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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Thursday, September 12, 2013

COTW: Providing cover for CCP

Individually here and there -- and as a group -- the CSM is taking some heat for our response to the Term of Service changes that I blogged about a couple of days ago.  This comment of the week from reader smg777 is both concise and typical of the thinking:
The CSM response to this has been embarrassing. It's like you guys have forgotten that you're supposed to be representing the players and not providing cover for CCP and their horrible GM team.
My response?
Think so?  I think we've been holding their feet pretty firmly to the fire.  Every time I write a blog post like [the one I wrote about the TOS], I get a CCP dev (or two, or five) tsk'ing at me or downright asking me what the hell I'm doing.  I write [the posts] anyway.
And that's also a pretty concise response.  But as this thing drags on, I think it deserves to be expanded somewhat.

Poetic Stanziel wrote a long post about it himself today.  I can't decide if it's supposed to be satire or not.  He blames the GMs, CCP Seagull, CCP Unifex, and Hilmar for the changes, an amusing escalating path of responsibility.  He doesn't come right out and also blame terrorists, the Pentavarite, the Illuminati, or God, but you can kinda feel him thinking about it.  Meanwhile, I suspect the truth is that the GMs and the Community team that they belong to sometimes work fairly independently, or with CCP Legal, they come up with these things and don't expect huge reactions.  GM Grimmi's initial response to the blow-back was illuminating in that I think he sincerely feels that CCP was just clarifying a policy that's existed for a long time, not actually changing anything.  It is not the first time that that some group in CCP has made what they think is a minor change and through less-than-stellar public relations, watched it explode in their faces.

The result is -- contrary to the conspiracy theory set belief -- CCP leadership is caught a little bit flat-footed.

I still expect there to be an official response, and I think you'll see it in the same in-game news sources where the initial change was announced.  These things happen.  At least I do think you're allowed to be annoyed this time.  Unlike the last "scandal", this time at least CCP did this on purpose rather than on accident.

Does this mean I or the rest of the CSM are white-knighting CCP?  I suppose you could take that tack.  But as I said, I feel like we're staying pretty firmly on CCP's case on this issue.  It comes up every single day in our Skype chat with them and we continue to make sure CCP is aware that players remain concerned.  And CCP knows.  This time they don't need us to tell them about it.

But we're telling them anyway.  Goes with the job.  Thanks for the comment, smg777!

EDIT (13/Sep/2013): A reference to Poetic Stanziel blaming the CSM for the changes has been removed.  Poe, however, has been very critical of CSM member responses to this issue.  I regret the error.
EDIT (13/Sep/2013): CCP is soliciting direct feedback on the ToS changes.


  1. I agree with you about Poetic, but I do think the CSM made this issue worse, as some forum responses were dismissive of people's concerns and it just added emotional fuel to the fire.

    1. How can you agree with him when he's dead wrong on everything about that post. I specifically tell people NOT to blame the GMs. I only blame producers on up for this level of decision. I do not even mention the CSM.

      I don't even know what Ripard read. Obviously you didn't read it either.

    2. People assuming Poetic being an autistic cunt nonshocker?

    3. Where does he say you blamed the CSM, Poe?

    4. One main part I disagreed from your post is the idea that CCP is systemically sanitizing EVE to soften its image. Making life a little easier for the inexperienced or the incompetent doesn't constitute softening EVE's image in my mind as 'docked up' is still the only place in EVE that's completely safe. It does on the other hand make it easier for new players to not rage-quit. Older players wanting to punish others for being bad is little more than ego masturbation.

      Whether or not CCP higher ups had a hand in the TOS change is not interesting to me. The CSM is telling people to STFU in the short term, and for that they are bad at crowd control and earned some of the flames coming their way. But I also believe it when they say (via Ali) that in the long term they're bringing player concerns to CCP and pushing for a reversion of the change, or expanding the TOS to clarify further.

    5. Anon1059: the original version of this post included some blame from Poe to the CSM. I've removed the reference. That said, Poe's been quick to attack some members of the CSM in other mediums.

  2. you're such a better writer than Poetic. It shows here. LOL. What happened to roboblogger? Your output is lagging. Lots of *cough* light articles lately!

    1. Partially, it's CSM minutes. Mostly, it's the fact that very little is actually happening in New Eden right now.

    2. I love you still. Finish getting unpacked, finish the minutes, and get back to the minutiae. I've got time to kill at work and you're fucking up the program. :P

    3. Isn't that the real problem and CCPs point? Doesn't the power you have to [s]channel[/s] lightening-rod emotion keep you up at night?
      TOS are a legal document. CCP should never be surprised that the canny folk of New Eden read the small print. In many ways that document is the rules of the game.
      I have some sympathy for the CSM waving the red flag, but little for not being able to cope with the inevitable bull rush. Either something is going to be gored or the long knives are coming out.

    4. How about CCP introducing pay to win?

    5. I'd really like to see more of your views on this issue. It seems like there are a lot of potentially interesting areas to cover that relate to it, both directly and in a broader sense.

      Is this really a policy change? Is it an effective change (as in, will we see GMs handle issues differently as a result of it)? If so, what are the potential and/or likely ramifications for players and the game?

      More broadly, and more interestingly, how does this all relate to the way CCP enforces the ToS/EULA? CCP seems to view RMT, botting, and cache scrapping as bannable violations of the ToS/EULA. While RMT and botting will earn you a quick ban once CCP finds you, cache scrapping is officially all but legally sanctioned. Players are basically forced to rely on experience and hearsay to know what the rules and punishments actually are, the ramifications of which itself could normally be a pretty big discussion. It also seems like it could be the root of this most recent incident. CCP may see a minor ToS change that allows GMs to continue on as they always have, while players see a change that potentially allows GMs to hand out bans for actions that were previously acceptable.

      I uh... didn't mean to turn your comment section into my own little mini-blog. It seems like a shame to delete part of it now though. Basically, a lot may not be happening in game right now, but I think there is a lot of room for out of game discussion. I'd really love to see some of your views on these types of thing, even if it does potentially earn you some words from both devs and players.

  3. Perhaps people could put a disclaimer in their bio that they are not impersonating anyone with a similar name.

    I agree that someone in legal probably did not consider the implications for gameplay and the scamming community.

    http://www.minerbumping.com/2013/09/does-ccp-enforce-rules-against.html for some examples.

  4. I don't really get the hype for this changes. As I commented in other places, I agree with GM Grimmi that nothing big changes.

    All this comments about not being able to be evil are rubbish. You still can lie and scam as you see fit. the only point is that the line is drawn a bit more precisely.
    No I can't create a char Chanina Teg and claim to be an alt of yours and there for I'm trustworthy for 3rd Party titan transfer or something. But I can create that Character and build up a reputation by my own and than scam a few titan transfers.

    And now people my finally know that applying a character to corp claiming to be a cyno alt of a member of that corp is not a scam but impersonation and can be reported. Yes you really have to play your spying character now. Shouldn't be too hard to get into a corp for spying right?

  5. What? Did you even read my post?

    I blame only the producers and higher up. Do I even mention the CSM? Holy f**k, dude. Please get your facts straight.

    1. Eh, fair enough. You've been attacking CSM members in media other than this particular blog post. But you're right that this particular blog post doesn't have any of that.

    2. Poe accuses someone else of misrepresenting the facts, world implodes from irony.

    3. Even if Poe is attacking CSM like a rabid dog, doesn't mean you should ignore him.

  6. I am pretty disgusted with CCP at the moment, and this issue is so stupid I find it hard to even put it into words.

    All this really started back when CCP made cache scraping illegal, but then said "don't worry, even though this is illegal we will only ban people who use it to bot". Here's a hint, CCP: if your law, rule or regulation requires a "but we will only enforce it if you're bad" footnote, it is worthless and needs to be rewritten, or your approach should be changed alltogether(i.e. provide players with ways to get market data without cache scraping - how long has it been since you promised us CREST?).

    There was far less outrage about that than there should be, partly because industrialists are a minority and partly because people naively believe it's easy to tell a market bot and a player apart.

    And now we have the same situation: a badly written rule that requires a "but we will only enforce it if you're bad" footnote to work. Except now it involves almost everyone playing and everyone can see the execution of it is heavily open to personal - GM - interpretation.

    Sorry, but "getting caught flat-footed" is no excuse. It was stupid before, and it's even more stupid now. There's no one here to blame but CCP: they didn't learn the first time, the repeated it on a much bigger scale the second time, and if they're surprised at the outrage that simply means they lacked the miniscule amount of imagination required to predict how this could end up horribly, which was blantantly obvious for everyone else. Stupid, stupid, stupid, three strikes, they're out.

    And just as with the cache scraping, CCP missed the forest for the trees. The answer to the PIZZA scam, which I understand was the catalyst for the update, should be restricting the access to the official wiki to trusted parties only, or creating a rule that states deliberate misinformation on official wiki is forbidden(perfectly reasonable if you ask me). NOT creating a ridiculous blanket-overhaul that allows them to ban almost anyone, anywhere at any time for "scamming".

    Speaking of which, since the rule update happened after the PIZZA scam, and assuming they couldn't be banned for it earlier(or why the update?), isn't this a case of applying the law backwards?

    Pathetic performance from CCP all around. I just hope all the people shooting the monument right now get more creative and simply start flooding the GMs with reports of "scams". I think few thousand meaningless reports will convince CCP of the stupidity of their rules much quicker than shooting at pixels in Jita.

  7. Jester,

    This is exactly the kind of thing that the player base needs the CSM for, "I suspect the truth is that the GMs and the Community team that they belong to sometimes work fairly independently, or with CCP Legal, they come up with these things and don't expect huge reactions." when some aspect of CCP makes a change that directly impacts the player base we expect the CSM to explain to CCP what the ranting that they see in the forums is all about. Unfortunately CCP see's the CSM as a conduit for them to use to assist with suppression of the rage and the players see that CSM action as a betrayal. I'm not debating the actual necessity to make the change or not, but I would think that the CSM would solidly convey to CCP that making changes to the game and then not having a definable rational reason for those changes other than "because I wanted to" is bad all across the board and then once they have implemented said change then to expect the backlash to be man handled by the CSM is just a second slap in the face to the playerbase. And yes the CSM is taking heat for their attempts to manage the playerbase expectations and that is a difficult position to be in but please remind the CSM that the players believe that the CSM is there to focus our rage from a loud boisterous rant down to a definable articulate point and then we expect that CCP will respond to the point vice the noise. Standing by and awaiting CCP's decision on what their actual point was, is and will be regarding the TOS changes that were apparently implemented without rhyme or reason catching "CCP leadership ... a little bit flat-footed."


  8. Prepare for the CCP shutdown of another CSM.

    CCP are mean and tricky.

    Want change? Stop paying them. It's the only thing they listen to.

  9. Quick and much truncated timeline:

    09/09/2013 TOS changes
    09/09/2013 Players are upset
    09/09/2013 Ripard makes a post on his blog, other CSM members also speak up elsewhere
    10/09/2013 GM Grimmi posts first 'clarification'
    11/09/2013 GM Karidor posts second 'clarification'
    11/09/2013 Ali Aras posts to say 'Thanks Karidor, that clears everything up'
    11/09/2013 Rest of the CSM is silent
    12/09/2013 smg777 expresses his disappointment in the CSM's response (and to reiterate, the CSM's public position at this stage is 'Thanks Karidor, that's great!')
    13/09/2013 Malcanis starts posting on the forums, Ripard makes this post. This is the first indication the CSM has offered that they're anything other than satisfied with Karidor's clarification.

    1. Clearly, when I or Ali make a blog post or forum post, we're detailing the entire CSM's public opinion. I'll keep that in mind.

    2. When everyone but Ali remains silent on an issue which is getting a lot of attention then yes, it seems safe to assume that on the balance of probabilities the rest of you agree with Ali.

      What you're asking for's a much greater leap, you're asking for Mr 777 to have seen your silence following Karidor's post and somehow have inferred from this silence that you and others on the CSM were not satisfied with what he said.

    3. Maybe it's just me, but, after reading GM Karidor's clarification my reaction was very much that it cleared everything up, and I had no idea why people were still angry. Seriously.

      When they document that this has been in the TOS since approximately forever, like they did, I'm a lot more likely to believe that nothing much is changing. I'm not going to change my practices to not defend against TOS-violating behavior, though. This is EVE, after all.

    4. Well, obviously there are situations where it would help to clarify upfront :)

    5. Your frankly bewildering straw-man aside, Jester, I think what "Phil" is driving at here is less about what Ali Aras did say, and more about what the rest of the CSM didn't say.

      Alternatively, the other side of that slippery slope you've just thrown up would suggest that the CSM's position right now is "We have no opinion on this issue whatsoever". Perhaps his concern is a tad more nuanced than your snappy dismissal would suggest?

      Don't get me wrong, I think this CSM has been fantastic with messaging so far, in no small part due to some heroic blogging right here, but it irritates me when an otherwise :goodposter: posts...well, something like that comment above.

    6. The point I was making to Phil is that, weirdly, we all live in different time zones and have different availabilities. The so-called "silence" that followed Ali's post was measurable in a few HOURS. People need to dial back their OCD. Just because people hit F5 one hundred times in an hour doesn't mean that the CSM or CCP missed one hundred opportunities to communicate.

  10. Well, the issues with the CSM come frome a few facts. First, you'd be hard pressed to prove that Ali Aras was/is doing anything besides white knighting CCP on the matter at hand.

    Secondly, while I am sure more of you comunicated your concers privately to CCP, doing so publicly in the EVE-O threads would go a long way in making it clear to the entire community where you stand on the matter. Not everyone is reading blogs/twitter/en24.

    And last but not least, while CCPs answers to the issues you raised are most likely NDAd, I am fairly sure nothing is stoping you going public with the concerns you adressed. I can't imagine your conversation with CCP's staff went "ppl are pissed, fix it"

    Bottom line is, and I might be dead wrong because I don't have enough information (which in itself is a failure on CSM's part), from where I am standing it's looking like you guys want to have your cake and eat it too, aka get this fixed, but not willing to go as far as burning bridges with CCP employees for it. Unfortunately players are pissed and rightly or not, they expect you to be pissed on their behalf too, publicly. While your approach might not burn any bridges to Iceland and might even yield better results in the end, it will burn a fair few bridges with your constituency.

    1. Acts have consequences. If you demand that CSM be less effective in order to satisfy some players' need for them to be seen screaming bloody murder in public, you have no right whatsoever to complain when CSM is ineffective in addressing the actual problem. If you vote effective members off CSM because they didn't throw a temper tantrum when you did, you're not punishing them. You're just cutting off your nose to spite your face, and you deserve whatever happens as a result.

    2. That would be a valid argument if the biggest problem in Eve's recent history wouldn't have been solved by a CSM chairman throwing a temper tantrum

    3. Sajuk he only threw a 'temper tantrum' in front of the masses. If you think that's all he did you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. In more eloquent terms what he did was rook to king 4 checkmate. Like the guy or not he knows how to play the meta game


  11. I was gonna argue with you that Poetic Stan is right and you are wrong, but I won't. I'll just say this, CCP needs to take this seriously. People are confused and they don't know what going on. Locking forum threads is NOT OK. Unless people are making RL death threats or throwing around racist slurs, let the players vent. Look at the EVE general discussion forums and count the locked threads on this one. Plus the locked threads from people asking CCP to stop locking threads. They are coming off as really tone deaf and it is making me angry.

    While I'm at it, here is my angry rant on the subject: http://fedofancy.blogspot.com/2013/09/were-not-gonna-take-it.html

  12. As much as you dislike The Mittani you should really look back at how he handled the Summer of Rage right after Incarna was released. Back then the CSM made it very clear that they were just as unhappy with what CCP was doing as the players were and they kicked off a media campaign to bring attention to the harm CCP was doing to Eve. It was fantastically effective even if it was embarrassing for CCP.

    You also need to tell Ali Aras to never post again.

    1. No Ali has her own voice and is accountable for it.
      Sure the CSM is taking heat at the moment, that is their job to listen to the concerns of the player base and express them clearly and succinctly to the people who can do something about it.
      I don't think this needs to be a media frenzy (oops Massivly too late) yet.
      Look, CCP and CSM are doing their damnest to get folks to calm down so they can figure out exactly we're upset about.
      I'll tell you what hurts my butt, The fact that Legal thinks it is a separate entity to the rest of CCP and seems to have end run the CSM. The CSM needs to sack that runner hard for everyone to see.
      The bruises won't last and the game goes on.
      Start looking outside the "family" for champions and the game changes and it becomes nasty.

  13. *rummages around for tin foil and is disappointed only finding aluminum*

    Meh. Most organizations are fractured in their public message. That is, unless there is a specific need for a singular message (look at governments), then you will find that people at different levels make different decisions for different reasons. You can probably take a mathematical equation and apply it to this form of randomness and come up with probabilities.

    CCP has not often been consistent in its message or in its methodology. EVE devs/GMs etc, seemingly, have been left to themselves while other developments occur. Personally, I see nothing in CCP Grimmi or Karidor other than them trying to clarify an interpretation of something that someone in legal thought would be a necessary change to solve an specific issue that may have risen in the recent past.. CCP devs, as a whole, seem to enjoy the stories of the ganks and scams as much as the rest of us. I think POE is a bit off on the assessment of this particular situation.

    I also think he is reading too much into the EA thing but maybe not. Politics in large companies is often stranger than fiction.

  14. Mole hill, please meet mountain.

    Everything has always been up to CCPs interpretation... Always.

  15. This whole issue is a storm in a teacup. As you pointed out in your article "Don’t get too attached", back in August, ToS already banned impersonating other players etc and yet there wee still loads of people doing it (you reported some of them in in the interests of science)
    So they changed the ToS? So what? Why would they suddenly go from minimal enforcement to absolute enforcement? It doesn’t make any sense. Nothing dramatic is going to happen, apart from possibly one of the community having an apoplectic fit and dying.
    Are you sure that your August post (with the weight of your membership of the CSM) didn’t start this whole thing in the first place?

  16. Yum. EVE was missing drama for a bit. I was wondering when the next shitstorm would hit the fan.

  17. One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him.

    fine. can we just full circle and introduce counterfeit isk. make everybody unhappy.


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