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 -


  1. As a recipient I still don't appreciate it.

    Your arguments are weak and make you look worse.

    "I knew that if I didn't do it, someone else probably would."

    That's just sad dude.

    1. You do know we're playing EVE, right? The most cut-throat MMO in the world.

      Only one candidate gets the maximum benefit, so the game theory is simple -- shoot first.

  2. I thought you were a decent rubber stamp before, but now I hope you lose.

  3. I still think it is a fair campaign method. Well done.

  4. Haters gonna hate, but I will never fault a candidate for trying to communicate with voters. Same as last time, voted one account for you and one for Seleene. Best of luck.

  5. I was impressed by how fast you replied. You got one of my votes anyway.

  6. haha, poop-sock. I haven't heard that before. I admire your dedication.




  8. I can confirm you just lost a couple of votes from me and my alts. and yes i was going to vote on you but i hate spam.

  9. I voted 2 of my 3 accounts for you, Trebor. Thanks for all of the hard work.

  10. I wasn't going to vote for you again this year, Trebor. But the tears you have caused by forcing everyone in the game to spend 10 seconds skimming and deleting a single email have set a new standard for whining-to-inconvenience factor! +votes from me!

  11. Wow, all the cry babies bitching in the forums about spam. This is EVE. HTFU. It's not even spam.

    Besides you got my vote Trebor. Hope you get on the CSM, NullSec isn't the only place that needs some love :)

  12. Pathetic attempt, but I still adore you <3 Hope you will get elected, not cause you have a clue what EVE is about, but cause of enormous energy you are putting into CSM and EVE and I can only :hatsoff: for that.

    1. Someday I will get an unalloyed compliment out of you, Vuk, and on that day, my life will be complete.

  13. It wasn't necessarily your single EVE mail that was was the six others I got because of it. Sorry mate, I do hope you get elected, but you lost my votes. I can't fault your logic for sending the mail, but unintended consequences and all that.

  14. I just can't for the life of me figure out why people are so bent out of shape about this mail. I received it and I thought it was a bit ham handed, but at the end of the day as far as I can tell his platform is still the same and it doesn't diminish the hard work he has put into the previous 2 csm's. It was 1 eve mail that a lot of work went into producing. I get 10x more crap mail everyday from my alliance, ofc you want to bitch about eve mail I would recommend you start there.

  15. Disappointed at your lack of blog updates :(