With that in mind, I'm going to write three final posts on this subject. One, today, will be my general feelings about my own run. The second, tomorrow, will focus on the campaigns of some of the other candidates, and my thoughts on the CSM6 campaign process in general. And the last one, on Wednesday, will be a sort of open letter to The Mittani as he begins his term as Chairman of CSM6. So, on with the first post.
By February 8 of this year, I had a pretty good idea that I was going to lose my run for a CSM6 seat. Really!
The official paperwork-filing period hadn't even started, much less the campaign period, much less the voting. But I was still reasonably sure that I was going to be fighting a losing effort. You see, the morning before, on February 7, The Mittani had sent several instant messages to the Goons and others in the NC, informing them of what his overall strategy for the CSM6 election would be. This was the first indication that the major 0.0 alliances would be banding together to control CSM6. His messages were posted in public that afternoon on Scrapheap.
I sent an e-mail to the people I'd been working with on my run (Mynxee among them). The title of that e-mail, as I recall, was "Holy shit!" ;-) The Mittani's messages seemed entirely game-changing. In a regular old CSM run without cooperative 0.0 blocs, I felt like I had a really good chance of winning a seat. I had a good plan, good endorsements (including Mynxee's), people had been responding well to the blog, and I'd made solid in-roads with a lot of people who could help me publicize my run. I had my current alliance behind me, and at least one of my former alliances, as a pile of votes to build from. Now all of those plans looked like wasted time. I'd been counting getting a solid block of 0.0 voters. If those votes were now going to go to "official" candidates, I'd get none of them. What to do?
EDIT (29/Mar/2011): The full results have been posted, and seem to confirm my suspicions. In a regular old CSM run without a coordinated large 0.0 bloc take-over, I would have won a seat. Ah well.
I spent some time on the 7th and 8th counting up the numbers. There are nine CSM seats. The Goons would take two. TEST would take one or two. The Russians would take two. The large NC alliances would take two. It seemed reasonable to assume that if The Mittani contacted them to be part of his effort, Stainwagon would take one. Trebor would almost certainly take one (if not the Chair). It seemed reasonable that Pandemic Legion would take one. And one or two other CSM5 members would probably take seats (remember, at this time, only six out of the 12 remaining CSM5 members had declared one way or another if they were running). That was between 11 and 13 seats taken... out of nine. Therefore, anyone not in the 0.0 bloc wasn't getting a seat. My own chances of signing up to be part of this effort were nil. In the greater NC, I'm a nobody. So I wasn't going to win a seat. It was as simple as that.
The only way to counter-act the numbers coming out of the 0.0 blocs would be to get the Empire voters out in force. It seemed a difficult or impossible task. Empire dwellers had almost never voted in real numbers before for a single candidate. Mynxee tried to convince me that I could do it; she'd done it, after all. She was the exception that proved the rule. But she already had a popular blog running for a good long while before her run. I didn't have that. And I'd be fighting for those Empire voters with CSM5 members that had much more experience courting this bloc than I did... and a lot more ISK. More on that in tomorrow's post.
By February 14, I consolidated these thoughts into this paragraph, which I posted on this very blog:
So, will the effort by the large 0.0 alliances to control the CSM be successful? It has a good chance. It's going to take about 1500 votes, in my estimate, to ensure a CSM6 seat. The Goons control 5000 votes. Test, another 5000. The Droneland Russians can put together about the same, or perhaps even more. The NC, ironically, is much more fragmented and it's likely that several of the major alliances will each put forward a candidate. Smaller alliances like mine in the NC won't even register on that radar at all.I underestimated slightly on the number of votes it would take to get on CSM6: turned out it was 1750 that would be needed, not 1500. Everything else in that paragraph, though? Entirely accurate. I had estimated on Twitter on January 22 that there would be about 25% more total votes in this election than in the previous one, and that also turned out to be entirely accurate.
So, why continue to run when I knew I didn't have much of a chance? Three reasons:
First, "there's many a slip", et. al. It was entirely possible that The Mittani's plan wouldn't come together for some reason. Coordinating taking over the whole CSM? Now that it's done, Mittens made it look easy. But in early February, it seemed a Herculean task of coordination. Just getting the Goons alone to vote on an approved slate seemed naive. And indeed, when the official candidate list was posted, there were four Goons on it, not two. So, The Mittani couldn't control everything. There was a chance I could slip through that crack with some hard work. There was even a chance that the plan would fail partially or completely, and that a more or less normal slate of delegates would be elected... including both people in the 0.0 bloc and people not in it.
Second, I figured there would be one surprise candidate that would get through despite everything. Why not me? I had good publicity, some good endorsements, and a positive rep building. Seleene hadn't popped up on my radar yet (that happened the following week). Even after he did, the first couple of weeks of his campaign were surprisingly weak (sorry dude, but they were ;-) ). He wasn't a foregone conclusion until well into March.
Third, I was willing and able to work throughout the campaign, looking for any vote I could find, any way I could find it. I promoted myself on blogs and podcasts, I contacted Empire corps and asked to speak to their members, and I ran PvP classes and round-tables for any EVE player willing to listen. It was the PvP classes that finally convinced me that I still wasn't going to win, though. Despite more than 3000 people looking at the thread I posted on the EVE-O forums advertising the class, and almost 500 people looking at the blog post I put here advertising it, a grand total of six people showed up for that first class on March 12. I taught that class to the best of my ability, and the same with the classes following it, but at that point I knew that CSM6 would be going forward without me in it, despite all my hard work.
Overall, I'm very happy with the campaign that I ran. If the CSM election process allowed people to support multiple candidates, I think I would have done much better. I can't even begin to count the number of times I was told "Yeah, what you're saying makes sense, but I'm voting for Trebor/Seleene/Roc/Jonathan/two step." In 0.0, what I heared more often than I could count was "Yes, you've got a good platform, but I'm voting for Killer2/Draco." There were just too many good candidates fighting for too few non-0.0 bloc seats. As I said on Saturday, though, it was a great experience, and one I wouldn't trade.
Will I run next year? Way too early to say. I feel like this year was my moment, the time I could have had the most influence on EVE development. Once Incarna is released and development starts on giving it actual game-play, that ship will have sailed. Still, it will be very interesting to see how CSM6 does. If they screw up, who knows? ;-)
Thank you again to everyone who supported my run for CSM6. All the support that you shared with me really means a lot. Thanks in particular to Mynxee (<3), Seleene, Trebor (gl guys), Jade and Jayne from Lost in EVE, Garheade and the rest of the team at EveCommune, Marcel and the guys at aideronrobotics, Locin and company at Red Frog, my old alliance mates at Sturmgrenadier, my current alliance mates at Get Off My Lawn, and everyone who took a few minutes out of your days to send me an EVE mail or a Twitter to keep me charged up all during February and March. It worked. ;-)
More about the election (and much less about me) tomorrow.