The one thing that I've never had is inside access to the company. Nobody from inside CCP has ever sent me proprietary information from within the company. Nobody from inside CCP has ever sent me so much as an EVE mail. I've gotten a few e-mails from CCP employees over the last 18 months or so, but all of them were prompted by things that I did or said. Every blog post I've written -- yes, even "Curves" -- was written with the help of publicly available data. The things I added were intuition and analysis, and sometimes flat-out guesses. Hell, from time to time, I've said provocative things about CCP with the hope that someone would come along and say "Jester, you idiot. That's obviously not right. What's REALLY happening is..."
I love technical people. They're completely unable to keep stuff that should be secret to themselves.
Dumb things people in CCP say have been a favorite topic of mine, almost from the beginning. But I'm also highly complimentary of CCP when they deserve it. Covering CCP-related news and what I think about it has also been big. And of course, I'm not afraid to delve right into CCP's business methodology, or even right into their business. Besides "Curves", two of my most-read posts last year were one I called "Pebble", which put Fearless into business perspective, and another I wrote about metrics and metrics-based development. And an absolute ton of my CCP-tagged are me trying to influence CCP from the outside.
Still, I can count on one hand the number of CCP employees I've had direct interaction with in the last year.
Am I going to run for CSM7? Here's the honest answer: I haven't decided. Probably. Maybe. I don't know.
There's still lots and lots of good reasons for me to run, all of those reasons that prompted me to run last year, plus some all-new ones. At the top of the latter list is the compression of CSM7's "voting members" down to seven, with the simultaneous requirement that everyone who runs has to have a petition signed by 100 people saying they're deserving of running first.
Trebor throws out a statistic that not nearly enough people are thinking about in his latest blog post: 70% of the votes that were cast for CSM6 were cast for winning candidates. Really stop and think about that for a second. I sure have. I was the top vote-getter among the remaining 30%, after all. Trebor flat-out calls them wasted votes, and says that the vast majority of them went to independent, non-bloc candidates, and yeah, that was (and is) me all over. Between the petition and the reduced size of the group getting face time in Iceland, that promises to be doubly so next year. Who outside of a massive 0.0 bloc is going to be able to get that petition requirement and then get the "2900 or even 3000" votes needed to get into the top seven?
Maybe it's a failure of imagination on my part, but I can only think of four possibilities: members of past CSMs (including CSM6 members seeking reelection), people with tons of in-game e-fame, EVE bloggers, and EVE website moderators. That's a good reason for me to run: I'm one of the few people not in a blob that might have a good chance of winning.
But there's also damn good reasons for me not to run. Right at the top of that list? The old "wasted votes". I have no doubts at all that some of my votes last year came from people who would have otherwise voted for Trebor, or Seleene, or perhaps even Two Step. I equally have no doubts at all that if I run, I will take votes away from them again.
Maybe even enough votes to ensure that none of us make the top seven.
But there's a better reason than that. Outside the CSM, I have the freedom to write what I want, when I want, how I want. I'm not beholden to an NDA, and I'm not beholden to a relationship with the people that I'm talking about. I'm an outside observer, usually fairly neutral, but certainly not lacking an opinion. ;-) And I've been free to share that opinion without running it by someone first. Seleene posted a remarkable statistic on his blog that received almost no attention:
On Thursday night I was having a talk with someone that will remain nameless and was told he had run a report internally that showed PVP activity for CCP employees in July 2011. The number of devs that were involved on another player's kill mail was exactly eight. Eight out of over six hundred. Granted, July was a pretty shit month for anyone playing EVE, but that's still a staggeringly low number.I had a chance to grab Seleene and I nearly immediately asked where that statistic had come from. Was it public knowledge? Did he have permission to release it? If so, how did he get permission to release it? That was the kind of stat I could have built up a good mad around and built a blog post out of, after all.
But the conversation soon turned to how much or how little Seleene's blog is influenced by the fact that he has to watch where he steps... because there could be an NDA under his foot waiting to go off. What I heard on this topic wasn't overly worrisome...
...but I also post a bit more often than Seleene does. ;-) CCP might need a "Jester Blog Post Review" department if I were elected.
And of course, not everything I post is tagged "CCP", and not every CCP-tagged post even brushes by proprietary topics. Even if I count every single CCP-tagged post, they only represent about 25% of my output, and the real number of posts that anyone in CCP could possibly object to is much less. And hell, direct access to CCP plus permission to share some of what they told me might mean that for every post that was lost, a different sort of post would be gained.
My ability to influence CCP from outside probably shouldn't be underestimated, though. I know for a fact that there are quite a number of CCP employees reading this right now, and I equally know for a fact that some of what gets written on this blog goes straight into CCP discussions. Would I have that same influence pigeon-holed as a CSM member?
Finally, if I won a CSM7 seat, my ability to be neutral about CSM7's performance would naturally be completely compromised. In addition to the 150 or so CCP-tagged posts on this blog, there have been 60 or so tagged "CSM6".
So, that's what's at risk if I run. Thoughts?