Sunday, September 4, 2011

Minutes of the Scandal of the Minutes

Over the past month or so, players have been asking -- more and more pointedly -- what's going on with the minutes of the Emergency summit.

Here's the story so far -- the minutes of the minutes, if you will.

After the Emergency summit concluded, a CCP staff member made a summary transcription based on recordings of the session. CSM quickly took these and did a basic editing pass, making sure they had all the important facts right and that CSM opinions -- and the manner in which they were expressed -- were properly recorded.

Based on prior experience, I did not expect any significant problems with the minutes; at most, a few minor things might get NDA'd or made less specific.

However, after a considerable delay, what we got back from CCP was quite disturbing. The minutes had been significantly rewritten by a senior CCP employee (who will remain nameless because we are not sure if this was done on this person's own initiative or on orders from higher-up. It was not, I am happy to say, either of the CSM's advocates inside CCP, Xhagen and Diagoras, who were on vacation at the time). What has been euphemistically referred to in public as issues of "tone" was in fact a major rewrite which grossly softened the severity of CSM's concerns and criticism of CCP.

Furthermore, we were told that CCP's position was that the minutes were a "joint report", as opposed to what minutes have traditionally been -- a report by the CSM to the community about the meeting.

The CSM was unanimously outraged. CCP was attempting to put their words in our mouths; in effect, turning us into unpaid spokesclones for the CCP PR and Marketing departments.

We informed CCP that this was totally unacceptable, and that if they had problems with our draft, they should specify them individually and we would attempt to address them. We were quite happy to make sure that their concerns, opinions and explanations were properly represented, just as we have always done in previous minutes.

This request was repeatedly ignored; instead, CCP kept offering minor revisions of their draft that did nothing to address our concerns.

When he returned from vacation, CCP Xhagen attempted to break the impasse with another draft that addressed some CSM concerns. I carefully compared it with our original draft, made the needed changes to ensure that the CSM's voice was unadulterated, left CCP's replies untouched (after all, I would not want to be accused of putting words in their mouths!) and submitted it to both CCP and CSM for comment.

It has been over a week, and we haven't gotten an answer yet as to what issues, if any, CCP has with our draft.

The bottom line for me is that in order for CSM to be effective (and useful to CCP!), it must be an independent voice that can express player concerns and communicate CCP's responses back to the community. How ironic that, after seeing just how well that can work back in June, some people in CCP want to muzzle the CSM.


  1. Well, nothing new - in a sense that all this was was quite suspected and expected, so you just confirmed.

    Kinda happy, coincidentally my last account runs out of its' PLEX time today.

  2. Suggestion: when CSM7 is elected, be sure to share both versions of these minutes with them, your version and CCP's version.

    It won't be breaking NDA, because CSM7 will be under NDA.

    And it will give them an idea of the sorts of things they'll have to be ready for. In so doing, it will counter some of the advantage CCP has over the CSM in this space.

  3. Ah, this is what got the mitten to call for war? ;)

  4. Your last blog ended with you saying you were cautiously optimistic.

    Now after this fine piece of event, what is the current outlook?

  5. "I am guardedly optimistic." was the statement in the last news.

    And now after this piece of news and events?

  6. Oh, I am naturally an optimistic fellow. Basically, CSM shall do its best to advocate for the players, and we shall see how CCP chooses to respond.

    While I have obvious disagreements with CCP management over their resource allocations, I am also confident that there are many people inside the company who would love an opportunity to refocus on the core game. I will do my best to help give them that opportunity.

  7. If you can read this during the EVE-Radio interview are the CSM going to push the issue of patch quility.

  8. The question of what players can do that was fielded during the EVE radio interview with the CMS got me thinking. As players we could vote against EVE Online in MMO gaming awards such as goldenjoystick.

  9. You know, I hear in law it is common practice to add a deadline to paperwork. You could write something like "If we, the CSM, do not receive an answer within 14 days we will consider you to agree with us, and we will release the minutes" or something like that...

    This gives them a legal reason not to ignore you, and to respond in a timely fashion. ;P

    (technically you could even append a fine, but I'd let it slide for diplomatic reasons...)

    Please note that I do not practice law, and you should not consider anything I type or say as legal advice. But if you ask a lawyer or notary, or consult a law dictionary, something along those lines will be confirmed.