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.