During the pod-cast, Alekseyev Karrde, NinjaTurtle and Connall Tara at a couple of points compared me to mynnna/corestwo (mynnna hereafter) from themittani.com. Specifically, they compare my two articles about activist CSMs to mynnna's response to it on themittani, "The Activist CSM" and our relative writing styles and substance. Keep in mind: mynnna is almost certainly going to be the official Goonswarm candidate to CSM8. Yes, I recognize that he wrote that article before making the final decision to run, but you don't write about politics without being interested in politics, if you know what I mean. ;-)
CSM7 seems to like what mynnna has to say, and the feeling seems to be mutual. And that's fair, of course.
But that's not what caught my interest about the reference to mynnna and themittani.com in the pod-cast. No, what caught my interest was a continuing misconception about mynnna's piece specifically, and themittani.com in general. Alek opens that piece of the pod-cast by making it clear that my blog is opinion and themittani.com ("despite any concern you might have about its bias") strives to be a news site. At another point, it's made clear that while my piece about CSM7 is opinion, mynnna's is more about "framing the facts", "posing the question rather than coming to any conclusions", and has only "mild opinions."
Mild opinions like "CCP does not have a clue what they actually want to do next", for instance. I'm pretty sure that CCP would dispute that being factual, or not as coming to any conclusions. ;-)
Now don't get me wrong: I really like mynnna's writing, and I read themittani.com frequently. But describing it as more of a news site is -- in my opinion, of course -- inaccurate. Certainly, there's a "News" section on the site and certainly there are things to be read there. But even a lot of the items tagged as news -- this piece about the fall of Against ALL Authorities, for example -- combine a sprinkling of news with a sprinkling of opinion. And overall, are they the most interesting pieces on the site? Not for me, they aren't. I spend a lot more time in the "Features" section of the site, which may as well be re-branded "Opinion" because that's what it is.
And that's where mynnna's piece was listed, and for good reason.
CNN recently got themselves a new President, Jeff Zucker. And Zucker had this to say about some changes he's going to be making there:
"I don't want to get caught in the trap of thinking that Fox and MSNBC are our principal competition," Zucker told me. "That's way too limiting. Our competition is also Discovery, the History Channel, anyone that provides non-fiction programming."Bad or good, that's how the news is these days if you want to be successful in the ratings: it's informational entertainment. And themittani.com does that and does it well. While I do read their "news" pieces, I read their "features" first. They're much more interesting. And mynnna's piece was a lovely example of the form. Trying to describe it as factual, though, is inaccurate. It was opinion.
That's the first thing.
The second thing is I do want to gently dispute how mynnna's piece mis-characterized my use of the word "activist." There seems to be a sense, both in mynnna's piece and in the pod-cast reaction to it, that a "peace-time CSM" (to use Alek's frequent phrase) doesn't have to be activist because such a CSM doesn't have to goad CCP into action in that way. The implication is that an activist CSM "must. attack. CCP." The problem is that when I used the term in my original piece using the word, I didn't mean that at all. That got lost in the interim and I'd like to get it un-lost.
Being activist isn't necessarily just about goading CCP into action when they get a little passive. It's about the CSM independently taking action even when CCP isn't asking for action. And that to my mind has been CSM7's second-biggest flaw: they've primarily been reactive, not pro-active. From an external observer's perspective, most of the time they wait to be asked to do things before doing them. A good counter-example -- where CSM7 was activist -- was Trebor Deahdoow's activities around rebuilding the CSM election mechanics.
We saw how well that went for Trebor. ;-)
But it was a lovely example of the sort of activism I mean, and (ironically enough) so was the EVE Development Strategy document. The people involved in that document point to it as a major achievement for CSM7 and whether you agree with the document's conclusions or not, they're right to do so. But it just goes to prove the CSM can continue to take actions -- can be activist -- even when there are no official actions "on the agenda" to be taken and without attacking CCP. "No CSM had ever done this before," Alek says during the pod-cast. Uh huh. Felt good, didn't it? That's part of what I meant by being activist. It's an example. When I was on Declarations of War back in September, I listed a lot of different examples of ways the CSM could be activist without necessarily going on a war-path.
That's what mynnna missed in his piece.
During the summer, CSM7 went almost entirely silent. "CCP is on vacation," we were told, "so things are going to be pretty quiet until they get back." And that kind of misses the point that there are more than two groups in this relationship: it isn't just the CSM and CCP and the CSM waiting to have official responsibilities from CCP. I'm pretty sure the players are involved in here somewhere too. When CCP is quiet, that to me is an excellent time to spend more time with the players.
Which was CSM7's biggest flaw, in my opinion: they weren't communicating enough. But I've talked about that one too much already. I know some members of CSM7 disagree with me on that one, and that's also fine. People of good conscience sometimes do.
Anyway, Alek has invited me to appear on DoW again (maybe with mynnna as well?) after the Summit Minutes are released, to talk about those and the Strategy Document again. I'll let you all know when that's going to be. I suspect these topics will come up. ;-)