Saturday, April 6, 2013

Every Vote is sacred, Every Vote is Great...

There are Traders in the world, there are Miners.
There are Carebears and Pirates and then,
There are those that follow The Mittani, BUT
I've never been one of them.

Every Vote is Sacred,
Every Vote is Great!
If a Vote gets Wasted,
Seagull gets quite Irate!

Every Vote is Sacred,
Every Vote is Great!
If a Vote gets Wasted,
Soundwave gets quite Irate!

Let the bittervets waste theirs
By staying unsubscribed.
Fozzie will buff a ship for
Each Vote that's well applied!

Every Vote is Wanted,
Every Vote is Good,
Every Vote is Needed,
karkur says vote you should.

Scammers, Gankers, Botters,
Cast theirs just anywhere.
But Punkturis loves those who treat their
Ballots with more care.

Every Vote is Sacred,
Every Vote is Great!
If a Vote gets Wasted,
Masterplan gets quite Irate!

Every Vote is Wanted,
Every Vote is Good,
Every Vote is Needed,
Dolan says vote you should.

Every Vote is Useful!
Every Vote is Fine!
Veritas counts everybody's...
Mine... and mine... and mine!

Let the Spam Alts spill theirs,
O'er Jita, Curse, and Domain,
Stillman shall strike them down for
Each Vote that's cast in vain.

Every Vote is Wanted,
Every Vote is Good,
Every Vote is Needed,
Explorer says vote you should.

Every Vote is Sacred,
Every Vote is Great!
If a Vote gets Wasted,
Unifex gets quite Irate!

Remember folks, No Votes Nerf Boats... so vote in the CSM elections!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Voting is a Drag(fest), man...

The polls are open in New Eden, and I hope you'll click this link and vote for me!

When you do, you'll see something a bit unexpected -- a little voting assistant script I have written. It helps address a big problem with the ballot.

It's a drag.

Or more precisely, it's up to 14 drags. In order to vote a complete 14-candidate ballot (which you should be doing), you have to locate each candidate from a list of 30-odd, and then drag them into your ballot.

This is made worse by the fact that it's hard to find your candidates in the list; I have problems finding my own name! At least I don't have 10 accounts...

Update 2: CCP has added the ability to double-click candidates instead of dragging them, and if you have multiple accounts, after you've voted once your ballot will be stored in a cookie. However, the Bookmarklet trick no longer works, so parts of this post are no longer relevant and have been crossed out.

Some months back, I got interested in the physical process of casting ballots, and did some human-factors experiments, even going so far as to create a ballot UI mockup to test various options. I became convinced that a quick ballot entry system was absolutely essential, even something as simple as a text field you could use to enter a candidate list.

Unfortunately, it appears that CCP doesn't agree. While I can understand that they may not want people to blindly vote slates, I had no doubt that there are some experienced web-programmers out there who will have no problems putting together something that will add this functionality. And guess what...

I have checked with CCP Dolan and for now, using a Javascript Bookmarklet to fill in your ballot is allowed. They may however do something to stop it working in the future.

Which brings us back to my voting link. What I've done is whack together a simple script that makes it easier for you to vote:

If you're just voting one account, it may be simpler to enter your ballot by hand. In this case, the script displays the CCP voting page in a frame, with a checklist of candidates to vote for, and a resizable thumbnail image that shows what the ballot will look like when it is completely filled out.

But it also has a link to a page that will automatically create a Javascript Bookmarklet, and has instructions on how to use it. I would like to publicly thank those great benefactors of New Eden, the Goons, and in particular the estimable Jumanji (who should drink for free at FanFest), for their kind permission to use their code as a template.

This script can be used by anyone who wants to distribute a recommended ballot list or create a Bookmarklet. All you have to do is generate a URL in the following format:

http:///{list of candidates, separated by commas}&u={optional url of your completed ballot image, without the http:// part}

If you just want to create a Bookmarklet, you can access that part of the tool via this URL:

http:///{list of candidates, separated by commas}

These URLs are very long, of course, so I suggest using a service like to whack them down to size.

Update: I tweaked the tool so you can also just paste your picks into a text field and generate the bookmarklet a framed ballot assistant page. Just load the ballot tool page without a list, as follows:


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Politics of POSsibility

Many pixels have died in vain in recent weeks as various pundits have pronounced with great positivity that CSM7 was pathetically pointless.

But now that CCP Fozzie's devblog about the Improvements to POSes in Odyssey has been released, I'm able to provide a little insight on how it came about, and how CSM was able to work on the community's behalf.

Our tale begins well before the Winter Summit. CSM definitely had POSes on our agenda for what would become the Odyssey expansion, but we weren't overly optimistic. CSM was supposed to be a stakeholder on one of the development teams in the fall, but due to some misunderstandings at CCP, this experiment was not a success. We were seriously considering "going to the matresses" and expressing our concerns publicly, but after much debate, we decided to hold off and see what CCP had to say at the summit.

As it happened, the summit was a great success, and CCP made some unprecedented promises about CSM input in the planning of future expansions, starting with the next one in early January.

Fast forward a few weeks until the start of the planning process, which I've described in a previous post. In their possible features presentation, one of the teams stated that they wanted to work on improvements to the current POS system.

Our initial feedback to CCP was an executive summary rating that various feature ideas, which I've talked about in a recent post. POSes were one of the 4 "big" items we gave a perfect 10.0 score to (3 of the 4 are in Odyssey). We also created a "POS Wish List" report as a guide to what features would be well received by the community; this ended up being used as one of the starting points for the design.

Next, in mid-January, the Winter Summit minutes were released, and lots of people were concerned because there wasn't substantial discussion about POSes. This presented us with a dilemma. Hopefully CCP would be delivering on POSes in Odyssey, but what if things messed up again? We knew that if we started a POS discussion thread on the forums it would get a lot of attention, and while it would be useful to be able to point to as evidence that POSes were deserving of high priority, it might also get out of hand and backfire.

This was a particular concern because during this time, most of us were putting together our own themed expansion packages, just as the CCP teams were doing (you will not be surprised to learn that POSes were key elements in our themes...). So lighting a fire in the forums at exactly the time when CCP might already be doing exactly what we wanted them to be doing could be counterproductive.

This question was the only one in our entire term that CSM7 could not reach consensus about. Finally, Two step broke the deadlock by posting the POS thread on his own initiative, an act that upset several of his colleagues, notably Seleene.

When we learned what was in the final package, we were very happy that POS fixes were a major component. And to add icing to the cake, CSM was assigned to act as a Stakeholder for the team doing the work, so we'll continue to monitor the situation and do our best to help make sure that as much of the plan gets done as POSsible.

So to the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity, I say, Nuts!