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