Monday, June 27, 2011

The Six Stages of CSMing

Given the drama of recent days, and the work yet to be done in the days to follow, it is not surprising that many players have asked me what it's like to be on CSM.

To help explain this, I have created a CSM logo...

This illustrates six of the emotions you will experience if you get elected to the CSM.

Now this is all in good fun, of course, but there is a serious point that I'd like to make. A lot of us get really upset when we see CCP do something that seems really, really dumb. But as a CSM, you get to meet and interact with CCP people on an extended basis, and none of them are stupid. So why do smart people seem to do dumb things?

To answer this, I turn to the great philosopher Donald Rumsfeld, who famously said:

"There are known-knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known-unknowns;
that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown-unknowns,
the ones we don't know we don't know."

Smart people are very good at handling known-knowns and known-unknowns, but they have significant problems with unknown-unknowns. They are very good at convincing themselves that there are no unknown unknowns -- after all, they're smart, so if there were any, they'd have figured them out.

When CCP is dealing with a problem that only concerns known-knowns, they do a pretty good job. And more and more frequently, when they know there are known-unknowns, they ask for CSM input, because the fact that we have a different perspective from them (and thus might know a known-unknown) is a known-known.

But when they run into an unknown-unknown, that's when it all goes to hell. Because in that case, why bother asking for an outside opinion?

If there is one lesson I hope CCP learns from recent events, it is this:

"You are in the greatest danger of making a mistake when you are absolutely sure you are correct. Doubt and uncertainty are your friends."

For in EVE, there are always unknown-unknowns. It's by design...


  1. Er... nice... OK... but what does this have to do with CSMing or those six emotions you mentioned? ;-)

  2. The cycle of emotions goes like this, from 1-o'clock counter-clockwise:

    Wow, I just got elected
    I am so cool
    :sigh: (in the center)

  3. They are playing a game.
    They are playing at not playing a game.
    If I show them I see they are,
    I shall break the rules and they will punish me.
    I must play their game,
    of not seeing I see the game.

    "Knots", by RD Laing

  4. "You are in the greatest danger of making a mistake when you are absolutely sure you are correct. Doubt and uncertainty are your friends."

    AKA the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Advice for life...