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.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Controlling the narrative

From the comments thread on CSM6's initial Letter to the Citizens of New Eden:
Each chairman has brought his touch to the CSMs over the years, and each was a reflection of the state the CSM was left in by their predecessors. This one is no exception.
As written by none other than "CSM for life" member Meissa.  ;-)

It's only Monday, and I can only hope there will be more candidates for the QOTW, but this week's already off to a good start!  That's quite an insightful quote, I think, and the more I think about it, the more true I think it is.  The past three Chairs have definitely put their stamps on the CSMs that they led.  ElvenLord ran a "behind the scenes" CSM that focused on the relationship with CCP.  Mynxee ran an inclusive, communicative CSM that tried to pull in as many people as possible into the process.

And there's no question Mittens has put his own stamp on CSM6.

The letter itself is interesting, too.  If you've read or listened to any of the three interviews I mentioned last week, there's very little new information here.  Still, the tone is quite interesting!  The letter can be broken up into three major sections:
  1. The "limits" section.  Make no mistake: the key phrase in this section is "CCP is under no obligation to interact with the CSM".
  2. The "communications" section.  The key phrase in this section is "we have the capability to bring our narrative to the forefront in the media, on the forums, and within the game."  Emphasis mine.
  3. And of course, the "spotlight" section.
That last section shows off the strategy Mittens specified for CSM6 in the interviews: they're going to be a much more focused CSM than the last few, much less interested in the past CSM's strategy of looking at a large number of individual issues.  No, this demonstrates a very different tactic: focus on one issue, get players excited about it, get the gaming websites writing about it, then push it to CCP.  What's kind of ironic here: if the approach works, I don't think it's going to be CSM6 that benefits.  Much as CSM5 benefitted from the work CSM4 did in achieving stake-holder status, if the CSM6 issue focus strategy begins to see results, given the length of CCP's development cycle, it won't begin to show those results until CSM7 is ready to take office.

Mittens is certainly keeping one of his campaign promises, though!  As soon as the devblog was posted, he tweeted:
CSM Spotlights Time Dilation: http://bit.ly/hVt1TK #tweetfleet #eveonline The war for the narrative begins as we put this front and center.
In U.S. politics, "controlling the narrative" is a very big deal.  But it's an adversarial strategy, and very much in keeping with Mittens's promises to be a manipulative bastard when dealing with CCP.  We'll have to see how this plays out in practice.

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