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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CSM 6 - A Turning Point

The Election

Well, it's over and today is the day CSM 6 officially takes our virtual seats.  I want to take some time and look back on how I got here and thank everyone for everything they did to help put me in a position to represent you.

When I left CCP last year, my first question was, "When can I get Seleene back?"  My second was, "When can I run for CSM?"  I've been slowly building my advisory team and talking with current and past CSM members for months.  By the time applications for CSM 6 were ready to be submitted, I had my blog up, had already organized artwork and had a lot of my campaign points ready to roll out.  Even with all of that prep, I was still caught flat-footed by some things, I had to learn to use Twitter and I spent an extraordinary amount of time using EVE Gate to answer evemails. Then there were the debates, the interviews and a ton of other things.  Honestly, I don't see how people do this for RL political office but it was actually a lot of fun.

What made me want to be a Spaceship Politician?  Well, I think it had something to do with this graph:
So much truth.
If you've played EVE for any length of time, you'll probably be able to relate to this. Well, I want to help fix it. I've been on both sides of the table so CSM just seemed like the next logical step to take.

'They' said that I would probably need at least 2,000 votes to get a council seat.  I knew that I was going to need more than just an alliance bloc or depend on past 'e-fame' considering the field of announced candidates for this election so I made it a point to reach out in as many directions as possible.

I got help from unexpected areas.  People I'd not even realized were still playing EVE contacted me. "You're running for CSM? Will CCP let you do that?!  How can I help??"  It was humbling and encouraging and, despite so many people saying I was a 'shoe in', I needed the encouragement.  Perhaps I could have just coasted in, but I didn't want to take any chances, plus I really wanted to try hard to raise awareness of the CSM as a whole. Judging by the final numbers, it worked!

The Propaganda

Oh, the glories of election time, where Photoshop and Paint artists go nuts. Here's a few of the more memorable things I saw on the campaign trail.

Flowcharts are awesome.

I'm going to get shirts with this made for the other delegates.

Virt really enjoyed making me look like a space hooker.

Trebor just looks... creepy.
Thank Yous

In no particular order, I just want to single out a few people and organizations which helped me believe I could make a difference and kept me going.

Everyone that sent me an eve mail or posted in my Jita Park thread - Thanks for taking both the extra time and the interest to ask me a question directly. I tried to answer you all. Help keep the CSM working for you!

Virtuozzo - Wall of Text King and Internet Man of Mystery.  After dealing with him in game on and off for over five years, I finally got a chance to meet him in person at FanFest this year. Yes, he's real. :)  The numerous promotional pics that he plastered of my avatar everywhere certainly got the word out. His incredible insight into the business world is something I've come to rely on.

Mynxee - The outgoing CSM 5 Chair was simply invaluable to me. I first met Mynxee during one of her 'focus groups' when she was running last year and decided right then that she was someone I wanted to watch and listen to.  Her calm advice and numerous insights into her CSM term will continue to prove invaluable to me for a long time to come.

Atrisha - My main propaganda artist, responsible for the rotating banner and sigs. I'm still waiting on my CSM Sig, Trish!

Manfred Sideous - Leader of my current alliance and long time friend. The list would be too long so just thank you for everything, man. 

Dierdra Vaal - Dierdra has consistently been one of the most productive CSM members over the years.  He was right at the center of what's become known by the community as the 'Summer of Rage', largely a result of his 'Excellence?' presentation at the first CSM 5 summit last year.

EVE University - Just by the fact that they exist and are still going strong, these guys inspire me every day to try to help make EVE better.

Scrapheap Challenge - While some may consider this forum 'bittervet central', there's not another public (non-alliance / non-CPP) English speaking forum where the day to day happenings of EVE are discussed in more detail.

Christos Hendez - My Russian translator, AAA diplomat and all around chill dude. So much energy sometimes I think he's made of sugar. 

Herculetz - The current leader of AAA. I have no idea how many of my former alliance mates voted for me, but I'm sure he's the reason for it. Much love, man. 

Cascade Imminent [FAIL] -  A better alliance ticker in EVE there is not! 

Body Count Inc. - My family. I promise I'll make it to Australia soon, guys!

The Results

This was the slide at FF 2011 that announced the results.
After all of the work and talking and chatting and craziness of the past weeks, I was pretty confident that I'd at least landed a seat. When this screen went up at FanFest I was stunned. My personal guess was that I'd land somewhere in the 2200 - 2500 vote range which would place me in the middle of the pack. It was fantastic to see that so many people picked up my message of Iterations and ran with it.

If you missed the actual dev blog and want to see a full break down of the results, here's a link.

Nifty login screen a few days after the election.

When he announced the election results at FanFest, Hilmar said this: "I have to say, knowing some of these people... either directly or indirectly through the internet, I have to say this is going to be some Council of Stellar Management. It's going to be interesting."

Heh. While there are certainly some well known people on CSM 6, I'm pretty sure that a big chunk of that remark was undoubtedly leveled at myself and one other gentleman.

A Cuddly Mitten??

There has been much hurf blurffing about our elected Chariman, and not without good reason. Mittens has certainly 'earned' the attention by conducting what is easily one of the most distinctive and memorable CSM campaigns yet. Plenty of other blogs and countless forum posts have discussed what has happened so far so let me speak on what I believe is more important - is Mittens good for the CSM?  In my opinion, yes, and I'll tell you why.

Me & Mittani - CSM 2011
While Mittens and I have nearly polar opposite approaches to how we present ourselves and our ideas, we both have an abundance of energy and many things in common when it comes to EVE itself.  I started playing EVE before it was even released back in Beta.  I reached my 'peak' in terms of gameplay near the end of 2007, right around the same time I had to stop being a relentless mercenary overlord because CCP was telling me, "Hey, you really need to stop being a relentless mercenary overlord so you can go public as a dev."

Mittens came along a bit later and his approach to EVE was not the RAWR SMASH that mine was; he chose the role of the puppet master, preferring to stay just outside of the spotlight, even tho it invariably shone on him due to some rather... momentous events in EVE that he was involved with.  Heh.  

My point in bringing all this up is that no one can do the things we have done in EVE and not form similar opinions.  No one that has played EVE for more than 3-4 years in the null-sec arena is going to find too much to disagree on when it comes to the actual game play of EVE. Sure, there may be arguments about certain specific mechanics, but overall we all want the same thing - a fun and balanced game to play.

Today, The Mittani is one of the 4-5 most recognized names in EVE which means when he says something, it's going to get attention. This will be important going forward because I believe you are going to see a level of feedback, information and interaction out of CSM 6 unlike any that has come before. Mittens has a LOT of energy and is already going 300 kph in trying to get things organized. It's kinda of fun to watch really.

All that being said, rest assured that if you voted for me that I'm not going to just go along with anything Mittens or any other CSM member says unless I agree with it. There are some very strong willed people on this CSM and, thus far, I've not seen much evidence that there will be some kind of attempt to steamroll a specific plan over the other delegates.  So let me talk about them a bit as well.

CSM 6 as a whole

In terms of coordination and communication, CSM 6 is already shaping up nicely. We're all on Skype in a group chat 24/7, everyone has signed their NDA and are on the CSM forums and we're currently working on our initial set of messages to outline our agenda. So far, everything seems to be clicking rather well.

Despite prophecies of doom and gloom predicting that Trebor and Mittens would be at each other's throats, things are pretty chill. Meissa's been answering a lot of questions about past CSM's and we're looking at how to use that knowledge in putting together our plans. I've not had much of a chance to talk with xDeath but I did meet him in Vegas a couple years ago and he's a great guy to hang out with. I think Vile Rat is going to surprise a lot of people who just see him as 'another Goon'.  I've been chatting to Vile on and off since late 2007 and he's one of the most level headed EVE players I know.

As for the others, I really don't know them that well yet but Skype is changing that and everyone seems very friendly.

While this CSM does have a preponderance of null-sec people on it, I'd urge everyone to bear in mind that many of us are old enough players to remember what it was like to work our way up from having nothing, long before being members of giant, rich alliances. I ran my campaign on Iterations specifically because I don't want EVE to be forgotten about as CCP moves forward with its other endeavors. I won't let the other delegates forget, what we all said we wanted out of this: an improved game for everyone, not just the players in 0.0. Based on what I've seen in the short time since the election, I don't think I will have to try too hard.

A Turning Point

In looking at the internal CSM forums, it became quickly obvious why past CSMs (prior to CSM 5) failed to make any significant headway. They were too busy trying to figure out just what it meant to be a CSM, how to deal with CCP and a hundred other factors.  CSM 5 broke that paradigm and proved that with proper coordination, the CSM can be a factor for positive change that players can actually see.

This is a very important point for CSM 6.  We don't just want to make a difference; we want to make a difference that players can see and point at. As CSM 5 motivated players to want to vote again, we want to see 75,000 people or more vote in the CSM 7 elections because of our efforts.

I have to tell you all, CCP has never seen anything like what is coming.  What you have here are a group of delegates that are used to either running or being part of massive numbers of players. Social networking, information management and keeping large numbers of people informed about big events comes second nature to many of us. All of those 'skills' are going to be put to use for the benefit of the whole player base and I believe CSM 6 will set new standards by interacting more directly with the EVE community than ever before.

My CSM colleagues all seem pretty fired up about making the most of this opportunity. I am optimistic about what we may accomplish. I promise that this blog will give you a front row seat to anything we do.  Stay tuned - as Hilmar said, "It's going to be interesting!" :)


  1. I was glad to support your campaign and very glad to see the number of votes you got. I have faith in your ability to make a difference, Mark. I really appreciate that you can speak in a positive way about your plans and the potential for CSM6 without (however indirectly) insulting the previous CSM for what were genuine efforts to do the same thing you are trying to do: make EVE better for everyone.

    Good luck...I look forward to hearing how it's going from time to time.

  2. I have to say, this post doesn't fill me with hope.

    My concern with the Mittani is that he will run his CSM chairmanship similarly to how he ran his CSM campaign, that is to say aggressively, taking no prisoners, accepting no middle ground and being actively hostile to those who oppose him. He's charasmatic, and can no doubt unify the CSM effectively. Thoeretically, that's a good thing, but that's not the case if it's an agressive, take no prisoners CSM that is unwilling to find a middle ground.

    The risk is that an agressive CSM that can't have meaningful dialogue with the other stakeholders will just be sidelined. If it's sidelined, it will be listened to for the exact minimum amount of time required and will see just enough small things done so that CCP can build some positive PR around it. It will be largely ignored for the "big picture" stuff which is where the CSM should be playing it's biggest part

    Your comment "CCP has never seen anything like what is coming" doesn't fill me with confidence; it suggests that the Mittani has managed to sell his vision of a unified, yet aggressive CSM, even to someone like yourself.

    Let me be clear here, I'm not accusing you of becoming a Mittens puppet and singing his song rather than your own. This is not about specific issues, and whether or not the nullsec block can speak fairly for the playerbase at large and whether you'll stand for or against them on any given issue. My concern lies purely in the approach used to resolve any given issue when sitting across the table from CCP.

    What can you tell me at this point that will allay my fears? What makes you believe that the CSM/CCP relationship won't be an aggressive, antagonistic one? Or, if it is going to be an aggressive approach to CCP, what makes you think that approach will show results and not see the CSM sidelined as paper tigers

    On a seperate issue, my personal opinion is that focusing on the backlog of hundreds of small issues just so you can point to something is completely the wrong approach for the CSM. if you spend every meeting arguining the details, we may end up with new fonts and shortcuts for our drones, but the CSM will have spent the limited time they have with CCP talking about what are effectively, irrelevancies. Stakeholders don't design the specifics of the implementation, they make it clear what they want at a high level, and provide feedback as a solution is developed.

    The two issues in combination? An aggressive CSM focused largely on a backlog of minor issues? To me, that reads like a CSM that can be used for PR slides, but has lost the opportunity to really have meaningful input on the future of our game.

    Please tell me my fears are unwarranted :)

  3. Belamar, relax. Seleene is playing Good Cop.

  4. Belamar - Primarily what I am trying to reassure people of is that there's nothing 'wrong' with a unified CSM so long as everyone has a spine. Not everyone on CSM 6 is just going to nod their head at whatever Mittens thinks we should do. At the same time, I believe that there are a lot of similar thought processes in this CSM and not about any one particular area of EVE.

    Mittens, Trebor, Meissa and myself were all at FanFest so there were ideas being exchanged in person already. What my blog post intends to do is let everyone know that the level of cooperation that took previous CSM's months to achieve (or never) has already started to take off with CSM 6. I have no doubt that there will be internal arguments and serious business disagreements, but we're trying to make things more efficient so we don't waste our time bickering.

    Yeah, I wish Mittens would be a bit more chill in the way he communicates on a day to day basis but that's just who he is. Try telling the sun not to come up, etc... :)

    You asked why I believe the relationship with CCP won't be antagonistic. Well, probably because even Mittens knows we won't get fuck all done if we show up in May with torches and pitchforks. A lot of the election time rhetoric really has nothing to do with how elected officials actually conduct themselves once 'in office'. You do your best to act on your campaign promises but the reality is that if you want to get ANYTHING done at all you will probably have to compromise at some point. Every CSM member understands this point, which is why I wanted to point out that (so far) no one is being all, "But you're a big meanie!!" and sitting in their corner.

    What I believe CSM 6 will do 'aggressively' and differently from precious CSM's is interact with the player base more by having our own 'live chats' and by delegates like myself blogging often about what we're up to and explaining our motivations / plans.

    You raised the backlog issue - I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about here, especially with me on the CSM. We're not going to get bogged down into the details of the infamous backlog. Right now we are discussing how to best put some laser focus on specific high level issue in preparation for our first summit in Iceland in May.

    I hope some of this helps allay your concerns. If not, you can always ask more. Oh, and use Firefox next time. ;)

  5. i think alot of our issues we have with mittans is we dont trust him. his "fuck you for trusting me" speach on his CSM interview pretty much proved to me he was the same little prick that was out to crap in the sandbox of eve.

    That being said. I'm glad u did get in. Bit peeved that Shay didnt as i know you both worked well and knowing CCP internals might stand a chance to kick them into gear.

    SJ - Yes. That one. Bittervet and proud.

  6. ::grins:: I want a quarter for the use of my Fun v. Skillpoints graph. ;-)

    I find it funny/amusing/ironic that in some small way, I launched your CSM run. Good luck in CSM6!

  7. OMG YOU did that?? That shit is legendary, man! Virt put a couple of those in my dropbox weeks ago and I'd been looking for an excuse to post one. Somehow I missed that thread. Thanks for the link. :)

  8. Im made of a secret government formula of sugar, caffeine and vodka. - Christos

  9. Alright, since my previous post, I've listened to the latest Lost in EVE. The interview with the Mittani shows his stance on nearly every point I raised are the opposite of what I was concerned they would be.

    Between your reply and that interview, most of my concerns have been allayed. Time to sit back and enjoy the ride I guess

  10. First let me congratulate you on your seat in the CSM, I’m glad I gave you all three of my votes.

    I’ve really got to say thank you Seleene with this blog post you’ve managed to put into words many of the feelings I had about the last Fanfest, much more eloquently that I would be able to.

    It was my third, I did 07, 08 and 11 and something was definitely missing this time, I actually felt quite bad about it because I was encouraged to get back into EVE after a little hiatus by a “real life” friend who had never attended Fanfest before and he was in attendance with me after hearing about the previous times I had been and loved it.

    This time it seemed colder, a more distant and perhaps out of touch CCP with a lot less to show their fans despite an 18 month break. Something that puzzled me a lot was that I think it was 08 that I sceptically went into the room at FF where CCP had PC’s laid out for you to try what was then “walking in stations” or it might have even been going under the “ambulation” moniker at the time. But there we had a station, the ability to walk about in it, a Bar you could walk into with mini-games and “dancing girls” and whilst not “complete” it didn’t seem a year and a half away from being so. I’m a little puzzled why CCP seems to have dumped what they had built then to start from scratch (at least thats how it appeared.)

    I’m not sure how accurate my impression was from this Fanfest but it felt to me that CCP had simply been working on Carbon/WoD too much to actually dedicate enough resources to EVE to get this much vaunted feature rolled out.

    The Fanfest itself didn’t seem to have the “magic” or “wonder” that CCP managed to invoke in previous years, even the humour seemed scaled down. As for the “Future Vision” video, I was sat near the front with 2 friends, and all three of us had the same reaction of “Where’s der spaceships” and when talking it over later in the day we discussed that CCP called on us to get the message out and let people know about the video and EVE and what EVE is about. We came to the conclusion that we’d still be enthusiastic to our friends about EVE but that we certainly wouldn’t show them that video. I work in pretty high level marketing as a career and the one thing I’d say to CCP is EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT! Learn it, love it, live it.

    It might be hard for me having played EVE since early 06, but I tried to look at the video with the eyes of someone who has never played EVE before, I can see that video getting a bunch of people to have a look but I imagine only a small % will stick around because it isn’t a video of a game that exists yet, if it ever will at all. Its poor marketing, poor expectation management and was shown to what I would consider a poor audience, the people who were at Fanfest love EVE for “FUCK YEAH SPACESHIPS” and only a small proportion I would wager give a damn about space Barbie and Ken.....

    The thing is that EVE is an awesome game, with TONS to offer new players, its beautiful, its deep, its rich its full of history and there is NOTHING else like it on the market at all. Why have CCP stopped promoting EVE for what it is? Why have they started promoting a game that doesn't exist? I love EVE, I respect EVE, I want to see EVE doing well, I want to see it survive and grow and truly be forever. To do that CCP need to learn QC and expectation management, they have awesome features, like 0.0 and Faction Warfare that need love, time, attention and iteration. They have the most amazing game on the market, and they should be proud of it, not hiding it behind what they think it will be in 10 years.

    Butterfly Effect was their best trailer ever..... And it informed people about what EVE is about.

    Good luck Seleene, I hope you manage what you’re setting out to do during your term in the CSM, for all our sakes.

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  12. With the composition of this council, it certainly has the potential to be influential and productive: its 0.0 vet-centric make implies a solid mix of big picture perspective and hands-on experience with most aspects of EVE, both in 0.0 and everywhere.
    Groupthink and circle-jerking being of course a potential downside of this :awesome: cohesion the CSM already shows (as CCP exemplified over the years).

    As for people worried about Mittens really set on shitting in the sandbox, I'd suggest to realize you can't spend that long being a meta-scale griefer in EVE without realizing you're right at home and the culture has co-opted you, whether you want it or not.

    On a separate note:

    "EVE University - Just by the fact that they exist and are still going strong, these guys inspire me every day to try to help make EVE better."

    So… much… irony.

    Good luck with your CSM ride, hopefully you'll get a chance to achieve more for the betterment of EVE there than as dev (I'm given to understand it may have been frustrating, at times).

  13. I don't exactly support mass evemails (they were kinda annoying after receiving like, the fifth one from Meissa, lol) but I have faith that you guys will do well.

    Also, Mittani is much more good-looking than you'd expect your average EVE player to be, no homo. And his dog is cute.