stations.  She has maintained a POS to manufacture boosters for over a year-and-a-half, publishing a guide on the subject in December 2012.

Despite all of Sugar's interests that should keep her in the midst of things making sure that a low sec point of view is brought to a vast array of issues, the two qualities I feel make her the best candidate running for CSM are her anti-themepark mentality and command of the issues.  Sugar sees low sec not as an inevitable stop on the rails to null sec, but as a viable place for people to live, even new players.  When CCP removed 1/10 and 2/10 statics from the game, she didn't see that as a loss of a place for PvP.  Instead, she saw that as the loss of an income source for new players who didn't have the skill points or resources to tackle the tougher complexes or rats.  And she did something about it.

Throughout the campaign, one noticeable difference between her and many candidates was her command of the facts.  Having listened to so many candidate interviews, I was struck that on a couple of occasions Sugar was almost overwhelming the podcast hosts instead of the other way around, which happened quite frequently.  I also saw this same type of performance at Fanfest last year.  On a day following the announcement of some changes I didn't consider very low sec friendly, I met with Sugar and CCP Masterplan to talk about them.  Well, I mainly listened as Sugar had all her facts together and argued why the removal of the 1/10 and 2/10 static sites were bad.  More importantly, a few months later 1/10 and 2/10 sites returned to low sec, although not as statics.  A small victory, but with that Sugar showed that not only is she persuasive, but not intimidated by the "dev" tag.

Combine all of the above with the fact that Sugar is the candidate most likely to continue Ripard's weekly updates and Sugar Kyle gets my nod as the candidate who should top your voting list.

2.  Mike Azariah.  Mike Azariah is a candidate I perennially vote for even though some people have always considered it a "wasted" vote.  Except last year he won and over the course of his term went on to prove how smart I was to keep wasting my vote.

Mike is a casual player who currently bases out of high sec, although he was involved in null sec fighting for the SOCO against TEST and the CFC back in 2012.  When he gets the urge to PvP, he winds up flying with Bombers' Bar or Spectre Fleet.  In addition to running incursions, Mike is a known philanthropist, not only with his own giveaways but aiding causes like The Angel Project.  Mike is also known for writing his blog, A Missioneer in Eve, in character, marking him as a role player, which is a quality also in short supply amongst CSM candidates.

So what makes Mike so attractive as a candidate?  First, his demonstrated stubbornness, as he won a seat on the CSM on his fifth attempt.  He will need that because, of the candidates, he is the only one I know who will naturally look at an issue from the mind of a high sec mission runner, incursion runner, or miner.  I would not classify any of the other high sec based candidates as carebear-friendly.  That is a perspective that needs representation on the CSM.  Also, while lore is not always the best reason for doing something (see camera drones), trying to keep any changes made fit within the EVE universe is something worth doing.

For his first term, Mike was extremely active on the communications front, a weakness of previous CSMs.  In addition to writing on his blog, he was a frequent guest on podcasts and EVE Radio talking about issues.  Also, Mike seemed one of those people who were a stabilizing force on the CSM.  The notoriously acerbic Malcanis stated that Mike is so nice that he couldn't find it in himself to troll him.  Finally, Mike was given a lot of credit for fighting the drone assist nerf so that the changes would not impact the incursioners' style of play.  Originally CCP planned to eliminate the mechanic, but eventually CCP was convinced to allow one pilot to a limit of 50 drones assigned to him.

3.  DJ FunkyBacon.  DJ FunkyBacon is a long time presence in the EVE community for his show on EVE Radio, which covering such events as the disbanding of BoB, the Summer of Rage in 2011, and most recently the Erotica 1 situation.  When not on EVE Radio, DJ FunkyBacon flys as Mirana Niranne, the executor of the 300-man Gallente factional warfare alliance Monkeys with Guns.. 

Some might suggest that this endorsement is about putting Funky under an NDA so he will stop scooping me on stories, but I actually like the fact that a candidate who not only shares some of my concerns is running, but has expressed those concerns so publicly in the past.  We may not, as in the case of Erotica 1, agree on every particular, but even then I shared many of his concerns. 

I should add that while I sell my products in Molden Heath, I currently do the majority of my low sec activities in Minmatar FW space.  So my wish for better play for those engaged in factional warfare is a bit selfish.  The better the combat is in factional warfare, the less the FW warriors bother me in my peaceful pursuits. Currently I see too many gangs chase after a plexer, only to get frustrated by multiple warp core stabilizers.  Frustrated, they then tend to strike out at anything, like your friendly neighborhood Procurer.  Having an FW alliance leader on the CSM will hopefully lead to happier FW pilots.

In conclusion, I think that a 10-year player who has turned to low sec as his home for the past 2 years on the CSM would help reinforce the fact that low sec is not just a stepping stone to null.  He has stated that in the past and it is the last reason that I endorse DJ FunkyBacon and plan to vote for him.

4.  Ali Aras. Ali is turning into the classic insider candidate, with a lot of insiders endorsing her but not giving an affirmative reason why someone should vote for her.  Usually when the establishment tries to stampede the voters like I see happening now I get very suspicious.  However, after further review, she's earned a place on my voting list.

Most of the hype seems designed to make up for the fact that Ali no longer has a large natural base of support.  She left Provibloc and moved to Noir. Mercenary Group, a much smaller group.  While having a mercenary on the CSM to represent that style of play is valuable on its own merits, Ali was another example of a CSM member who aimed to improve communications with the player base.  To my knowledge, Ali was the first CSM member to use Google Hangouts as a communications device with players.  Every other week she would inform people about the goings-on of the CSM and ask for input on issues.

In her candidacy thread many stated that Ali would often reach out to players looking to understand issues and come up with solutions.  I can confirm that she did this as she contacted me trying to get a better understanding of how the EULA and ToS worked in the Erotica 1 situation.

Ali also served as the Vice-Secretary of CSM8, which means she was left a big, steaming mess once the Secretary, Kesper North, became a no-show.  I'm going to gather that her efforts in stepping up into the Summer Minutes mess, combined with her work in trying to improve the minutes process and the smoother functioning of the release of the Winter Minutes is what has garnered so much support from her fellow CSM members.  The fact that CCP delayed the release of the minutes should not reflect badly on the level of effort that Ali put into the editing process on the Winter Minutes.

5.  DNSBLACK.  What a crazy year!  In October I was ready to call for the permanent ban of the player behind DNSBLACK.  Today I'm endorsing him for a position on the Council of Stellar Management.

As the executor of Dirt Nap Squad., DNSBLACK would bring a view of null sec from outside the major null sec power blocs.  As a black ops specialist, having his input to any changes in stealth (i.e. AFK cloaking), power projection using covert cynos, and a black ops battleship revamp would prove useful.

But DNSBLACK's major focus for the campaign is community.  Of all the candidates who use the term, DNSBLACK is the candidate for which the term is not just lip service.  Most candidates are focused on what is occurring inside the game.  DNSBLACK plans to make looking at what CCP is doing outside the game a priority.  After the past year and the accusations of favoritism towards SOMERblink, combined with DNSBLACK's exposing of SOMER's RMT scheme, give credence to the claim that someone needs to watch that area of CCP's operation as well.

Sometimes people forget that one of the original purposes of the CSM is to reassure the player base that CCP is following its own rules and not playing favorites.  I don't expect DNSBLACK will quietly allow that type of favoritism to pollute the sandbox.  Given greater access to the developers, I don't think we will see him resort to the type of theatrics we witnessed this past October.  Because of that, combined with his real life experience as a labor negotiator, DNSBLACK gets my final vote.

I am only endorsing five candidates this year.  Why only five?  First, I'm not going to endorse candidates from null sec blocs.  These are the null sec bloc candidates I see winning seats on CSM 9.
  • GSF - mynnna, Sion Kumitomo
  • Other CFC - Xander Phoena
  • Provibloc - corebloodbrothers
  • Nulli Secunda - progodlegend
  • Pandemic Legion -  Major JSivla
Quite frankly, the GSF's official candidates, mynnna and Sion Kumitomo, don't need my endorsement.  With a year's experience with the Wright-STV system, they should easily win seats. 

Xander Phoena is a hard case to rule on.  Due to the scheduling of the election, I can't tell if Xander is an official CFC candidate.  I'm pretty sure he will appear high on the official CFC ballot however.  That, plus last night's endorsement by Ripard Teg will undoubtedly lead to Xander's election.

I'm not really sure about corebloodbrothers.  Is Provibloc really large enough to elect a candidate by themselves?  If his campaign is as poor as I've heard, then we could see Twitch streamer Gorski Car squeak in.  Pandemic Legion has a long history of getting more candidates elected than their numbers would suggest.  Could we see this happen again this year?  Or am I just making too many assumptions?

Null sec is not the only area of space that have large player organizations that will send candidates to the CSM.  I don't want to endorse those candidates either.  The other blocs (and their candidates) are:
  • RvB - Mangala Solaris
  • Brave Newbies - Matias Otero
  • Wormholes - 2 candidates (to be determined)
I didn't try to interpret the internal politics of w-space, but based on past results we will probably see two wormhole candidates emerge to sit on the CSM.  Given the size of Brave Newbies and that they are mostly new and unjaded by the CSM election process, I could see the Brave Collective elect a second candidate.  In fact, a very high turnout by Brave could throw a lot of calculations off.

But perhaps more importantly, after listening and doing all my research, I couldn't find any other candidates I want to support.  Call me picky, but if I can't really support a candidate, then I'm not going to vote for him or recommend that anyone else do either.  I know that some will say I'm wasting my vote, but people told me that about Mike Azeriah for years too.  In my eyes, they were wrong then and they're wrong now, too.


  1. I agree with all of your choices except for DJ FunkyBacon. He's shown to have a propensity to hold grudges against people and "play the player, not the ball". In other words, he attacks people first, then the problem. This is not something I either want or believe to be desirable from anyone on the CSM.

    Very much hoping all of your other choices are voted in, especially Sugar Kyle who will make for an excellent and hard working CSM member.

    1. I'm unsure about supporting FunkyBacon. He has a lot of experience and skill to offer, and will offer those things with integrity. However, Jason, I share your concern that he can get nasty. He is bitter and snarky about his recent disagreements with Ripard. He has started playing heavily to the anti-Jester crowd. I'm sure that he will be professional if he is elected to the CSM (credit where credit is due: he'll do a good job), but his personal attacks during the E1 story leaves some doubt in my mind about his ability to handle the big disagreements that define CSM's term (e.g., SomerBlink, Summer of Rage). I'm going to look at more of FunkyBacon's other postings, events, broadcasts, etc. to give him another look. I don't mind if he has some positions that I disagree with, but I want him to be level-headed in the dramatic situations.

    2. While FunkyBacon may get "nasty", I believe it takes 2 to tango. Ripard has a bit of a habit of being moralistic and messianic with a side helping of added ego. His recommendations for CSM (which I agreed mostly with by the way) where all laced with comparisons to himself, and what a great job he did. So, if 2 people get into a slap fight, both are to blame but don't judge on a single event cycle.

    3. Agreed on FunkyBacon. He's going to get elected because of his audience, but he's the wrong person for the job. In addition to the above concerns, he also deliberately betrayed a confidence shared with him which is the #1 thing you CAN'T do as a CSM member.

      Anon1158: who did I compare to myself other than Xander?

    4. Ripard, was that channel private? Was the confidence implicit or explicit? I think the context that FunkyBacon quoted was tainted by bias, but I'm unsure if it was a breach of confidence. Similarly, my impression is that he will comply with explicit rules and policies for confidence. That may require an adjustment on his part, but I think he will do that.

      Separate from the E1 situation and purported breach of confidence, what do you think of Noizy's argument in support of FunkyBacon (i.e., raising concerns and his broader approach to low-sec)?

    5. Hmm lots of good stuff here, where to begin?

      For Jason: Ripard, both in his blog, and in the quoted chat was certainly playing the player, not the ball as you put it. He took an agenda he had and turned it into a personal attack. Black Knighting was his own term he used for it. There were 2 issues I was addressing at the time, one was the ball, which was covered in it's due, and the other was the players, which included not only Ripard, but those directly involved in the ball game the entire issue revolved around. If I see that a big part of an issue is a PERSON, (and the majority of this issue was people) I will absolutely, every time, take issue with the person behind it. I have no compunction about making my views plain for anyone to see, but the difference is that my rhetoric doesn't change when I discuss the same issue outside of my show/blog as when I'm discussing it wide out in the open. Ripard was as big a part of the issue as any of the direct players, and it can be agrued that his involvement played more of a negative impact towards the victim he publically professed to champion (though he expressed disdain for that same person outside of his blog). So yes, if I not only see that you are causing excessive drama, but also being a hypocrite about it, I will once again, call you out for your tomfoolery.

      Moving on.

      @Stavblest and Anon: Yes, I have a reputation for being a bit passionate about my views. When I take a side on an issue, you can expect it will have my full attention, and there will be no mistake about where I stand. If you read the things I've written and listen to the shows I've done where issues come up, I very rarely bring specific people into it unless I perceive that those people are a large part of the issue. Unlike some others, I have no problem in engaging with those people out in the open, as I'm generally confident in my views and will gladly defend them where anyone can listen and decide for themselves who is right. I never have, and never will need an echo chamber to make myself feel secure in my stances.

      For Jester: There was no confidence. The conversation in question happened in a channel populated by nearly 50 people, and that was before the little exodus that happened around the time you were kicked from it. At present there are 41 people in that channel, 3/4ths of whom I have no idea who they are. You and I are not, nor have we ever been contacts on skype. I was pulled into that channel some time ago with never a word as to it's secret nature, expressed or implied, and I do not expect I have any privacy as to the things I might say in there. You have never asked that anything you've said to me be kept in confidence, (as a matter of fact, I don't think you've ever actually spoken to me directly in that chanel at all) and indeed, in these 2 cases of quotes, you were not even talking to me, but having a conversation in an unmoderated skype channel populated by nearly 50 people, most of them Eve media types. If you want to keep dirty secrets from the community, that is DEFINITELY not the place to do it. If you didn't want me to read those words, you should have said them somewhere private.

      Your assertions that I'm unfit for the CSM because I "broke your confidence" are a side issue (see what I did there) to the real issue in that I'm one of your most outspoken critics with no qualms about calling you out for playing the part of a hypocritical bullshit artist, regardless of the sperg your followers fling my way. I've been holding people's confidence as a public figure in Eve longer than you've even known of the game's existence, and if you can find even one instance of where I've exposed someone for something said to me in actual confidence or off the record, I'll pull my bid for a seat on the CSM right now.

      Until then, please feel free to keep up the posting about it, because I'm certainly enjoying the show. Who's blog should we crash next? Let me know!

    6. So FunkyBacon, your defence of yourself with regard to you attacking the person in preference to solving the problem was to start with... wait for it... attacking a person.

      You just confirmed my doubts about you absolutely perfectly. You do not posses the ability to leave your personal gripes with people out of the discussion.

      For what it's worth I wouldn't be voting for RT if he were running either, but you pointing at him with that reply is akin to way young school children behave: "look miss, he's does the same bad things as I do". Ridiculously childish and confirms why I shall not be voting for you Funky Bacon.

    7. I just read the rest of your post Funky Bacon...

      "...regardless of the sperg your followers fling my way. I've been holding people's confidence as a public figure in Eve longer than you've even known of the game's existence..."

      Just wow. I did not need more evidence to back my thoughts about you, but going after RT's followers like that (do you ever not attack the people/player?) and then pulling the "listen son..." routine. Just wow.

      Seriously, I read that in disbelief. If you are elected onto the CSM, you're likely to wreck the good work that the previous 3 or 4 CSMs have done in building up the CSM-CCP trust that now exists. The likelihood that you will upset a lot of the devs and ruin the CSM-CCP relationship is almost guaranteed. For the sake of the CSM and EvE, please consider pulling out of the election right now.

    8. Well that was a rather liberal interpretation of what I said, but let me clarify. Having an opinion the does not conform to my own is not a prerequisite for me to come at you personally. if YOU are a large part of a problem, as Ripard was in this latest issue, then yes, I will absolutely call you out for your involvement in it.

      Some issues, like ship balancing, are not related to people.

      Other issues, such as the actions of a person or player, are people issues specifically. I didn't call Ripard out just because he did it to someone else first, I called him out because he made himself a large part of the problem he was claiming to solve. I also called him out for saying one thing on his blog, and then saying something completely different in another venue. His response was to claim a breach of confidence (rather than explain himself) and I called him out on that too.

      I have an extremely low tolerance for bullshit from such people, and when I smell it, I will come down on it hard. That might be construed as a personal attack, but I frankly don't care what your interpretation of it is.

      This was not the first time I've taken it upon myself to call someone out for some bullshit they said or did around the Eve community, and I doubt it will be the last, but that list of people is an incredibly short one when you consider the number of people I am in contact and deal with on a regular basis, including CCP devs.

    9. Jester- It was the rating of the other people in the recommendations (Ali as the 2nd most interactive, Mike as the 3rd best with the Devs), the way it was written could be viewed as saying "they are good, but not as good as I am". I do read your blog, and enjoy most of it, just my opinion on the tone (and we all know what opinions are like).

    10. Thank you for your response, FunkyBacon. (Noizy, sorry for being part of the blog crash! Thank you for posting your endorsements.)

  2. There's no downside to recommending folks to fill out the ballot; ideally you want at least 7 or 8 people on your ballot to maximize your voting strength.

    Also keep in mind that there are really two elections -- the first for the 14, and then a re-run for the top 2 permanent seats. The bottom half of your ballot becomes a lot more important in that second election.

    I can tell you that Ali absolutely deserves the endorsement you gave her, and then some. She has been one of the best CSMs I have served with over the past 4 years.

    1. Hi Trebor,

      I see a huge downside for recommending people vote for candidates they don't believe in. What happens if I vote for, and help elect someone, that really is bad for my interests just because I didn't want to waste my vote? Sorry, but I'm not going to do that. I'm also not going to urge people to make that same mistake.

      As for the argument for voting for who is going to be a permanent representative, that's inside politics. If none of the candidates I am voting for and endorsing don't win one of the two slots, then it really doesn't matter to me who does get a slot.

  3. I may not agree with your picks, but this gives me more to chew on.
    Thank you.

  4. i used to be in DNS but left after one of Black's drunken, homophobic, racist rants. I can't imagine voting for him. There is an obvious disconnect between gaming and cultural viewpoints, but you can't "encourage community" when you believe that some people shouldn't be part of the community in the first place.

    1. Wow, really? I hadn't heard one of those. If you have one, I'd suggest posting a soundcloud. I just saw his little Somer tantrum and have interacted with him enough to know I want no business with him on the CSM.

      Besides, Xander Phoena can do the community stuff without pulling stupid EULA-breaking stunts, and Jayne Fillon is as good or better a Black Ops pilot and leader. The CSM is better off without him.

    2. Here's the thing. The EULA-breaking stunt? The way he laid it out originally would have been perfectly okay with CCP under the rules at that time. I'm glad he did pull that stunt, because without it SOMER would still be laundering ISK.

  5. That's quite similar to my own preliminary list CSM Candidates