Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fourteen in a Bed

In compiling these recommendations, I am not giving any weight to how the candidates play EVE, how much they agree or disagree with me, and whether or not they are also supporting me. My major criteria is "do I think this person will do a good job if they are elected?" I expect that all of these candidates will be hard-working team players who will strongly but fairly advocate for the entire community.

None of my recommendations are bloc candidates. This is not because there aren't excellent bloc candidates this year, it's simply that their blocs will ensure they get elected, and supporting them isn't tactically wise under STV. I want a diverse CSM that represents all areas of the game.

My recommended ballot for CSM8 (Version 1.0)

1. Trebor Daehdoow. My polling indicates that 35% of my voters are voting for me because I'm experienced, 31% because I work hard and get results, 18% because they are old and/or bald like me, and 16% because they want to annoy Poetic Stanziel.

2. Tie: Ripard Teg is knowledgeable, hard-working, and a great writer, while Malcanis is probably the all-time champion goodposter on EVE-O -- he's been around forever and nobody has a bad word to say about him.

4. corebloodbrothers impressed me when he ran for the first time last year, but the voting system conspired against him. With any luck, the change to STV will mean the second time will be the charm.

5. Tie: Nathan Jameson and James Arget would be great voices for Wormhole residents. If the stars align, both of them will be.

7. I have served on CSM with both the major Russian candidates, and I like both of them personally, which makes choosing between them painful. However, I think Korvin is the better choice given the challenges and opportunities that CSM 8 will face.

8. Ali Aras is a rare bird, the experienced newbie. I want CCP to put more resources into making EVE more newbie-friendly, and her voice will help convince them to do that.

9. Mangala Solaris brings yet another important perspective to the table, and is well-respected in his community.

10. Given how much crap I've taken from his supporters, you may be surprised to learn that Psychotic Monk is going to be on my ballot. I disagree with some of his positions, but he argues them fairly -- and anything we do agree on is likely to be correct. I am hoping he will be CSM 8's Alekseyev Karrde.

11. Unforgiven Storm is a good industrialist candidate who has the bad luck to be a Goon who is running as an independent. That means he probably won't get much love from bloc voters, and a lot of other people won't vote for him because he's a Goon. If he doesn't make it, I hope he does well enough to try again next year. If so, he could be the corebloodbrothers of CSM 9.

12. Roc Wieler will either be a decent CSM, or he'll be able to role-play a decent CSM. Either works for me.

13. Mike Azariah wants to represent the casual player, and has shown he can work hard on community-related projects.

14. To Be Determined. I am really undecided about who to put in my final slot, and I want to sleep on it. Think you know who it should be? If so, post in my EVE-O thread and tell me why. Or perhaps another candidate will make me an offer I can't refuse.

After all, as we all know, politics makes strange bedfellows.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lack of Quantity has a Quality all its own

Oh frabjous day, Mittens has launched another salvo in his attempt to depress non-bloc turnout in the CSM election (aka the "War Against Turnout").

This time he's taking the fact that there are only 35 candidates and trying to spin it into an alleged crisis of confidence in the community. Go read it and play "count the logical fallacy".

The most important one is, of course: Quantity does not imply Quality. A much more reasonable explanation for the reduced number of candidates is simply this: CSM7 and CCP have made it abundantly clear that CSM is :srsbsns: that requires a significant time investment, and the rules of the CSM and the election system were updated to encourage serious candidates to run.

If you look at the 35 candidates running for CSM this year, there are significantly more high-quality candidates than in any previous CSM election. Ask yourself, why did guys like Malcanis and Ripard Teg run this year and not last year?

Better yet, go ask them in their campaign threads. Then pop by my thread and give me a bump, and check out the threads of other serious first-time candidates like Nathan Jameson, James Arget, Mangala Solaris, Psychotic Monk, and corebloodbrothers, just to name a few non-bloc guys who are likely to get  on my recommended ballot (more on that soon).

PS: I confidently predict that every serious CSM candidate will pass the threshold within the first couple of days.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013: A CSM Odyssey

CCP has just teased the contents of the next expansion, Odyssey, so finally CSM members can start discussing some of the details -- but only some of them, since we can't discuss details that have not already been made public due to the NDA.

So this first post on Odyssey will focus on how much of the CSM's agenda got reflected in the final result. If you've read my previous posts (here and here) on CSM's involvement in the release planning process, you already know that CSM got an unprecedented opportunity to provide input to the process.

A quick recap: First, all of the various teams at CCP made presentations about things they could contribute to the expansion. Then the teams (and CSM) took all these ingredients and developed recipes for themed expansions. The final theme was a synthesis of the best ideas, tempered by the realities of the development process.

After these presentations, CSM ranked the various ingredients based on how important we thought they were, and how much bang-for-the-buck we thought they provided.

Of the 5 items we ranked 10/10, 3 are addressed in Odyssey. Of the 12 items we ranked 9.0-9.9, at least 6 made it. Of the 8 items we ranked 8.0-8.9, 4 made it. Of the 4 items we ranked 7.0-7.9, 2 made it.

We also labeled 17 features as "big ticket" items. At least 9 of them are in Odyssey.

Finally, we identified 6 "core crucial" elements that most of the recipes incorporated. 4 of them made it into Odyssey in some form.

Odyssey is significantly more aggressive than the last couple of expansions, which IMHO is the right direction. The task of the CSM over the next few months, as a stakeholder for a team working on some of the headline features, is to do everything we can to make the expansion as successful as possible, because I want CCP to take even larger bites from the apple in the future.

PS: CSM Pre-Elections have started. You can endorse me here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Table Pounding: An Early Analysis

The Mittani published an interesting article today, entitled "THE CSM8 ELECTION: AN EARLY ANALYSIS".

It's a wonderful example of Mittens trying to shape the narrative, and he deploys a variety of rhetorical tactics in support of this goal. So I thought it would be enlightening to deconstruct it a bit, and show it for it probably is: the first salvo in a campaign to depress non-bloc turnout.

Mittens begins with some "realtalk". As anyone who knows him well will tell you, this is code for "propaganda". For example, he implies that because I'm the only incumbent running for re-election (which is not quite correct; I am the only incumbent who has declared that they are running), CSM7 has been a failure, and the CSM/CCP relationship has deteriorated.

Neither are true: the real reason the active members of CSM7 aren't running again is that their personal and professional circumstances make it impossible for them to put in the hours that they know CSM8 will demand. One consequence of CSM7's hugely successful push to get earlier and more detailed access to CCP's planning and production processes is that being an active member of CSM8 will require 10-20 hours a week of work, plus burning 2 weeks of vacation time (ie: all of it, if you're an American) to attend summits. Heck, I'm semi-retired and I thought hard about it.

The argument that things are "toxic" (either internally or between CSM and CCP) is highly amusing. CSM7 has significantly more influence with CCP than any previous CSM, and when CCP announces what's going to be in the Summer expansion at PAX East, I think people are going to be pretty happy with what we managed to do -- and the "lame ducks" of CSM7 will keep on working as a CCP stakeholder (working directly with one of the development teams) until the day they leave office.

Props to CCP Dolan for doing a huge amount of organizational work to ensure that all of this activity is smoothly coordinated, by the way.

Mittens next turns to the issue of the Single Transferrable Vote. He first claims it is a huge win for nullsec blocs, and that he would have been able to dictate 4 CSM slots if it had been used in the previous election. He is mistaken: under STV, his vote total (assuming perfect ballot coordination) would have enabled him to elect two candidates and heavily influence a third. He got about 20% of the vote, and would have gotten about 20% of the seats.

What he fails to mention is this: under the old system, only highly organized blocs could coordinate well enough to efficiently split their votes and optimize their voting, but under STV, everyone automatically has that ability, simply by voting for the candidates of their choice. And he also fails to mention that the CFC had the infrastructure to do this during the CSM7 elections, but chose not to do so.

His point that nullsec voters will vote long ballots, and non-bloc voters will vote short ones is based on a big assumption, but for the purposes of argument, let us assume he is correct. Under the old system, the non-bloc voters could only vote for one candidate. Under the new system, each additional candidate they vote for increases the chance their vote will help elect someone. Last year, about 25% of the ballots were cast for candidates that did not get elected. This year, the number of wasted ballots will be significantly less.

Next, Mittens argues that the forums and other messaging don't matter. While he has a point that get-out-the-vote efforts are a big factor in winning elections, for independent candidates who don't have the luxury of an organized bloc voting for them, forums, Twitter, blogs, and podcasts are a key part in both defining your candidacy and getting other people to help you get out the vote.

Furthermore, he failed to recognize a very important difference this time around: under STV, independent candidates are no longer forced to compete for votes. Instead, they can cooperate to increase turnout and recommend each other to their supporters, secure in the knowledge that if they don't get elected, the votes they generate will help elect someone likely to share their views.

As for The Mittani's analysis of the candidates, he is of course entitled to his own opinion. However, I was surprised that he seems to think that there are still "Alt" slots in the CSM, especially since we more or less ignored that distinction in CSM6, completely ignored it in CSM7, and it was written out of the White Paper for CSM8. Under STV, you either get a seat or you don't; the successful candidates don't have a meaningful ranking.

So what was the point of The Mittani's analysis? Well, LOLs for one thing; he has a wicked sense of humor that I personally find most entertaining. But I suspect that a major reason for posting it was to try and induce some apathy in the non-bloc population and reduce their turnout -- because he did get one thing right: representation on the CSM depends on how much of the vote you and your friends get, and depressing the non-bloc turnout might result in an extra seat for his friends.

As a lawyer, Mittens is surely aware of the old trial lawyer's adage: "If the facts are against you, pound on the law. If the law is against you, pound on the facts. If both the facts and the law are against you, pound on the table."

Expect more table pounding in the days and weeks to come... and then ignore the "realtalk" and get out there and vote for the candidates you think are the best.