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.
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!