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...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Influence

One of the thing my blog does that a lot of EVE blogs don't is that I look under the covers.  I pride myself on being a bit of a CCP watcher.  I keep an eye on how the company that makes EVE influences EVE.  I've written more than 150 posts that I've tagged "CCP".  I've spent a lot of time looking at them and rereading them over the last couple of weeks.

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?

49 comments:

  1. I 'd prefer if you didn't get on CSM because your blogging would suffer, and then what would I have to read?

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  2. Yeah, as much as I wanted you in the CSM Chair seat this past year, the more I think about it the more unsure about that position I become. This blog is such a valuable resource for the players and CCP that I just couldn't bear to see it NDA'd. So yeah, color me very unsure, but leaning toward the "don't run" camp (as long as you intend to keep the blog going, and keep it going as hardcore as you have since day 1, that is).

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  3. I'd prefer that you ran for CSM, so maybe you wouldn't post so much (LOL, 'sif) and I would have time to get back to my gardening.

    You need to make the choice, just stand for nomination. Don't be a simpering coward sitting behind the blog until you're certain you have a chance :P

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  4. Furthermore, there's an awful lot you can write about without touching on any topics being discussed in the CSM. There's even a lot you can write that will shape people's thinking about NDA stuff, without breaking the NDA. You have the skills to write about NDA stuff without breaking the NDA - in spirit or by technicality.

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  5. I think you've answered your own question: you can speak freely on anything without worrying about a breach of NDA, you can and do already exert influence over CCP's internal decision-making process, and you can offer (more or less) unbiased criticism of the sitting CSM.

    A not-insignificant number of people think Stewart or Colbert should run for office because of their ability to level sharp criticism against the idiocy of the government. But to do so would mean they would have to give up the platforms they have from which to level those criticisms.

    Put another way, it's been years now since I've been in New Eden, but I still read this blog (and not just because you don't hang out on IRC nearly as much anymore, you bastard :P).

    ReplyDelete
  6. "thoughts?"

    Well, Jester, if you do decide not to run, you could choose to openly support one of the other candidates, sort of 'vice-candidate'. This could give enought focus to said candidate to ensure a full seat.

    Naturally, having an agreement that the favor would be returned in the future would be nice. Since CSM elections resemble RL politics, use the resources you have available.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me complement my initial comment.

      Most of the population in my country have a bad habit: they expect and wait for the government to solve all their problems. Wrether small or large, private or public, they are always whining and waiting for the authorities to do something.

      After seing this for so long, I tell you: sometimes in life you are better off not waiting for someone to solve your problems. Sometimes you are better off stepping in and solving them yourself.

      You posted before about the possibility of CSM parties. Well, you don't need to wait, you can make it happen right now! Talk to like-minded eve players, influential/reknowned ones especially, and assemble a nominal party. Perhaps you will be able to be the candidate of such party this year. Perhaps that will only be possible in a future election. That's how it works in this system.

      Will such party be immune to misunderstandings or unfulfilled promises, so well known for us eve players? No, but neither are real ones. And neither would be CPP approved/recognized ones in a yet to be defined CSM party system.

      Don't wait for CCP to come up with earth-shaking rules, make it happen and show that this can work!

      And do note: time is running. Good luck.

      Delete
  7. I think you should go for it Jester. Seriously.

    You bring a lot to the table. Sure, I think you'll be gagged on a lot of topics but I have faith that Garth will keep us updated on anything really important ^.^v

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  8. I've been dreading this post for the last 6 months. :)

    Selfishly, I don't want you to run. Your critical analysis has been valuable to me and to the community. It would be hard to imagine that you didn't have any influence on CCP, whether you know it or not. If elected, you would certainly be gagged, both explicitly on topics that are expressly verboten by NDA and self-censored on topics fearing they be close to off-limits or would impact your position and access. If you run, that critical eye would be lost. For the benefit of the community and the game, you can't run.

    On the other hand, running was a part of how this blog came into being. It's growth and influence in the last year would practically ensure that you are elected, even with the smaller number of openings. Isn't that why you did this in the first place? Once on the inside, you'd have direct access to CCP staff and your influence would be clear. You'd have access to all kinds of cool inside baseball information that we'll never know from the outside. You'll have a real impact, you just won't be able to talk about it. You have to run.

    This is so tough. There are clear pros and cons to both paths. What it really comes down to is this -- what do YOU want? Do you want the be the populist or the lobbyist? I want you to be the populist. But, if I was you, I'm sure I'd want to be the lobbyist. :)

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  9. I say run. Sure, you may not be able to post as much, but it would benefit the rest of us more to have you in the CSM then you posting.

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  10. If you're put off by the idea you might run and lose I'd just like to point out you are much higher profile now than you were this time last year. You're probably in the top 5 Eve celebrities which I do think will turn into votes (it seems to be working for Mittani).

    As to whether you might be compromised - well, look at it long term. For a year you might have to muffle certain opinions. After that you can be even more vocal with the added bonus of being a former CSM.

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  11. I'd vote for you, if you decide to run - if only to have someone on CSM who will push for changing the election mechanics, in order to re-empower the disorganized majority over the organized minority.

    Speaking of which, I personally like these two suggestions on the forums:

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=665141#post665141

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=666046#post666046

    But, before you decide to run, ask yourself if joining the CSM would enhance or detract from your personal enjoyment of the game. That's all that should really matter.

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  12. "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."

    Oh, really? Then it would seem you already have your inside connections (even if through a third party), and that those connections are influencing what you say here and how you say it. Surely, you must choose topics and write differently knowing CCP reads your blog than you would if they did not.

    Whatever. :)

    I'm tempted to predict less turnout for the CSM7 election due to potential widespread resignation that "Goons already got it all in the bag" and complacency because "CCP finally is focused on spaceships, life is good". I hope I'm proven wrong, we'll see.

    One thing seems sure. A CSM election roster that includes popular, opinionated, and communicative fresh-blood candidates is more likely to fire up the masses than a roster of incumbents + people no one has ever heard of.

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  13. I have spoken to you before (but will stay anon this time), I voted for you (2x) last election, and I'd vote for you again, BUT....

    Do you really want it? (for a clue I in game emailed you saying i think you were lucky not to get in and a note about a FC manual). People have posted comments about NDA, blog activity, ecetera. What I am thinking though is best summarised by the previous comment by Carole/Mynxee - it seems after CSM the next step is to roll over or quit EVE. CSM seems to suck people in and spit them out in one of two ways. I'd rather have your 'bitter vet opinion' than you go silent by NDA or quit through CSM burnout.

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  14. Id council to analyze very carefully the "electoral landscape". If you think the independent votes would be spread too thin, then talk with other potential/actual candidates close to your positions and discuss weather/how to concentrate your potential votes.

    If that means not running and supporting one/two other candidates, I deem that a good way to do it.

    And yes, weigh in the value your blog is providing to the community NDA-free.

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  15. I am pissed at you for making me go back to IE just so the damn comment box works.

    In other news, if you decide to run for it, I'll sign your petition.
    If not, I'll keep commenting you and generally being the pain in the ass that I usually am. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why do you want to run for the CSM, power trip, challenge, or personal goal? Everyone (that includes you) knows and understands that you do more for the game and influence CCP actions by not being on the Council than you would if you were on the council. If you really care about our game - YOU WILL NOT RUN.

    Sabaticus

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  17. You need to run, but not for the reasons others have given.

    Right now, you have momentum. It's been a very eventful year for CCP/EVE, and your posts have been the key to understanding many of those events. People know you, respect you, and are used to listening to you; they'd vote for you without a second thought.

    But political capital, if unspent, is wasted. Players will forget, or leave EVE, only to be replaced by players who don't know you, and who won't vote for you (or even vote at all). Unless this coming year is even more eventful than the last (which seems unlikely) you are currently at the hight of your visibility, and your chances of being elected will only diminish from here.

    In other words, not running now is a decision not to run ever.

    And for those who care about your blog (and I am one of those), it is not obvious to me that you will continue to blog in the same way if you don't run. After all, this blog was set up to support your run for CSM, and I suspect that you have continued to post with an eye to a future run. If that run is taken of the table, will you still have the same energy and enthusiasm for the blog now that it's purpose has been removed? I suspect not - that's just not human nature.

    So my advice? Carpe Diem. This moment is yours. Own it.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, Taurean said it best. I enjoy reading your stuff but it's not the end of the world if you are NDA'ed against certain topics. It really isn't. We did fine without Jester's blog and we would do fine in a limited version of it. Others will come along and fill your void.

      There are many of us who would be happy to spread word of you and be your surrogate :)

      Delete
    2. Taurean speaks like a Bene Gesserit. lol Make him your Chief of Staff when you're the Chairman Mao this coming spring. ;-)

      Delete
    3. This seems to me the best analisys in these comments.

      Delete
    4. I, too, agree with this line of thought.

      Delete
  18. I'd advise no. And for the sole reason that once you have looked behind the curtain thats it. NDA'd for the period into the future that CCP shows you. If they put business plans and propositions in front of you of two years, thats two years worth and probably more (dependent on implementation).

    No one - no matter how disciplined can filter for that long without having to think about every darned statement that pops out of their mouths regarding the game. It would be easier just to shut up and stop blogging.

    A free thinking, unedited, worry free blogger is what you are right now. Are you prepared to trade that all in for the glimpse?

    Ex-CSMers would be better placed to advise how badly it affected them. Ask. Then make the choice.

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  19. I reasonably well known political columnist was once asked in an interview why he didn't run for public office. His answer was that he was far more effective sitting at the back of the hall throwing bottles at the stage.

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  20. Advice? don't run for CSM, form a political alliance with some of the CSM 7 candidates you trust.

    :P

    Proceed.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This may all come off a little self serving, but my honest opinion is that you shouldn't run. Realistically, without a large existing powerbase, why do you think you would get more votes than you got last time? Sure, your blog might be slightly more widely read, but I don't see how it would be enough to make much of a difference.

    I have 2 other reasons not to run:
    1) You sound like you like to sit around and discuss ship fitting with your friends/cormates. I have found that *very* hard to do as a CSM, because I keep almost saying, "Oh but Tallest is fixing that next patch"
    2) You are in a really good position to help review the CSM7 candidates. Lets face it, even with 100 "likes", there will still be some 20 or so viable candidates, and who else has the time to review them all? :)

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  22. You should run if only to bring up the issue of trial accounts ruining the game experience for those of us who actually pay to play this game. I'm a returning customer and I'm very disappointed in the fact that trial accounts are abused for no-risk scouting, I don't think that I have to exemplify why this is so very bad. I think trial accounts need to be restricted to high sec and some special systems that allow them to PVP, I find the current system broken and the benefits of the freedom they have today are far outweighed by the negative impact on the whole of EVE. Please let me know what you think about this and what can be done about it.

    Thank you

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  23. Just a quick comment:

    I used to chat with Mynxee a lot before she won her CSM seat. While I'm sure part of the problem was CCP still in "Head Up Ass" mode during CSM5, it totally burned her out. She finally quit the game -a real shame.

    In your case, it would at least seriously cut into time to blog with the frequency you do now... and we certainly don't want Eve's most prolific blogger quitting. :p

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  24. You'd undoubtably have a lot of support, your blog is popular and influential, I personally think you'd also be a slightly more balanced CSM member than some. That said Pissing into the tent is often more feared by the tent owners than pissing out of it.

    If you do decide to run, I'll happily sponsor you, even if your blogs gets a little duller.

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  25. What happened to "Add a Comment"? Something's broken on your blog because that option comes up for a split second and disappears.

    But I digress...

    I'd vote for you in a heartbeat, but IIRC you almost quit eve last year and then changed your mind. Mind shedding some light on that? I understand you have a real life, and maybe that had something to do with it, but your decision to quit and sudden flip-flop makes me wonder.

    I would also vote for you AND campaign for you, whether or not votes were "wasted", if there was any chance at all that even though you might not win, it would pull votes away from two step. He might be a great secretary, but IMO he has no solid positions on anything other than his own bloated sense of self-importance.

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  26. Combining some ideas above and reinforcing...

    Even if you don't run, you can still be political, i.e. supporting/endorsing another candidate and/or organizing a political party to counter some of the other undeclared parties that already exist.

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  27. I think you would make an excellent CSM, and I don't think that you should not run for fear of knocking someone else off. The names you mention are some of the best known CSM's and should be able to compete for themselves.

    However, I do think that the NDA would constrain your blogging style. You would be able to comment on player activity all you like, but your critique of CCP/the CSM would definitely become more cautious.

    I think you need to decide for yourself which you value more; the ability to directly influence CCP or the ability to write as truly 'free press'.

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  28. If you decide to run I will support/vote for you, but I would actually prefer that you did not. The position you hold as an outside observer is very important and if you became CSM then you would risk all of that.

    You have the uncanny ability to process what you observe and generate a unerringly accurate prediction based on your observations. I personally find this to be much more valuable than others who actually know what is in the works, but cannot say much more than "Yeah, something's in the works, I cant talk about it." because your method of analysis and hypothesis help me generate my own theory's.


    I didn't vote last time. I felt to inexperienced and untouched my EVE back then to give a meaningful vote. This time around I have a bit more at stake and feel more in-touch with what is going on, thanks in no small part to having been pointed to your blog by Hong.
    While I feel you could do much good from inside, I feel you would be of much greater benefit outside the system where you would be free of the system to make your insightful observations.

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  29. You should just go over the CSM's heads and become a dev. That way you are more influential in the game and getting work accomplished. Powerfullest people get things done and a dev has alot of that. Try to get hired by CCP and dont be a lowly CSM.

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  30. I have voted for Trebor the last few years but since I began reading your blog a few months ago, you will surely have my vote if you decide to run for CSM! You rock man, best and most informative blog in the whole blogpack!

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  31. What is it you want to accomplish by potentially being on the CSM? I think this is the main question you have to answer for yourself.

    If you feel that there is something that needs representation and that you are a good person to effect the needed change, then you should go for it. But if you can't come up with a specific list (that includes big picture as well as detailed items), then maybe you're just doing it for the experience. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but considering that their might be some sacrifices you have to make, that might not be the best reason to run.

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  32. I'm so pleased you've made progress on this Jester - and as I said about a week ago I was pretty sure you had (in one machination or another) been on the fence about this for a while.

    I would put forward two points for your consideration;

    1) The NDA is primarily intended to stop you releasing information the CSM is privy to about the strategic direction of both Eve and CCP. It is desinged to stop you flapping your lips about something that could hurt their profitability. I honestly don't think most of what you write about will fall under it. Of course if you happen to find out that CCP is killing kittens to power the eve servers you'll have to keep that to yourself - but it isn't exactly your fault if they are and I dont think any reasonable person will hold it against you. You've been very upfront about the NDA and we all understand (I hope including you) it is a small price to pay for the power to influence CCP more than you already do.

    2) We all understand that this is a competitive event and, in some respects, the odds are against you. In others they are behind you. NO you aren't backed by a major blob. BUT you are probably THE most famous player running who isn't already in the CSM. If players are (as I think they might be) disengaged with CSM6 you could find yourself being a very popular protest vote. Ultimately my real point is, until you run none of us will know. Losing is the risk you'll have to take. We didn't think any less of you last year so why would we now? Worst case you lose and come back to the blog, a sader but wiser man for having tried and failed. The you can just carry on 'saying it like it is'.

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  33. You should definitely not run. EVE really doesn't need more big yellow text asking important questions that don't get answered. Besides, a CSM member really shouldn't have ambivalent feelings about important topics. They should be able to stand up, be outspoken and say definitively: "This is what we need to do." Otherwise you'll just get walked over by stronger voices.

    I enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work.

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  34. I think you add more value to the game as a commentator than anything else. I don't think you add any additional value to what's already there in terms of knowledge and vision on the CSM.

    So I think the community loses overall, should you be elected, even though you'd make a good CSM candidate

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  35. don't run

    http://www.whiteroseconventicle.com/politics/96-csm-7/1143-vote-pandering-eve-style.html

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, that article was a piece of shit and I was surprised their editors even allowed it through (editors...lol...as if). Poorly written, poorly argued. I really hope Jester does a post to ridicule it like it deserves.

      They just lost my RSS sub over that one...

      Delete
    2. White Rose doesn't have editors. They don't even pay their writers. Their "staff" is Yuki and that's pretty much it.

      Delete
    3. Hence my "lol" comment...maybe they should consider bringing one on board after that mess of an editorial. Or maybe Yuki should just fire him/herself.

      Delete
  36. Hey Jester, if you decide to run for CSM you would most likely get my votes. But still the point for not running as CSM are pretty strong and you might lose your independence if you get elected.

    In order to change that "issue" with powerblocks ccp would have to change the election method. Allowing some sort of category or "political parties" where CSMs can organize in. But the "How to elect CSM" would be a great topic of its own where many have different opinions on. Discussing it in eve-o forum would lead to a lot of noise but maybe you would like to write some ideas down.

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  37. In addition to what's already been said, I'd say this: If you need convincing, then you're not fully committed. And if you're not fully committed to running for CSM(ditto any elected position), then you shouldn't run.

    This is sort of what I've been getting at re every comment I've made on this subject.

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  38. Wouldn't advice going for it. Good neutral blogs are rare. You are one of them. If you'll go for CSM7, you'll stop being neutral. So personal +1 for not going for elections.

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