When it comes time for you to fill out your ballot, you will be given the opportunity to rank up to 14 candidates in order from #1 to #14. This endorsement list is written in the same way. If your #1 choice doesn't need your vote to be on the CSM, your vote will pass to #2, #3, and so on until either your vote is needed to put that candidate on the CSM, or your vote passes through all of your choices without getting anyone elected to the CSM. For that reason, it is in your best interests to list as many candidates as possible on your ballot. The only thing listing fewer candidates on your ballot does is make it more likely that your vote will be wasted.
For my endorsements, I've chosen candidates that would not only be excellent CSM delegates, but candidates that add needed experience to the group in terms of their play style, their community outreach, their writing, or their real life experiences. Remember that CCP has complained that past CSMs have been a bit too "one-sided" in the perspective that they can provide CCP. At the end of the day, a homogeneous CSM serves neither CCP or the players. The most valuable CSM possible will be the one that has the widest possible experience.
So, when it comes time to fill out your ballot, I hope that you will fill it out in the following order. Starting with...
1. Ripard Teg
I'd like to be on CSM8, please.
The simplest way to make a decision about who to endorse as my #2 pick was to ask myself, "If I am not elected to CSM8, who would I like to have elected in my place?" Put that way, answering the question was very easy. Malcanis is experienced, smart, practical, a good writer, a hard worker, and well-respected by the EVE community. He would have received at least one of my votes any time in the last three years had he run for CSM. That I potentially have the privilege of serving with him on CSM8 is a delightful prospect.
3. Trebor Daehdoow
But it just as easily could have been Trebor, and for the same reasons. His play style is not my play style, to be sure, and he and I don't agree on everything. But he's an experienced CSM member with great contacts into and the respect of CCP, a great writer, has relevant real world experience, has a unique perspective on the game, and can work with a wide variety of personalities. He's a great transition member between previous CSMs and this one.
4. Ali Aras
This one may be a surprise and I spent a lot of time thinking about who to choose next. But the most important question CCP faces this year is how to expand the player base. With that in mind, my #4 and #5 choices are aimed squarely at this issue. You may not know Ali, but she (yes, she) has a terrific perspective into the new player experience, and has come a long way in a short while in New Eden. She also brings to the table something that no other CSM8 candidate can: she is a woman who quit the game, then returned to it. This is something that CCP must replicate several thousand more times in the coming months and I'm positive if elected, CCP will want to talk to Ali about it.
5. Mangala Solaris
Very similarly, Mangala Solaris of Red v. Blue was another very easy pick. I've expressed my admiration for everything RvB does many times in this blog over the years, and Mangala is a terrific representative for them and for new player PvP. Making EVE fun for the new player is a supreme concern in the age of League of Legends, World of Tanks, and like games. CCP has to carefully adapt their game to attract more players of this type. Mangala's experience can not only help CCP answer this question, I like his perspective on how the CSM should operate.
6. Nathan Jameson
There are five wormhole candidates running this year. Of them, I like Nathan the best. He's not only experienced in wormhole life as the executor of the largest alliance in w-space, he's the best generalist candidate among the WH five. He brings discipline, hard work, and terrific communications and player outreach skills to the table. This is on top of his wormhole experience; he seems to be well-respected by a good cross section of w-space dwellers.
There are only a few Russians running for CSM this year and of them, I like Korvin the best. He has solid prior CSM experience as a member of CSMs 4 and 5 and so can help me with my own ideas transitioning the things that worked about these "old school" CSMs into the latest one. I also really like his perspective into the social aspects of the game.
core is, with Ali, one of the two "Provi-bloc" candidates but is an excellent prospect in his own right. What I like most about core is his real world experience: he's a software developer with experience with LEAN methodology and scrum development techniques. He'll be able to convert a lot of the technical language that CCP is likely to throw at the CSM into words the rest of us can understand. ;-) But on top of this, he's also got terrific PvP and veteran player experience.
riverini is controversial, no doubt about it, but he has a huge advantage as a potential CSM member: he's plugged into lots of the most influential and knowledgeable people in the game. His information network probably rivals the GIA's and is likely a lot more broad since it also covers areas that the GIA doesn't care about, like botting. Anyone who can single-handedly raise up one of the most respected and visited websites in EVEdom cannot be dismissed out of hand.
10. Roc Wieler
Roc surprises me every year because he's one of those guys that -- ironically enough -- often doesn't play to his strengths as a CSM candidate. Sure, he's a role-player and loves to play up that aspect of his persona. But he's also got terrific faction warfare experience and even better real life experience in both technical disciplines and EVE community outreach. On top of this, he's a great writer and artist, disciplined, and a proven hard worker.
11. Psychotic Monk
Take James 315 and subtract the rampant insanity and the cult following, then add a heavy dose of practicality, and you get Psychotic Monk. ;-) I wasn't lying when I've said that I'm sympathetic to the concerns of people who enjoy non-consensual PvP. He'll do a terrific job representing this segment of the community while also understanding a broader base of EVE players. I questioned him on his campaign thread about his views of high-sec war-decs in particular and I like his take on the subject. It retains the cold harsh nature of EVE while also being realistic.
12. James Arget
In my opinion, James Arget is the strongest wormhole candidate in terms of wormhole knowledge. He's not as good of a general candidate as Nathan but his knowledge of the topic of w-space cannot be denied. He's done the best job of holding together the w-space community, did a terrific job during the wormhole candidate debate, and is outspoken and passionate about EVE Online.
13. Unforgiven Storm
One of my two wildcard endorsements, I feel kind of bad for Unforgiven Storm. CSM8 needs an industrialist delegate and I see myself fulfilling a lot of that position, but I'm not a sovereignty industrialist and Unforgiven is. However, his alliance tag -- Goonswarm -- definitely hurts him with any potential industrialist voter base and the CFC seems fairly unlikely to include him in their ballot because he's not "important enough". Despite being in the same alliance, Mittens didn't even mention him in his latest CSM election piece. But Unforgiven's knowledge of his topic cannot be denied.
My other wildcard endorsement, ProGodLegend doesn't need my help to be elected to CSM8: his N3 constituency will probably get him there. But of all the bloc candidates, he's the one I'm most sympathetic to. I met ProGod ages ago when both of us were part of the Atlas Alliance coalition in the east. At the time, he was a small-gang FC given to derping fleets humorously and raging about it. ;-) He's clearly learned a lot about the game since then and I'm sure CCP would appreciate his experience helping build a small corp into one of the most important entities in New Eden.
That's my list. I'm hoping that CCP provides some way for me to send out a voting link as a single URL. That way, if you're inclined to trust my endorsements, they'll all be filled in for you in advance, right out of U.S. "machine" politics. ;-) Still, if it doesn't go that way, I hope you'll consider supporting some or all of the candidates on this list. And obviously, I hope you will support me and list me as your #1 choice for CSM8.
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!
Next up in this series: some of the other key candidates, and what I think of them. After that: the list of the 14 people that I think will win, and why.