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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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Friday, April 6, 2012

Comment of the Week: Whitewash

For the second week in a row, I'm going to go with a "yes, but..." comment for my COTW.  And likewise for the second week in a row, the comment is about the CSM Chair, only it's a different CSM Chair this time.  ;-)  If you're sick and tired of CSM-related posts, feel free to skip this one.

Starbuck was very surprised at me for not covering the final bit of drama about the CSM7 Chair election (edited slightly):
For a few, yet noteworthy, dissenting voices in relative obscurity at Jita Park Speakers Corner, the guts of what's just happened -- the story within the story -- would seem to be being buried in a chorus of hail to the thief.

A very defining, and almost lone (the new chairman has either gone immediately awol or isn't approving further comments) assassination by Vile Rat (CSM6) stands on Seleene's own blog "The Chair":

"You guys pulled some shit here Mark. You brutalized the spirit of the election by hiding behind the letter of the law."

Whether one agrees with this or not, it doesn't take much reading between the lines of some of Two Step's own (diplomatic) comments about the process in the threads at JPSC to be left with an unsettling feeling about this whole thing. Now I hope I'm mistaken, but the fact that it's seemingly passed absent of scrutiny from any high profile commentators smacks of a whitewash at the [insert]house.

On questioning, Starbuck pointed me at this post and this post on Jita Park.  There's two things going on here.

Before I look at them, though, let me make one thing clear: Seleene won an election of CSM7 members to be the Chair of CSM7.  That's it, as far as I'm concerned: done deal.  I'm going to say some things about Seleene here, and they're questions that should probably be asked, but please don't feel like I'm a champion for these things, because I'm not.  I'm simply doing what I always do around here: telling my Dear Readers what's going on and my opinion of it.  Got that?  OK.

First, there's a sense that Seleene "stole" the Chair from the "rightful" Chair-holder, Two step.  I've already given my opinion on what CCP Xhagen's options were.  Ironically, what we have here is a micro-version of the right-to-life debate question "When does life begin?"  This time, though, the question is "When does Mittens become CSM7 Chair?"

Trebor Daehdoow says that he essentially argued that since April 4 arrived with The Mittani already removed, he was never on CSM7, much less CSM7 Chair.  As a result, since Mittens never took office, Two step is the Chair since he got the most votes in the election.  Trebor says that Seleene said the same.  CCP Xhagen clearly didn't go that route, and clearly felt that "life began" at the CCP Presents keynote, when Mittens was announced, not when he took office.

But the issue is more complicated than that.

CCP Xhagen faced a big big problem if he just put the Chair in Two step's hands.  There would be a subtle Orwellian mesasge that "Mittens never won the CSM7 election.  Mittens never ran in the CSM7 election."  CCP is going to get "10058" thrown in their face for an entire year as it is.  That's bad enough.  Sending this subconscious message that "Two step won the election" would just make it worse.  By having the Chair chosen by the CSM7 members, he "passes the buck" to the CSM's own members, but he also acknowledges that something extraordinary has happened.

This sense among some people that Seleene "stole" the Chair is reinforced by two factors:
  • Mittens came right out and endorsed Two step as Chair in his various remarks.  He basically was telling his constituents that "Two step as Chair is OK with me."  The subconscious message that someone else would not be OK with him lingers.  And Mittens, not in the least shy about giving his opinions, has made no attempt to endorse Seleene that I've seen.
  • If you believe the "10058" were votes for nerfing Titans and other supers (clearly signature issues Mittens emphasized), then having CSM7 directly choose someone who is -- shall we say -- a bit conflicted when it comes to Titans and supers could be construed as a slap in the face to those voters.

That's the first thing.  The second thing: once the Chair election began, why did CSM7 vote the way they did?  In particular, why did Trebor and Seleene, the two CSM members that argued that Two step should be chair, immediately do 180s and vote for someone not Two step?

Xhagen tells us that the candidates for the Chair were Two step, Seleene, and nobody else.  Ten out of 12 CSM7 members besides Seleene himself voted Seleene.  Why did that happen?  Seelene says "I'm not going to speculate too much on this beyond saying that I believe my peers looked past my alliance tag to my non-partisan stance on many game issues, both as a player and a former dev."  Trebor somewhat side-steps the question and merely says it was an "edge decision" and "I felt that Seleene as chairman and Two step as secretary was the best combination."  The other CSM members say nothing.  It's a valid enough question and we'll have to see if any other CSM members choose to answer it.

The fact that Two step asks this question himself is rather telling.

And that, Dear Readers, is the last thing I have to say about the CSM until the May Summit.  Unless "something happens", of course.  ;-)  Thanks for your comment, Starbuck!

One more thing.  A lot of people took me to task on what I said about Lord Maldoror this week.  To them, I say this choice for COTW is like a pink elephant crashing through the ceiling of a restaurant in a glass skyscraper, brushing the broken glass off itself with its trunk, and sheepishly looking around before crashing through the floor, leaving an elephant-shaped hole that the waiters must navigate around.


  1. How crap.. I had assumed the chair was Two step until I read this! Lame... but good job on covering it.

    I guess we're not going to get the POS changes and subsystem swapping in wormholes as quickly now then.

    1. Why would you assume that, considering that pretty much every CSM member has stated that they want POS's to be one of the main priorities of the next year?

    2. Feel free to prove me wrong by all means ;)

    3. Maybe because you've just demonstrated how you will arrogantly put your own interests above either the will of the community or the reputation and legitimacy of the CSM itself and so it's pretty acceptable to assume you're capable of anything. Maybe that's why.

    4. You made wormhole space without corp bookmarks.

  2. You wouldn't think that after a year of Mittens that CCP would want one of their own as chair would you?

  3. LM carried the pinbk elephant a lot better than you did. I I (still) have you in very high regard...

  4. The very fact that Seleene was a Dev and now is the Chair bothers me. There is a perspective Seleene has that the average player doesn't and if thats for better or worse, who can tell? I am sure Seleene would say its for better. I believe that since he was a Dev, he should be restricted from being Chair. The worst part is he wasn't even voted in as Chair by the masses but rather the CSM's. I am also shocked how much of a landslide vote in Seleene's favor it was. The way things worked out seemed influenced by CCP way too much.

  5. I wish I had been well enough to chime in this subject sooner, but I've been recovering from pneumonia all week and unable to blog / post much. I do want to put an end to some of this controversy right now if I can, though.

    The accusation that we are somehow "coerced" by CCP in this is ridiculous. Those of us that voted, did so of our own accord. My choice in Seleene for Chair is that by electing The Mittani as chairman initially, they sent a clear message that they wanted the "bad cop" (as supposed to the good cops) in the Chairman position. I felt that Seleene has proven himself to be unabashedly aggressive both publicly and privately in this regard.

    Part of the real value in having Seleene on the council is that he knows CCP well enough to be intrepid in his feedback with them. He's comfortable enough with them personally to be willing to straight-talk whenever needed, and he doesn't hold back. He clearly cares about the game first and foremost, and is free to say what he wants now that he is off their payroll, he has nothing to lose by just being honest with CCP when they screw something up. I specifically voted for Seleene because I was trying to honor the void The Mittani left behind in terms of unapologetic aggressiveness, and I wanted someone in the position who has a track record of fearlessness in this regard, which Seleene has proven to me privately as well as publicly. I think he will do a great job, and I stand by my decision.

    There are lots of complaints about "the 10,000" but let's not kid ourselves. Trebor is right, any votes over the 6000 needed to elect The Mittani were a waste (seeing as how the Chairmanship is more of a media role than anything else), and the 4000 who participated in an ego-inflation stunt shouldn't all of a sudden feel disenfranchised because Alex blew this opportunity for himself and his constituents. They knew the type of person they were voting for.

    On top of that, the rest of the CSM members were elected by players who trust our individual judgement, and we overwhelmingly thought that Seleene would be best for the role. That IS representation, regardless of whether we are being given credit for it right now.

    Personally, if such a big bloody deal is going to be made about the Chairmanship, and electoral fairness, and such, I'd rather the position just be abolished in the long run. Any functional value is being eclipsed by the tinfoil nonsense and divisive dialogue going around right now. The Chair holds no real power over the other CSM members, anyone thinking otherwise just doesn't understand how the CSM works these days. The Mittani MADE the Chairman role into a bigger deal than it is because of his ego, and its a shame to see so much emphasis placed on it here in the aftermath. We have a lot of real work to be done in the days ahead, calling out conspiracy and tragedy over this decision is really barking up the wrong tree if you ask me.

    1. Interesting thoughts! Thanks, Hans. You should definitely blog everything but para four on your own blog.

      You lost me on para four, though. If you go with that argument, you're gonna get ripped to shreds. Keep in mind that the 4000 votes that you call ego-inflation are the 4000 people outside of the CFC that voted Mittens (see the exit polling graphic on this blog).

      Unless I'm missing something, that means even if you completely delete every CFC vote, Mittens STILL might have been Chair.

      Something to keep in mind. ;-)

    2. "The accusation that we are somehow "coerced" by CCP in this is ridiculous."

      You know the thing is I don't really care what CCP did or didn't do to direct the CSM's to vote Seleene. The fact that they decided for the CSM's to vote rather than just use the next runner up from the popular vote shows how much influence of the turnout that CCP has on the results.

    3. "I wanted someone in the position who has a track record of fearlessness in this regard, which Seleene has proven to me privately as well as publicly."

      See that's the thing, who knows what all happen's "privately" that players are unaware of. Not every CSM has had a crystal clear track record of doing the right thing and not taking advantage of the system for personal profit or gain.

    4. The insinuation that if every typed word or half-formed uttering made by any of the 13 CSM's isn't instantly available when you decided you wanted it there's some giant CSM conspiracy is getting a bit tired.

      Sorry, this isn't Big Brother: CSM

      Asking us why we voted how we did IS a fair question. What's not fair is going "The other CSM members say nothing." Unfortunately you never bothered to ask everyone before writing, just implied we're trying to be secretive or something. You can put the tinfoil hat away, you won't be needing it this year lol.

      No one was more concerned about the voiding of so many votes but there wasn't much that could be done about it. Based on CCP's decision we had to hold a meeting to elect a new chair. That meeting was held, nominations were taken and each nominee given a chance to speak on their merits, and the votes of each CSM member were publicly disclosed along with the results.

      I voted how I voted for many of the reasons Hans describes above. The decision was a very hard one, as I truly do think Two Step would make a fine chairman; he would have had my vote for Vice Chair if Trebor hadn't run (Trebor has put years into the CSM and earns every letter in that new title). At the end of the day Seleene's experience and willingness to be tough + aggressive put him over the top in my judgement.

    5. So here we have a CSM member essentially calling people idiots for voting for The Mittani. 4000 players in this games told they are feeding someone's ego. This CSM has fail written all over it.

    6. Thanks very much for your response, Aleks! And to be fair to myself, I'm not running a news organization here. It seems kind of silly for me to EVE mail every person that voted for Seleene on the CSM and ask them why.

      Although now that you mention it, I think I might do something like that at the mid-term point... hmmm...

      Anyway, my purpose was to bring up the issue, and hope that the CSM members that were interested chose to respond, either here, their own blogs, or on the EVE-O thread where the question has been asked. You've done that, and said why you voted the way you did, and I thank you for doing so. :-)

  6. I'm reminded of the real life politics of spin, spin and more spin in all this. Not one of the CSM kingmakers appears to have the balls to be candid and admit that they knowingly chose to bring the CSM into further disrepute and undermine its legitimacy for their own personal reasons; and if they didn't realise this then they are inept and a danger to the future of this game in their current position... but wait, we actually know that they did, because Trebor tells us "I made the argument that because Alex resigned before he was a seated member of CSM7, he was never a member of CSM7, so Two step was the top vote-getter, and the chair was his if he wanted it. I preferred this because it eliminated stupid drama like this" (https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1081037#post1081037) ... and then he placed his vote for Seleene, and put himself up for number 2 against Two Step.

    The attempt being made to trivialise the very real hypocrisy and questionable judgement of members' decisions evident in their own explanations is patronising and out of touch.

    If you guys have any integrity that you expect anyone to believe in, you'd be ashamed, and you'd care enough about the public perception and reputation of the office you've been elected to serve to admit this error in judgement, step down, and ask the one member who has the true legitimacy, mandate and untarnished character needed to lead this deeply troubled CSM into the coming year.

  7. So I did comment on why I voted that way I did. Feel free to read this in Jita Park.

    "I really considered voting Seleene (more aligned with my views regarding industry) but in the end I was compelled by the idea that the voters were going to expect the next highest number of votes to get the option of the chair."

    So I'm not sure why you wouldn't have mentioned that I did explain my vote.

    Issler Dainze

    1. Hi Issler, I was speaking of the ten CSM members that voted Seleene, but if you can link me to your post, I'll post a correction. Thanks!

  8. I really think the CSM is a lame duck from day one. I don't have a horse in this particular race so that isn't a partisan opinion, it's based on two things:

    1. there is no 'big issue' that they can coalesce around, what made the last CSM was the Jita riots coupled with someone who had communications skills and a group of people who would lobby for him.

    2. They've bizarrely picked the person with the fewest votes over the ones with the most. Forget mittens, if you voted for 2 step you're feeling a little fucked at the moment.

    CSM 7 has no buzz, no excitement and I can't find many people who give a toss about it.

  9. Perhaps you mean _underlying_ message and not 'subconscious'?

  10. I am surprised anyone would make such an asinine argument as, "Mittens was never the Chair of CSM7, therefore, therefore."

    Simple observation: Joe Blow wins the 2012 Presidential Election, his Vice President is Joe Schmoe. If Joe Blow dies on Dec. 1, they do not redo the election. Joe Schmoe becomes President.

    So, idiots, please STFU.

    1. Therefor it should be passed to Two Step instead of the CSM's voting somebody in. The way it happened is like the presidential cabinet decided to vote for the next president and pass up the vice president whose rightful spot it was.

      It just doesn't make since.

    2. OMG what an idiot. They don't vote on it because the constitution provides for it. The white paper is the constitution in this example. READ THE DAMN THING ALREADY.

  11. Sometimes I wonder about EVE players and reading comprehension.

    The CSM White Paper documents the rule (as it has since the inception of the CSM) about how to proceed if the top vote-getter in the general election steps down or decides they don't want the Chairman position. Alex resigned the Chair; thus the White Paper "law" comes into play: the rest of the Council votes for a new Chair from among those members who put themselves forward for the position. It has NEVER been true that the next highest vote-getter in the general election automatically gets the Chairmanship; anyone who assumes so is wrong and clearly didn't do their research. Granted, the CSM White Paper is outdated as of changes in structure that were implemented in CSM7 but not to the degree that the rule about selecting a new Chairman would be affected.

    As for all this tinfoil nonsense about CCP coercion, agendas, whitewashing and conspiracies, it is, in a word: bullshit. Get a grip on reality, people. Or maybe Occam's Razor, if that's all you can handle.

    1. The process isn't under question, O' Great Comprehender; how embarrassing for you.

    2. Clearly, the question was about whether or not, since Mittens had been disqualified and the current CSM cycle was not over, Two-step was the recipient of the "most votes."

      All things being equal, a disqualification before taking office does lend some credence to Two-step having a "claim" on the chair.

      But, CCP went the other way with it. Weird drama, CSM instability, and STILL far too little actual work on the game. One more reason I'm not going to come back.

    3. Alex was never on CSM7 and therefore never had that chair to resign. He resigned from CSM6 which is why he can run again, if he chooses, for CSM8. That is the complicating factor. Lastly, I wonder about your face's reading comprehension.

    4. Carole, the interesting thing about all of this is that the man at the center of it all has actually taken it in stride and gone about his business. Alex / Mittens isn't one of the people questioning what happened, theory crafting and tin-foiling. Just food for thought... v0v :)

  12. The CSM was created due a scandal of corruption and collusion between CCP employees and some EvE players.

    The CSM has now been co-opted by a former CCP employee (an employee who presided over a number of dubious development directions) and will likely be neutered over this coming term.

    CCP realised that having an antagonistic CSM was more trouble than it was worth, and have successfully repositioned it to be as favourable as possible.

  13. Ultimately, CCP is talking out of both sides of their mouth on this one. They're stating that the Mittani was never a part of the CSM, but also stating that they get to decide the chair through a secondary means, rather then the popular vote - and if Mittani was never a part of the CSM, why in the world isn't Two-Step the chairman?

    The previous CSM, for good or for ill, at least had a heck of a lot going for it in terms of Mittani's recognition as someone that was getting things done. With this round, getting rid of him, then having this silly vote issue... I can't really think of a lamer duck situation, here. As TS himself said though, people are going to have to ask just why everyone else voted the way they did - and I think that noone's going to be happy with their answers.

    Though this is total *tinfoil hat* territory, CCP kept making noises, before, about the CSM needing to perhaps have a lessened role in how things run... And given the way that the CSM has hamstrung itself this time, it's hard to imagine a more perfect situation to realize that idea.

  14. What is of grave concern, and due explanation, is that apart from the one comment by Vile Rat, Seleene is censoring dissenting voices from his own blog. I know this as I posted one myself, and others have been 'approved' since. This is one of the very worst and concerning marks of a leader.

    1. If you go through my blog as a whole, you will notice a distinct lack of posts by the person known as 'Anonymous'. It's probably less than 10.

    2. I agree completely. There is a reason why I didn't vote Seleene and I am baffled why he was made chair. Why would the other CSM's possibly think the players would want him rather than the runner up popular vote?

      I would rather CSM's have no power at all than to have Seleene at the helm mucking it up. Mittens worked hard to rescue EVE from CCP's moronic choices. Now the king of space has been tossed aside for an ex-CCP Dev to take lead.

    3. Freedom to speak in anonymity.April 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      “Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot”, Seleene.

  15. Yeah, seriously; it's fine. I voted for Mittens and was sad when all that stuff went down, but like, people are getting mad because the CSM solved their own problems... Let it go and blow up a Hulk or something


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