Friday, May 23, 2014

What Were CSM 8's Five Biggest Accomplishments?

The title to this post isn't a troll.  I actually thought of the question while listening to Crossing Zebras #43.  Xander was talking with Tyrant Scorn of the Legacy of a Capsuleer podcast and Jadecougar of the EVE Overheated podcast about the poor turnout for the recent CSM 9 elections.  All three men have extensive experience interviewing and/or holding debates with CSM candidates so their perspective was interesting to listen to.  Perhaps the most important point made was that telling people to vote for something is not enough; people need to have something to vote for.

As part of the process, players have to believe that the Council of Stellar Management actually matters.  I believe the body matters or I would not run a website dedicated to following the CSM.  But what do others think?  What were the five biggest accomplishments of CSM 8?  Coming up with that answer could help explain why turnout is so low.

Xander has already responded with a post of his own.  I recommend reading the post if for no other reason that he lays out a pretty good way to judge the performance of CSMs.  But Xander is someone who kept a close eye on CSM 8, including interviewing members every month.  I've also heard from others who actually do keep watch and comment on the events in New Eden that they couldn't come up with five accomplishments.  So instead of answering the question myself, I'll throw it out to everyone.  What were CSM 8's five biggest accomplishments?  Let me know in the comments (or write about it on your blog) because I'm really interested to know.


  1. I can think of four (or five if stretching it), but I'm comfortable with a smaller number. These could even be collapsed into larger points, I'm sure. Five is as arbitrary as four:

    CSM8 increased cooperation between development teams and themselves. This has contributed to the level of cooperation and engagement between a bunch of teams and CSM9.

    They enhanced their status in the stakeholder process because they proved their value to senior management. CSM is a genuine part of development now, which is a significant chance from Jon Lander having to apologize for under-utilizing the CSM. Having 14 sets of eyes and player perspectives brought to development can help to reduce or mitigate those catastrophes. This doesn't mean that they won't happen, but it is a pressure release valve that I'm comfortable with existing.

    They improved communication with the playerbase. This can be pinned down to Ripard and Ali, but overall, CSM8 was more communicative. This established a trend that is worth continuing, and CSM9 (including members of CSM8, such as mynnna) has built upon this foundation. This point includes events such as the town hall meetings.

    CSM8 was active. 12 out of 14 members were engaged frequently with CCP. If one of the purposes of CSM is to be engaged with and observant of CCP, then credit to CSM8's membership.

    To summarize, I think that CSM8:

    Proved themselves to developers at CCP
    Proved themselves to management at CCP
    Became a larger part of the stakeholder process
    Communicated more with players
    Had one of the most active memberships to date (12 out of 14)

    I think that it was a "peace time" CSM because of the CSM's engagement. SomerBlink was the only CSM-related issue that occured while E1 was more centralized on Ripard. If that is our drama, then it was a good year.

    Nosy, I'll ask a question back to you: What is your expectation of a CSM? What counts as a "good" CSM? If you haven't thought about your expectation, then how can you measure their relative level of success? I don't expect the CSM to prove themselves to me because I know their role is mostly internal, so I look at their working relationship with CCP as the base for my judgment of effectiveness. It was a solid year without too much drama, and CSM8 became part of the development foundation at CCP in a meaningful way.

    1. What's a good CSM? That's a good question. If you read Xander's article, you'll see a very good set of criteria with which to judge a CSM. I guess what I'm looking for with this question is to fill in the outline that Xander laid out. Because I think if you can fill in the story and present it to players, then we will see greater player buy-in to the concept of a body of player reps. And that would lead to higher turnout in the election.

  2. Interesting question. Honestly, I cannot come up with '5' on the top of my head but I think that is part and parcel with a "peacetime" CSM.

    As a podcaster in the community, I have access to the much touted Sekrit Podcasters Skype channel™. This is basically a mystical way of saying "it's a skype channel set up for the podcasting community, with a couple of devs and past and present CSM". Several of the CSM chat regularly with the podcasting community about nearly every topic under the stars. It also allows us podcasters to arrange interviews and such with the CSM.

    The one thing that immediately popped into my head was the CSM's displeasure at one of the proposed deployables. I know that most of their conversations must have taken place in the more direct chats but they listened and interacted with us podcasters on items we may have complained about and answered or explained to the best of their NDA'd ability.

    Long story, but what did CSM8 do? I know they fought for the players. Thats good enough for me.

    Random McNally
    High Drag Podcast

    1. To a great extent I wouldn't describe we we did as "fighting" for the players. I would say that we "worked" for the players. The CCP people that we worked with were, on the whole, pretty much on the same page as us on most of the issues. We had similar goals and outcomes in mind. The input we often gave was more along the lines of "this is a better route to that point" or "what about this use-case that will be heavily impacted" or "you could take this shortcut" or "yeah you don't want to say it like that, it will cause a lot of trouble".

  3. I have no idea what they did. I can only name one person on this CSM. I voted. \o/

    1. Hopefully you are paying more attention this year, Brink. :) I even give you a weekly up date to check in on and you can always kick me in public chat if you need me.

  4. So, according to Xander, the biggest accomplishments of CSM8 were five vaguely worded paragraphs? Communication. Feedback. Participation. Access. Results.

    Maybe that's why so few people voted? There was nothing concrete that could be pointed to as a success. The CSM couldn't point to any particular feature and say "If it weren't for us, you would have this shitty mechanic, rather than this good one. This is what CCP wanted to give you, and this is what we on the CSM convinced them to give you." Without something concrete like that, few people are ever going to believe the CSM matters.

    1. So you think that the biggest accomplishment of the CSM should have been to repeatedly and massively violate the NDA.


    2. Nice straw man, Malcanis.

      I'm sure, after a feature was released, you all could have got permission to go through the "Anatomy of a Feature", explaining what was presented, and how you all managed to convince CCP to turn it into something better.

      We already got this with CSM9, though maybe somewhat accidentally, with Freighters. Design began with rigs. Ended with lowslots (which seemed to be a suggestion and something that Mynnna pushed hard for.)

    3. We could have done that. We should have done that. There's no argument against doing that,

      So therefore... I just used my famous CSM time machine to go back in time and persuade CCP to let exactly that happen.

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    5. (Reposted to correct a typo and to make the comment clearer)

      That's great. Now that you've posted the link, I do recall it. But that it's only one example of what the CSM should have doing more of, and since it's been long forgotten, it doesn't really do much to elevate the beneficial role of the CSM in the minds of the electorate. More, not less. Many, not once.

      I think CSM8 did a good job, overall. CSM9 may also do a pretty good job. They certainly have people on the council who have already proven themselves. I'm a big fan of Mynnna's.

      Or I suppose reps could just take a page out of Xander Phoena's playbook. Use blogging as a means to insert themselves meaningfully into the process. Xander doesn't know dick-all about freighters. I've little doubt he had any opinions on the subject at all (he doesn't own an alt account, he's never flown freighters, he has no familiarity with the concerns of freighter pilots), yet if you were to believe his Weekly CSM Updates, you'd think he was one of the instrumental proponents to getting freighter rigs replaced with low slot modules in the upcoming Kronos update.

    6. Typical Poetic

      Says that CSM8 is bad because it didn't showcase an example

      Is shown that CSM showcased an example

      Shifts goalposts with "What, just *one* example?"

      Jesus christ, is it really that hard to just admit you dun goofed?

  5. I think when the CSM and CCP are working well together, we really *wouldn't* know what their accomplishments are. Things just happen without a whole lot of drama.

    CCP consults the CSM on issues, CSM gives feedback. CCP applies feedback and makes the game better. Who can take credit for this when it is all working as it should? Sure there are little bumps along the road, but whenever you work with people, things will get bumpy from time to time.

    In fact, if it is easy for people to list the CSMs accomplishments, then that means CCP isn't improving as a company, IMO.

    1. Yes. Until devs are seen to change course after a visible intervention by the CSM, I'm not sure we can credit the latter with any particular accomplishment. It's not a criticism of the CSM to remind ourselves that they are not devs, and don't produce the game we love or loathe.

      I simply have faith that we are better off with good CSM members in place, and the only way I know to quantity "good" is "good communicator."

    2. I'm not saying CSM8/9 aren't doing a good job. I think they most likely are. I'm just saying it's hard for people to quantify whether they are or not.

      I look for a good communicator and someone very knowledgable in the game. Which is why I think people like Mynnna are good reps and people like Xander are not. Mynnna is a good communicator and very knowledgable. Xander is a good communicator, but is honestly quite terrible when it comes to understanding game mechanics.

  6. 1. Basically I agree w/ Stavblest in that the CSM is not a body enacted or empowered to DO anything except act as a LOBBY for the playerbase. IE Advisers to CCP and advisers who's advice can be taken in whole, in part or not at all...

    That said, I personally do have faith in the CSM process, even if we rarely see any hard evidence of their interactions with and effects, pro or con, on CCP. But... I do have one direct thing I do want to mention... and it aint a pat on the back...

    I did not know this until I watched the Fanfest 2014 - CSM Panel (35:28 to 35:46 where Chitsa Jason (my brother wormholer FFS) stated that the Great Scanning Nerf, the Discovery Scanner, "...the new dscan, it was basically CSM suggesting that, and CCP actually delivering..."...

    OK, this is to me, a perfect example of a specific feature I am dead set against and feel, for W-space, is and was a serious serious mistake.

    My only real issue with CCPs whole design process is that there is never a role back, opt out or control methodology for the players when something like the Discovery Scanner, or tooltips to name a recent one, is rolled out. CCP just rolls them out across the board for everyone without any options whether to use it or not.

    Then, only if and after great drama on the forums etc. do they suddenly, in the case of tooltips, decide they can actually add a simple slider to adjust the delay... Oh my, how elegant... how easy... and now those who already know what a sun is and what a moon is and what their mods all actually do can run that thing all the way out and play as before... and those who actually need this can use it until they too don't need them anymore... Now, if it was that easy, why wasn't this incorporated at the time of the rollout?

    The Discovery Scanner could have as easily been opted out of by a simple slider or switch, and yea I know we have a 'switch' for it but that has not worked properly for me yet because the scanner still sweeps after any gate or hole jump EVERY time whether I want it too or not...

    And don't get me wrong, the DS is something I do believe helps the new bros... OK, so it could have been rolled out in a much better way is all... IE a new noob friendly midslot mod and skill that give you this level of insta-scanning would have been fine, with the caveat that, as it is a module and skill based effect, jumping into wormholes degrades the performance...

    Say slower response with an increasing degree of inaccuracy as one works deeper into W-space... 10 to 20% reduction in C1 & 2, 40 to 50% in C3 & 4, and in C5 & 6 the DS module would become completely inoperable down due to, "Local spatial phenomena may cause strange effects on your ship systems." in C5 & 6.

    This would have been an elegant solution that would have given the Discovery Scanner to those who need and or want it, allowed those who don't need or want it to not have it forced on them, and would have retained the element of hidden mystery that CCP has worked do hard to keep in W-space...

    Sorry this turned into a bit of a rant...
    OK... no I'm not.

    2. Malcanis... why feed the troll? Especially one who so inelegantly left EVE? (whether or not he still plays, cause if he does, it's as an Anon toon. So who cares?)

    1. I'm pretty sure that Chitsa's comment was in regards to the directional scanner changes, i.e., the new controls over range/angle on dscan, and has nothing to do with the discovery scanner.

      Believe me, I despise the constant green sweep as much as you, but I really don't think that's what he was talking about.

    2. Well... if that is the case I would be happy to know it... but I have listened to the CSM Panel vid quite a few times... and I believe he was referring to the Discovery Scanner... not just the camera controls.

      If feel he would have said Camera Controls as they are a separate 'thing' in their own right and are really about the camera and only partially about the scanner, and that in only one very specific use... and he says flatly, "New Dscan".

    3. It's not the camera controls, it's the dscan range and angle controls. "Dscan" is usually used to refer to "directional scan," not "discovery scanner"; you're the only one I know who has interpreted the phrase that way.

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  8. Accomplishments?
    For this group?

    If you are a member of the cartels, CSM 8 was great as they implemented another massive redistribution of wealth from high sec to null sec, taking another big step to their goal of wiping high sec players off the map.

    For anyone else, this group was a disaster, and regardless of what they say, CSM 8 presided over the first year over year decline on subs. That alone makes this group unique on the wall of shame.

    1. Dimmy, you have no facts about what EVE sub numbers actually are, if so prove it... you are basing your tinfoil on the PCU, which has no direct correlation to subs... and you still have that silly Fritz Tinfoil Helmut ductaped firmly to your little head... jeez you are one tiring MF...

  9. from what I have seen forum threadnaughts and bloggers are stronger influences on CCP than the CSM. the blink thing broke by bloggers.....freighter changes threadnaught. Frill on the vaga bloggers, ERO1 blogger after he couldn't get anything done with his CSM position......Why vote for CSM when u have to go rage in the Forums or on reddit to get anything done ne way. Even all the way back to the CSMs inability to stop incarna from becoming a disaster. Like was mentioned in a comment b4 this tho if the CSM is doing its job right we wouldn't hear about it.

  10. I think we can only fairly judge their accomplishments by looking at the player statistics.

    According to Jester's analysis of the CSM9 elections, voter turnout was lower and he speculated that subs are down 5% from last year, marking the highest annual drop in EVE's history.

    Pretty awesome.

  11. I've been playinig Eve for two years. I feel like the CSM is totally irrelevant and I have never voted for anyone. Don't really see the point.