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...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Feature-relevant election

One more CSM8 election post, then I'll move on to other things for a while.

Lots of people have asked what I think about the CSM election changes announced in the blog post last week.  And honestly, I really wanted to sit down and think about it before I wrote about it.  This is one of those topics where one's first impression is probably going to be wrong.  I really wanted to think it through.  The result is this horribly long blog post.  I apologize in advance.  ;-)  Ready?

There's four things going on in this dev-blog and I have different feelings about all of them.  The four things are:
  1. There's going to be a primary election before the "main" election;
  2. the voting system itself is using a "Single Transferable Vote" system;
  3. CSM8 will be choosing its own officers; and,
  4. there's a new process for choosing which CSM8 members will be traveling to Iceland for Summits.
That's a lot going on in one dev-blog, so it's no surprise that it prompted a lot of reactions.  Let's get to it.

First, anyone who wants to vote for me is going to have to vote for me twice.  Seriously.  The dev-blog specifies that instead of the "likes" mechanic that was used on EVE Online forum announcement posts for CSM7, anyone who wants to run for CSM8 first has to run for CSM8 to see if they're going to be allowed to run for CSM8 and I wish I was joking about this.  There will be a primary election and during that primary election, you have to get at least 200 votes to be eligible to run for the "main" CSM8 election.

Granted, I made fun of the "likes" system last year.  But this replacement.  Oi.  This.  Is.  As dumb as a bag of hammers, and there's really no way of getting around that.  Look, I get why CCP wants to do this: they want to narrow the field of candidates a bit to those with a serious chance of winning and in so doing reduce their own workload in terms of checking candidate qualifications.  Get that.  But there has to be a better way to do it than this, and besides, it strikes me as unnecessary.  Last year, there were 40 CSM7 candidates.  Know how many didn't get 200 votes?  Three.

What makes this step worse are two things, both related to the fact that the only people this step is going to hurt are non-null-sec bloc candidates.  Those are going to be the people that have the hardest time marshaling their voters, and then marshaling their voters again when the real thing happens.  Null-sec candidates aren't going to have this problem.  Second, those are going to be the only candidates that are going to have to worry about whether they get the 200 primary votes or not.  From what I hear, there's not going to be any indication in the primary voting system about whether candidates have their "200" or not, so to be on the safe side a lot of non-bloc candidates are going to have to treat the primary like the real thing.  This is dumb.  Let's move on.

And we're moving on to the STV system.  The purpose to this system is to try to ensure that no vote gets wasted.  In a typical CSM election, 30% of the votes go to non-winning candidates.  This has been very consistent for the last seven elections.  STV pulls that 30% into the process.  If you end up voting for a non-winning candidate, you can choose a second-choice, third-choice, and so on down to a 14th-choice if you want and in that way virtually ensure that your vote counts for someone.  The only way that player's votes will not count under this system is if you somehow manage to vote for 14 people, none of whom gets elected.  This is unlikely.  And you can reduce the probability of this happening to zero by selecting someone sure to get elected as your last choice.  Pick your top five, or your top ten, or whatever, honestly.  Then as your #6 or #11 or #14, pick the high profile candidate you dislike the least.  If all of your preferred choices get knocked out, at least your vote will apply to someone who you can then pester all year.  ;-)

In practice, this system is going to have three downstream effects.

First, it's going to level the playing field for the null-sec blocs.  Last year, Goonswarm had an absolutely masterful exit polling system that allowed them to very accurately predict how many votes The Mittani would take out of the CSM7 election process.  It was clever, well-done, and worked beautifully: they used it to manage votes through the whole election.  Meanwhile, whatever "system" TEST Alliance used to try to do the same last year failed them miserably.  This year, all the null-sec blocs are going to have the same advantages Goonswarm had in terms of marshaling their votes to their preferred candidates.  You can think of this as a parliamentary sort of system: if you come into the voting process with 3/14 of the total votes in play, you are guaranteed to win 3/14 of the available seats as long as all your voters vote the same slate.  And if they vote the same slate in the same order, the one on top will have the best chance of going to Iceland.  More on that in a bit.

Second, this system is going to guarantee the null-sec blocs safe seats for every election where this system is used.  It's also going to leave independent CSM candidates fighting for the scraps of whatever null-sec leaves behind.

Last year, there were about 60000 votes total, and Mittens famously got 1/6 of them.  If the Goons can marshal the same number of votes this year and the number of voters doesn't increase, as long as all their voters vote the same slate, Goons are guaranteed two seats on the CSM.  If TEST can do the same thing, they also get two seats.  And so on.  The only thing that's going to matter in this part of the process is the percentage of the total vote you can get to the voting booth.  As long as all your voters vote the same way, you'll get the seats.  You can choose a basketball to fill them and it won't matter.  A basketball will be on the CSM.

So the only way to change that outcome is going to be to increase the number of voters and CCP has said they're going to try to do that.

My gut instinct is that this means we're going to see two Goon CSM members, two TEST CSM members, two Drone Russian CSM members, one or two N3 CSM members, and one or two wormhole CSM members.  If it goes that way -- and there's no reason why it shouldn't -- that's eight or nine CSM seats filled out of fourteen and we only have names for perhaps two of them right now.  Unless I've missed it, TEST and the Russians haven't even announced who they're going to run yet, and I believe there's only one announced Goon, mynnna.

It also means that your humble narrator is fighting for one of five or six remaining CSM seats.

Third and finally, this is going to force anyone who wants a CSM seat into a political party.  Sure, players with ultra-high name recognition can try to run as true independents and sure, you might get a seat that way.  But it's a huge gamble and I can't see it working realistically for just about anyone in New Eden, myself included.  That means that every non-bloc CSM candidate is going to have to "fleet up" with at least two or three others and try to convince their voters to vote a slate.  The strongest candidate in each "fleet" will have the best chance of getting a seat, drawing support away from weaker candidates in their fleet until they're assured that seat or the entire fleet fails because all of that fleet's votes weren't enough for even one seat.  If they do get a seat, then the next-strongest member of each fleet will have a chance, and so on until they run out of votes.

So when I get around to endorsing candidates, you're going to see me essentially trying to convince you to vote not only for me, but for the other candidates I'm endorsing, and in a specific order.  This not only increases my chances of getting elected, it increases the chances for one or two other candidates that I endorse.  You'll also be seeing me trying to convince those CSM candidates to ask their voters to do the same for me.  In short, if I'm the strongest candidate I endorse, I get elected on their backs.  If some of them are stronger than me, then they get elected on my back.

That's the system we have now.  Overall... I think it's a net positive.  But only just barely.  And if you don't like political parties, then you'll have good reason not to like it.  It sure makes things easy on the null-sec candidates!

Damn, this is a long blog post.  Stay with me; I'm almost done.

Third thing in this dev-blog is that CSM8 will be choosing its own officers.  That means instead of the Chair of CSM8 automatically being the CSM member with the most votes, the Chair will be the CSM member with the most CSM votes.  The other officers will be picked the same way.  It's a big deal.  In a vacuum, this is a tremendous change and I'm 100% in favor of it.  But we're not operating in a vacuum, are we?  We're operating in an STV system where the "big blue doughnut" is going to finish out the election possibly -- probably -- holding eight seats out of 14.

Which means that if they choose to, the BBD candidates can pick all the CSM8 officers and leave everyone else out in the cold.  Will they do that?  In practical terms, almost certainly not.  But this voting mechanic combined with the current realities of null-sec space does leave open the possibility of gaming the officer positions.  At the very least, it makes it very likely that the chair of CSM8 and the chair of all future CSMs using the STV system will be a null-sec bloc candidate.

The same possibility to game the system also exists for the tickets to Iceland.  The dev-blog specifies that seven people will be going to the summits in 2013, and two of them will effectively be the top two vote-getters.  In practice, this will probably mean one seat each for the two biggest null-sec blocs.  The remaining five seats will be chosen by "CCP and the CSM working together to pick the 5 hardest working and most feature relevant CSMs."  In the December Summit Minutes, this possibility was brought up and Hans Jagerblitzen pointedly asked if he was only relevant as a faction warfare feature candidate.  He was hurriedly told no, that wasn't the case... and yet here we have "feature relevance" being mentioned again anyway as a criteria for going to Iceland.  Guess that means I have to pick "features" that I'm "relevant" about.  The sound you just heard were my eyes rolling.  ;-)

Now in practice with past CSMs, it's been very very easy to spot the five hardest-working CSM members.  It's been the five CSM members that actually do work.  Usually on a CSM, you have five or six hard workers and the rest of the group are mostly baggage.  That's been pretty consistent in the past CSMs, and CSM7 is no different.  It's pretty easy to figure out who the seven that would have gone to Iceland in December would have been.  Hint: the group would have gone would have been very different from the one that actually went...

Again in practice, this system can be gamed by the BBD candidates.  That said, attempting to game this sytem is unlikely to get anywhere.  CCP Xhagen is going to have the final say on who goes to Iceland and I'm quite sure he's going to take a dim view of CSM8 members who try to pack the Summits with only their selected candidates.  So I'm not particularly worried about it.

So, to sum up?
  1. The primary idea: dumb as a bag of hammers.  Hopefully, it will die in time for CSM9.
  2. STV?  It's a good thing but it's going to guarantee both safe seats for the null-sec blocs and political parties for everyone else.
  3. The CSM choosing its own officers?  Also a good thing, but given current null-sec politics, it's possible to heavily game the system.  Even if it's not gamed, it will be unlikely for any future CSM chair not to be a null-sec bloc candidate.
  4. And the 2+5 system is a good idea, but let's hope that CCP doesn't invoke that "feature relevance" thing because that's a little silly.
Sorry it took so long to get this post out to you, but like I said, wanted to think it over...

49 comments:

  1. Seems fair.

    Primaries are nice in theory, but practically awkward in the vidjagame context. The opportunity for independent candidates to progress is bound to suffer for it.

    On a semi-related note, however - what if voting was somehow compulsory, or nag-ware'd (ISK to dismiss without voting)? How would that change the CSM metagame? Would it at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would (at best) introduce a lot of noise into the voting data. If the ballot were presented in the same way to everyone, it would skew things towards whoever was at the top.

      People's response to nagware is to do whatever it takes to click through it as fast as possible.

      Delete
    2. "If the ballot were presented in the same way to everyone, it would skew things towards whoever was at the top.
      "

      Since CCP does not organize the ballot the same way to everyone that won't happen..

      A compulsory vote would give a better chance at having closer to proportional CSM amongst NULL/HI/LO/WH populations which scares the shit out of the current power blocs.

      Delete
    3. Donkey voting is always going to be an issue with compulsory voting, certainly, but if the voting card was randomly selected, that'd certainly distribute the lazy around.

      It's a thought experiment, anyway. CCP wouldn't do anything so irritating to the playerbase.

      Delete
    4. In modern elections, ballots randomize the order of the candidates, so that no candidate gains an advantage due to being at the top of the ballot, or a disadvantage due to being at the bottom.

      So, if everyone just clicked the first candidate, then the noise would cancel out.

      Delete
    5. Compulsory voting only works when you also enforce compulsory education in the social sciences and current affairs.

      Which, ofc, isn't likely to ever happen in RL, since political parties rely on masses of uneducated and easy-to-spin supporters to vote their way, regardless of the logic or fallacy of their platforms.

      Delete
  2. good post sir.

    It seems life as an independent candidate is only going to get harder.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hare Clark is a full preferential voting system. Some call it the election of the least unpopular. 12 positions? You choose at least 12 politicians (though get to choose more if needed).

    No need to turn up multiple times.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ...this possibility was brought up and Hans Jagerblitzen pointedly asked if he was only relevant as a wormhole feature candidate...

    He was the FW candidate, Two Step was the wh candidate.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Having some experience with RL voting systems, let me add some insights:

    1: the point of primary is NOT to remove that (three) joke candidates. The point is to inform candidates and individual voters about the preferences of other voters, allowing them to do strategic choices.

    In simple example: the dozen wormhole candidates all know that only one wormhole candidate can get seat AT BEST. With the primary, they can clearly see which candidate has the highest chance of winning and it strengthen his campaign, while motivate weaker to make a deal with the No1 candidate who adopt some of their points in turn of their support.

    2: STV DECREASES power of organized blocks (like Goons) by giving the power to organize to others and even voters themselves.

    With exit polling Goons can optimize voting, no matter what. They can make a ping: "Mynnna has enough votes now, vote for X from now on". They can guarantee that no Goon vote is lost.

    With STV everyone else can do that. With the 30% votes that will not be lost this time, the Goons have 30% less power to choose winners.

    The basketball issue is a democracy issue itself. If the voters believe that the best man for the job is a basketball you have to accept the basketball or organize a coup and get dictatorship (get rid of CSM completely)

    3: Officer selection is good for practical working. There is a reason why the cabinet of Obama are full of Democrats despite the Republicians got almost 50% on the election. A bipartisan administration would simply not function and spend its time in-fighting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "With STV everyone else can do that. With the 30% votes that will not be lost this time, the Goons have 30% less power to choose winners."

      Wrong.

      Under STV, Goons will gain votes from the independent voters, many of whom will support Mynnna as their second or third pick, even if he isn't their first choice. After their first choice is eliminated from the running, the votes will roll over to Mynnna, allowing Goons to redistribute even more votes to their other candidates.

      The only way to ensure this does not happen would be for all of the independent voters to agree to *not* vote for Mynnna - which, without an organized effort, is very unlikely.

      Delete
    2. "the point of primary is NOT to remove that (three) joke candidates. The point is to inform candidates and individual voters about the preferences of other voters, allowing them to do strategic choices."

      Wrong.

      The point of a primary is to concentrate votes to a single, or fewer, candidate(s). This is why political parties hold their own primary election, in order to run a single candidate in the real election, rather than risk vote dilution from running multiple candidates.

      Primaries in general elections benefit voting blocs, not independent candidates. Since the WH player base is not organized as a voting bloc, it is more likely that vote dilution will result in all of the WH candidates being cut in the primary.

      Delete
    3. "Officer selection is good for practical working. There is a reason why the cabinet of Obama are full of Democrats despite the Republicians got almost 50% on the election. A bipartisan administration would simply not function and spend its time in-fighting."

      Wrong.

      The US government is a good example of how you create an administration which is *not* representative of the people, but only of a single political party.

      Such administrations are filled with cronies, who are almost certainly not the best persons to do the jobs which they have been "rewarded".

      And, the primary goal of such administrations is simply to get re-elected, even when such a single-minded goal requires making decisions which are not of benefit to the majority of the population.

      Do we want this in EVE? Unless you want to make it into a great game just for a few players, then, no, I don't think so.

      Delete
  6. "Hans Jagerblitzen pointedly asked if he was only relevant as a wormhole feature candidate."

    You mean fw right?

    ReplyDelete
  7. A useful post, Jester.

    With regard to you points:

    1) Agree 100%, and argued as such to CCP Xhagen ad-nauseum.

    2) I think it's a little more positive-sum than you. Sure, big groups have safe seats, but they always did. But while you may be scrambling for one of 5-6 seats, you can cooperate with other candidates without committing mutual suicide, so the best candidates will get seats (which means more worker bees).

    3) The officer positions are not the big deal people make them out to be. Yeah, they are nice ego-massage, but they are mostly declarations that "I am going to be one of the hardest workers". And in the past, CSM has not fallen prey to the kind of political bullshit you are concerned about. Also consider that the old system basically handed Chair to the biggest voting block. So, all things considered, an improvement.

    4) The feature-relevance stuff is a relatively minor consideration, a tiebreaker if you will. If CCP knows that, say, Industry is going to be a significant topic, then it makes sense to have an Industry expert in the conference room if possible. Bottom line, if you work hard, you'll get to go to a summit or fanfest. Work really hard, you might go to 2/3 (there are 15 unassigned trip slots to be distributed to 12 people).

    Are any of these changes perfect? No, of course not. Are they an improvement over the status-quo? I would argue yes (except for #1!).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Who are the members of this 'big blue doughnut' you speak of?

    If you are talking about major nullsec power blocs like CFC, HBC and N3, they are not blue to each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They'll work together enough to support the interests of sov-holding null-sec blocs when it comes to choosing a CSM Chair or ensuring a plurality of such people go to Iceland. They've proven they can do this in the past. Null-sec blocs are like modern multi-national corporations in this regard. Sure, they're competitors. But even the competitors cooperate and work together on items of mutual interest.

      Delete
    2. ...except for one of the sov-holding blocks, I'd bet. ;)
      -Bantara

      Delete
  9. My concern regarding selecting certain CSM members for Iceland tickets, based upon "features", seems to disregard the new theme direction for expansions. I thought the big idea behind the theme approach was that expansions would now have an impact across all secs and playstyles. Does this mean that CCP are saying that some stakeholders have a bigger stake than others?

    The political party has been a feature of the CSM election process since sov null coalitions became interested in the CSM as a means to an end. It will be important for independent candidates to adapt and employ election strategies in order to compete under the STV system.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, you have my votes. But we will loose a good blog poster - I'm sure you won't be able to keep the blog active as it is now...

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think the biggest positive upshot of STV is that splitting the vote is no longer so much of a problem. The FPTP system made it very hard to get elected if you were representing a smaller area of the community like WH space or lowsec unless you were the only decent candidate within that area - as soon as multiple viable candidates start splitting that vote between them, there's a good chance that neither would get in.

    STV should mitigate that - if WH space collectively gets enough votes for a single candidate (and assuming those voters rank other WH space candidates as their second/third/fourth preferences), then a single WH space candidate should get in regardless of how many run.

    Of course it's designed to be a proportional system, so if an overwhelming proportion of voters vote for bloc candidates then an overwhelming proportion of CSM members will be bloc members. It's not as if that wasn't the case under FPTP though - aside from the mittens effect in CSM7, it has historically been easy for large blocs to get multiple representatives if they chose to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "STV should mitigate that - if WH space collectively gets enough votes for a single candidate (and assuming those voters rank other WH space candidates as their second/third/fourth preferences), then a single WH space candidate should get in regardless of how many run."

      Unfortunately, it doesn't work this way in practice, unless WH space is organized such that all WH players vote only for WH candidates (which would make them into a voting bloc). In most cases, independent and unorganized voters will *not* use their second/third/fourth preferences to support a lesser WH candidate, if a better (as perceived by the voter) non-WH candidate is also running. This is human nature, no matter how you try to present logic.

      The actual result will be that many of the first votes cast for a losing WH candidate will roll over to a bloc candidate, since most of the primary bloc candidates are going to be better qualified than the lesser WH candidates.

      This fact pretty much guarantees that no independent, unsupported WH (or other) candidate is ever likely to win a seat against a voting bloc candidate, under the STV system.

      Delete
    2. "... aside from the mittens effect in CSM7, it has historically been easy for large blocs to get multiple representatives if they chose to."

      Actually, Mittens changed this, permanently. Under the FPTP system, any large bloc which now fields multiple candidates is going to lose against any large bloc which only fields a single candidate. If enough large blocs field a single candidate, then the large bloc with multiple candidates risks diffusing their votes to the point of not gaining any seat.

      Delete
  12. Any form of preferential voting system is going to be vastly superior to the first past the post voting system we have had in the past. I'm not talking about a slight net positive here, I am talking about orders of magnitude better in terms of fairness.

    Can it be gamed? sure. Most elections can be gamed, tampered or outright rigged, but STV means that you must win a majority to get through. This can only be a good thing for the 'mandate' of the CSMs who make it.

    Political parties I am not so fussed about. In fact, the very fact that you can now throw your hat into the ring with other potential CSMs means that the little guy is perhaps MORE powerful than he was before. 3 or 4 candidates who in isolation might have just missed the grade can throw their collective voting power behind the strongest of their group and give their views a better chance of being heard.

    Big nulsec only CSMs are not really going to happen. But even if they did happen, Nulsec is so far beyond broken right now that this could only be a good thing for the game in general. Nulsec rightfully has an axe to grind, and once sufficiently ground they will have little or not need to throw an enormous pile of weight behind future tilts at the CSM.

    ReplyDelete
  13. At one point in that post you point out how TEST failed to marshall their votes and get Dovinian into one of the top CSM spots. The reason was simply that we didn't have a system in place, a lot of our members ended up voting for The Mittani, and we had a troll candidate who stole a lot of our votes too. TEST is really bad at elections. We're still debating who our main candidate will be though the top two choices seem to be Banlish or Awol Aurix. Hopefully we don't screw it up again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hans was the Faction Warfare, not Wormhole, candidate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, caught that myself this morning. Fixed.

      That said, I'm sure he'd debate being a single-issue candidate. ;-)

      Delete
  15. "Guess that means I have to pick "features" that I'm "relevant" about. The sound you just heard were my eyes rolling. ;-)"

    I don't really see a problem with people campaigning and having a specialised type of knowledge. The majority of democracies in the world operate like this. You have a defense secretary, a culture secretary, an education security... Well, you get the picture.

    What we DON'T have in the real democratic world are just a load of politicians, all giving their opinions and passing laws in any specialised area they feel like. Regardless of how hard working they might be, you need a structure like that otherwise it becomes a "too many cooks spoil the broth" situation.

    As you may recall from one of my previous comments, I was unsure exactly what the CSM was; but I did study politics for 5 years and can see the pro's and cons of its current setup.

    In an ideal world I think if the 14 seats were split into areas of interest, so, for example:
    - Null [4 seats]
    - High [2 seats]
    - Low [2 seats]
    - WH [2 seats]
    - Newbies [1 seat]
    - Industry [1 seat]
    - etc.
    Those are just a rough guess at what it could look like, with no numbers to base things on...

    Then, when you run, you select two of those specialised areas you wish to be considered for. As a voter? You vote for ONE person in each area.

    The primary votes take place, and the candidates in each area with the highest number of votes are put forward into the final elections. The amount that go through are three times the number of seats available, so; 4 Seats available - top 12 candidates go through to the final elections. A candidate can only be put through into one category, so in the event that they qualify on both, the area they received the highest number of votes in is the section they will represent in the final elections.


    This system does several things. It prevents the null-sec alliance candidates dominating the votes, as those voting for high/newbie/low/WH/etc, aren't going to be swayed by their mass null numbers. It however remains consistent with what players are doing in the game. i.e., 33% of players are currently in Sov. null space, and therefore 33% of the seats have those people as their CSM representatives.

    It allows incredibly important, and often overlooked sections of the game, new-player experience for example, to be represented. I can't tell you how many of my real-life friends, who enjoy MMO's and gaming in general, I've told about EVE, and all that's possible. Offer them a free trial. Only to get a phone call 25 minutes later asking questions about how to do just about anything. These are people that would enjoy the game, would pay to play it, and would ultimately spend a great deal of time on it, but there's a huge barrier of knowledge still, and that needs to be resolved. Experienced players tend to be selfish in terms of communicating ideas for gameplay and balancing improvements. They want THEIR game improved, and not necessarily the newbie who could someday be their most loyal wingman.

    I've gone on a bit here, but I 100% believe that voting for specialised areas give a much wider voice, which is what this blog post seems to be complaining about a lack of (the effectively large majority of guaranteed sov. alliance seats), without giving a good alternative.

    I realise that the system I proposed will never be implemented, but, to me at least, it seems a fair method of ensuring that the CSM accurately, and without bias, represents every key demographic of the playerbase. Not just 10 people from huge coalitions that all play the same, relatively small section of the game.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jester, I was banned on the forums for stating pretty much exactly what you have said. I said someone who just left HBC and introduced this system that hands the CSM to the CFC and HBC is not going to listen. No names used, but it was considered a personal attack.

    You have forgotten one thing. In the past year, both the CFC and HBC have grown far faster than the overall game subscription base, and the null sec zealot groups will be HIGHLY motivated to get as many people as possible out to vote for their slate of candidates.

    The two major alliances, including all alt accounts, all pets, and the pets' alts, bare minimum, is somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 accounts, Last year, a tad under 60,000 people voted.

    This year, the system is so complex there will be many casual player will be turned off from voting. So any dreams CCP has about getting out the vote is just that, a dream.

    Now, couple that 30,000 or 40,000 focused null sec votes with all the uninformed people that will vote for null sec zealots because they don't know who or what they are standing for (James315 is running as high sec candidate).

    Let's run some math.
    Assume CCP manages to get 70,000 accounts to vote.
    Also assume that CFC and HBC put together the exact same list of voting candidates in the first 10 slots, and 35,000 votes are cast within this group.
    Last year's 2nd place finisher was like 4150 votes, and 4th place finisher got 3329 votes.
    If the HBC/CFC group votes using the same list, that means those top ten candidates get an average 3500 votes applied, just from this bloc alone. This does not include any of the non-aligned null sec blocs, who will still vote null sec over high sec.

    The 2 high sec candidates combined got a little under 4700 votes, and that was even with a high profile name like Kelduum running, backed by a 2000 char corp, with who knows how many alumni.
    I have not seen a Eve UNI based char running this year. They could be, but they are not generating much buzz on the forums.

    High sec is faced with the very real probability that they get zero candidates on this CSM, with null sec holding not 8 seats like you suggested, but 10-12, wormholes 1-2, and low sec 1.

    This system is yet another victory by the null sec zealot group within CCP, in their campaign to obliterate high sec as we know it today from the game.

    It is a farce when the largest demographic of players in the game, the high sec player, could be completely shut out of the CSM, and most certainly will NOT be invited to Iceland as part of the special 7.

    One last thing, James315, who at best was a fringe candidate, is now a virtual lock to make the CSM, if the CFC/HBC want him there.
    That alone makes this "voting system", and I use the term loosely, a sad sad joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If high-sec doesn't get a candidate, it's only the fault of people not voting. Actually, STV is designed to make it easier for non-bloc candidates to get a seat.

      And what is wrong with James315 getting a seat if the CFC/HBC block (i.e. a substantial part of the voters) wants him there?

      Delete
    2. Whats wrong with James315 getting a seat?...

      You want it alphabetically or in list of importance?

      Delete
    3. The few guaranteed candidates (assuming HBC, CFC, WH's and HighSec fielded just one each) sadly doesn't do much to prevent a large number of candidates pit-fighting at the bottom.

      The mildly-interested, the well-meaning-but-unknowns, the trolls, the DariusIII's - are all going to be left to fight over the scraps and trickle-downs.
      It's one thing if the top is stacked, but when the 5-digit vote tallies have ended, everyone's fighting over the last few hundreds.

      I'm more interested in who gets those scraps than who's being installed.

      Delete
    4. "Whats wrong with James315 getting a seat..."

      Mostly the fact that he has very little to offer to the CSM. His perspective on the game is well-covered by more qualified and experienced candidates.

      Delete
    5. "And what is wrong with James315 getting a seat..."

      Interesting how you all decide to leave the context away for your answers:

      "...if the CFC/HBC block (i.e. a substantial part of the voters) wants him there?"

      So, did you really miss what I meant, or did you just want to take the opportunity to bash James315? If the former, please read again what I wrote. I do not make a statement about James315 as a candidate, but about the voting system:

      Dinsdale Pirannha argued that because James315 will get a seat if the CFC/HBC want him there, STV is sad joke. And that argument is flawed. The opposite is true: *if* any candidate (not matter what you think of him) has enough support, a voting system were he doesn't get a seat is flawed.

      Delete
    6. It'll be fun to watch if James315 getting a seat on the CSM may for many HI SEC residents in the silent majority become a straw that breaks the camels back IMHO especially if they percieve he does nerf HI SEC & voter turnout becomes as stunted as what I fear it'll be due to the percieved complexity of STV.

      ISD better then get the thread lock hammer ready for over drive or invent a new jack hammer thread locker :D

      Delete
  17. "Which means that if they choose to, the BBD candidates can pick all the CSM8 officers and leave everyone else out in the cold. Will they do that? In practical terms, almost certainly not. But this voting mechanic combined with the current realities of null-sec space does leave open the possibility of gaming the officer positions."

    But as has been evidenced before, some Eve players are not above gaming a system to force CCP to deal with its game-ability.
    -Bantara

    ReplyDelete
  18. "The only way that player's votes will not count under this system is if you somehow manage to vote for 14 people, none of whom gets elected. This is unlikely. And you can reduce the probability of this happening to zero by selecting someone sure to get elected as your last choice."

    Actually this is *very* likely to happen, in cases where there are many more than 14 candidates, esp. a lot of independents. As you point out, the *only* way to guarantee that your vote is not "wasted" is to vote for someone who is likely to win, because he/she has the support of an organized voting bloc. Which, ofc, just garners more votes for the organized voting blocs, to the detriment of the independents.

    Under the old popular vote system, it was a risk for the voting blocs to split their votes among multiple candidates. If they split the votes over too many candidates, all of them might lose. So, at most, a large voting bloc might back one or two candidates.

    Under the new STV system, this risk does not exist. A voting bloc can field a number of candidates, splitting the bloc's "first pick" votes evenly among them. The "second pick" votes for each "first pick" candidate are evenly split among a subset of "first pick" candidates, the "third pick" votes are split among a subset of the "second pick" candidates, and so. In the event that a "first pick" candidate does not get elected, then the votes are redistributed to the "second pick" subset, and so on. If the voting bloc distributes its votes correctly, then they can win multiple seats by a smaller margin, without risking losing all of the seats.

    All in all, STV is even worse than the single non-transferable vote system. It only gives the illusion of an unwasted vote, when, in fact, it reinforces the devaluation of any single voter's vote against the organized voting blocs. The system was specifically designed to encourage more voters to vote, but in such a manner as to end up providing even more support for the largest voting blocs. This is how it works in RL, too. Why else do you think that any political party would ever actually allow such a system to be deployed? Hmm?

    But, unfortunately, CCP Xhagen has had a big hard-on for the STV system and, like the typical CCP dev on most issues, has closed his mind to any more practical system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is based on the (wrong) assumption that null sec blocs weren't near perfectly splitting their votes anyway and weren't getting multiple candidates elected. Both of these things were already happening regularly with the old system.

      All this did was extend that level of organization to non-nullsec-bloc groups/demographics of voters automatically. Which is actually pretty cool.

      Delete
    2. @Aleks - Wrong (yet again). Most of the null sec blocs currently run a single candidate - two at most.

      Running more than 2-3 candidates would dilute the votes sufficiently to guarantee no chance at getting the chairman's seat and increase the possibility of all of the bloc candidates losing to other blocs which only run a single candidate.

      Under the new system, vote dilution does not happen. Any votes which would have been wasted on a losing bloc candidate are automatically transferred to another of the bloc's candidates, eventually guaranteeing that the bloc will win more seats, based upon only needing to beat the margin between its candidates and the highest scoring losers.

      So, if a bloc has a membership of 25,000 votes and runs 5 candidates, they can distribute their votes equally and win 5 seats, if the number of votes needed to win is 5,000 or less. Under the new system, if the number of votes needed to win turns out to be 10,000, then the bloc will still win at least 2 seats. Under the old system, all 5 candidates would lose.

      And, since the chairman's position will now be elected by the CSM, to get the chair, you'd want to take as many CSM seats as possible.

      As for independent candidates who do not belong to a voting bloc, under STV, they still stand very little chance of being elected. The non-voting bloc players will end up distributing their votes across all candidates, incl. some of the bloc candidates. Votes cast for independent candidates are the ones pretty much guaranteed to be rolling over to the second, third, fourth, etc. pick, and most likely to eventually land on one of the bloc candidates. Thus, even the non-bloc voters end up supporting the blocs.

      Which is actually pretty much a fail.

      Delete
  19. STV is a stupid idea. It is already too much of a hassle to decide to pick *one* candidate, let alone picking 6 or 11 or 14 candidates.

    I think you should be able to pick 1 "for" candidate, and 1 "against" candidate. This is much easier and much more fair for the independents and the unorganized voters.

    CCP used this "for/against" system once before, to help figure out what game features were of greatest, and least, importance to the players. The results of that poll were much more representative than either the "like" or STV system would have provided.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This.

      The "for/against" system is the only system which actually dilutes organized bloc voting power, in favor of the disorganized majority.

      Which is why this system is not used in RL - no political party would ever allow this system to gain a foothold in an election system. Every political party in the world has earned itself enough "against" votes to make it impossible to offset with "for" votes.

      Delete
  20. "So the only way to change that outcome is going to be to increase the number of voters and CCP has said they’re going to try to do that."

    Want to bet a billion ISK CCP is going to horribly fail in increasing voter turnout Jester? I predict roles are going to plummet. After thiselection only way to increase turnout will be thru Compulsory Sufferage for CSM9.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right now, it's not even clear that there are going to be 14 independent candidates. There aren't yet.

      Delete
    2. "Right now, it's not even clear that there are going to be 14 independent candidates. There aren't yet."

      And, there isn't likely to be all that many. Most of the independents already know that running without the support of a voting bloc is just a waste of time, esp. with the STV voting system.

      Delete
  21. Actually the "Drone Russians" haven't been a thing for a while. In fact Solar and a couple of other non-Russian alliances are the only "Drone Alliances" left, and they're even on their way out more likely than not. At the very least I don't imagine they have the energy to mess with the CSM, so at least you don't have that to worry about them.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rip you so have my couple votes in this CSM, but I am really becoming more and more convinced that the CCP strategy for attaining customer feedback and popular customer needs is quite flawed. One could even claim that the practice as is could be detrimental to the betterment of the game itself.

    To me the practice of a CSM-type feedback loop is more legitimate when CCP is solely using that input of a “CSM” to better compete with other MMO service providers. Unfortunately in EVE the customers who sit and offer feedback in the CSM are mostly in direct-completion with each other, and not simply from the stance of their needs versus another reps needs.

    If I was CCP, I would drop the CSM and invest in an intelligent survey tool that regularly (bi-annual/quarterly) polls the players based on a number of factors including active playtime, length of account sub, and other qualifiers/weighting scales in order to receive the needs of its customers. Because of the EVE environment of players v. player (or customer v customer) this is a far more legitimate practice for customer focus that would have fewer opportunities for exploitation and abuse on behalf of the “select few”.

    Yes it totally takes the fun out of the CSM title and free trips to Iceland but IMO its better for the game.
    CCP could setup a CSM type model for drafting the survey questions, rather than have those CSM’s answer the questions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CCP does surveys... did you never fill out one?

      Delete

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