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, May 17, 2013

Anatomy of a screw-up

About once a year, I have to write a major mea cupla blog post.  Welcome to this year's.   Well, at least I hope it's this year's!  If you write 500 blog posts a year, mistakes -- major mistakes -- are inevitable.  When I make a mistake, I always try to be diligent about first, correcting it, and second, owning up to it.  But I thought it'd be interesting to delve into this one in detail.

First, the mistake itself: in the midst of a little QOTW post earlier today, I said that the Odyssey feature of Personal Hangar Array module for POSes was going to be delayed to a point release.  That was mistaken.

For those who want to gloat at me, feel free to gloat.  I feel completely awful about this error, and have fallen on my sword to CCP.  It was a stupid thing to do.  When I was just a blogger, making a mistake like that is dumb but forgivable.  But for a CSM member, it's a lot more dangerous: while this blog is not an official communications medium, it'd be real easy for a mistake like that to go viral.  So I really need to be more careful about what I print here this coming year and that's why I feel so terrible about this early screw-up.

So I want to extend my apologies to CCP and specifically to Team Superfriends for this error.  If you want to know the story how this error happened, read on.  It might be of interest to EVE bloggers or potential EVE bloggers.  If you don't care, then you can move on to the next post.

Here's how it happened.

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that once a month, I do a little post that I call the "Junk Drawer".  The junk drawer is really a side effect of how this blog gets created.  To create the blog, I have a little mind-mapping application where I take daily notes on things that I read about, see in the game, hear about, or whatever.  Some of those little notes get expanded into outlines, and some of those outlines get expanded into full blog posts.  At any given time, there are a hundred or so "active" items in my notes, of which about ten of them are a paragraph or two (more about these in a second), three of them are outlines and about four or five more are blog posts in the process of being written.

Anything that doesn't make it into at least an outline in 90 days or so ends up in a junk drawer post.  And that's how those posts get created.

In particular, sometimes the notes themselves aren't big enough to generate full blog posts by themselves.  So they sit as a paragraph or two waiting to be connected to something else.  Sometimes when this happens, those two paragraphs go into the junk drawer and that's it.  But other times, I like to connect those two paragraphs to two paragraphs about something else if I can find a way to link them.  This month, I had written three paragraphs about MSCW that I thought would be interesting, but they didn't really warrant their own blog post.

On May 8th, I read this dev-post from CCP Fozzie early that morning.  Go read it.  Did you catch what I misread?  It was that second-to-last line:
We unfortunately will not be able to get Private SMAs into the initial Odyssey release. It is still something we want to do, possibly in a point release.
Apparently I should have waited to do my EVE Online forum reading until I was a little more awake because here's what I wrote in the mind-mapping app that morning:
DP: personal POS hangar delay point release, NBD
It's short-hand.  DP is dev-post.  NBD is exactly what it sounds like.  Usually, I attach the link next to it but for some reason, this time I didn't.  This would prove to be a major mistake.  Still, it wasn't enough to warrant a blog post of its own and hell, if I had gotten to the end of the month, then I would have realized that the line was wrong and I would have deleted it and no damage done.  Scary truth: sometimes this happens.

Know what else I had three paragraphs written on?  Themes, and how those themes would probably affect the future development of EVE, and how things might get pulled out of EVE expansions or delayed at the last minute if they didn't fit the theme.  Then, this morning, I watched that funny little exchange between CCP Rise and CCP Fozzie in the QOTW post and that exchange forged the connection in my head:
  1. Odyssey is about finding things in space and things happening to you there.
  2. MSCW might cause features that didn't totally fit that theme to be delayed.
  3. What features have been delayed from Odyssey?
Into the mind-map I went looking for the word "delay".  And that's how a screw-up on a blog happens.  When I connected those three thoughts, I thought the resulting blog post was very clever!  Sometimes, it's when you think you're being clever that you're really not.

So now you know how that screw-up happened.  And knowing is half the battle.

I want to again apologize to CCP for my unintentional bit of spreading misinformation.  Fortunately, with the help of CCP Fozzie and a couple of comments here, I caught it only a couple of hours after it was published so hopefully the damage was minimal.  And hopefully the rest of the post still ended up being interesting for a reason other than the screw-up.  ;-)


  1. I wouldn't worry too much. As we both know after 5 years of EVE Online. It probably won't work when it is first released. It will either be in a following patch the patch or it will be turned off after it breaks something. It was more likely that it's gut instinct on your part that blinded you to what Fozie's post said. I would put money on your eventual follow up, "I was right even though I was wrong" post. ;)

    Andy R

  2. I wouldn't say this qualifies as a "major mistake". I can see how it would be frustrating for this to come right out of the gate, though. Regardless, CSM reps blogging and making the occasional error (even at a higher rate than once out of 500 posts) is still preferable to having no blog posts at all.

  3. is there any reason you didn't just ask ccp to confirm this little mind-byte before you made a blog post about it? this isn't the first time you've blogged about stuff and made a mistake that was easily researchable. hubris is a killer in the game you're playing now, jester - you can't just rely on your cleverness anymore. you've got skype access, why don't you use it? what good is csm-to-player communication if you're not communicating constantly with ccp in the first place?

    we can handle fewer blog posts if it means accurate reportings and the knowledge you're doing your primary job (advocating our interests to ccp). there's no need to rush this stuff out just to impress us all. slow your roll before you annoy the hell out of ccp and compromise your ability to represent us.

    1. It's a fair criticism. The only thing I can say is that I had what I thought was a dev-post in-hand and the issue was only a minor part of the actual post.

    2. Tbh i enjoy more blogposts even if that means the occasional error because the post how it happened is interesting too. As long as the errors get corrected quickly i dont see a problem

  4. Hypothetical: If CCP had decided to delay it continually, or cancel it completely, what would your reaction have been? WH space is particularly sensitive to the perceived inaction by CCP after the Twostep threadnaught. Would you have advocated their interests to CCP?

    1. Election season is over!

    2. It's quite possible I would have had a Two step moment, though I would have pulled the rest of CSM8 together first to discuss whether we should have a collective Two step moment. ;-)

  5. Wow, Jester - you just set a new CSM record:

    The first CSM member to actually admit that he screwed up, without attempting to (a) make excuses, or (b) blame someone else.

    Congrats! Let's hope the rest of CSM8 can follow your example. And, you've got my vote for CSM9, if you decide to stay on board.

    1. This.

      No one is perfect and mistakes will happen.

      The real difference lies between those who freely admit and accept responsibility for their mistakes, and those who can't, don't, and/or won't. The first group are known as "adults"; the second group are known as "politicians".

      Thumbs up, Jester!

    2. + 1 on this comment - my thoughts exactly. You owed up to Ripard - well done sir!

    3. Didn't mitten's admit that he screwed up about what happened at last year's fanfest?

    4. Yeah, Mittens was first. He apologized for his screw-up as well.

    5. Mittens did apologize, but he was actually trying to spin the situation to avoid getting booted from CSM7 completely, and not just as chairman. Part of being a scumbag lawyer, I suppose. Ever since, he has been rather bitter about the CSM - which sort of dilutes the value of his apology.

      And, if you ask him about the incident now, he doesn't feel that he did anything wrong, since no one actually committed RL suicide.

      So, yes, Jester gets the gold star, while Mitten's star is nothing but gold-colored tinfoil.

  6. It's an insignificant mistake and is insignificant to the player base. Those who say this is a major issue are just wanting an excuse to hate. Just make sure CCP aren't too miffed!

  7. For hindsights like these I love you the most. I am proud to have given you may votes for CSM 8!

  8. Alas, I still don't know what NBD and MCSW are.

    1. NBD is "no big deal". It was my opinion that a short delay in the personal POS hangars wouldn't have been a big deal.

      MSCW is explained in the post itself, here:

  9. So far CSM has not been good for your writing.

    Your posts have stopped being thoughtful, interesting or in any wise controversial. It's become like reading a Toyota Prius safety recall letters. You've gone antiseptic and are on the road to becoming a mightily dull read.

    *flicks Jester on the forehead*

    Stop it. Wake up. You do realize that this sort of pap isn't why people voted for you, don't you? Sweet mother of mammon, quit being such a risk-averse, body-condom wearing politician.

    1. LOL I actually sniffled a little when I read that first two paras. ;-)

  10. your human, or at least i think you are.. and we humans make mistakes now and then, you admitted it was your fault, +1 to you good sir :)
    now onto the next post!

  11. Dinsdale PirannhaMay 18, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    Hey, stuff happens. Not a disaster, especially since it was rectified so quickly. No damage done. Going forward, I imagine that CCP has requested that you are have your blogs vetted by them to ensure they don't cross that NDA line. But I imagine that would happen even without this small mistake.

    I think you are an honourable man, though I did not vote for you. I pulled my vote in the last weeks when I realized that you actually agreed with many of the RMT cartel's plans to dismantle high sec income streams and move them to null where they can be controlled by the null sec alliance leadership.

    But your political leanings aside, I encourage you to keep up your blogging about the game and especially CSM matters as much as you can, or rather as much as the CSM and CCP allows.

  12. I still prefer a CSM member who communicates and makes the occasional mistake than someone who communicates only during election time. You write a lot / you will make mistakes / you own up / you fix it. Move on, there is nothing to see here.

  13. Do not beat yourself up. How many times in the past has CCP failed to finish something?

    I enjoy your blog so please never stop posting.



  14. Meh, who cares? You made a mistake and corrected yourself as soon as you realized it. Ain't no big thang.

  15. you sir, remind me of this quote from dumbledore

    "I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being —forgive me —rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger."

    thank you for not making excuses or blaming anyone else. your 'mea culpa' shows me that my vote for you was not wasted.

    very important in a game-world where your constituents have the opportunity to hunt you down and pod you for not doing your job.

    (something some of the other csm's would do well to remember - do not turn privileged and lose sight of the people. it didn't work out so well for the french aristocracy, after all.)

    this is all in terms of emergent gameplay, and none of this is to be construed as applicable to any persons, living or dead, outside of the eve online game universe.

    glad to see you representing us, Ripard.

    1. Thanks. Though I worry about how that quote went for Dumbledore. ;-) The rest of the CSM has a pool going on how long until I blog myself right off the CSM thanks to an NDA leak...


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