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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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Conflict diamond

Back in June, I wrote the following:
I don't usually enter EVE-related contests with prizes and such, particularly if there's a judge.  All I need to have happen is for me to win the thing, and anyone with sour grapes is gonna say "Oh sure, give it to the famous guy.  Of course."  I don't need that hassle, and the guy running the contest doesn't need that hassle.  So I try to stay out of the way of EVE-related contests.
Apparently, I'm not taking this far enough.  Not only do I have to stay out of the way of EVE-related giveaways but I also have to stay out of the way of sharing a corp with or having any association with anyone who receives EVE-related giveaways.  Or at the very least, apparently I have to disclose if anyone I know has ever received a CCP giveaway.

The fact that I didn't apparently infuriates Xander Phoena of the Crossing Zebras podcast and has made me the topic of discussion at TMC.

OK.  For the record, I know 14 players who have received Ishukone Watch Scorpions (iScorps hereafter) from CCP.  None of them work for SOMER Blink.  I share an in-game corporation with six of them, all six of whom received theirs for either being part of the Syndicate Competitive League staff, winning a Fanfest PvP tournament, or both.  I know two other players not in my corp or alliance that received one the same way.  The other six people received theirs either through community events or for contributions to the community.  This part of Xander's post is true.

Every other single thing he writes is nonsense.  It's surprising, because I really really like the guy.  But good Heavens is he frightfully off-base here.  I'm not usually in the point-for-point rebuttal business but this post really deserves it.  If you don't care, feel free to skip the rest of this post.  For those that do care...

The thrust of the Ripard's post seems to be that a lot of the community who are making the most noise are complaining because another site has been given something they haven't. And, after all, CCP are free to give those sorts of things to whoever they so wish. The implication is that the community is somehow jealous.
Not true.  What I actually wrote was "But I couldn't help but notice that there seems to be a good deal of jealousy in the threadnaught, as well as a lot of accusations directed at CCP Navigator personally."  Emphasis mine.  You'll note I limited my statement to a percentage of the people participating in the threadnaught, not "a lot of the community."  At no point did I direct that comment toward the community at large.  Within the threadnaught, I see a lot of the same faces over and over...  The center statement, that CCP are free to give these ships to whom they wish, I agree with, and said so in my post.

Now I strongly disagree with Ripard on this. It goes without saying that CCP can give these gifts to whoever they wish, however they wish. But to do so quietly rather than making a public announcement that ‘Hey, this website is awesome and as such, we are rewarding them with this cool stuff' is an incredibly strange decision.
The first sentence of this paragraph should have been the last sentence of the previous paragraph.  This is poor editing on Xander's part, and because of his poor editing, he implies that I think CCP keeping this gift private was a good thing, when I do not.  I agree this gift should have been public, and said so in my post. 

Xander points out that some iScorps were given to the SCL staff (true) but then says...
Yes, that's the same organisation in which Ripard has been a long time supporter of, a some-time guest host and now, the recently promoted main studio host.
The first part of this statement is true: I do support the SCL.  The implication that I'm part of the staff is false.  The statement that I was "promoted" is also false.  No one has asked me what my direct association with SCL is.(1)  But that hasn't stopped them -- including Xander -- from writing about that association without any facts.  Those of you who have read my blog know the facts:
  • I was an in-studio guest for a short segment of SCL 1 in February and that's all;
  • I was the "expert commentator" for host Arydanika in the studio for SCL 2 in April, asked to join as a last-minute replacement;
  • I was nearly completely uninvolved with SCL 3 (I wrote some trivia questions); and,
  • because of Dani leaving EVE Online and leaving the SCL team in the lurch, I was asked (again at the last minute) to be the main studio host for SCL 4 in September.
You'll note that I'm not listed among the SCL staff on their website, nor have I ever been.  I do not consider myself staff, and the SCL team does not consider me staff -- in fact, I was not added to their staff discussion channel until a few days before SCL 4.  But yes, I was a commentator and in the studio for SCL 2.  So, why didn't I get a iScorp when the other in-studio hosts and commentators did?  "You were the one SCL person who didn't get one because we didn't want you having conflict of interest issues," Bacchanalian told me this afternoon.

This seems to have worked out really well, don't you think?

That's the same SCL which, should CCP decide to reward them after SCL6 for a job well done with another gift, Ripard would be a direct recipient of.
This accusation is beyond ridiculous.  To start, it implies that CCP will be giving the SCL staff a reward after every three SCLs.  Not only is that both unlikely and completely unpredictable, even if it were somehow true and even if I were somehow one of the recipients... so the hell what?  I can hardly disclose a conflict of interest that doesn't exist yet!  And that assumes that I will continue as the studio host for the SCL team in the future, something that -- quite frankly -- is unlikely.

On top of this, we have yet to hear any other response from any other members of CSM8 yet as the time this piece is published.
Not true.  Mynnna and Ali Aras have tweeted about it, James Arget has posted on Reddit about it, and several CSM members have posted in the threadnaught with their opinions.  My opinion just happens to be the most public because there's an easy way to find it.  That said, you're almost certainly not going to see a joint CSM statement about this.  Not all of us agree what that statement should say, or even if there should be one.  Xander's implied position that the entire community is outraged about this is simply ridiculous.  Some people are very unhappy, I will grant you.  I understand that.

My job as a CSM member is to represent EVE players.  The word "angry" is omitted.  I am not required to agree with every issue that every EVE player is angry about, even if there are a few hundred EVE players angry about that issue.  I am allowed to understand their position without agreeing with it.  And on this particular issue, that's still where I stand.

(1) This includes the quotes attributed to me in the TMC article, by the by.  I volunteered that information to The Mittani in the CSM Alumni channel, a Skype channel set up for past CSM members as well as CCP devs that wish to participate.  The quote then found its way into the TMC article under Sun Win's byline.

EDIT 6/Oct/2013: At my request, the quote has been removed.


  1. I mostly agree with your position. All I can ask is that you hound CCP community, marketing, ect teams to use the CSM as a temperature guage for all this stuff. If they had, all these issues might have been handled better, or at least CCP would have an idea that a potential shitstorm was on the horizon.

    On a side note, I hope this doesnt affect your decision to host more SCLs in the future. I think you did a good job for your first time out and improved as well. So please don't get bullied out of getting involved.


  2. Well said, I support your decision on this.

    I assume that you took time to cool off before proofreading this, but I'd advise against your attack on Xander's "poor editing" in future posts. This is a great rebuttal when you focus on the facts, as opposed to the person who wrote the article.

    1. He did focus on the facts. I assume that you took time to cool off before proofreading your comment, but I'd advise against commenting on blogposts in the future.

      In response to a typically nutty Xander Phoena assault, Jester took the time to soften the response by saying how much he likes XP (god knows why), and then pointed out both factual direct errors and factual errors of implication. Pointing out a factual error of implication is indeed focusing on the facts, not focusing on the person.

      Let's remind ourselves that XP is well known for responding to mild criticism with torrents of words you can't say on television (US network television). The irony of someone so thin-skinned as XP appointing himself as a public watchdog is..., well, it's pretty typical actually, but it's still ironic nonetheless. I fully expect XP to continue to alienate his former supporters with senseless backstabs such as this.

    2. Well, the "poor editing" part is a try on Ripard's side to be assume the best. If it wasn't poor editing, and you read the paragraph on it's on, than you'd have to conclude that either Xander is intentionally misrepresenting what Ripard wrote or he didn't read/understand it. Either one sounds worse.

  3. wow, what a bitchfest.

    the first time i heard about those gifts, i thought oh is this news worthy? who cares?

    and now everyone is jumping everyone in the face. thats not even entertaining as usually, its just awkward ^^

    1. Totally agree. Far too much e-ink spent on this topic. Move on people... it is such a non-event.

    2. http://teenmomtalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/drama-llama.jpg

      Says it all.

  4. If you go out to make up everyone 100% happy, you end up will everyone being 100% miserable.

  5. "This seems to have worked out really well, don't you think?"
    That made me laugh, nice anticlimax to the harsh criticism on the harsh criticism.

    As you mentioned poor editing: Xanders article is listed under podcasts on your sidebar.

  6. I support you 100% Jester. This whole debate is complete nonsense.

  7. Jester, just the fact that you have to defend yourself from accusations of impropriety because somebody in your alliance did/didn't/may/could receive cool toys should tell you that there is little, if any, transparency to CCP's reward process. That's a big part of the problem, as what standards they do currently have seem to cover anything from tournament prizes to under the table gifts for special friends. I fully realize that it's not your fault, but I sure do wish CSM would kick them in the nuts for this (I'll settle for proverbial ones, if that's all you have available).

    The second part of the problem is CCP apparently deciding that they should pick winners and losers among players. Maybe it's not a new development, but in a game as competitive as EVE it feels a little off. When was the last time CCP formally endorsed a player corporation, loudly slapped them on the back and told everybody just how trustworthy they truly are? If you're running a competing service, how can you possibly top that? By advertising yourself as so-not-developers'-pets? Yes, I know CCP can do what they want, but it doesn't always make for a fun game.

    1. Pretty much this. There is zero transparency to this process. If there was, this entire debate between Ripard and I would be moot.

  8. I don't think you're mixed up in any crazy conspiracies. But you're going to have to get used to the new reality. Tinfoil hatting 24/7.

    Seriously. Who couldn't see what was coming? Introduce a new meta combat arena and the playerbase is in it to win it. For all the talk, this boils down to strategy at the meta level. ISK is a resource and the new farm is the fansite. Meta carebearing. EVE at its finest.

  9. Out of curiosity, what was the quote that was removed?

    1. Mittens was asking around SCL staff this morning apparently trying to determine if I had received an iScorp. When I learned about it, I short-circuited his investigation by first making it clear that I hadn't been given one and explaining what I did for each SCL series. He apparently passed the quotes directly to Sun Win for his piece. That's something that he shouldn't have done because the location where it happened, the CSM Alumni Skype channel, is by gentlemen's agreement a place where current and past CSM members can say whatever without having to worry about being quoted (unless they agree to be).

      That said, I asked for the quotes to be removed because it isn't appropriate for what is in essence a hit-piece on me to include more than the briefest quotes from me.

    2. but I guess breaking this agreement does not get him booted from this position of privilage?

      and after all the fuss he made following his fall from grace that journalists did not go directly to him for a sound bite. (by starting with SCL Staff) He has lowered himself to the standard of Brendan Drain of Massively. I hereby dub the TMC, the Enquirer of Eve news.

    3. Sooo, did Mittens then just burn a lot of the working trust in the Alumni channel to dig for dirt for a hit piece?

    4. Ripard - I love your blog and will read it as long as you keep writing. Dont take all this attention to heart; remember the spotlight is a duel edged sword. You asked for the csm seat so you have to take the heat also. All this is, is heat for being a public figure now. Plus your stance defending CCP was so not popular and I consider away from your usual base; which might be why so many here are conflicted about your opinion on the matter. Thats ok.

      Stick to your heart, don't be fearful to change your stance on anything at anytime. Its never the wrong time to do the right thing for you. Be as honest and open with your feelings/emotions with your community. You cant go wrong!

  10. First, no Seldarine in either ATXI or SCL4, now no Ripard Teg either? The rest of the crew is solid and entertaining, but you two are my favorites. I hope despite this and whatever else may be going on you will still consider popping in from time to time on the broadcasts.

  11. Rifter 1v1, Xander vs Ripard.

  12. The eve community looks like a trade union to me running against a company.
    CCP is no democracy and will never be one. Stop demanding core democratic values from a company.

  13. Just as a by-the-by observation, that CSM Alumni channel on Skype needs to die. When it appears that ex-CSM members still have special snowflake access to CCP developers it makes the entire CSM thing sound more like a club than an organization that's supposed to represent the players. I have less problem with current CSM people interacting with ex-CSM people on some level. But it has been reported that the CSM Alumni channel is very popular and that it has devs in it on a regular basis.

    Just stop it, please.

  14. It’s such a shame how some people react actually.
    Why is it a problem when ccp give presents to people who work hard and contribute stuff to eve?
    It’s pure envy. This behavior is so childish.
    I wouldn‘t even care if ccp create a starsystem and call it Jester‘s Star or gives you a pink ragnarok with yellow racing stripes to thank you for your ongoing great work.
    It’s their game, they own it and if it disturbs someone so much then he should quit. Basta

    The only thing someone could reproach to ccp is doing it in secrecy.
    Such gifts should be given publicly and they should create a subpage on eveonline
    listing who got what as present for which contribution to eve.

    So they could prevent misuse and accepting advantage
    and no community manager comes in trouble only to give thanks to special people.

    There are always some maker, many quiet and happy user and some noisy enviers.

  15. " Xander's implied position that the entire community is outraged about this is simply ridiculous."
    If Xander was right, I am part of another community as I couldn't be further away from outraged.

    But he surely isn't the first one (nor the last) who is posting something he thinks is fact and states that there is an ominous large crowd of supporters behind him.
    He really does a good job at his podcast, got great connections and is very communicative, so why he has to publish stuff without talking to the associated people is beyond my understanding.
    Everything for the clicks I would guess...

    @SCL-Staff: You do a great job and if CCP decides to show you there respect with some gifts thats fine and well deserved.

    @"I-didn't-got-anything-thos-this-is-wrong"dudes: Start your own event. make something useful for the community. You might get a reward for it. Making a witch hunt out of everything isn't content, its just boring.

  16. You are dancing on the head of a pin here.

    Although you identify the problem here as CCP using a brown envelopes to thank people you appear to pass off the genuine upset people have about this underhanded method as jealously.

    I find it odd you dedicated the vast majority of your blog post on this subject to calling those upset by this greedy and not focusing on CCPs Community Team’s abject failure in understanding the voluntary services community.

    It’s not about greed it’s about communication and fairness – I’m amazed you don’t understand that.

  17. I'm focusing my rage on AMPAS, which gives little golden statues to actors and actresses who are already making a lot of money in the industry.

  18. Einstein once said: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." I think humanity is successfully proving that in every single thing it sets out to do and this "incident" is a great example of that.

  19. "My job as a CSM member is to represent EVE players. The word "angry" is omitted. I am not required to agree with every issue that every EVE player is angry about, even if there are a few hundred EVE players angry about that issue. I am allowed to understand their position without agreeing with it. And on this particular issue, that's still where I stand."

    two key points

    1) how much of the actual player base voted in the CSM elections?
    2) Are the same "angry" players ones who voted and if so what percentile of the voting demographic are they?

  20. So much outrage over a non-issue. Stay Calm, hopefully the TMC amplified echo-chamber will run out of steam soon.

  21. I love this blog, even though I respectfully disagree with your developing stance on this issue. However, the hit job pulled by TMDC against you is disgusting to the extreme. It's clear that Mittens wants a solid hit against CCP with this story in order to solidify his site as the premier EVE news provider, and your attempts to explain CCP's actions away has put you somewhat in the crosshairs. I respect that you were willing to step up and "whiteknight" this issue, given that it was guaranteed to be an unpopular stance, and the apparently inevitable smearing of you that has now taken place.

    That being said, this whole thing stinks to high heaven and it does smack of T20-ism. It's not as bad as that, but it's greasy to say the least. SOMER Blink is abusiness, plain and simple. Defending them as enablers of content is the same as saying Sheldon Adelson (a Vegas casino magnate and political dabbler) here in meatspace is a democracy-enabler. The ISK gained by SOMER Blink is very gray, to say the least, given the out-of-game mechanics and reliance on addictive gambling mechanics to generate it. I think everyone knows that the main reason CCP loves SOMER so much is because of ETCs. People burn their ISK to the ground and go spend actual money on ETCs to get PLEX to pump it right back into Blink.

    Blink is video poker, and CCP is running the car title loan shop next door. It's a filthy arrangement, and as amoral as EVE can be, this sort of thing will murder the game if it continues. The game doesn't have a large enough playerbase to survive the attrition brought on by losing players to this. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, the CSM needs to stand against this sort of favoritism. Blink is what it is, but it shouldn't be actively supported and promoted by the caretakers of the community.


  23. The reason people are upset is that while SOMER blink has done a lot for the community they have gotten even more back from the community. Somer is probably the richest player in the game.

    When you look at people who have done even more for the community, like the makers of evemon, pyfa, eft, and evekill, tools that nearly every eve player uses every day, and who have not gotten trillions of isk from the community, it makes you wonder why CCP chose to give blink 600b isk.

  24. The drama is pretty heavy here, but I think you've illustrated nicely why community rewards like this need to be made loud and proud, and community really should be running things like this by the CSM, not to ask permission, but to say "Hey, do you guys think there will be any serious backlash with this?" so they can plan or adjust accordingly without the need for that deer in the headlights moment when the shit hits and they're looking around wondering what the problem is.

  25. Is this what it sounds like when the skin of a jester starts to thin?

    1. Not sure but I can tell you your comment is what happens when you sperge without reading the post. Go back to TMC.

  26. I think this whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Probably somewhat deliberately by interested parties at news sites that like traffic and other people with hurt feelings.

    It was dumb to make these gifts secret.

    It was a poor decision to give some to a for profit site.

    I'm not sure it is the wisest course of action on your part to be defending CCP. The smart play would just to tell people to calm down. And let them know you will push CCP to be less dumb in the future. I think you’re getting so much blowback because it seems like your defending CCP when that is not entirely the case but this has become a black and white issue to a lot of people and they seem to think you’re on the wrong side of the line.

  27. sounds like someone who does a podcast is a lil butt hurt the SCL guys got gifts and he didnt.

  28. Jester, the reason people are upset is quite straightforward.

    CCP are arbitrarily giving out valuable ships to some players in secret! It's the brown envelope under the table, nudge nudge, wink wink way it's been done that's the problem.

    Who know what else they has been passed on to other players or organisations in complete secrecy. Ships? BPOs? Chat-logs? Can you not see how damaging this is? After all, it's not like their past record with regard to this sort of thing is anything to be proud of.

  29. so are you gonna push for more transparency in gifting processes? i still believe that CCP should have disclose the gifts just to tell everyone that they are recognizing whoever contribute to the game/community. it should be a happy thing except the secrecy gives a bad taste in the mouths of many.

  30. Ripard, while I don't agree with your overall stance on the issue, I am really sad to learn that it turned into an ad hominem attack against you that quickly.

    On the other hand, it tells me that the other side ran out of arguments, obviously, if they have to aim so low. That they feel the need to fabricate a reason why you would side with CCP, instead of listening to your arguments.

    I voted for you, and even when the position you choose doesn't represent me, I appreciate that you always explain yourself in a well reasoned post.

    Have a nice day!

  31. Quoting from the back channel is by far the most interesting part of this story. Which isn't saying much.

  32. Ripard, if Mittens had to drag dirt from that channel to get ammo against you, you must be doing a lot of things right. I don't agree with you on this, but we're with you all the way.


  33. Sorry Ripard, you did imply that people were just jealous. It may not have been your intent, but Xander's reading was not off base on that one.

    For the rest, you have some fair points.


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