In reality, of course, the nomination stage has been going on for a few weeks now, so what gets published tomorrow will -- for most purposes -- be the candidate list. As a result, I'd like to issue two sets of endorsements this year for candidates that I'm going to support, either vocally or directly, with one or more of my votes.
I'm going to start with the CSM6 incumbents. So far, ten of the fourteen current CSM6 members have said they're standing for reelection, and as far as I can tell, all ten have easily passed the 100 "likes" needed to be considered official candidates. We can pretty safely assume that since they've been on the CSM for the last year, they're also not going to have any trouble with the other required qualifications. It's equally safe to say that of the remaining three that haven't declared, none of them is likely to be a major factor in the election since their bases of support appear to be gone. So let's go with what we have.
As I said a couple of weeks back, I'll be endorsing seven candidates: the candidates that I hope get the top seven seats when CSM7 is elected. These aren't necessarily who I think will be elected. These are who I want to be elected to those top seven seats. I'll write an additional post later on who I think will be elected and why.
Of the ten CSM6 candidates running for reelection, I am endorsing four of them: Two Step, Trebor Daehdoow, The Mittani, and UAxDEATH.
When looking at the current candidates running for reelection, I looked at three factors:
- Have this candidate done the work?
- Does this candidate best represent an important segment of the player base?
- Does this candidate deserve to represent us?
Two Step, more than any other member of CSM5 or CSM6, demonstrates the fundamental correctness of Mynxee's goal of making the so-called "alternate" members of the CSM part of the process. Barely elected to CSM6 at all and dismissed as a wormhole specialty candidate, Two Step showed that he didn't really know or care what the word "alternate" meant. He simply did the work. More than any other single member of CSM6, he has been visible to the EVE Online player base in a variety of places, and has shown interest in multiple play-styles, not just his own. Two Step still represents an important segment of the EVE player base, but I'd now argue that it's larger than simply wormhole dwellers... it's every EVE player that has no interest in sovereignty-based play and super-cap blobs. Two Step deserves a full seat at the table in CSM7, and will be a terrific balance against these powerful forces. Two Step not only has my endorsement, he'll be receiving at least one of my votes.
Trebor Daehdoow, despite my teasing, has shown that he also deserves a seat at the table. Trebor's greatest strength is his ability to get along with and balance a lot of disparate elements that have made up the last two CSMs. Yes, he's a little bit stubborn when he wants to get his way, but he balances that with the ability to listen, and the willingness to directly challenge CCP employees when it's clear they're on the wrong track. He might not agree with you (or them) when the discussion is over, but he can prove that he's listened to the arguments on both sides. I'm not convinced that very many other CSM6 members did that this year. Trebor has also shown a continued willingness to engage with the EVE player base in a variety of ways. He's also one of CSM6's strongest communicators and has done more work than the others in terms of documenting the results. Trebor will also be receiving one of my votes, the same one he got last year. ;-)
If I gave Trebor a hard time this year, that's a quarter of the hard time I gave The Mittani this year. Still, if your definition of success is "engaged with CCP", then The Mittani is the most successful CSM Chair in the history of the CSM.(1) Yes, he's frightfully arrogant, and yes, he's way more interested in his own ideas than anyone else's, but the simple fact is that where previous CSMs talked at CCP, Mittens talked to them and with them. He's also in a perfect position to use his in-game power, his out-of-game name recognition, and his personal knowledge of a lot of the CCP devs to channel player annoyance with CCP into constructive avenues, and he understands just enough of the business side to get by. If Mittens has a weak point, it's that he regards virtually the entire EVE player base as dumb-ass pubbies, but he seemed to mellow somewhat in the last year, and we can hope that he'll continue to do so in the coming year. ;-) Mittens won't be receiving one of my votes, but he doesn't need it anyway...
I don't have as much to say about UAxDEATH as I do about the other three, but it's clear that Death has done a better job engaging with the Russian portion of the EVE player base much more successfully than past Russian CSM members. He also made an effort, particularly late in 2011, to start to talk to people who don't play EVE in Cyrillic as well. There's no question that he best represents this important part of the player base. More impressive to me, though, Death has shown real open-mindedness when it came to attacks on his core play style. He's open and honest when it comes to botting, has been open to the discussion of removing drone alloys, and has a great sense of humor that even a westerner can appreciate.
Now let's talk about the people that I'm not endorsing, and why, starting with the hard one.
I'm not endorsing Seleene. Now, don't get me wrong: I really like Seleene, and of the CSM6 members, he's probably the one that I've actually spent the most time chatting with this past year. Hell, he and I had a terrific two plus hour Skype conversation not a month ago (he urged me to run, even when I told him my belief that I'd just take votes away from him). But somewhere along the way in the last year, Seleene has slipped sideways and lost his focus. I don't know any other way of putting it. Part of it is simply how darn busy the guy is. I gave him a very hard time about wasting the first few months of his term, but even over the course of the rest of the year, it was pretty clear that he wasn't 100% engaged. His blogging was greatly diminished, and his posting to the various fora decreased substantially. I'm not even convinced that his heart is in this run. I think in his heart of hearts, he'd be more than happy with an alternate seat this year, and honestly: that's probably the place where he can do the most good. The full members need his insights into CCP and the development process, yes... but I don't feel like they need his presence.
I'm not endorsing Meissa Anunthiel. This year, Meissa abandoned his traditional neutrality on political topics and on at least two occasions, directly advocated for positions where he personally or his alliance generally would directly benefit. The more glaring example was his advocacy for "wormhole stabilizers", which would do only one thing: bring the blob to the one and only part of space that is still mercifully blob-free. Meissa needs a break, and some perspective. He'll probably win a seat regardless of what I think, but I hope he doesn't.
I'm not endorsing either Elise Randolph or Prometheus Exenthal, and that is just freakin' sad. Either of them could have, and should have, been a vocal champion for non-sov-holding small-gang play. Neither has demonstrated an ability to do this. Prom is particularly disappointing... after ignoring his post for six months, when he did finally become engaged with the process, it seems pretty clear that he drank the sov Kool-Aid. Neither have been strong representatives for non-blob play. Hell, Pandemic Legion is practically embracing the blob. If you're tempted to vote either of these candidates thinking they will be champions for the small gang, I urge you to put your vote elsewhere.
And finally, neither Draco Llasa nor Darius III are representative of any particular group of EVE Online players, and neither distinguished themselves during the year that they've already had to represent us.
That leaves three endorsements, which I will be giving to three new faces running this year. Watch for that post in a few days.
(1) If your definition is "brought player concerns to CCP", then the most successful is still Mynxee.