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...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The decision

Lloyd Dobler: Am I going?  Am I going to England?  I've thought about this quite a bit...
Let's start with the conclusion this time.  Am I running for CSM7?  I've decided: No, I'm not.

On Friday, I wrote a long post essentially listing the reasons for me not to run for CSM7.  Not only are they excellent reasons in their own right, there are other good reasons for me not to run that I'll get into in a moment.  What I didn't list in that post were very many reasons for me to run.  Don't get me wrong!  I have a lot of reasons to run!  But right now, for me, the reasons not to run outweighed the reasons to run.

I was honestly curious, though: would someone come up with a good reason for me to run that I couldn't think of myself?  The simple fact is that -- overall -- I feel like CSM6 is doing a decent job.  There are definitely members of it that have been all but useless to the membership, but there are a lot of good people there, too.

And of all the people on CSM6 that I believe are doing a good job, all of them are running for reelection.  I would have loved to have been one of them, and had I won a CSM6 alt seat, running for reelection would have been a no-brainer.  But that didn't happen, of course.  Or, if the people I feel are doing a good job weren't running for reelection, again, running for CSM7 would be a no-brainer.

So, to convince myself to run, I needed a reason why I'm a better choice to be on CSM7 than one of these people... and I couldn't come up with one.  The purpose to the "Influence" post, therefore, was to see if one of you could come up with one.  And everyone who tried essentially said, "You should run for CSM7 because you have a good chance of winning a seat on CSM7."

That's a little bit circular, don't you think?  ;-)

So, no, I'm not running.  Not only are the reasons in the Influence post good ones, but there are other good reasons besides.

First, I have to say that I'm having a great deal of fun playing EVE again.  I spend the bulk of my time in EVE chatting on Rote Kapelle TeamSpeak, and a high percentage of that time in fun activities like making other people wish they didn't play EVE.  ;-)  In the process, I'm learning an absolute ton, and it's making me a much better pilot.  Do I want to give that up to spend a ton of time reading CSM forums and connected to the CSM Skype?  Nope, not really.  In addition, to really feel like I was doing the job of a CSM member properly, I feel like I'd have to spend a lot more time than I do today talking to EVE players.  That would take even more time.

Second, as I said in the Influence post, if I were to run, there's no question in my mind that I would take votes away from worthy non-bloc candidates, particularly the CSM6 members I favor that are running for reelection.  I have no desire to do that.  Even more so, though, I have no desire whatsoever to fragment and dilute the non-bloc vote more than it's already going to be diluted.  The simple fact is that the methodology for the CSM7 election so favors the large 0.0 blocs that there's virtually zero chance of anyone not in one of those blocs winning one of those critical top seven seats if they're not already on CSM6.  Cut down the number of voting seats and cut down the number of non-bloc candidates through the petition methodology?  Excellent ideas, CCP.  Not!

It is no coincidence that the bulk of CSM6 -- who represent these blocs -- thought these were good ideas.  They are good ideas.  For them!  That the CCP representatives in the room didn't see this really makes me doubt their critical thinking abilities.

In fact, the only reason I could think of to actually run was rather selfish and political.  If I were Mittens, my thought process goes like this: run and take so many votes away from non-bloc candidates that the entire CSM7 is made up of bloc candidates, thereby reducing its usefulness to CCP while in Iceland as a player sounding board.  That way, perhaps they'll go with a voting methodology for CSM8 that actually... you know... makes sense.

Third, if I were on CSM7, who in the EVE blogging community is going to keep an eye on CSM7?  I'm pretty sure I was the only one really keeping an eye on CSM6.  ;-)

The reasons I listed in my Influence post are still the best ones for me not to run right now, though.  This blog was created to publicize my CSM6 run.  But -- ironically -- in the year since, the blog, my independence, and what I do here with them has become more important to me than being on the CSM.(1)

Good luck to those of you that decide to run!  I'll be watching you.  And who knows, maybe next year.

(1) Finally, I take a great deal of pleasure in the fact that I completely destroy the premise, logic, and conclusions of this.  Next time, Yuki, perhaps you will talk to me before writing an article about what I'm thinking.  ;-)


  1. i have yet to see a CSM vote, but from the way you speak of splitting the non-block vote i assume they dont use a preferential voting system.

    i think it would be a good idea if there was a preferential voting system and the losing non-block candidates were able to give their preferences to other non-block candidates. or block candidates if they so chose.

    then rather than a penalty to having more independant candidates more options would mean more diversity in candidates. preference deals would allow lobbying by special interest groups in exchange for giving a more mainsteam candidate their preferences.

    i think perhaps if you agree this type of voting is a good idea you could put your influence to good use trying to get it implemented for CSM8.

    1. I agree to this on two conditions:
      - It must be public knowledge
      - It must be defined before the elections start

      So, one week after the candidade list is published by CCP every candidade would be required to rank all others, and at the end of the week that would be made public.

      I also expect many of the current and of the next CSM members to be against this. After all, the power blocks have no need for more transparency in the system (being able to see who they support would go a long way at showing where each candidate stands).

    2. About the only way I could see a preferential system working well in this context is if only votes for eliminated candidates were redistributed. Basically, all votes (whether primary or preferences) given to a successful candidate beyond that needed to get them into one of the top X spots are wasted.

      An organised bloc could still game this system, but it would require them to precisely control vote numbers in order to spread their preferences around as easily as possible. There is a fairly simple algorithm to do so, but it requires very organised voting, since you're always finessing things so that each eliminated bloc candidate divides preferences almost perfectly evenly.

    3. Yep, that's how preferential voting is supposed to work. We use a system like that in Australia whereby the candidate who receives the fewest votes has their votes allocated to the other candidates based on the preferences of the people who voted for the now-eliminated candidate. The process is repeated until one candidate gets 51% of the total votes.

      Like any voting system it's not perfect, but unlike first past the post systems it prevents candidates from winning without a majority of support.

  2. I'm still pretty new to eve, so bear with me. But, what does "bloc" and "non-bloc" mean?

    1. In this context, "bloc" represents members of CSM6 that were put there thanks to votes from their 0.0 null-sec alliances. These were six out of the nine voting members of CSM6: The Mittani, UAxDEATH, Killer2, White Tree, Vile Rat, and Draco Llasa. Some count Seleene in this group, but I do not.

      In my opinion, the non-bloc seats are represented by Trebor, Meissa, and Seleene.

      0.0 null-sec alliances represent thousands of votes. Goonswarm alone has 7500 pilots, and many of those pilots have additional accounts not in GSF. As a result, a member of the Goonswarm bloc chosen by his alliance to run for CSM does not need to campaign, but can simply coast into the CSM on the strength of the votes given to him by that bloc.

    2. Dear Jester,

      This is exactly an argument why you should run for pres... ehh ... CSM. How often do you find eloquent people that indulge themselves into PvP bigtime, yet take the time to exhaustively answer simple questions?

      Then again: I do respect your decision. Your arguments are strong to. Jester for CSM8?

    3. Thanks for the clarification!

    4. Another way of looking at this is the organization put into maintaining a player alliance pays off come election time.

      For all the statistics thrown around about how highsec has 80% of the players you really have to put some of the onus on them for lack of representation rather than just a broken system.

      That's not to say it's perfect, but I have yet to hear of an alternative that's both feasible and doesn't actually hand more power to the 'bloc' candidates.

  3. I wholeheartedly support this decision Jester. You made a wise choice. Six months ago this decision would have made little sense to me and pissed me off a fair bit. I'm happy to say that I'm content at having seen the error in my thinking. Long live Jester's Trek!

  4. Not one that care all that much about the political meta gaming, but do read allot in the community about what's going on a bit all the same. I would say I'm much more informed about much that is going on because you put voice to concerns writing and talking about it on your soap box.

    Maybe you could make a difference on the CSM and possibly would, but you make far more difference as a outsider writing as you are now keeping a eye on CCP and the CSM while keeping us all more informed with good writing and analysis. The entire community is better served having you on the outside vs on the inside and in my opinion you have allot of influence staying on the outside writing as you are now.

    Just who would be keeping a eye on CCP and the CSM keeping everyone informed just like you are doing now? You probably wouldn't be able to do so if you were on the CSM.

  5. I think you've made the right choice here Jester, I know it must be tempting to want to continue what you're doing "from the belly of the beast" but I believe you are much more potent NOT in CSM7. I think to new EVE players reading your blog, knowing you aren't part of the machine really gives your posts power and I am sure CCP feels the same way.

  6. "That the CCP representatives in the room didn't see this really makes me doubt their critical thinking abilities."

    I will ask this again: what prevents a cohesive group of 100 players to give 'likes' to as many 'lol candidates' as possible, while staying clear of serious candidates that they don't want to see running?

    yeah, thought as much.

    1. Yep. One minute after posting "MAH CHAIRMAN" and a like to Mittens's post, lots and lots of Goons will be looking for the posts of completely random people running to "like" with the express purpose of causing as much confusion and chaos as possible.

    2. And yet, my guess is that this will happen naturally, without Mittens or any goon leadership giving the order.

      He is an intelligent person and it's in the best of his interest that things stay as they are.

      The more apparent that the megablocks can control the election, the stronger CCP will try to change the process, which is something he doesn't need/want to happen.

  7. Yeah I agree, I was reading their comments how the CSM 6 look forward to running again, and they did appear very strong. Like only a fool would run against them really.

    The only thought I have is with a room full of strong people, one of them is bound to crack first and set off a chain reaction where they all end up hating each other or showing a weak spot.

    If you are tempted to run I would wait for one of them to get too angry at another one, with how they are all strong, then find a good way in to replace one.

    Other wise smart decisions and good luck.

  8. "You've chosen wisely"; Grail Knight.

    Still, the choices begs the question, and I'm wondering why you're reluctant to point it out:

    You've setup this blog as a means to pontificate about various things in companion to an election campaign for the CSM. Beyond the positive response, and your 'need to speak', you continued writing this blog after you weren't elected not in the least because you wanted to create a 'following' of use to you for your next election campaign, at least in the beginning. There's no real point in denying it.

    Now, beyond the niceties of 'those I like will be running anyway', the major contribution to you not running seems to be: "I can have more influence now, without the risk of the NDA." I'm glad we agree on that then.

    But what does this say about the CSM as a whole, and in general? Beyond 'cool kids club', and 'conduit for 0.0 wishes through block vote candidates', what does that say about the usefulness of the CSM? When potential 'non-block vote' candidates basically decide to pass up on the off-chance of being elected in an ineffectual (minority) role to a body that doesn't have that much 'influence' to begin with?

    Given the circumstances, and given what CCP made of the CSM with the NDA, are you not admitting, at least for yourself, that the CSM experiment is currently effectively dead.

    You've made a decision. I think it the right decision. But you've also made a step towards acknowledging the problem. At least partially. At least where it concerns you. Why not take the next steps? Plenty of others have gone there before.

    1. Well, the point where you and I differ is that you believe the CSM is ineffectual and has no influence, whereas I believe they are not and they do. ;-)

  9. Didn't want that seat anyway?

    When will you make an endorsement for another candidate?

    1. I imagine he will make a review of a few candidates that catch his attention, once the candidate list becomes available.

      I can't picture Jester saying "vote for xyz as you would vote for me".

    2. I'm seriously considering doing a blog post on each of the major candidates. I've already started sketching out such posts for Trebor, Two Step, Seleene, and Kelduum Revaan (the head of EVE University). These wouldn't be endorsements, but rather examinations of the issues facing each of their candidacies.

      But yes, when I decide which candidates I'm going to support with my own four votes, I'll make that public as well. But I don't really expect anyone to vote for someone just because I am.

  10. Wow, Yuki must've been tripping over her(him?)self to write an article ripping into your election campaign. Too bad it was premature, now the article just looks retarded.

    A shame there's no section for comments.

  11. You should run. Stop posing from the outside and convert your words into deeds. If nothing else, it will give us all an accurate picture of what goes on inside - not to mention doing the same for you.

    I see that you are having fun in RK - but hey, being on the CSM can be fun too. If capable people with ideas shun the idea of a little volunteer work, it won't be long before the community goes to the dogs.

    So there, you have two reasons to run. Here's a third:

    There are blocs and there are some empire folks. We really might need someone who can be neutral to both (or all groups) and let logic guide their thoughts and actions on the CSM. The more of these there are, the better. You'd be one of these, I am sure, and you should do all you can to try and take up a spot.

    I'll be anonymously grateful.

    1. Thanks very much for your enthusiasm and your kind words, but my decision's made for this year.

      I'm honestly curious, though. How do you know if being on the CSM is fun or not? ;-)

    2. "hey, being on the CSM can be fun too"

      "can be" not "is".

      In other words, you gotta try it to tell us if it's fun.

  12. I'm gutted you've decided not to run for the CSM this year but, as always, you've clearly thought it through and reached an informed decision. I suppose I'll have to take the good with the bad, and that is plenty of blogging about the success of CSM7 and CCP.

  13. Outside of the "Jester is running for CSM" parts, Yuki did slaughter your arguments on the skillboooks/points posts. Whelp.

  14. I'm just sad I can't make the crack about "Taking your talents to Reykjavik" now. Would have made for some fun comments, especially if you announced with Kelduum and Two Step. Oh well.

  15. I'm pretty sure I was the only one really keeping an eye on CSM6. ;-)

    - Incorrect and egotistical statement. You've done a lot to keep the EVE public informed on some of the major issues, but a statement like this just reads like you are minimizing the achievements of others.

  16. Thank you Jester. I didn't get to comment on your Influence post but I didn't want you to run. I really enjoy your blog as a source of neutral criticism of in-game and out-of-game (the meta) topics. I hope you keep making insightful posts throughout this year as well!

  17. Suppose to defend jester against the yuki attack, jester deals with a wider swather of players then most people do or yuki does. You really have to meet more players then yourself or real life friends. Alot of them dont have alot of isk to spend freely. Try yourself to suggest to a player or corpmate to spend the isk for a faction ship or a useful faction mod and prepare for the bitch out storm.

  18. Of course, if those elected to the CSM would actually, you, know, do what they are supposed to do, we wouldn't have to worry about bloc votes, etc. The CSM is not supposed to represent narrow constituency views, but rather represent the view, as best as can be determined, of the playerbase as a whole. In short, they are our Shop Stewards. They're supposed to make sure CCP doesn't pull another T20, and if CCP does, to mercilessly burn them at the stake for it. They are supposed to be doing what they can to make sure that CCP's latest and greatest idea(s) enhance the game instead of bend, break, or ruin it.

    As long as CSM members pursue those goals, I'd even vote for Mittens. As soon as CSM members start declaring that they're only going to do for the folks that voted for them and screw the rest, well...

  19. Good you came to a decision... except am not sure your argument really holds water.

    Your points on the shoo in of the 'big blocks' and your taking or diluting the no-block votes is a bit flawed imho.
    Basically, through your posting on pretty much most aspects of EVE and without you being publicly tied into 0.0 politics you kinda became the figurehead for the non-0.0 bloc.
    Your point on the effect of NDA is valid to an extent, because it is conjecture how much it would really effect your blogging since you don't have 1st hand experience as of yet.
    I'm not criticizing your decision not to run. Rather I would encourage you to consider the public support you are getting for running for CSM7 as an opportunity. You mentioned you like what CSM6 has done, but also lamented on occasion the skewed priorities they had.
    So there's a chance to address this by running. just saying.

  20. thats might going to be a bit rude, but fuck off!!!
    what is that whole post all about?
    go to the fucking csm7 cause you belong there and dont bath in your fame....asshole!
    dont talk to much shit about why not and why yes. im not playing eve since over one year and you made me to be still interested in that freakin world!
    im not going to tell you why you belong there, i just tell you, pack your stuff, get a fuckin ticked and move your ass....THX

    1. Oh dear. I seem to have upset you. Whatever is the matter?

    2. Wow, you made him so mad you broked his spelling.

  21. I can't really read what the guy above me wrote. He's cussing at you but apparently still reads your blog a solid year after he quit EVE. That's impressive.

    I just wanted to say that I'm glad you chose not to run. I haven't been playing EVE for something like four or five months now, but I still read your blog daily if I can help it. Your writing style is just too good to skip over.

    It's selfish, but I'm glad you won't be subject to any NDAs or limitations on what you can write about, because it means I'll have more to read.


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