Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Comment of the week: Constituency

I just started a new regular feature.  We'll see if I get enough comments to keep it up.  ;-)  But Bob's comment on my short post yesterday about American-style politics in EVE is a thing of beauty:
Ideally, when you elect someone to office, that person has an obligation to fairly represent all members of their constituency, regardless of how they voted. My city does not have party representation for seats on city council. We vote for people based on our thoughts on who would best represent us. Now that they're in office, we have a reasonable expectation that our councilor will listen to us should we bring a concern or issue to their attention, and address it fairly considering other interests of the constituency, without considering whether we voted for them or not. Ideally.

I'd like the CSM to be a council like that, where those of us who aren't full-time null sec residents can have our concerns considered and represented fairly by the council. Past councils made an attempt at this by taking issues raised through the Assembly Hall and assessing them and prioritising them and bringing them up to CCP. The current council appears to have no such interest. We have the top of the council and the bottom of the alternates both stating categorically that they have no obligations to any one who didn't vote for them. Since no one on the CSM is commenting otherwise, and given this council is so set on a "united front", it stands to reason that this attitude is shared across the council.

Before the councilors get too involved in representing a constituency of only those that voted for them, consider this: they don't have a constituency. The Mittani has spoken of business realities, well here's one to consider: 85.75% of the eligible accounts don't even consider the CSM worth voting for. That's 85% of CCP's subscription income. The 9 CSM councilors got 56% of the votes cast, so they represent only 8% of CCP's subscription income. If money talks, and in business it certainly does, a CSM claiming to only represent those that voted for them hasn't much to say.

If the CSM and CCP want better voter turnout in the future, they need to show the 86% who don't think the CSM matters that they're wrong. The attitude that the council members only represent their buddies that voted for them won't do that. Rather it reinforces the idea that the CSM is really the CSIM - Council of Specific Interest of the Moment.

(For the record, I voted during CSM6. The ideal of the CSM is worthy.)
Check out that third paragraph.  I hadn't thought of it that way, but it is 100% right on the money.  No wonder CCP Hammer thinks of CSM members as mavens, and representative only of that "player type".  Well said, Bob!

5 comments:

  1. I reckon the original 9 CSM5 delegates represented about $3M USD of CCP's annual subscription income based on total votes received just by those 9 people. While it ain't much in the big picture, it ain't nuthin' either. That amount of money could pay for quite a few dev salaries at CCP rates of pay, among other things.

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  2. Long time listener, first time caller. ;-)

    Unsurprisingly this is yet another parallel between EVElife and RealLife -- as Mynxee pointed out, a minority of the votes represents a significant dollar value of actual revenue. Is this possibly the equivalent of congressmen being bought out by special interest lobbies?
    No never, that sort of thing would never happen in real life, let alone an online wretched hive of scum and villainy MMO. ;-)

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  3. To put a dollar figure on the value of the votes for CSM5 is to miss the point. What's important here is that CSM5 didn't (unless I missed it) claim to care only about the people that voted for them. CSM5 reached out beyond that to try to engage a wider group - witness crowdsourcing. CSM5 had more to say than just what their vote numbers represent because they made an *effort* to represent a wider population. There was a recognition of a greater constituency.

    The point of the numbers is to show how self-limiting it is for CSM6 to dismiss all those who didn't vote for them. I don't suggest that CSM6 forget those that voted for them. They have an obligation to the specific interests that elected them, no doubt. But to stop there is incredibly limiting.

    In the last presidential election, President Obama carried about 25 states (give or take), but when he meets with the leaders of other countries, does he say "I'm the President - I represent the specific interests of this list of states: ...". Hardly.

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  4. Jester, I appreciate the generous words. Thanks.

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  5. The CSM is encountering the same thing public workers do--the "My taxes pay your salary" or "I am the customer" -- "you work for me" attitude. People expect those workers to do their personal bidding. These CSM members responded with the typical "I work or get paid by those whose ideas I support." It doesn't mean that is all they will support, but it's at least a retort against people with a slave mentality towards such workers.

    You can define a constituency all you want, but in your parallel to a republic, EVERYONE votes. When you don't actually cast a vote, someone else casts it for you. The victor still represents everyone whether you like it or not, or whether they advance your favorite idealism or not.

    For whatever your and Bob's reasons, you appear to me to hate certain members of CSM6 and seize upon anything and everything that will support and justify your hate. You deride the positives, like the CSM working to focus on smaller workable objectives and providing a unified voice (nice "United Front" Alliance pun there) instead of many competing objectives. You deny how productive it is for the CSM to champion CCP's most exciting announcement (at least in their own eyes) as a way to strengthen their working ties and maybe have CCP see CSM as an asset. The fact that you see the first objective as a "nullsec" improvement makes it that much more bitter for you and adds to your "nullsec only" conspiracy theory.

    You may prove to be right. CSM6 may dismiss everything but nullsec issues. But for now, NOTHING practical has shown that to be the case. Aside from people complaining that things aren't being done the way THEY want them done, CSM6 hasn't dismissed any group's concerns or shown they will ignore issues of consequence. They have opened their work to scrutiny and input. They have had one meeting and spent the majority of that meeting soliciting input. It may turn out to be disingenious. At least give them time to show their hand one way or the other before you hang em.

    Anything else just sounds like sour grapes.

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