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...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

CSM8 status report: Week three

This is going to be a busy one.  Let's start with the EVE launcher.

CSM8 is catching a bit of hell from some quarters for our (relative lack of) response to the EVE launcher situation this past week.  I'm going to start by essentially doubling down on my response last week: I'm not sure what CSM8 was supposed to do here.  CCP knew about the issues, and they were communicating those issues to the players.  This is not really a situation where the CSM can help... honestly, all we can do is make the situation worse, either by:
  • sharing out of date information with players (by definition, any information the CSM has is going to be out of date); or,
  • lambasting CCP for a situation they realize is broken.
I might be accused of being a hypocrite about that second point, being an "activist CSM" and all, but again as I said last week, the difference here is between something that happens with all software (bugs, issues with deployments) and something that was done on purpose (:Fearless:).

More to the point, though, it's hard to get too excited about a situation that was so minor.  Yes, minor.  There was a fairly brilliant meme going around this week about how having to fight with the launcher isn't exactly on the same level as boot.ini.  ;-)  This isn't SimCity or Diablo III.  Except for some edge cases (which several members of the CSM are working with CCP), the issue here lasted several hours, not several days, and all of us got 50000 additional skill points out of it.  By that scale, CCP can trip over the launcher for a few hours every week or so I'd still be happy.  ;-)

In short, I'm fine with how CCP handled this one and in my opinion, it's not worth getting worked up over.  If you want to yell at me for having that opinion, yell away.  But I'm not alone in this boat.  I thought Ali Aras's response on the forums was quite well thought-out and well written.  Go read it, because I echo it.  Again, onward.

Something that I'm definitely discovering about this whole CSM thing is that it's impossible to keep up with everything.  There is literally enough going on with CSM8 and EVE right now that if a CSM member wanted, they could literally spend every waking moment every day trying to stay caught up with all of the communications mediums.  It's impossible.  Anyone who tries is going to burn out and burn out fast.  There's no possible way one CSM member can keep track of (long breath) Skype and Twitter and Facebook and Reddit and EVE-O public forms and FHC and kugu and EVE-O CSM private forums and EVE mail and in-game conversations and in-game channels and e-mail and pod-casts and blogs and EVE news sites.

It's too much.  So a number of CSM8 members talked this issue out this week trying to decide who was going to do what.  For myself, I'm never going to be much of an EVE-O forum guy.  Fortunately, Malcanis is and he's more than happy to be our primary EVE-O forums guy.  He and other people on CSM8 that are good at the EVE-O forums are pointing the rest of us at particularly good threads and posts.  So if you don't see me replying to a lot of EVE-O forum threads, I'm sorry.  I'll be doing my best, particularly in Jita Park and in Features and Ideas.  But even for robo-blogger there are limits.  Expect the other CSM members to operate the same way.  Hopefully between the 14 of us, we'll cover all the mediums.  The important thing to me is that all the members be involved.

That brings me to the next thing that I'm really thrilled to be seeing this week: we're approaching 100% of CSM8 members being active on one or more of the communications mediums.  All CSM8 members are now NDAed, and all but two are quite active.  Of the last two, one got on board with a lot of activities this week and the other needs two more weeks to wrap up an overseas job he's in the middle of.  At our Team Five-Oh stake-holder meeting this week, 11 of 14 CSM members were in attendance: more than Skype video-conferencing could support!  Fortunately, we could handle those few remaining questions we had for the team via voice chat.  It may be an issue later in the year; I've already started joking that we need to split CSM8 and assign the two halves to be stake-holders on two different teams...

Very shortly, I'm going to be posting the announcement on Jita Park for the first CSM8 Town Hall, but I'll give you the time and date here so you can mark your calendars.  It will be Sunday June 16 at 1900 EVE time, for one hour.  We'll be using the same mechanics that CSM7 used: questions coming from EVE players via an in-game channel (to be announced) and the EVE University Mumble server.  We'll be broadcast on EVE Radio during the second half of DJ Wiggles's show.  I want to thank EVE University and EVE Radio for continuing to help out the CSM in this important player communication!

While trying to explain the finer details of agile software development to those CSM members like myself who are a little bit ouf of date on modern software development, one of the CCP devs pointed us at this Youtube video which explains the topic so nicely that I thought I'd share:

Not something that you have to watch unless you really want to know a little finer detail about how CCP goes about making the game we all love.  It probably should be required viewing for any potential future CSM member, though!

Xander Phoena, hero of the CSM8 election cycle, has started doing a series of CSM8 interviews.  He wants to interview two CSM members per month for the duration of our term.  The first interview is up, and was myself and Malcanis.  As with the election cycle, the questions that Xander came up with were absolutely excellent!  This is a really good interview that I recommend you go listen to if you've read this far down into this post.  ;-)

Finally, something a little more fun.  Malcanis now has the distinction of inflicting the finest troll on a fellow CSM member.  We were joking about our relative bounties and how those bounties must reflect how much various people hate the fact that we are CSM members.  Your humble moderator, for instance, started the term with a relatively paltry 100 million or so (alas, a good portion of that was paid out to the people who killed my first Gnosis a few weeks back) whereas Sala Cameron's bounty is a more impressive 2.1 billion.  I forget where Mike Azariah's bounty started but whatever it was, Malcanis joked that his "feeble bounty is not compatible with the dignity of the CSM" and then the Podside podcast asked that Mike be given a decent bounty.

So now it's 3.25 billion ISK.  Hee!

I keep intending to point to a couple of posts about CSM8 election statistics, but I think I'll do that as a separate post so that people who aren't interested can just skip it.  So that's all for this week, I think!


  1. Launcher is still broken on Linux :(

  2. Dinsdale PirannhaMay 27, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    It is no surprise Malcanis volunteered to be the Eve forum conduit. Is anyone going to check his integrity of what he reports back of feedback on the forums?

    He is a major league null sec conspirator, bent of destroying high sec.
    Not that it makes much difference. The Eve forums are controlled by the null sec propagandists, plus they always have the ISD in their back pockets to mute any serious protest to their agenda.

    Has he, Mynnna, and the rest of that cadre started their happy dance with the goon lead designer about smashing T2 mfg in high sec, plus further nerfing mining and T1 mfg in high sec, let alone what they have planned for missions and incursions?

    1. I belive Spiny Norman is taking lead on that one.

    2. There will be folks like you and me to make sure that Malcanis's publicly expressed opinions are corrected, of course :)

    3. I laughed, word!

    4. Is CCP planning ANYTHING for missions or Incursions? Its looking like Incursions are geting the old FW treatment wherrre they'll be forgotten for 2-3 years then hopeully revamped ( Hope a new pirate Incursion is in some CCP whiteboard basement somewhere :)

    5. Dude what is your problem?

    6. Yes. Missions and Incursions will be removed from Highsec entirely in Odyssey 1.1, and invention lines will be removed from all highsec stations in 1.2. We'll leave T1 manufacturing in highsec, but dramatically increase the fees to do it; in addition to 10% of the value of the input materials, your character will also lose 10k skillpoints per hour of construction installed. The code for that's a bit finicky though, so that won't make it in until Winter.

    7. such fan service, mynna

    8. It's about time there were moves to close off the welfare cheques going to high-sec ne'er do wells hiding behind protection of concord. besides everybody is currently blue, and new targets are required for practice.

    9. Man, Disndale makes me feel really guilty. Actual real life Malcanis is far less interesting and intelligent than his imaginary superspy consiprator puppetmaster Malcanis.

  3. Very interesting read, I hope you keep it up.

  4. Oh, that is the reason I got 50k SP?
    That is great to know, I really wondered which skill was removed, but could not find anything in the patch log.

    1. Yeah, it's the top item in the in-game EVE news when you log in right before you select a character.

    2. Launcher.exe4 bugs were hit or miss if it affected you. I got a glancing hit & still occasionally have issues after closed socket errors. Some peeps especially multiboxers I hear, are still evidentally having issues. so either the 50k was manna from heaven ( for most) or seemed like a slap in the face for a very few. overall for me the 50k more then covered my isues since I luckily had a 3 day skill queued.

  5. Mediums... mediums... mediums... argh. Media! No soothsayers!

  6. There is one thing that CCP could do in such "server is on fire" issues: some top-on-the-page news item on www.eveonline.com

    Currently, when the launcher just failed to launch (not even an error message), I had to figure out what's going on from searching the forums, and then dig out useful information from a thread where 99% of the posts are "OMG THIS IS THE END OF THE MANKIND" and "lol ccp suxx" and quoting page-long error posts with "i haz same err" individual contribution.

    Digging into a forum is something I am proficient with as a blogger, though even I hate it as much as the janitor hates the clogged toilets. An average person is lost here without information. A "we are solving some IT issue that prevents players from launcher operating properly, the error is not on your side" message would be very helpful.

  7. So it broke... just how many dysfunctional play this game anyway?

    I don't see the issue here. After 15 years in software development maybe I have a better appreciation for the men and women in the back room grinding out code. Or maybe it's that I will be receiving shortly; re-balanced ships, new game mechanics to exploration, minerals re-distribution, dual character training. And its for free!

    Have not of these whingers experienced a car mechanical breakdown, public transport delay or some other minor in-convenience during the day in a non-perfect world?


  8. Ripard, thanks for the update I really enjoyed watching the video regarding software development. It maps closely to course development. Regarding the amount of stuff to do on the CSM, many years ago I was playing poker in southern California casino and made this comment to an old time at the table. I said "damn I sure would like to play poker for a living." And he asks me "son do you really love to play poker?" I said "yes sir I do." To which he responded "then why on God's green earth would you take something that you really love to do and turn it in to a job?":-) That’s some solid wisdom from an old timer. Now I'm the old timer, and to you Ripard I say put "playing Eve” at the top of your to-do list - don't turn the CSM in to a job. Your loyal audience will stay right here even if there isn’t a post every day.

  9. I was one of the people giving you a hard time about your take on the launcher fiasco. No, there's not a whole lot the CSM can do about it, but my gripe has more to do with you whiteknighting CCP about it and claiming it's no big deal, that all software has bugs, etc. All software DOES have bugs, but again you miss the point. Edge cases and subtle programming mistakes will always bite you, but the programming problems with the launcher are neither subtle nor edge cases. After 10 years CCP still doesn't do any meaningful QA or testing. Nor do they listen to feedback on the Test Server Feedback forum. That's the bigger problem, and it's one that continues to bite them in the ass again and again and again. It evidences a certain slopiness and carelessness and ineptness on their part. Is it any wonder they can't figure out what to do with some of the bigger programming challenges that face them?

    I didn't expect the CSM to "do" anything about the launcher fiasco (btw it's still broken 3 updates later), but giving them a pass only encourages them to keep up the amateurish work they continue to foist on the players. This is commercial software we're talking about here, not some guy's hobby on the PC in his basement; bugs are one thing, not giving a shit about the quality of your code is something else entirely.

    1. If you watch the video linked, it mentiones that agile development relies heavily on automated testing in order to free up developers for actually developing stuff. Sure this is not going to be as effective as a "proper" test, but I for one am alright with minor issues here and there if it means that I get more features come patch day.

  10. Regarding the launcher, I have a single eve client and 2 NTFS junctions. Exactly as recommended by CCP. I have 3 icons on my desktop, pointing to the launcher using the 3 different paths.

    Each client uses the correct client-side settings, but I have to try guess which account to use, so I often get the settings (and anything else stored on client side) being applied to the wrong character because I didn't guess the correct account.

    If each launcher could just remember which account it has been assigned to, then everything would be fine.

  11. On the launcher issue..

    It takes longer to get my characters online.

    If one disconnects it takes more effort to get them back online. The restart/quit button now only quits unless you launched eve the back end way.

    Something other than the drop down menu would have been nice.

    Have the characters portrait you want to log onto or a list of account names.

    What irks me is they know a huge number of folks have multiple accounts but they don't explain how this will lead to a better situation. They've talked about making master accounts. They've talked about why the new setup reduces burden on them. They havn't talked about how this leads to an easier log on for us.

    I don't mind some extra work now if the future is bright. Right now all I know is the old method will be going away.

    I would like a road plan or some such as to how this fits into the over all picture. I'm not angry or mad I just don't see how this helps me. And if it doesn't help me eh, why would I want it.

    It is I guess the sudden change with a foggy future that you CSM folks could push to clear up.

  12. Baahhhh Titan kill!


  13. 1. launcher is still broken. on my main computer everything is fine, but on my second the launcher tends to "freeze" or something like that. if that happens (and it happens a few times per day) i cant start eve without rebooting the computer ~

    2. about that no time to observe all media sources, spliting the media between csm members is probably a good idea for the start, but maybe that problem could be a topic for csm 9 elections. maybe the next evolution step for the csm is that csm members bring their own teams with them.
    having trusted people who life in the forums and are able to filter informations and point you to must read topics and so on.

  14. If you see something you think we might have missed, feel free to toss it to one of us for attending to.


  15. You can't split up the CSM work load by media, ie. these people work the forums, these people do the podcasts, these people do the tweets, etc. It won't work, because you will miss too much player feedback, since there is a lot of area covered in each media that is of little interest to specific CSM members. Malcanis, for example, does NOT participate in all of the forum threads - in fact, he only participates in a relatively small subset, in the areas of greatest interest to himself (which is not a criticism, but just the way everyone tends to do forums).

    You folks need to split up the work load by *area of interest*. This means that 1-2 folks are tasked to general null sec issues, 1-2 folks are tasked to WH issues, 1-2 folks are tasked to manufacturing, 1-2 folks are tasked to ship rebalancing, 1-2 folks are tasked to reviewing QA procedures, etc. Everyone will end up with more than one issue to cover, but it will mostly be areas in which they are interested.

    Within each area of interest, the assigned people are responsible for covering *all* media - forum threads, tweets, news, blogs, or whatever. It may sound like a lot, but it is probably stuff that these people are reading/watching/listening already - the extra amount of "work" will thus be minimized.

    BTW - you don't want just one person covering each issue; you need at least 2, to avoid missing any critical issues, esp. if someone gets too busy with RL issues.

    Creating and prioritizing the areas of interest to be covered can also be tricky. I suggest making a *long* list of possible areas, then asking CCP to use their weighted voting/polling system to allow players to vote on the most, and least, important areas of interest from your list. This will accomplish the goal of including the players in the CSM prioritization process - which is always important - and help keep the CSM in tune with the highest priorities of the player base (which you are *not* going to know intuitively, nor from talking with only a handful of your buds in the game).

    1. We're splitting the workload both ways, though obviously there are several topics (like ship balancing, for instance) where almost everyone wants to get involved.

      We can walk and chew gum at the same time. ;-)

  16. Hey Jester, wanna get on those probe scanning dev blog comments? Do your fucking job and stand up for players?

    1. Well. That's rather harsh and undiplomatic, don't you think? Would you perhaps like to rephrase your question such that someone might want to help you?

      In the meantime, I assure you that the CSM as a whole is hip deep in the probe scanning feature but I myself am not taking the lead on it because I am not an expert on that topic. So I myself am contributing by sending my impressions to the people who ARE experts. Anything else would be hypocritical.

      Get used to this, by the by: there are 14 people on the CSM and something like a dozen want to make names for themselves. I am more than content to let that happen -- it keeps more of the CSM active -- and encourage it to happen where it doesn't.

  17. Help me? You're not doing -me- a favor: preventing CCP from making dubious changes to the game that YOU play is not an act of generosity on your part that we should thank you for, but your job. And it became your job the moment you decided to run for CSM.

    I'm sorry that I seemed rude. I was simply perplexed that there have been three posts on your part regarding the CSM - interesting posts mind you, like what skype channels there are, and how everyone is so committed to working hard, and who was elected as chairman, and -oh- that you received your forum tags - all of this is very important.

    However, instead of reading how awesome the CSM is, or about what a great job they're doing, or about any organizational work that is going on that will help them do their job so much more effectively, I would rather just see you doing a good job. Perhaps on the eve-o forums, where people are discussing important expansion issues. Just a thought.

    Nah. I'll just take your word for it that you're doing your absolute best. And then when the Expansion hits, I'll take your word that you tried your damnest, but it wasn't enough to sway CCP. Keep up the good work.

    Edit: Experts? You don't need to live in a WH 24/7 to see that these changes are terrible. I'm a 0.0 grunt who sometimes had to scan down ships, and probe out a WH. I have the scanning skills @lvl3 and even I can see that these changes are terrible. Beneficial mind you for me, for on-grid scanning, but nevertheless - bad for the game overall. Sad that you need an expert to tell you that.

    Here's the kicker. If it was about expert opinion, the CSM would only be 3 guys - pvp, pve, and industry. The reason that there are 14 people on the CSM is too make sure that the expert doesn't miss something, and to bounce ideas of each other, to share impressions, and brainstorm. Meh.

  18. Best bit of this post ? That the CSM are splitting up work. To me, that is really no indication of laziness. But instead a sign off trust in a maturing group ! Where participants used to be adversarial to say the least. Congrats !


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