However, after much thought and deliberation I decided not to dig too far into the politics of the CSM. It was sorely tempting not to endorse any bloc candidates, for instance. I didn't choose any in my endorsements last year. But after a year spent on the CSM myself, I'm not going to do that this time and I have good reasons why. Being on the CSM is not only about knowledge of the game and its players and having that knowledge is of course critically important. But a year on the CSM has taught me that being able to back up that knowledge with both a strong personality and a strong sense of self is just as important... maybe more important. A good CSM delegate is going to have both of these things combined also with a willingness to do the work that needs doing. That said, the best CSM will also be the one with the widest possible experience.
For those reasons, my endorsements are less about "people I like" and more about players that will both do the work and be forceful personalities... while also knowing important areas of the game. In a way, then, my list is rather apolitical... almost anti-political.
So when it comes time to fill out your ballot, I will be filling mine out in the following order and I hope you will too:
1. Ali Aras
Last year, Ali was my #4 endorsement. This year, she moves up to the top spot, and it's my wish that she be voted into one of the "top two seats" that I filled one of for CSM8. Ali has more than borne out the faith that I showed in her with my CSM8 endorsement. She's knowledgeable about a lot of aspects of the game, works hard and does her homework to learn the others, is terrific in terms of dev interaction, is even better about doing the work that needs to be done with the CSM. After myself, she was the best person on CSM8 with regard to player outreach and communication. Ali is not without her flaws: I'm sometimes concerned about the potential conflict between her CSM duties and her TMC duties. But there's no question she's been an outstanding CSM8 member and I'd love to see her continue on CSM9.2. Xander Phoena
A lot of people have asked me, "Jester, if I can't vote for you, who among the CSM candidates is most like you?" That would be Xander Phoena. Xander is smart, knowledgeable about the game, diplomatic, a hard worker, and provably great about player communication. I have no doubt that if elected, he will neatly step into the position I've been occupying with regard to player outreach, town halls, and like functions. He's also got a strong personality and of all the candidates running, he's one of two most likely to remember that the CSM is not only a CCP focus group. It's also intended to be a player watchdog. Most CSM candidates (and members!) forget that, but Xander won't.3. Steve Ronuken
Last year, Steve didn't get my endorsement, but only just. I figured he'd be ready in time for CSM10. Call me one year late on that and Steve has my strong endorsement for CSM9. Steve brings two particular areas of expertise that the CSM this year is going to be desperate for: industry experience, and third party application development experience. Watching him campaign for CSM9, I have no doubt that he'll be there to help with the hard work that's going to be necessary this term.4. Mike Azariah
As with Steve, Mike is another one who didn't get my endorsement last year. I considered him a long-shot candidate. But he pulled it off, then surprised me again with his knowledge, strong personality, and diplomatic panache. He's one of those guys that people like talking to. Further, he's particularly good at dealing with the more senior CCP folks and the more senior they got, the better Mike is at working with them. I'd say that out of CSM8, he was the third best at this after Trebor and myself. With both of us out of the picture, CSM9 will need someone who can step into this role and I think Mike is terrific at it.5. Sugar Kyle
It's a crime that we didn't have a low-sec representative on CSM8 and this is a mistake that simply cannot be replicated on CSM9. Out of the potential candidates, Sugar Kyle stands head and shoulders over her competition in this area. She's not only extremely knowledgeable about the low-sec arena, she's a terrific writer and blogger. She shows through her output that she has both the personality and the lack of fear of hard work that the job will require.6. James Arget
I was so impressed by James at the Summer Summit last year. He's knowledgeable, smart, and passionate about EVE Online in a way that a lot of us can't manage. And yet he's also very practical, good at dealing with CCP devs, and not afraid of doing the work. In particular, James often stepped in and did some of the more ugly but necessary jobs that the rest of us didn't want to do. The CSM8 official website is a good example, for instance... James didn't ask if he should do it. He just did it, then pulled input in from the rest of us to make it better.7. Matias Otero
Every CSM needs an adorable newbie in my opinion and this year, I'd love to see Matias in this role. As the founder of Brave Collective, he's done something that nobody else has managed in the last year: create a new major player organization, give it a mission, and see that mission successfully accomplished. That speaks strongly to his determination and drive. But I'm also hugely impressed with where he wants to go with his CSM9 candidacy, in particular reminding CCP that this game is supposed to be... you know... fun!8. corbexx
I've been talking with corbexx for the last several years and he's impressed me greatly with his knowledge of wormhole play, mechanics, and players. This guy, to use the standard phrase, "just knows his shit." But beyond that he's smart and savvy, and clearly has the personality to be successful on the CSM.9. corebloodbrothers
You can call this loyalty to my bloc if you like, but I endorsed core last year too. As with last year, I like core's PvP experience and I do want someone on the CSM that will represent the interests of sov holders that aren't a member of a mega-bloc. But also as with last year what impresses me most about core is his real world experience: he's a software developer with experience with LEAN methodology and scrum development techniques. That's something we could have used this last year.10. mynnna
It's sorely tempting to say that a vote for mynnna isn't a vote for him at all: it's a vote for whomever is #3 on the Goon ballot. And if you don't want to include him on your ballot for that reason, I won't blame you. But mynnna does deserve your support for his knowledge of EVE high finance, industry, and null-sec politics and mechanics. He could have easily sat back and not done any of the necessary work for CSM8 but he didn't do that... just the opposite, in fact.11. progodlegend
PGL wasn't as active on CSM8 as I would have liked sometimes; his RL duties pulled him away for stretches at times and the whole war thing he was running did so even more. But he's undeniably knowledgeable about the game, passionate about player concerns, and did not have any trouble at all both interacting with players and working with CCP devs. N2/N3 have the numbers to deserve a voice on CSM9 and PGL's done a great job with it.12. Psychotic Monk
I surprised a lot of people endorsing Psychotic Monk last year and it's kind of ironic that I'm doing it again this year. But I'll stick with what I said about him in my CSM8 endorsement: "Take James 315 and subtract the rampant insanity and the cult following, then add a heavy dose of practicality, and you get Psychotic Monk. ;-)" That still applies, and I continue to like his take on high-sec war-dec mechanics. This is a segment of the player base that should be represented. Just by -- you know -- someone sane.13. DNSBLACK
DNSBLACK and I have this weird conflicting relationship. I like the guy... I really do! But some of what he says and does annoys the living crap out of me. It's fair to say that we've had our disagreements. But he is the right man for this job. His passion and knowledge about EVE is undeniable, he's got a strong RL background, great player communications skills, and would clearly be going to Iceland to help make the game better and more fun. You can't really ask much more from a CSM member than that.14. Mangala Solaris
And last but not least, Mangala has been a strong member of CSM8, particularly when he represented EVE players at the Winter Summit. He's another person I admire for his knowledge of the game and his player outreach skills. Mangala's strongest skills are in helping CCP to give tools to the true content creators in this game who create fun and good memories not only for themselves but for large segments of the EVE population.And that's the list! I hope you'll support some or all of the candidates on this list. But whomever you support, please get out there and vote! The more players that vote in this election, the more influence the CSM is going to have with CCP. And the more players you list on your ballot, the more likely your vote will have a real impact. It's important. Thanks for your time and your participation!
As with last year, I'll be doing at least one more post about the CSM candidates, and probably two. The first will be a list of who I actually think will win. And I might get around to talking about some of the candidates I didn't endorse and why, too.