Have an answer?
Good. It was a trick question. No matter what you chose, you're wrong.
Let's say you agree: the most important person associated with a baseball team is the manager. Obviously, you disregard the importance of the owner, the pitching staff, the star center fielder, et cetera. Well, let's say you disagree instead: the most important person is not the manager. Well, in that case, you obviously disregard the importance of the manager. Obviously.
At this point, you can say, "that's not what I meant" and sure, sure, I believe you. Know why? Because every answer to that question is the wrong one. And every answer to that question is the right one. All at the same time. It's the question itself that's flawed, because it states the question in absolutes: who is the most important person. But everyone looks at an absolute differently, and a lot of people don't see absolutes at all. That's because absolute phrasing of this kind of question is flawed and meaningless. Let's rephrase the question to illustrate:
"The most important part of your car is the engine."
Whether you say yes or no, you're both right and wrong at the same time because an engine without a steering wheel, tires, a chassis, and... oh yeah... a driver... is an object that ain't gonna go anywhere.
Now suppose you're asked 39 other questions framed the same way at the same time. And let's suppose you're asked the same 40 questions a week later. Do you think it's possible that your answers would change? I think it's not only likely, it's inevitable. Because of the way the questions are framed in absolutes, you might lean toward nuances in one regard one day and nuances in another regard another day. But the very nature of a survey with 40 questions dictates that your "agrees" and "disagrees" will be folded into a numeric matrix where all nuance is completely lost.
It's another absolute piled on top of 40 smaller absolutes. The result is going to be a meaningless hash.
Which brings us to Vote Match, Dierdra Vaal's attempt to create a survey to match you with your preferred CSM candidate.(1) The theory is simple enough: each CSM candidate answers 40 "agree/disagree" statements. You then answer the same 40 agree/disagree statements. And a little bit of weighting aside, the system matches you with the CSM candidate that feels the same way you do on the issues described in the 40 questions. In theory, it's a fine idea.
In practice, it's executed sloppily and with no regard for nuance. Computer programmers have a name for the results of this kind of algorithm: garbage in, garbage out. Since the answers of the CSM candidates are stripped of nuance and the questions are phrased in absolutes, their answers are meaningless. That's the "garbage in" part. Since you fill out the same survey they do, your opinions are likewise stripped of nuance. That's the "garbage out" part.
Seriously, you may as well assign the CSM candidates random numbers and roll some dice. The results will be about as meaningful.
Let's look at some specific examples, shall we? And to reduce accusations of bias, I'll concentrate on four candidates that will almost certainly be elected no matter what I say: Seleene, Trebor Daehdoow, Two Step, and The Mittani.
Seleene works the system. He tagged the following three items as "strongly agree" and flagged all three as important issues:
- The industry side of Eve needs more game design attention and should be a priority over all other areas of the game that need improvements.
- Improving low sec is the single most important thing for CCP to do and should be a priority over all other areas of the game that need improvements.
- 0.0 is most in need of further development, and should be a priority over all other areas of the game that need improvements.
And coincidentally, he increases his match percentage with people who feel the same about all three areas.
The Mittani, meanwhile, strongly disagreed with two of those statements and only strongly agreed with one of them (guess which one). As a result, The Mittani clearly disregards the importance of industry and low-sec. Obviously.
Trebor takes nuanced positions, then tries to explain them in the comments. In particular, he disagrees (not strongly) that 0.0 is the highest priority issue, then tries to explain "It's not that 0.0 doesn't need work. It does. But other areas of the game affect more players." He also didn't flag 0.0 as important. Is anyone who lives in 0.0 (and therefore puts at least "agree" on this question) going to see that? Nope. They're going to see that Trebor disagrees with them, doesn't see their play-style as important and therefore will be much less likely to match with them. Trebor also disagrees with the statement "The CSM's primary role is to identify the good ideas generated by the player base and suggest them to CCP.", explains it in more or less the same way, and in the same fashion again trips over nuance.
And coincidentally, he decreases his match percentage with people who feel differently, because nuance is bad.
The Mittani ignores the system. He answers the questions the way you'd expect him to, but doesn't attach comments to anything. Only a few other candidates did that. It's commendable in a "you know what you're getting" sense. He also selects "no opinion" more than any other major candidate. Notably, he does what Trebor should have done: he selects "no opinion" on every single question that even mentions "CSM" except one: that the CSM should stand in the way of micro-transactions. That's also very, very smart.
And coincidentally, he increases his match percentage with people who ignore the questions about what the CSM is about and sticks to the issues themselves.
Two Step makes rookie mistakes, and makes them again and again. That surprised me because he should have encountered this mess last year and learned from it, and he apparently didn't. First and most amusingly, he tags the 0.0 issues as his important ones, even though he's not a 0.0 candidate and he's unlikely to get many 0.0 votes. That immediately reduces his match percentage with anyone likely to vote for him. He makes the same mistakes as Trebor in terms of taking nuanced positions and then trying to explain them in comments. For instance, for the three "priority" items, he actually ranks them in order. What he should have done was matched Seleene's move and ignored nuance.
He also makes the most fun mistake of all: he takes positions that are in opposition to his comments. For instance, on the question "0.0 Logistics (moving, managing and creating supplies) is too safe at the moment.", he selected disagree. But in the comments, he wrote, "It may be a little safe, but it is also still a huge pain point, and something that makes it hard for smaller groups to live in 0.0." So... wait. Wait. Do you disagree or not? ;-) Similarly, for "Jump bridges and Titan bridges should be nerfed to reduce power projection.", he selected disagree, but his comment makes it clear that he agrees.
And coincidentally, he pisses off people who feel either way on these issues...
So yeah... Vote Match? Skip it. Seriously. Take the time to actually learn what the candidates think. You might even... gasp... ask them questions yourself! And in the process, take this particular means of choosing a candidate and chuck it in the garbage where it came from.
(1) I'm not going to link it, because I'm not going to encourage you to use it. Matter of fact, I'm going to encourage you not to use it. Keep reading.