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, March 29, 2013

Warning: politics ahead

So here's one of those geek philosophy posts that I write sometimes that will give you some insight into how my brain works.  Don't say you weren't warned.

Last year, when I wasn't running for CSM, talking about the CSM candidates was pretty easy.  It was doubly easy because among the "serious" candidates that I felt had a shot, about half of them were CSM6 members running for reelection and the other half were new voices that I thought stood a good chance.  So last year, I wrote three posts on the matter:
  • a post with CSM6 members that I endorsed for reelection;
  • a post with new voices that I endorsed; and,
  • a post where I listed who I thought would win that didn't necessarily correspond with the first two posts.
And that system worked just fine and didn't produce any conflict.

This year, things are quite different.  Only two CSM7 members are running for reelection -- Trebor Daehdoow and Greene Lee -- and talking about them will be very easy.  I don't think Greene Lee should be reelected based on his CSM7 performance, he's unlikely to be reelected because his power base is gone, and he didn't do enough outreach with the players during the year he had to give himself much of a shot.  Trebor's the exact opposite, as I've already covered.

I still want to write a post about who I think will win, and I still want to endorse a slate of candidates.  But this year, there's a little logical split happening in my head.  After much agonizing, I've come to the conclusion that it's in both my best interests and the CSM's best interests if I endorse a full slate of 13 candidates, plus myself.  And that's what you'll be getting from me on Monday or so: a "voting guide" that includes the names of 14 CSM candidates that I hope you will vote for.  But, in between who I'm going to endorse and who I think is going to win is another group of 14 CSM candidates that I want to win and that I think deserve to be there.  Let's lay it out visually:

At the top, CSM candidates that I think will win.  At the bottom, CSM candidates that I'm going to endorse.  Some of the people I'm going to endorse, I unfortunately don't think are going to win.  But I'm going to endorse them because I believe they have an important perspective on the game.  Ali Aras is an excellent example.  Unfortunately, I don't think she has much of a chance of winning, but she's got a terrific perspective on EVE's new player experience and the experiences of new players in general.  So I want her to win and will endorse her for that reason.

At the opposite end of the scale is someone like Banlish, TEST Alliance's candidate.  He's almost certain to win no matter what I say or think.  Sure, he's got great in-game experience and if we both win I look forward to working with him.  But he's not campaigning or doing player outreach; he's just coasting.  Fine, he has that right.  But it doesn't mean I have to endorse him.  ;-)  Other candidates are equally easy.  I'll endorse Trebor, I hope he wins, and I think he will.  Easy.  I don't think Fon Revenhort is going to win, I hope he doesn't, and there's no way in hell I'm endorsing him.  Also easy.

The complicated group is that little pink sliver in between.  mynnna is assured a CSM8 seat if anyone is, and despite some holes in his EVE knowledge, I hope he wins.  He'll bring a very valuable voice to the group, he's got some fantastic experience, and in a term that's likely to be dominated by economic concerns in New Eden, CSM8 will be lucky to have him.  But should I endorse him?  You have to be kidding.  He doesn't need my help. 

Therefore, there are 14 candidates that I want to win.  There are 14 candidates that I intend to endorse.  But these two groups are not the same.  mynnna's presence in that little pink sliver logically means that there is at least one candidate that I'm going to endorse that I don't want to win.  This is called "politics", and it automatically gives anyone whose brain does not operate in channels this complicated permission to laugh at my discomfort.  ;-)

There are two solutions to the dilemma, but politically, both are poor choices:
  • I could just endorse mynnna.  But this is foolish because the top two vote-getters in a separate STV election get two "permanent" seats in Iceland.  mynnna has a good shot at one of them, and politically it would be very foolish of me to endorse him for this reason.  This is also why you probably won't be seeing Trebor's name on the CFC ballot, even though The Mittani likes Trebor personally and probably secretly thinks Trebor should be re-elected.
  • Or I could endorse 12 candidates instead of 13.  But this is foolish because given the way STV operates, it's a smart move for me to endorse a full slate.  If I don't endorse a full slate, there's a small chance that my votes and the votes of others that are nice enough to vote for the slate I endorse will be wasted.  That would obviously be bad.  The more votes go to actual winning candidates, the stronger the position CSM8 will be in.
So, I'm in quite a little dilemma here, but politics is politics and I'll deal with it.  And as I've implied, I'm not the only one in this position.  Mittens is too, and likely, so is riverini.

So expect three posts from me on this matter:
  • a post about who I endorse, and why;
  • a post about other candidates that I don't endorse and how I think they'd do on the CSM; and,
  • a post about who I think is going to win.
All three will appear over the next few days.  For those of you supporting my candidacy, thank you!  For those of you sick of politics, I'll be back to a more normal set of topics next week.


  1. If mynnna wins I hope he can clarify for us, the playerbase, what Eyjo Gudmundsson actually does at CCP. Is he really a full-time employee there? Because from where I sit, the guy does nothing except promise devblogs and data without ever following up on it. He certainly hasn't been doing much of anything economy-wise in this game. Maybe his involvement begins and ends with PLEX issues?

    1. DrEyjoG is an economics researcher, primarily an academic, who pulls a consultant's paycheck from CCP.

      His primary role with regards to EVE Online is PR, not game design; CCP uses his name to help promote the idea that EVE's economy is more like RL economics than any other MMO, and thus more realistic. This was all back in the day when CCP was actually interested in creating a true sci-fi MMORPG universe, not just a spaceship PVP game.

      In the past, he did indeed write up economic quarterly reports, but has long since ceased to do so, since the devs weren't making much use of them to improve the economic side of the game.

    2. "...interested in creating a true sci-fi MMORPG universe, not just a spaceship PVP game.

      I agree absolutely... but... isn't that what all the mouth breathers SCREAMED bloody murder for back in the Conga Line round the Jita Monument???

      I swear I believe we may one day say EvE was lost 'right then' and there and like Rome, we are simply coasting towards the end... If only CCP had had some frakking CONTENT for those amazing Avatars... we would have a stronger and even more divers playerbase than today... I bet we'd have broke 500k accounts in half the time...

      Just one man's opinion... =\

  2. [mynnna will] bring a very valuable voice to the group, he's got some fantastic experience, and in a term that's likely to be dominated by economic concerns in New Eden, CSM8 will be lucky to have him.

    That's a pretty strong endorsement!

    But should I endorse him? You have to be kidding.

    What?! You literally just did!

    1. See how conflicted I am about this?! All that stuff about mynnna I said? Forget it! mynnna is dumb and anyone who votes for him is dumb. :-P

    2. If you both get elected, you can ask mynnna, face-to-face, for his help in permanently ending your "space poor" status.

      Are you sure you don't want to endorse him? ;)

    3. I heard Mynnna clubs baby seals ;P

    4. Dinsdale PirannhaMarch 29, 2013 at 9:47 PM

      Mynnna is going to run the CSM for one reason and one reason only: for the benefit of the null sec cartels. He is not interested, and never has been interested, in the game as a whole, but focused solely on how he can use the CSM to improve his group's grip on the Eve economy, and all the ancillary RL benefits of that. That is the way of all the null sec cartel's "candidates", past present, and future. The only difference is this year, null sec gets to pretty much fill the entire CSM, thanks to the gerrymandering provided by the new employee straight from the HBC.

      The STV system is an abomination. CSM voting was never about democracy. But this year, the travesty of null sec using the CSM as yet another tool to control the direction of the game is completely brazen.

    5. Well, more serious response: a LOT of people are not going to read this post, but I expect that my endorsement post will be read by many, many more.

    6. @Dins - way off the mark, as usual.

      mynnna is probably the only null candidate who has a very strong high-sec carebear backing, due to his experience and popularity on the EVE-O forums - in particular, in the MD forum. Even without Goon support, mynnna would likely win a CSM seat, from the votes he'll receive from high-sec market traders, industrialists, etc.

      He is also popular with all of the players who'd like to see CCP do a much better job on fixing major issues before a release, particularly those issues reported by players on the test server... like a certain FW LP exploit.

  3. Two comments.

    First of all, it is quite easy to have a list of more than 14 candidates that you think would make a good CSM8. You might end up with 18 candidates, and be happy with a CSM that's you plus any 13 of those 18. Your task is then to put together a web of mutual endorsements that first helps you get elected, and second helps your favorite candidates get elected. It is only when you like less than 13 candidates who are not locks that cooperating with someone you don't like becomes an issue, unless of course you want to become a cynical political operator, and endorse someone solely because you think they'll get excluded and funnel votes to you and your friends. But once you start down that dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, my young Jester.

    Secondly, STV satisfies the later-no-help/harm criteria. That means that the CFC cannot hurt Mynnna's chances for a top-2 result by adding me to their ballot. What they can do is help my chances of a top-2 result if they think that is a desirable outcome. One would think the comedy value of watching Poetic Stanziel's head explode would be reward enough... :)

    1. Because Goonswarm thinks your first voting reform plan, to throw away overvotes from the large blocs, was a stellar idea. I'm sure they've forgotten all about that.

      I'm pretty sure most of the CFC see you as much the Terrible candidate that I do.

      But keep begging them to put you on their list. That's comedy enough.

    2. Again, what has Trebor done to your kittens to make you so vitriolic?

    3. I hope if people see that you are a source of fear to Goonswarm I think then you'll get more votes from peep that know nuthin about you except Goons are out to get ya ;-)

  4. ahhhh.... Poe's Head... grey matter and bone kibbles dripping down the walls... stop teasing me!!! =]

  5. I hate to see this devolve into analytic politics and endorsing people you don't really want to win. The CSM is about influencing the game we love. If you don't love it, don't vote. If you vote, cast your ballot for those you think make good candidates.

    After the polls close there will be 14 people on the CSM. Inflating the vote count for those you don't want on the council artificially inflates their vision of how popular they are and by extension how highly their 'platform' is valued. The only thing worse than 'wasting' your vote is casting it for somebody who will not work to make EVE better.

  6. Jester you really should stop apologizing for writing about Eve politics! The politics are a part of the game and for many a major part. Eve without politics is not eve. For me and I'm sure many others eve politics are as much a part of the eve experience as ratting mining or exploration. Celebrate your role as a political writer as well as a politician.

  7. Yup, as Trebor points out, as long as *all* your picks for top two are ahead of mynnna, listing him would not lessen their chances.

    In general, candidates listed after position 8 or so are probably just going to matter for the top 2 anyway.

  8. So with regards to mynnna is your stance actually that you want him to get elected but you don't want him in the top two? Because otherwise your logic for why not to endorse him seems strange. Just put him last on your list, which as Trebor pointed out doesn't need to be limited to just 14.

    ~Kethry Avenger

  9. Maybe I can say this for you: You don't want people to think you are against candidates you do not put on your "vote" list. But to get the people you want, you need to NOT support the Null-Bloc candidates in voting, because you need as many people as possible to vote for the non Null-Bloc Candidates you think are in an iffy position. So you will "Endorse" as many people as you think are good candidates, but some will not be on your vote list because they already have a lock.

    The Null-Bloc candidates all know this, and some have sympathized with the "lower" candidates. Go listen to VandV's episode with Sort Dragon and Mike Azariah for some proof. It's about halfway in. I don't think most of the Null-Bloc candidates will fault you for trying to game the system, as they know and have stated they know exactly how the STV helps them and makes it even harder for some candidates. Politically, I also think most of the NB candidates either already respect your or not, and your behavior on your blog will do little to change any clout you have if elected.

    Don't over-think this, Jester. DO be clear about how you think non-NB slate voters should vote to get other people on the CSM.

  10. It looks like the CSM candidate 'FON' will be very contrversal & I am not familiar at all with his previous CSM run... I did however listen to portions of his Crossing Zebras interview & it seem to me he was there AMBUSHED in the second half of the interview
    Right now it seems any discussions of his running in the election has been put on hold until tuesday?

  11. Actually, with the STV system, it makes sense to endorse MORE than 14 candidates. Only 14 candidates will be elected, but a voter who only lists 14 candidates is VERY likely to waste some of his voting power, unless he is psychic/can predict the future.

    The same goes for your power to suggest candidates. If you only endorse 14 guys/gals, you'll be likely to waste your influence, especially if you include a number of candidates who are unlikely to get elected, or those that will get elected easily (in those cases, voting power will get passed down beyond those 14 candidates and lost, if no other candidates are listed).

    Actually - as far as STV goes - you should list ALL candidates in the order you love/like/don'care/dislike/hate them. Which is why, for example, it is mandatory to order all choices in the Australian elections (which use STV). A ballot that only partially does so, is invalid. The system only works well if most voters fill out their ballot completely.

  12. I think the whole concept of electing CSM members by popularity contest is silly. I don't know if I'll bother voting but if I do I'll vote for Jester and probably Trebor too. I'd probably vote for Ali Aras too just because Jester says she's for new players. I believe long time players are grossly overrepresented and listened to far too much by CCP while new players are badly underrepresented.

    The rest I don't know enough about and frankly I could care less about them since most of them are nothing more than self serving special snowflakes out for not the best interests of the game or it's players but for themselves.

  13. IS it even going to be possible for FONS to defend himself against accusations of racism now that CCP Dolan has locked his Jita Park thread on Good Friday until Tuesday? Due to delays such as this and the delay last week of the pre election Fons will be effectvely locked out of a crucial time to get last minute prime time exposure & posting his ideas about PvP

    I don't know if Fons has truely sown what he's reaping right now but IMHO he was ambushed in the second half of the crossing Zebras interview which is the only thing I have to go on. That interview sounded like the worst gotch-ya one sided media politics I've ever heard with the interviewer going on a one way rant for way too long without the interviewee getting a chance to comment due to english being his second language

  14. Jester are you sure you have qualified for the election? Sounds like 'false positives' could change your status like it did for Riverinni:
    "I would like to apologize for an error in our mailing system for the CSM8 pre-election. We discovered that our system had resulted in some false positives for our Thursday mail. From here on I will personally be reporting the daily votes of every member running for the CSM8 pre-election. I cannot apologize enough for this error, and hope that you will be understanding as we implement this new election system.

    Your current vote count:
    Riverini: 138

    Once again we cannot apologize enough for this error. I will continue to provide daily updates at 1330 GMT of your vote count.

    -CCP Dolan


    Any Idea what a false positive is? Sounds like more bumps in the road & answers from CCP may not be forth comming until after a long Easter weekend

    1. The "false positive" is CCP Dolan.

      According to a source, Dolan screwed up. He is attempting to blame the system, since this is yet another black mark on his spotty employment record at CCP.

  15. But will we get a voting guide from Garth?


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