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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quote of the Week: Friends with benefits

Going pure philosophy for this week's QOTW:
It is not important what the players, as a whole, can live with. It is what they'd rather like to see happening. The CSM is to argue for the perfect game, not scale down their arguments to what they think is 'possible'. CCP can do that quite well on its own.
That is courtesy of Bartholomeus Crane on Failheap.  Barth wrote this Saturday morning (my time) and it sure gave me a lot to think about over the weekend!(1)  In the end, for reasons that I'll get into, I disagree with this way of doing things, but it was definitely interesting to think about from a tactics perspective.

CSM6 is coming up on the last major work task of their term, the December Summit.  This year, it takes place December 7-9.  The schedule of the events of each day has been published.

Barth has been highly critical of the CSM, but this is really a matter of perspective... a bitter-vet perspective, to be precise.  From this perspective, it isn't the CSM's role to be "friends" with CCP.  Members of CSM6 would say they have been extremely successful because they've fostered a good, friendly, relaxed relationship with CCP where informal contacts have mattered much more than the formal summits, and developing the relationship has mattered more than hammering on CCP's foibles.  Barth would say that CSM6 has been a failure for pretty much those same reasons: that by putting the relationship with CCP ahead of player desires, they've essentially just functioned as a sycophantic mouthpiece for the company.  Barth goes on to point out (edited for grammar and clarity):
If you give the players the choice -- EVE with MT (even vanity), or EVE without MT -- they'd overwhelmingly vote against MT. And that argument can be made on a business level as well. It is not a windmill to tilt at. But you like to present it that way because speaking up is hard, and you'd rather be 'friends'. Well, guess what: being friends is just not good enough, because it is not what the CSM is supposed to be about. It is just the coward's way out. The CSM trying to be 'friends' is the reason why nothing this CSM has tried to do thus far has really amounted to anything.
As I said, a very different perpective on what the CSM has and has not done in 2011!  But as I've said already, I disagree.

The CSM this year has pointed out in multiple ways and on multiple fora that a more relaxed, "chill" CSM is more likely to get a more positive response from developers and decision-makers in CCP.  The irony, of course, is that Hilmar has been negative about this CSM despite that.  Check the schedule for the December Summit, and you'll find this topic is the wrap-up topic on Wednesday, the 9th.  ;-)

News reporters are often slow to point out the foibles of political candidates and representatives.  The unspoken fear is that if you are too critical of a politician, you'll lose access to that politician.  Does the CSM have this problem?  To an extent, yes: past CSM members -- notably Mynxee -- have made it clear that some CCP developers avoid the CSM if the CSM gets too negative or demanding.  But of course, if the CSM doesn't push, then player concerns get ignored.

Trebor has pointed out several times that from CCP's perspective, a CSM that points out game issues is much more valuable to CCP then one that tries to propose solutions to those issues.  But of course, Barth gives the CSM no credit at all for this.  That's why I disagree with Barth's position while simultaneously finding it quite interesting.

Speaking as a professional negotiator, it's also an interesting position to be in.  The CSM has virtually no leverage or power with CCP that CCP doesn't voluntarily give them.  CSM6 has played with this paradigm a bit by taking advantage of player rage and unsubs over this summer.  They've also done a good job of leveraging real-world business results to motivate CCP away from Incarna.  But with CCP turning their full development toward directions the players want while simultaneously doing everything they can to hide internal and external metrics, combining player rage with business metrics is not something that's likely to be a repeatable process.  ;-)

As I said, a little Monday philosophy for you.  Gave me a lot to think about over the weekend.


(1) You get one guess why.  :-P

12 comments:

  1. Hiding metrics seems like poisonous organisational behaviour, IMO.

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  2. your first mistake was reading a bart post

    your second mistake was thinking about what he wrote

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  3. @The Mittani - Really? A professional negotiator pointed out that a position taken was worth thinking about (even if he disagreed with it), and the only comment you had was that he had wasted his time considering it, with no argument, counterpoint, or discussion.

    I find it disappointing that a representative, even an internet one, would consider the consideration of a different point of view a waste of time.

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  4. My guess: FUS RO DAH!

    What do I win? :p

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  5. @Mittani: He tricked me. His post was only three paragraphs long. ;-) More seriously, I try not to reject any opinion out of hand...

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  6. The quote itself i approve of. It's true enough in nearly every respect.

    the rest i Tl;dr'd

    @sae. You spelt it wrong
    it's spelt with a Th not a F.

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  7. Prima Donna Mittani again proves its all about his ego and his faux celebrity. How dare we question his performance - he has thousands of social and emotional cripples that idolize him as king of the geeks. CSM should be modelled on the idea of them being union leaders furthering the players' interests rather than running dog lackeys batting their eyelids to CCP in the hope of more trips to Iceland.

    Jester even apologizing to Mittani for questioning the CSM, "he tricked me", is very sad.

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  8. @Jester: Only 3 paragraphs? And you are sure that was the real Bart and not an imposter then? ;)

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  9. @Knug Lidi: Not all opinions deserve equal attention. Sometimes when you read an opinion, the only opinion YOU have is that it was a waste. Also, you are expecting Mittens to respond cogently to someone who is calling him pointless? I am impressed by your generous faith in humanity :).

    @Jester & The MIttani: While I think the methods and personalities of various CSM members can be critiqued, stating they have been completely ineffective seems to be tilting at a different windmill. The usefulness and motivations of that effectiveness could be entirely open to interpretation.

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  10. I guess I woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning so kudos to Jester for still posting my comment. My criticism was based on Mittani's dismissal of a discussion on the manner in which OUR representatives conduct themselves. Arrogance is an ugly thing, unquestioned arrogance is even uglier.

    Saying that, I shouldn't have name–called and, to be fair, this CSM has presided over arguably the best expansion eve has seen. Just stop being so arrogant! The only people you'll impress with that are muppets.

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  11. Jester disagrees with something Barth said. Film at 11.

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  12. I have faith in humanity; however, I am inevitably proved wrong.

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