Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winter Summit Quick Wrapup

I won't spend a lot of time getting into details in this post, because the CSM is committed to getting a good portion of the Meeting Minutes published to the community before the end of the year, Mayan Apocalypse permitting. As soon as we get back home, we're going into full gear, and most of the devs we met have been able to promise they will review the minutes in :48hours:, even if it means interrupting their Xmas vacations. Thanks in advance for that.

In general, the summit went quite well, though there were a few times when we had to say some things that certain people were not expecting to hear. However, I think it's encouraging that this was a bit rarer than in certain past CSM summits.

The schedule died in a fire by lunchtime on the first day as it became clear that extra meetings were required (we had to stay late every day). My thanks to CCP Xhagen and CCP Dolan for keeping all the balls in the air.

I must admit to going into the summit wondering how CCP was going to address the challenges of the future, especially how they are going to take on bigger feature projects without succumbing to the mistakes of the past. But after many discussions with people at different levels of the company, I am more confident that they have an ambitious but well-considered development strategy, and the right people in the right roles to execute the strategy. CCP is going to be explaining this all to the community in the very near future.

This is not to say that what they want to do will be easy, or without risks -- it won't. But while they are going to take big bites in 2013 and beyond, I don't think they will be biting off more than they can chew.

And of course, it will be interesting to see if the community will swallow it. ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Farewell, Colleague

By now, most readers of this blog will have heard the sad news that Sean "Vile Rat" Smith was one of the 4 State Department employees murdered in Benghazi.

Sean and I did not cross paths in the game itself, only on the CSM. On CSM 6, he was exactly what he was in real-life; a quiet, sober, dedicated public servant. He didn't care about the limelight, he just wanted to get things done.

And now he's gone, dead at the hands of ignorance and intolerance, and from the hatred that always springs from those eternal sources of human suffering.

A fund is being set up to accept contributions to help Sean's family; the details will come out in a few days. Please do your part to lighten their burden. The money will help, but knowing that you cared will help even more.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gambling by Mail

The results of the elections are in, and I've been re-elected in 5th place with 3184 votes.

But a much more relevant number is 718. This is how many more votes I received than I needed to get into the top 7 -- the CSMs who are assured of attending summits. Or to put it another way, if I'd gotten 719 fewer votes, I'd have come in 8th.

That number, and the structure of the elections, explains why I mass-mailed a lot of people on the first day of the elections. It's important to recognize that positions 8-14 are equally valuable (well, 8th has a chance of getting to go to Iceland if someone can't make it). So if you think you're going to come in 9th or 10th, taking a risk that might shift you a few places is, in effect, a bet you can't lose. If it hurts you, you come in 11th or 12th, which is effectively no loss. If it helps you, you might squeak into the top 7.

Given the situation I was in, with many high-quality candidates fishing in my voting pool, I guessed that I would end up somewhere from 8th to 10th place. I might just squeak in to 7th place, but it was iffy.

So it was time to roll the dice, and see what happened.

The mailing contained a link that redirected through my server to my voting page. After eliminating duplicates and obvious spam attempts (the one from an IP address in India was the most amusing), this link got 2235 hits during the election.

However, I used the same link in my forums signature and in my thread (a thoughtless oversight), so this number does not just represent the results of the mailing.

A more interesting number is 1020 -- the number of hits that came via the EVE In-Game Browser, since these were much more likely to have come from people reading the EVE Mail.

Thus, counting the fact that I lost some votes due to the mailing, and that some of the hits do not represent actual votes, I think a reasonable estimate is that the mailing netted me around 750 votes, +/- 150 or so.

We will never know if I actually needed the extra votes I got from the mailing. But I think I made a smart bet -- in particular when you consider the results for Two step, Kelduum and Hans, all excellent candidates who were definitely competing with me for votes.

Congratulations to all the members of CSM 7, both the n00bs and our returning champions. Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we fly home, and on Monday it's back to work.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Open Reply to Susan Black

Yesterday, Susan Black (aka GamerChick42) posted an open letter chiding me for using evemail to solicit for votes. I thought I'd take a few moments to reply to her concerns.

First, Susan seems to think any unsolicited email is spam. For example, it is my standard practice to evemail people who post an encouraging message in my campaign thread, both to thank them and to solicit their help in rounding up votes. By Susan's definition (perhaps because I grouped together 5 or 6 people in the email) this is spam. I'm sorry, Susan, but I strongly disagree that replying to a posting in my campaign thread with an evemail is spam.

But of course, the email that really upset her was the one I did to a large number of players right after voting opened. Susan seems to think that in one devastating master-stroke, I have opened the gates that will permit a flood of unsolicited email to pollute her inbox. I believe her concerns are unwarranted.

CCP has stated that unsolicited mass emails are not permitted, with one exception: active CSM candidates may send out such emails, but are strongly encouraged to do it at most once.

In the real world, at least in free democracies, political speech is traditionally less regulated than other kinds of speech, and for sound reasons. CCP has simply extended this principle into New Eden. Susan may not like it, just as I don't like political robocalls, but on balance, more speech is better. Susan's actions demonstrate this: her response to my speech (the email) was more speech (her open letter), which resulted in more speech (this reply). The result was that everyone has a better understanding of the event and the issues.

In the next part of the letter, Susan appeals to my better nature:

She says that I portray myself as someone who puts in long hours trying to improve the game for everyone. So how could such a person be so rude as to sully her inbox?

She says that I say I listen to the community, so how could I do something that many in that community don't like?

She says that I have disrespected the community by "grubbing around for votes" instead of engaging in open and honest communication.

And she ends by saying that even The Mittani wouldn't stoop this low, and implies that I used EULA-breaking methods to send out the mails. Sorry Susan, but this is not the case! I suggest you do some experiments and find out for yourself how easy it is to use EVE-Gate to do something like this. As for The Mittani, if I was sitting on a 4,000 vote head-start in the voting like he is (thanks to the Goon bloc vote), I would probably take the same relaxed approach to campaigning that he is -- though I wouldn't be as arrogant about it.

Funnily enough, when he learned what I was doing, The Mittani attempted to pump me for details about how and what I did (I told him nothing!), and apparently put a team of Goons to work doing a cost-benefit analysis. I guarantee you that if he felt he needed to, he wouldn't hesitate to pull an all-nighter, just like I did.

In this section, Susan -- laboring under a misconception -- appears to believe that "Trebor of the CSM" and "Trebor the CSM CANDIDATE" are the same guy.

They are most definitely not.

Trebor of the CSM is the guy described in the evemail, who puts in the hours working for the community.

Trebor the CSM Candidate is a guy currently engaged in a vicious, all-out PvP cage-match with the other candidates for votes. Trebor the CSM Candidate knows that if he doesn't get enough votes, he doesn't get to be Trebor of the CSM, and that with only 7 people going to Iceland in the future, that cage-match went from a knife-fight to a gun-fight.

For most of the year, I'm Trebor of the CSM, hard-working Mr. Nice Guy. But during elections, I'm a vote-grubbing machine -- not because I like being that, but because the current election system requires that I be that. To do any less would be to betray those who support me.

That's why I didn't bring a knife to the gun-fight -- I brought a shotgun. In one fell swoop, I not only caged extra votes, but I also slammed the door on the other candidates -- because most of the voters that could be swayed by such an email will have either voted for me, or if they were pissed at me, voted for other candidates which will very likely be candidates I would like to see elected! Susan is supporting Hans, so she should be very happy: I'm sure he got a couple of dozen extra votes out of this, maybe more.

I guarantee you that in their hearts, the other candidates are either pissed they didn't think of doing this, or pissed that I pre-empted them.

Jester gets the logic behind what I did in this post - I introduced a Pareto improvement into the election, and captured most of the new economic capacity (votes).

Finally, in her concluding section, Susan asks me to petition CCP to make this tactic out of bounds in the future.

Believe it or not, I have no problem with this. Indeed, the greatest victory for a gamer is doing something that forces a change in the rules of the game. However, I would much prefer this be done in the context of a change to the voting system that makes the results more representative of the preferences of the voters -- because that, more than anything else, will encourage the kind of campaign that Susan would like to see.

Robert Woodhead

PS: You may be interested to know that another gamerchick (Mynxee) understood what I was up to and provided editorial feedback for both the final draft of the Mailshot Heard Round New Eden and this reply. Thanks, Carole! Love ya, babe!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Knocking on Doors in Outer Space

Last night was a busy night for me, because as soon as the polls opened, I initiated a plan that I'd been carefully working on for quite some  time.

The essential problem I faced with the CSM 7 election was that, with the possible exception of Seleene, I was the only major candidate without a core constituency.

The bloc candidates, of course, have their blocs to vote for them, and the other strong candidates either had mini-blocs or "functional" constituencies (such as Two step with wormholes and Hans with Factional Warfare). But I have always been a general candidate, attempting to represent the broader interests of the entire community, so I needed a way to reach my more diffuse constituency.

I knew it was going to be even harder than last year. Last year, you may recall, my campaign thread was heavily trolled, and I used that to my advantage. This year I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen, and sure enough, the trolls didn't show up.

But I had another option - retail politics. In order to drum up votes, I would have to knock on as many doors in New Eden as possible. I also knew from what I'd done in the previous election that directly contacting players via EVEmail was feasible -- I used it both on my behalf and also to help out other candidates (in particular, Meissa).

So over a month before the election, I began my preparations. I compiled a list of names, used the API to get their corp affiliation, and prioritized them. I consulted with CCP and got a ruling from a lead GM that, just like last year, sending a political EVEmail to a character was fine -- it was sending a ton of messages to the same character that was against the rules.

And the moment the polls opened, and I had the direct voting link, I sat down at the keyboard and poopsocked it. Some people are claiming that I used a bot; this is not the case. I merely took advantage of my hard-won knowledge of EVEGate to send them as efficiently as possible.

It was a long night... a very long night. But hey, everyone who's worked with me on CSM will tell you I'm a hard worker!

The Political Calculus

Before embarking upon this project, I had to figure out whether or not it would be effective. And as it happens, I had the statistics from my efforts in the CSM6 elections. Based on that experience, I knew that:

* Almost all of the recipients who would flame me wouldn't have voted for me anyway.

* I would lose very few votes from supporters who were offended by the tactic, in particular because if they were, they would typically get in touch with me, and I would be able to explain why I did it.

* I would gain votes from the general community who hadn't been that involved in the election so far.

* I would be able to appeal to my supporters to lobby their in-game social groups on my behalf.

And finally, and perhaps most critically:

* I knew that if I didn't do it, someone else probably would. People had seen what I'd done last year, and other candidates had far more resources (whole alliances) than I did. Furthermore, the benefits would go to the candidate who struck first.

So that's why I pulled an all-nighter.

One of the few amusing moments during this grind-fest came in the wee hours of the morning, when The Mittani started asking me all sorts of questions on Skype about how I was doing it. He was clearly impressed -- and I'm not telling him a damn thing until after the polls are closed!

As you might expect, I've gotten a ton of EVEmail in the aftermath of my mailgasm. You will probably be shocked at how high the positive/negative ratio is.

But you won't be shocked about how tired I am right now.

The MailShot Heard Round New Eden

Just in case you haven't seen it, here's what I sent out:

Over the past two years, I have spent countless hours pushing CCP to improve the game for the benefit of the entire EVE community, not just one narrow interest group.

I am not the guy who arrogantly styles himself the King of Space and proclaims that your opinions are worthless.

I am the guy who thinks your opinions matter and that the CSM is about pushing hard for what the community wants.

I am the guy who spends at least an hour a day listening to the community and keeping you informed.

I am the guy who used crowdsourcing to show CCP what you really wanted. When they finally woke up last fall and realized you want spaceships, my lists of what you wanted told them exactly what they needed to do.

I am the guy who pushed hard for the removal of Learning Skills -- and made sure it got done right.

I am the guy who has been pushing for User Interface improvements every day, and now CCP is devoting more resources to the UI than ever before.

I am the guy who has been pushing for Industrial and POS improvements, building support for them, for two years. Guess what all the new candidates are talking about now?

I am the guy who has been endorsed by four members of CSM 6, the chairman of CSM 5, Cerain, Malcanis, Erik Finnegan, and Jester the EVE superblogger.

I am the guy who has been pushing and pushing and pushing on your behalf for two years -- and getting steady results.

Now I need you to push the VOTE button so that I can keep on working for you.


(You will be sent to the EVE Website in order to vote, and asked to log in. If you have multiple accounts, you get one vote per account, but you will have to log out of your current account and re-click the link in order to vote again. The direct link to the Election page is in case you need it)

After you have voted, push some more. Push this EVEmail to your friends and corpmates by clicking the FORWARD button. If you are using EVEGate, you will have to use the REPLY button and edit the To: line, otherwise the formatting will be messed up.

If you push for me, I will keep on pushing for you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for voting.

Robert Woodhead (aka Trebor)

PS: Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or suggestions. Here are some handy links:

Campaign Thread -

My Blog: Confessions of a Starship Politician -

The July 2011 Crowdsourcing -

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vote Early and Often

The polls are open in New Eden! If you think I've done a good job over the past two years and want to sentence me to suffer the sadistic seats of Icelandair for several more summits, then click here to vote for me.

The voting rules:

* One vote per account.
* Your account must have been created at least 30 days prior to the time you vote (or 60 days if created via the buddy program).
* Your account must have been active for at least 24 hours prior to voting.

So if you have an old account, you can reactivate it (say, by using a PLEX) and then vote the next day.

I obviously hope you'll vote for me, but no matter what, vote. Make your voice heard.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dunning and Kruger Demolish Democracy

Since we're in the middle of election season in EVE, I found this article particularly amusing and appropriate. David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the two scientists behind the Dunning-Kruger Effect ("Incompetent people are too incompetent to know they're incompetent") have done some interesting research that indicates that it has an alarming corollary -- "Democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies".

The takeaway? Computer simulations imply that "democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they 'effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders'".

I guess this all just confirms what the eminent social scientist W. Churchill said over 100 years ago -- "Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

The polls open in New Eden on Wednesday. Get out there and vote -- and try not to do it too incompetently! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Independent Voters Guide to the Galaxy

Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking about CSM election strategy, and about how to best balance the influence of nullsec blocs and the rest of the EVE population.

The results can be found in my Independent Voters Guide to the CSM Elections. Enjoy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Offer He Can't Refuse

On my Lost in EVE debate I made a major campaign promise! Here's a poster that gives the details...

Just in case it isn't clear, I'm making this offer to point out the absurdity of The Mittani's central premise, that he needs to be chairman in order for the CSM to be effective. This is nonsense; the chairmanship has no real power. The Mittani is an effective member of the CSM because he works hard and is a persuasive advocate, not because he's chairman.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Off-topic: Punished by Rewards

Every year, I go to the Hacker's Conference, a get-together of "old-school" hackers and makers. Associated with the conference is an active mailing list that's been around for decades. Recently, there has been an active discussion concerning bosses like Steve Jobs, and why people work for them (and put up with them).

A post came across the list from Laura Creighton that I thought was very interesting and perceptive. While it's not directly related to EVE, it does have some insights that do apply to the game, CSM and CCP, and which I think are very worth sharing.

So, with Laura's kind permission, here's what she wrote:
Interestingly, every study I have seen where people have studied the effects of 'rewarding people for doing well' has proven, conclusively, that people, collectively perform much worse if they are rewarded for doing well. 
There are 2 caveats to this. The first is that, in selecting a job, people really do often choose the one that pays best, has the most perks, etc. So yes, paying your employees well does tend to attract the most people, which does give you a better shot at 'selecting the best' from the more that show up. And some very good people will not show up unless you pay them well -- they have taken jobs somewhere else where they were. Also, some jobs, which are of the pure drudgery sort, can be set up so that people are so desperate for immediate gratification that they will work for the incentive. 
Otherwise, the immediate effect of rewarding people for doing well is to crush performance. And what is worse, it never comes back. It turns out that most people do their job well because they like doing their job well. But if you start rewarding them for that, they stop doing things in order to nurture their own creativity, but instead start doing things that they think of as being 'worth the reward'. And most top performers perform better, work harder, and are more creative when doing things for their own sake than in order to get a reward. Their productivity decreases. 
And down among the bottom performers, things are even worse. Suddenly the only reason to do the job is perceived to get rewards which will never come to these people. They completely lose motivation, and slack off totally. Thus the whole thing is a catastrophe. 
We are getting better at understanding why this is so. The parts of the brain that the creative person uses when being creative and productive are different parts of the brain that are used when rewards are being calculated. And, of course, the whole business of giving rewards has, in addition to the message 'you did well' but the message 'I am an authority who gets to judge you'. Primates have lots of brain circuitry devoted to understanding one's ranking in a group, compared to the alpha-beings who get to judge you. 
Current neuroscience says that you cannot use the creative part and the social-status part at the same time, and you can max out on using the greedy calculator in your brain to the detriment of your creativity. This is why when you are really, really being creative you often feel entirely outside of yourself. Your social insecurities, and your greed just drop right off. For many people -- but not this list -- this never happens
Thus people who have never had a creative thought in their whole lives think only in terms of social rewards, and don't know they are killing creativity by doing this. 
See Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards to learn more about this fascinating stuff. The book is quite old, and we have known about this for quite some time, but there are links to researchers who have more recent research. It always says the same thing. 
So, what I think is significant about Jobs isn't about reward. It might be about punishment -- I haven't seen that studied as much. The papers I see seem to indicate that it works in environments where you desire caution, but it is bad for creativity as well, so I tend to think that this wasn't the important bit either. 
What I think was significant was that, when things are uncertain, a huge number of people really want to follow somebody who appears to be wholely convinced of their own vision, and who is decisive, and who isn't uncertain at all. People are happier following somebody who is confident, though wrong than somebody who is uncertain, though posessing a greater critical awareness, which contributes to their uncertainty. 
This may have relevance to the Kruger & Dunning study Unskilled and Unaware of it -- a very good read.
People who are unaware of how unskilled they are at something often bite off more than they can chew. Most, of course, fail miserarbly. But the odd one succeeds, often by using a technique that would not occur to those with greater familiarity with the problem. Perhaps leadership works this way as well. Some leaders may have been made great by the caliber of the people who chose to follow them, precisely because they were confident where a wiser person would have doubts.
I'm sure everyone, after reading this, can think of ways in which it applies to their EVE experience.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coming This Summer To A Screen Near You!

CCP Soundwave has gone public (in a podcast; Jester has a good summary of the contents, some of which is quoted below) with broad details of what CCP is working on for the Summer 2012 release, which means I'm free to make some observations.

"The summer patch is going to focus on 'fundamentals' and 'old systems that are hampering us.'"

This is a natural progression from Crucible. With Crucible, there was no time for long-term planning, so they concentrated on point-fixes. With the luxury of time, they're thinking longer term.

"The war-dec system is going to be redone, particularly as it applies to Empire war-decs."

This is part of a significant redesign and rewrite of Crimewatch, the code that handles all the agression timers, Concord and Police response, and so on. I was very pleased to hear in December that CCP is tackling some of their oldest legacy code -- it bodes well for a stab at iterating on POS's, which Soundwave touches on at one point. Yes, the Dead Horse may rise from the grave!

One thing I do hope that comes out of this rewrite is more emphasis on making it easier for people who want to fight to find fights, while at the same time making it harder for people to abuse war-decs to grief players who simply have no interest in PvP. I made this point at the summit, and quite frankly, I thought that some of the mechanics suggested at the summit would be invitations to organized extortion.

"Faction Warfare is going to receive a massive rework."

This is the big one, and I couldn't be happier. This is exactly the kind of iteration that CSM has been pushing for, and FW is the perfect place to start, because (as I have pointed out several times) CCP can try something innovative here -- who knows, perhaps an capture mechanic based on actually occupying and using the space -- and apply the lessons learned to fixing other problem areas in the game, such as nullsec sov.

CSM does not yet know what CCP has planned for FW 2.0, but it will likely be something that gets a lot of attention during the final months of CSM6.

"CCP is going to build in more tools for alliances to 'make money off their members.' Then they're going to get rid of the massive 'own this moon and you're set forever' system."

Both excellent ideas. I am a big proponent of "you get sov by using space", as opposed to "you get sov in order to use space", and these are both steps in the right direction.

"They're going to look for ways to foster animosity between null-sec alliances, hopefully breaking the NAP-fest in null. Instead of trying to foster conflict through resources, they're going to try to foster conflict through social means."

I look forward to Soundwave clarifying exactly what "social means" he means, but again, this seems like a step in the right direction.

"Soundwave mentions that he'd like POSs in EVE to be more like 'houses in Skyrim': a place that you live and that's yours and set up how you like and that every EVE player should want one of."

In other words, Dead Horse Dead Icelandic Pony. I'd very much like this to be the centerpiece of the Winter 2012 Expansion, if possible coupled with a rewrite of Industrial mechanics. I'm a big fan of industrial systems where you just say what you want done, and the system figures out how to do it -- PI mechanics is a first step in that direction, although you still have to manually hook up the wires.

All in all, these tidbits are great news. As long as players and the CSM keeps the pressure on, I think we're going to see interesting stuff on SiSi in the coming months.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jester's Schmeck

A few days ago, Jester posted an amusing article on his blog poking fun at the style of the CSM minutes, in which we generally don't identify individual CSMs opinions. This is mostly because the recordings we work off are not very good (I've already bitched about this), and it's often hard to tell who's talking, and also because it would take a huge amount of time to transcribe the minutes at that level of detail.

I had previously stated on FHC that if anyone wanted to know where I specifically stood, they should feel free to ask. So Jester, clever fellow that he is, posted a laundry list of questions. Several other CSMs have posted their answers, so I guess it's my turn.

Now, as most people are aware, I tend to concentrate on higher-level issues (ie: pushing for more dev/community interaction, more resources for the UI, addressing fundamental game-mechanic issues, etc.), so you can assume that any of Jester's questions I don't answer are those I don't have a particular opinion on, or I think are just irrelevant.

Pilots -- most particularly super-carrier pilots -- should be given a "partial respec" of their skill-points (page 12).

I am in favor of this, as long as it is limited in both the amount of SP that can be respec'd, and the frequency at which it is available is rare. This is, I know, not a popular opinion. My reasons for thinking it is acceptable is that it will be a useful tool both for conversion of noobs into long-term customers (undoing early mistakes, trying a new career path), and encouraging reactivations. I view it as a similar issue to remaps.

As a general principle, I think the "it was hard for me, so it should be hard for you" argument is bogus, unless there is a really good reason for something to be difficult. In the UI discussion, for example, I was the CSM who was in favor of better, easier to use situational awareness tools, and strongly disagreed with another CSM, who felt that the current system (numeric values for angular velocity, for example) was better because it provided an edge for skilled players.

Super-carriers should be able to dock in stations (pages 13 and 17); 

Only if those stations can be blown up with the SC's inside them. :)

Drones should just give ISK bounties instead of dropping alloys (page 16).

Does not seem unreasonable, though I am sure many will disagree. This decision will be largely driven by the Research and Economics people at CCP.

Alliances should be able to tax member ratting income (page 16).

I am generally in favor of activity-based income rather than passive income for Corps and Alliances.

Wars in EVE are driven by hatred and grudges rather than resources (page 16).

Well, part of the problem is, if you don't have resources now, you don't have the resources, under the current sov system, to go to war to get the resources. Catch-22.

Fleets of Rifters should be able to tackle and hold down a Titan (page 17).

I am tempted to agree with this just because the mental image is so much fun. But it would have to be a big fleet.

There both should and should not be a new class of capital ship specialized in tackling (page 17).(1)

No new cap ships. Too many other things to fix.

There should never be new super-capital ships added to EVE (page 17).

I would never say never, but I don't see a need anytime in the next several years.

Outposts should be destructible (pages 17 and 18).


NPC station services should be destructible (page 18).


Station service hit-points are at the right level (page 19); and, they should not be a viable target for small gangs looking to force sov-holders to defend their territories (page 19).

I think shooting at structures is boring, and using it as a basis for a sov system is ridiculous. IMHO, you should gain sov in a system by holding it and using it, and you should take sov from someone by getting in their face, blowing them up, stopping them from using their space, and using its resources.

In other words, sov is not something you use to control space; sov is something you get from controlling space.

Note that such a system, if properly designed, would greatly reduce the ability of existing alliances to control large amounts of space.

Faction Warfare stuff (page 20).

I think CCP ought to be going to the FW folks and discussing improvements to FW. And then doing something interesting and innovative.

Rewards in low-sec, particularly Faction Warfare rewards, are not high enough (pages 20 and 25).

Low-sec is a difficult design problem, because it is sandwiched between high- and null-sec. If you set the rewards too high, the null-sec folks will move in to farm it; if you set them too low, the high-sec folks won't touch it. And because high-sec people tend to be very risk-adverse (they hate losses more than they love gains, which is very human), there may not be a sweet-spot.

There should be some sort of wormhole stabilizer to make invading w-space easier (page 20).(3)


Sleepers should attack POSs and/or pod people (page 20).(3)

Maybe. But it would have to be balanced by some improvements to WH space, like the ability to have clones in WH systems.

Electronic Attack Frigates should be able to "impact" super-capital ships immune to e-war (page 21).(4)

This was spitballing to find a good role for EAFs, which are currently almost completely unused according to CCP. It seems like an interesting possibility.

Sov-holders should be able to build a module in their own space that hurts other people's sov space (page 24).

That particular session of the minutes was all spitballing about possible future ideas. My major comment about all this stuff was that I wouldn't want resources diverted to such ideas when there are so many pressing global issues. I mean, most people think the current sov system sucks, so why spend time polishing the turd?

Null-sec is about hate and cruelty (page 25).

Some people like to think so. I personally think everyone has a different reason for being there. Or not.

The contraband system should be removed (page 25).

It's just annoying, and it would reduce the load on Crimewatch.

Buying a PvP ship should be an investment that brings in ISK (page 25).

The major concern here is that the % of the ship's value you get out of a kill varies widely, and perhaps it should vary a little less. But I don't view it as an earthshatteringly important issue.

The person who destroys your ship should get 10-20% of your insurance pay-out for that ship (page 26), including if they gank you in high-sec (also page 26).(3)

I am indifferent to the first part, but I was the CSM who raised the issue that gankers shouldn't get rewarded.

Despite the fact CCP has a large number of assets for the NeX store, they should not be released at this time (page 30).

It would be a waste of resources. If they agree that NeX and Aurum are a failure, they should re-engineer the system (using ISK, PLEX, and perhaps micro-PLEX) and release the new stuff then.

Players should be able to train more than one pilot per account by paying for this privelige with PLEXes (page 30).


Players don't care about their corporation logos (page 30); and, they care about their alliance logos much more (page 30).

Probably the case for most, but largely irrelevant, since if CCP permits people to put alliance logo nose art on their ships, they'll be able to put corp logos on as well.

The unique attraction of EVE is "you can grief people" and "it's not a game for wusses" (page 32).

Absolutely. For example, it allows smarty-pants bloggers to try and grief hard-working CSMs, except for the fact that we're not wusses, so it never works.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Cold Equations of the CSM Election

The announcement in the Winter Summit Minutes of changes to the structure of the CSM and the election process presents some interesting dilemmas for candidates who do not have the backing of Nullsec power-blocs.

For the upcoming CSM7 elections, the changes are:

* No differentiation between "main" and "alternate" CSMs.

* There are still 14 CSM delegates, but only the top 7 available CSMs go to Iceland for summits (down from 9 currently).

* In order to get on the ballot, a candidate must get a nomination thread "liked" some number of times (as yet undetermined). CCP hopes this will reduce the number of candidates.

In terms of having a say in Iceland, these changes are a huge buff to the Nullsec powers-that-be, since they can easily obtain the necessary number of votes to get into the top 7 without any active campaigning. I would not be surprised if 5 or even 6 of the top 7 slots in CSM7 go to power-bloc anointed candidates.

The key to their strategy will be to exploit their ability to focus votes on their preferred candidates, while at the same time doing everything possible to diffuse the voting power of non-bloc voters and try to get them to waste votes on candidates that have no reasonable chance of a top 7 finish.

Before we go any further, let's address CCP's attempt to reduce the number of candidates. IMHO, it's pointless, because it is trivial to game. No evil conspiracy required, people will do it for the LOLs.

With that out of the way, let's look at the numbers.

In the last election, getting the #7 spot required 2240 votes, and getting on the CSM itself required 921.

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a 20% jump in voting in the CSM7 elections; that boosts those numbers to (roundly) 2700 and 1100 respectively.

Quite frankly, I think the threshold for getting into the top 7 is going to be higher, perhaps 2900 or even 3000. This is because the nullsec power blocs will focus their voting in order to try and guarantee they get at least 5 out of the 7 slots.

Whether they can do that (or better), or whether non-bloc candidates can manage to grab 3 of the top 7, depends entirely on how successful they are in splitting (or suppressing) the non-bloc vote.

To give you some numbers, in the last election, 33635 votes were cast for successful candidates, and 14528 were cast for candidates that did not get elected -- that's 30%. The vast majority of those wasted votes went to independent, non-bloc candidates.

This is a cruel waste of voting power, but it highlights the fundamental dilemma that potential non-bloc CSM7 candidates must face.

It is simply this: unless you can honestly say that you have 1000 votes locked up and in the bag, running for CSM just increases the voting power of the organized blocs. You need to have a constituency behind you already.

If you don't have those votes in the bag, then your best bet is to find a candidate with similar views who has a better shot at being elected to the 14, and do everything in your power to get out the vote.

The days of being an "issue" candidate (as I was during the CSM5 election) are over -- except perhaps during the nomination phase.

It's a cold equation, to be sure. But it's very cold in space.