Thank you very much everyone for placing me on CSM 6 and now on CSM 7 where I am currently serving as the Chairman! If you would like to contact me directly, do not hesitate to just send me an eve mail in game. Keep your eyes here and watch for new posts.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How much actual impact does the CSM have?

This is an important subject to clarify, as there are a lot of folks who think they can just "post it on the forums" and it will get the same exposure as if CSM brings an issue up on their agenda. This is soooo not the case and it is very important that people understand why.

You can post away on the forums, but I guarantee you that the chances of "some dev" (specifically one in game design) reading it is pretty low.
 Even if a dev reads it, the chances of that dev becoming motivated to DO something about it RIGHT NOW is practically nil considering he / she probably already has something else on their plate; even if that dev IS motivated to do something about your issue, the chances of him getting approval to get it done in any reasonable time span from his bosses is sometimes laughable. Lastly, even when that dev manages to get something done, the chances of some other dev coming along and hijacking things to the point of nonsense is still fairly probable.

That being said, yes, CCP does read the forums, it's just rare that an idea from there is able to rise up and become reality.

This is where the CSM can, and has been, invaluable in elevating certain issues to a point where they cannot be ignored.
 For example, it took nearly three years of constant lobbying to get the AoE DD removed from the game, and I can honestly stand here and say that if it hadn't been for the CSM's high level of bitching about it, we might STILL be dealing with paper tiger supercaps and who knows what else.

The CSM, believe it or not, cuts through a LOT of the bullshit at CCP primarily because upper management wants to believe they are getting a return on their financial and PR investment. I was there when I watched the initial concept proposed and saw how the CSM delegates affected the game first hand.
 There simply is nothing like devs being FORCED to sit in a room and see a big Serb fellow like Vuk Lau literally pounding on the table about sov warfare (was funny as hell), or Diedra Val from EVE Uni giving a passionate argument about new player incentives, or John Zastrow from Goons wailing like a girl about fueling towers, etc...

To be 100% honest, what's 'obvious' to some players isn't obvious to other players, just as some issues are obvious to some devs but not to others. A lot of this has to do with having devs (and by devs I'm primarily referring to Game Designers) that take a pro-active interest in the daily happenings of EVE. I was such a dev but I freely admit that if it involved something to do with NPCing or running missions, to this day I still get a blank look of terror on my face. When I was at CCP I worked on / pushed things that I wanted to PLAY. Luckily, there's currently a good variety of game designers onboard now whose interests mirror the diverse play styles in EVE.

If you can get the CSM to focus properly and present themselves well, it DOES get the ear of the designers. It also allows the designers to tell upper management that the player council they are paying to fly out to the volcanic rock in the middle of the North Atlantic thinks Issue X is a big deal and CCP should put some time into it.

My main concerns with the CSM elections though are the people who choose to abstain because they feel the CSM is pointless. 
I hope that due to the changes made in the past election cycle and CSM 5 members speaking up about their experiences that it might help boost the number of voters. It's very important that players start to realize what an opportunity this is, not just for the people elected but for the direction of the game as a whole.

Traditionally, the CSM has been made up of a very wide assortment of players and play styles. CCP knows this, so when ALL of them present a united front on any one issue it ensures those issues will get more attention. Even when the CSM disagrees on key issues, it can spark internal debate at CCP about examining why the different players have those disagreements.

That's why it's vital that players actually take the time to vote for the candidate they think is going to promote their favored form of game play in the most intelligent, well-spoken, supported-by-evidence manner possible. Make sure the candidate you vote for is up to the task.
I've got a lot of confidence that CCP wants this to work but it's largely up to the CSM to make the most of the opportunity given to them. 

Whoever is elected can make a difference so it's pretty important who does and does not get a seat on the internet spaceship council. I spent years fighting uncountable battles on a wide variety of issues, some of which I helped win and others which remain unresolved to this day. The key to fighting these battles effectively is knowing who will listen, how to get their interest and attention and having the perseverance to do so without seeming as if you are pushing one particular agenda over any other. It's quite the balancing act. If elected, it is a challenge I look forward to taking on!


  1. Well said sir. I said much the same thing in my EON article last year. Players need to realise that their vote goes a long way, and the more people vote in the CSM elections the louder the CSM's voice will be. There is more weight behind the CSM with a turnout of 50% than there is with a turnout of 20%. Less people voting means that CCP can feel justified in ignoring the CSM because they can say that the majority of players don't really care.

    It would be interesting to know how many of those who abstain in the elections actually make use of the Assembly Hall and Jita Park forums to bitch about what they want the CSM to do...

  2. Well said indeed. I hope that the accomplishments of CSM5 encourage more people to turn out for CSM6. And I hope you get elected, because it will be interesting to see the CSM/CCP dynamic when there is a former dev on the CSM side.

  3. I'm guessing CCP might be hoping that you don't get elected. However, you sir, have my votes.

  4. I think that CCP would probably appreciate having someone on the CSM who has a deeper understanding of their internal processes, if for no other reason than to better explain them to other CSM members and how they affect issues raised by the community as well. It's a two-edged sword, of course, due to the fact that that same experience can be used to better represent the player base's concerns to CCP as well. While I don't pound on tables much, I do tend to stand on them when making important points though!

  5. I know I know. I am running against you in the election but this is a damn fine point and well made.