Thursday, January 19, 2017

CSM Season Has Begun for 2017

The election season officially began yesterday with the publication of the dev blog outlining the rules and timeline for the elections for the 14 spots on the 12th Council of Stellar Management. Unlike the past few years, the CSM Campaigns section of the EVE Online forums is not crawling with candidates. So far, only nine hopefuls have posted.

I should warn everyone that the subject of the CSM will probably not feature prominently in the EVE media. Ever hear of the term "clickbait"? Writing about the CSM is click repellant. One year I saw my traffic drop 20-25% every time I posted about the CSM. Fortunately, with no advertising on the blog, I'm free to write whatever strikes my fancy. Not so the big outlets, especially Imperium News and Eve News 24. So don't look at a lack of stories as some kind of metagaming. Instead, look at the subject as a television series that ran its course a long time ago and no one wants to pick up.

Here is the published timeline:

February 3-17: Candidacy application period. During this time candidates can fill out an application form. Not before the 3rd and not after the 17th. Don't bother going now as the only thing that shows up is a 404 error telling prospective candidates the wormhole has collapsed.

February 17-28: Application processing period. During this period, CCP staff goes through and makes sure all the paperwork is filled out. Also, CCP's Internal Affairs staff goes through and checks you out for prior EULA/ToS violations and other stuff that could possibly embarrass CCP. Without going into too much detail, CCP Arkonon has a bunch of cool tools to play with.

February 28: Candidates for CSM 12 are announced.

March 6-26: CSM Voting takes place.

April 6: Results are announced during the Fanfest Keynote.

Let me copy and paste the application requirements and then make a couple of comments.
  • To apply your account must be older than 60 days at the time that candidacy applications close (that is, created no later than 2016-12-26)
  • Both Alpha and Omega accounts are eligible to run
  • You must have a history of honoring the EULA and the Terms of Service. We will screen every applicant thoroughly and EULA/TOS violations on your record can result in a rejected application.
  • Your account must have updated and correct information at the time of your application. This includes; your real life name, correct date of birth and the same email you use to submit your application. To view and edit this information go to the account management system.
  • Candidates must be a minimum of 18 years of age. If the legal adult age in your home country (the age at which you have the legal capacity to enter into a contract) is higher than 18, that number applies instead.
  • As an applicant, you must consent to providing your personal details to CCP, including your real name and a copy of your passport or internationally accepted identification. A CSM candidate can share any real-life information about themselves with the player base at their own discretion but it is not required at any stage in their application or CSM term other than sharing their country of residence on their candidate information page. Further personal information is only visible to CCP staff and will not be revealed by CCP.
  • To apply you must own a valid passport or verifiably be in the process of successfully applying for one at the time of your application. CSM members are expected to have the option of travelling to summits in Iceland. A passport is still required by applicants living in the EEA, as airlines may demand possession of a passport as a condition of carriage.
  • If you control a character that is well known in the EVE community, CCP may require you to run under that identity and not one of an alt or a lesser known character.

First, I can see a problem with allowing Alpha characters to run. Imagine a popular person in a major alliance who has not played the game in three or four years. Since the Ascension expansion, he now is eligible to run. A good idea? I don't think so.

Second, last year, the rules stated any breach of the EULA/ToS would disqualify a candidate from running. This year, EULA/ToS violations only may potentially disqualify a candidate.

Next, the thing about having correct personal information on a candidate's account. No one should complain about that, as that is a requirement set out in the Terms of Service:
20. You may not give false information or intentionally hide or withhold any information, including billing and contact information, when registering your EVE Online account subscription. You are responsible for keeping this information accurate and current.
Fourth, CCP is once again requiring a passport in order to run for CSM. For the last two years that was not a requirement. Apparently, despite the cool conference equipment CCP utilizes, they prefer candidates who can travel to Reykjavik. CCP has brought in all 14 members of CSM 11 for the two summits this term.

I should also add I believe the passport requirement is designed to limit the number of candidates. Last year, 54 candidates ran for a spot on CSM. In 2015, 75 players successfully applied to run. Trying to wade through that many candidates is hard, if not impossible for the average player.

Finally, I'm looking forward to CCP applying the rule that well-known players cannot run under an alt. I'd really like to see if that applies to Borat Guereen, a perennial candidate who runs under an alt while railing against the use of alts in EVE.

Now, the information about the voting.

  • Voting is performed through the CSM portal on the EVE Community website. The voting site will not be accessible until voting opens on March 6.
  • To vote your account must be in Omega state at the time of voting. This is due to the increased ease of voting manipulation by mass creating alpha accounts specifically for voting purposes. Despite this, Alpha players are eligible to run and serve on the CSM.
  • Every active Omega account gets to vote once, but each vote allows you to choose up to 14 characters in the order of your preference, from highest to lowest.
  • Votes cannot be edited or revoked after they are submitted
  • The voting system we use is called Single Transferrable Vote.
  • The code used to tally votes is available on Github in this repository. The voting data will be made available after the election results have been announced if you wish to verify the results of the tally.

The big news is that Alpha players cannot vote their accounts. The limitation should keep some people from creating a thousand or two alpha accounts. Don't believe someone would do something like that? Trust me, someone would.

The other piece of news is that the age requirement for accounts was lifted. Before this year, only active accounts over 30 days old could vote. I'm not sure if that was an oversight or whether due to changes made for the creation of Alpha accounts a certain exploit is no longer possible.

I should add one last bit before I conclude the post. For those running, don't wait until you receive approval from CCP to start campaigning. And for anyone covering the campaign, either on a podcast, Twitch stream, blog, or whatever. Voting begins on 6 March, or in 6 1/2 weeks. If you want your work to matter, getting everything up and posted before the first day of voting is essential. In my opinion, and I have covered CSM elections both as a talking head/researcher on the CSM Watch podcasts and on the blog, at least half of the people who vote will do so on the first or second day. Covering a CSM election is a lot of work. Speaking from experience, 6 1/2 weeks isn't really a lot of time.

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