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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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

CSM8 Status Report: Week twenty-seven

OK, for reasons which will soon become apparent I'm going to try to keep this one short.  Nope, never mind.  It's probably going to run long.

As I announced last week, CSM's Town Hall #3 will take place this Saturday, 16 November at 19:00 EVE time.  Details on where and how to listen or participate are available in the announcement thread in the EVE Online forums.  In particular, half of this Town Hall will be devoted to questions submitted in advance.  If you have an advance question, please send it to Ali Aras who is gathering the advance questions and will be consolidating them.  I look forward to talking to all of you on Saturday!

And that brings me to the topic we should be talking about this Town Hall.  I've tried to play the :nda: rather conservatively, to wit: if I ask CCP "A or B?" and they say "A", then:
  • I don't tell players "A", because that would be breaking the NDA;
  • I don't tell players "not B", because that would also be breaking the NDA; and,
  • in some cases I don't even tell players that the question has come up, because there are some situations where if a player asks me "Will CCP be doing A or B?", just the fact that I acknowledge the question has come up in CCP-CSM discussions might be breaking the NDA.
But what if I ask CCP "A or B?" about something the players already know is in play, and CCP says nothing at all?  Well, at the moment that's a grey area and for today's update I choose to believe that the :nda: has no standing.  The NDA covers what CCP says.  But it doesn't cover a situation in which CCP says nothing.

And unfortunately "nothing" is what the CSM has been told about the Summer Summit minutes, despite many of us asking the question repeatedly.  CCP has had copies of various parts of the minutes for their approval starting from mid-September onward and have had most of the minutes since the second week in October, a month ago now.  In that time, we've been told by CCP Dolan that minutes would be ready "soon."  Trebor Daehdoow, who has obviously been through this process before, tells us that the next step would usually be CCP giving us a draft copy of some of the minutes for our own review.  We've received no such drafts.

In that time, of course, we've had the following crises:
  • the Term of Service update in mid-September;
  • the first SOMERblink issue regarding the iScorp giveaway in late September;
  • the question about how much support community sites should get in general in early October;
  • the second SOMERblink issue regarding ISK giveaways for GTC sales in late October; and,
  • now the live event situation last week.
Each has either had a public statement by CCP or has at least been considered for such a public statement.  Obviously, this has kept the Community team and CCP management extremely busy and I'm quite sure this is the reason for a good portion of the delay.  And of course Rubicon is really close to release; the very people that have to approve the minutes we've written and verify them for accuracy are the likely many of the same people having to get features ready to go for November 19.  So in a way, this delay is quite understandable and it is not Dolan's fault.

But I can't help feeling frustrated nonetheless.

Granted, part of this is our own damn fault.  We didn't get the first drafts of our work in front of CCP until the second week of September.  We could certainly have done that part a week or so faster.  But other than that, I can't think of very much that we could have done to speed this process up.  What else can we do when CCP won't answer questions about how things are going?

So here we are a few days from the Town Hall I wanted to be about the Summit Minutes, and it seems quite unlikely that any part of the Summit Minutes will be in front of your eyes before the Town Hall.  And for that all I can do is apologize.  We're not exactly a war-time CSM, but this continued stumbling from crisis to crisis is no fun at all.

EDIT (13/Nov/2013): Big update!  CCP Dolan has responded to player questions about the minutes starting here.  The whole thread is worth reading. Short answer: next week if all goes well.

Sigh.  Lesson learned here for future CSMs?  Future Summits must take place more than three months before the release date of the expansion it's going to cover.  The eleven weeks between the late August Summer Summit and the November 19 release of Rubicon was not enough time for this process to run smoothly.  We're seeing the result.

OK, enough of that.  I'm going to keep the rest of this short.  We had our Stakeholder meeting this week which went very well!  Time Five-0's features are ready to go for Rubicon and we're starting to hear some really interesting plans for Rubicon 1.1.  CCP devs continue to bring us last-minute questions in both the private Skype chat and on the private section of the forums.  So this part of the process continues to work perfectly, for which I am very grateful.  As I said a couple of weeks ago, we're also starting to see plans laid for the Winter Summit, which will be taking place after the first of the year.

EDIT (13/Nov/2013): One more thing.  CSM member Mangala Solaris will be doing another "watch the stream with Mangala" event for the Rubion twitch stream this week.  You can read more details about this plan on his blog.  Wish I could be there myself!

And that's all for this week, I think...  Talk to you on Saturday!


  1. Don't you think it's time to rethink the whole "minutes" thing? You guys are spending far too much of your time and energy on it, CCP is obviously spending far too much time and energy on it (giving them the benefit of the doubt, since they're of course not dragging it out due to ill will) and soon we'll end up having half the minutes obsolete since it will be ancient news and already implemented in the expansion. I'm not on the inside, so I have no idea what else would be a good format, but you and Trebor should sit down and think long and hard about a much less ambitious format, that has a real chance of getting out a lot sooner...or in :nda:-chunks...or not at all...or through other means...or...you get the drift. In fact I'd love to see you robo-blog out a post describing what the goals and purpose of the minutes are in the first place. :-)

    1. 100% agree. After details on Rubicon are released, I am not sure what is actually in the minutes worth reading. The process is too slow and cumbersome to be useful. It puts a burden onto CSM that is not in proportion to the value of the information.

      My recommendation would be a quick turn-around of minutes in bullet form (none of that who-said-what nonsense). Then redact the actual video / audio that you guys have to base your minute writing on, making sure NDAed stuff is removed - obviously CCP needs to do that. Then release it on Twitch / youtube.

      I'd like to see what the goals of the CMS summits are in the first place, I mean, specific, tangible goals. Some are :nda: but most shouldn't be. The goals should be a result of us - the voters - giving the CSM mandate to fly to Iceland in the first place.

      And yes, keep up the good work Jester.

    2. A blog post describing the purpose to the minutes is probably a good idea, yeah.

      That said, you're also right in that even if half the minutes are obsoleted by Rubicon, half aren't. ;-)

    3. @splatus: Don't quite get your point about the summit goals, but I'm pretty sure I disagree ;-)

      @Jester: Yep, but that's still half of your not inconsiderable time spent writing minutes that could've been spent in other ways (and, if nothing else, on you not burning out, so you'll run again for CSM9 :-) and far more importantly: It's CCP employee time that could've been spent making Eve rather than grinding blocks of obsolete text (which is probably also why it's not highly prioritized internally...after all, as a developer, if you can make the feature in the same time it takes to write about what you're making, one would probably prefer to just get it done.

    4. The goals of the minutes are in part accountability. Players are expected to vote. Knowing that the representatives you voted for are representing the positions you believe in and that they campaigned on is important for the CSM to have any long term credibility with the players.

  2. Seconded. Your going to have to think like devs in considering how much work is put into producing a result.
    My suggestion is to release sections as they are approved rather than as a completed whole. Check out https://leanpub.com/ as an option.

  3. And still nothing about the last live event, I really am pretty unhappy with CCP's failures, minutes, roams, SomerBlink etc etc. If Rubicon and Rubicon 1.1 aren't adding much to my play I am going to take a break from Eve and lapse my accounts. Just getting sick of this, please convey that to CCP if you can please mate.

  4. A couple of questions Jester...

    What do you see as the main raison d'etre of the summit minutes?

    Did previous summit minutes, and will (if you think you can say) these minutes achieve what is desired of them?

    Do you think the minutes could be produced in a much more time efficient and concise way, yet still fulfill their purpose?

    I'm not questioning whether the minutes should be produced, but I honestly have no idea why they are produced in the way they are now. From my "average player" perspective, the previous summit minutes were too long, too wordy, had too much "X said this, Y said that" and arrived way too late in the day (year!). A set of salient & pertinent bullet points (+ explanations if *really* required) for each session and published a few weeks after the summit, is far more preferable than the equivalent of a stage play format interpretation of War & Peace that is published several months after it was relevant.

    1. Ironically, the previous format of the minutes came about because of players clamouring for more info as to what CSM members were doing what so we could try to evaluate how well our choices for CSM performed on the council. I do agree, though, that the overly-detailed version didn't work, either. I also wish we'd get more public naming of who has been active and who hasn't (and why), otherwise, why vote for anyone for CSM? I voted for Jester, but without a report card, how do I know he (or anyone else) is worth voting for again, assuming they run again?

    2. @Heretic

      Yep i know. I was quite pleased that most of CSM7 didn't stand for reelection. Why? Because they were terrible communicators. Whilst their term was quite successful regarding expansions, crisis (or lack of) and paving the way for future CSMs, the player base was shut away in the cupboard under the stairs and the only thing we were fed was the summit minutes. They tasted horrible.

      CSM8 though is the new improved version of CSM7. They have done what CSM7 did but with added communication. There has been a level of transparency & communication never seen before from a CSM. Because of this, no expensive, weighty tome of waffle is required.

      As for who did what and who to vote for... Well, it's relatively easy to see who has been a good contributor to this CSM because of the level of transparency we've had. It doesn't need to be spelled out as it's obvious for anyone who reads blogs / listens to podcasts etc. I'll would personally be happy vote for Ripard, Ali, James, Macanis, Chitsa & Mynnna, Mike, Mangala and a coupe of others who have clearly put quite a bit of effort in.

      Voting for the likes of ProGodLegend & Sort Dragon would be pointless regardless of how "good" they believe they are at whatever it is they believe they are good at. Why? Because a CSM member who does practically nothing is worthless. They've both proven this. People can say "oh personal problems" etc. etc. Fine. but they've still done bugger all and haven't proven that they are willing to address that, so they don't deserve to be on the next CSM.

  5. At what point does the release of the minutes become moot? At what point does it become obvious to even the most casual observer that CCP doesn't give a fuck about the minutes? They're "make-work" to perpetrate the illusion that the CSM "does something". Now, I know the CSM does do things besides putting out the summit minutes twice a year, but it seems pointless in the extreme to even have them if they're not going to be released until the topics discussed therein have been fully revealed elsewhere, and in some cases actually put into the game!

    At the risk of repeating myself: you and the rest of this CSM term are doing a great job IMO. You (the rhetorical "you") couldn't pay me enough to be on the CSM. A hundred grand wouldn't be worth the aggravation. Two hundred might get it done, but even that's iffy. (How's that for holding 2 conflicting ideas in your head at the same time?)

    1. whoa. hey. slow down there, bud. I won't be reading the minutes to get some sneak peak on anything. rather, i read the minutes to make sure that CCP are taking the CSM seriously, and more importantly - what sort of prejudices the CSM are allowing CCP to bandy about (like say what CCP thinks of high sec players)

      That is more meaningful than some pie in the sky bullshit lead balloon some dev pulls out his alcohol fueled arse.

  6. So after seagull starts dropping bombs in tomorrow's Twitch TV presentation, and with the newest release out on 6 days, do you think anyone will truly care about some minutes for a meeting that occurred over 3 months ago?

    It is hugely apparent that none of you have a clue about how minutes of a meeting delayed this much become relevant in only a few circumstances, most of which involve courtroom proceedings in real life, or in some history book. Neither of those apply to Eve. And even if the CSM is pushing hard for the the release of these minutes with CCP, their delay clearly demonstrates how little regard CCP has for the concept of minutes, or the players that were/are impacted by them.

    The real winners out of the delays are groups with trillions of ISK to invest on the inside information provided by CSM reps they are friendly with/ have in their groups.

    BTW, as many have pointed out on the forums, CCP within hours was apologizing and addressing the issue in the crashing in the latest null sec node crash / capital ship fight mess. Of course, the complete fuck-up of the live events, well, that was 6 days ago, and all we have is some vague promise from goliath that a dev blog is forthcoming. I would just love to get my hands on the skype/forum transcripts between CCP and the CSM discussing the live events, just to see all the glee and smug flowing back and forth over that devastation. Now, that would be something that could easily be un-NDA'ed, but we both know that will NEVER see the light of day.

    1. "Now of course the fight of the week was in KW-I6T, with a titan tackled as well as multiple super-carriers and titans on field. But thanks to the little node crash that happened during the fight, no supers died there, unfortunately. There's some pretty amazing screen-shots from the fight, though.." ~Jester 's Nov12th

      That the one? Mittani.com shows it occurred november 5th

      Tinfoil hattery would suggest this event fiasco was some sort of sop...be really gross if it was, but i'm pretty sure crashes happen regularly...and i'm fairly sure the whole thing's a troll unless CCP was notified of a battle and didn't reinforce

      could be something to it if it was supposed to be reinforced, and the devs did apologize as you claim.

      but that version is just way too paranoid for me even. "do not attribute to malic what could better be attributed to stupidity" ~ Oscar Wilde

    2. Here's a brain teaser for ya: What if CCP considers all high sec players to be either alts of null seccers or RMT/botters? I'd definitely expect they'd have CCPd such expendable carebears to the maws of null sec.

      on the other hand, it's perfectly understandable that CCP would put every effort into a winning hand (apologizing to null sec, who are represented on the CSM) than pouring good money after bad in an attempt to support expendable nonentities that inhabit high sec (because, obviously, they're either alts of nullsec or RMT/botters)

      Other scenarios are just too naive

  7. I've been waiting for any kind of a statement from CCP about the Live Debacle. Since they have not done so, I'm not subbing my trial account. I won't pay for any game that treats its' players so poorly. My concern is paying for a subscription just to find out that the game gets tossed to the null sec groups and everybody else be damned. I won't give anyone money for that.

    I waited, but I've simply run out of trial time.


    1. http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/operation-spectre-event-breakdown-and-faq/ (dev blog) ...short version: "what? we expected carebears to win" (they also have some farmland in florida for sale)

  8. You forgot this short-lived crisis:

    It really should've gotten more attention(of course it can't get any when under "post about this again and you're banned" rule).

  9. I have to assume from this that the community team is not the primary job of the community team members?

    In all of the crises you mentioned, it wasn't like the community team was bang on responding to them right away. It took them days, and even weeks to get around to responding. Even the new crises of the live event fiasco, it's been six days since it broke and still no response. That would be fine, and people would understand if they were busy working on the minutes and other stuff, but apparently they aren't even doing that.

    Does the community team have to drop all work, call a meeting, to formalize the meeting to plan the meeting to discuss a crises?

  10. So what exactly is the appropriate method to get questions to Ali Aras? EVE Mail?

    1. EVE mail or post in the thread, take your pick.

  11. I would like to suggest here something that I suggested on Mike Azariah's blog. Why the heck, in the interest of cost and time, doesn't CCP hire a stenographer and have the minutes transcribed? Then they can redact what they want and hand the draft to you all nice and cleaned and you can publish it or polish it as you want. Then a once over for any slipped NDA pieces and bingo, done in 2-3 weeks or less.

    Now, before you or anyone yells about cost, the average for a court stenographer in the US is around 55K and so would be a little over 1K US for a week's work. With the software and skills out there it should not take a week to complete a 2 days of meetings and transcribe the results process. Heck, we could do a kickstarter with every goon contributing 10 cents we should have the cash in a week or less. Maybe even have the fund carrying over or something. Seriously, this process is a rediculous joke that expends a huge amount of resources for what amounts to 50% or less return on investment of useful info. Do a fund raiser at fanfest, "A dime gets you CSM minutes in weeks not years. Help the CSM retain some hair."



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