A Fart in Space

 

The following is a submission from Darius JOHNSON. The statements therein are his opinions and are as such not related to those of Crossing Zebras. -Niden

There’s a lot of oddball shit going on in internet space today. It would be super cool if that was meant as some form of segue into a story about some clever thing that happened when this supercap pilot named Captain Cocks ran into Admiral Buttes, but honestly, there’s just some oddball shit going on.

I haven’t played the game in a very long time. I don’t really care about any sublime concept of EVE as a form of meditation or any dumb bullshit. When I played this game, I played it to step on other people’s toys and be a giant jerk of a space chaos fiend. In that time I lead the largest alliance the game has ever seen to the defeat of the largest power in the game at the end of a war spanning five or more years. After retiring, I returned to bring said alliance back from collapse and worked to find them a home (all of this achieved purely by virtue of a very talented cast of directors). This alliance is still alive and breathing today, and remains one of, if not the, pre-eminent power in EVE Online.

During that time I was also voted into the first and second Council of Stellar Management (back when vote rigging was about power instead of vanity). I’m not quite sure what the current iteration of the council even does at this point, but the first two Councils were largely devoted to figuring out what a council was. Also, dreaming up ways to file pretend parliamentary procedure emails to upset Jade Constantine as a distraction from work because he was a giant twat and really believed in parliamentary procedure. I was also granted a kind of once-in-a-lifetime gift of an opportunity to troll the New York Times, which paid double when various members of the Council wrote and said stern things about how Europe’s identity was now in jeopardy and other such nonsense. They also demanded a retraction from the New York Times about their internet space video game article.

My story actually spans the course of a decade, involves a lot of hurt feelings and angry little men, a proud and not at all humiliating as someone’s dad space presentation, and a stint as CCP’s Security Director in which we enacted a sea change in the way illicit virtual world behavior is investigated, the principals of which, though evolved, serve as solid foundations in modernizing player investigations and security communication.

I spend the first paragraphs expounding upon my space accomplishments not because I want you to become uncontrollably aroused because you’re a disgusting nerd/creep hybrid, but because I’m not so vain as to presume everyone reading this article knows who I am. I have had a unique and frankly humbling experience in every possible aspect of a game that I could never quite figure out why I was playing, but that also somehow gave me the best of my friends and experiences aside from MY WIFE. Despite a seeming love/hate relationship, I will always consider Iceland a home. I don’t feel at all bragadocious or dishonest about making the claim that I have experienced more of what EVE has to offer from end-to-end than anyone else on this planet.

Darius

I spent these first paragraphs talking about myself because I love to write about me because I am literally The Mittani, but also because they provide context for the subjects I’m about to rant about as my experience provides a unique insight into all of these topics. Also shit’s been cray and I like to stir the pot.

And so it is after great pontification and In loving homage to my dear friend Vio Geraci that I present to you: A Fart In Space – A society column

Martin Bormann

Just stop. This is sad in a dad-looking-at-you-like-what-the-fuck-have-I-done-to-this-world kind of way.

Space timesheets, audits, board meetings, founding documents, anthems, IP posturing, goatfucking

Only a sad sack of deplorable human garbage would gain any form of satisfaction from any of the above pursuits. Board meetings might be OK because you’d have a bunch of money, but you’d also probably be a dick.

On the most recent CSM changes

I recall a time way back in the distant past when bloggers were furiously mashing their keyboards demanding the mantle of journalist, and eventually the courts agreed. I was pretty grossed out by the whole concept personally but regardless, that set a standard for how as a business one should interact with a blogger. They are press.

The space drama emanates from the recent change to the CSM qualifications which stated that members of the press are unable to run. While many are angry about this, I can say with absolute certainty that this change is LONG overdue and frankly, should have been covered already with the spirit of the ban on people in the videogame industry. It’s not that there may be a conflict of interest it’s that there is. It’s also obvious.

I pushed for (may have proposed) that ban and as the guy who may have been the guy who said “hey, there’s a conflict of interest with people in the videogame industry” (which NDA do they honor? Not rocket science.) I can say that the spirit of that rule absolutely would encompass space journalists and bloggers. Sorry boys and girls but you’re going to have to collect your ten bucks a month in adsense revenue hawking psychic readings and malware some other way if you want to be a CSM. You serve some kind of purpose as space journalists. Embrace that instead of pretending it should be some preordained pathway to political success. There is no case in which the worlds of politics and journalism intersect with good results. I didn’t bother to google that but I presume it’s true in part because I have never been wrong on the internet.

On removing the real name qualifier for CSM candidacy

I hate this so much I have written it down and put my butt all over it. More than once. Then I spit on it, ran it over and put my butt all over it again, buried it for a year, dug it up and shot it with artillery.

Having my name out there due to space politics caused me all manner of annoyance. It also ensured that by my example others could learn that if you want to get involved, you need to be prepared to deal with bullshit. You will also likely be significantly more careful about what you say. I don’t regret a minute of it.

Now we have no such concept of accountability and shockingly we end up with a CSM on which SPAceCOMANd3r22 and X number of other people don’t even bother to show up. If you can’t get quality candidates maybe you should take a look at why that is instead of lowering your standards. If that’s not possible read the next section.

The CSM currently is dumb as hell, delete it

To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.

-Winston Churchill

I was pretty firmly supportive of the CSM program. Right up until the CSM began to feel entitled as some kind of creepy board of space directors turned real world business moguls everything was pretty cool. Then two issues collide in the form of this gross coupling of a purposely misinterpreted internal company newsletter between two people PHILOSOPHICALLY discussing opposing viewpoints on microtransactions as a thought exercise and a bunch of noble outrage about a monocle. A bunch of noble outrage that people wear like a badge of ironic achievement.

In a heroic act of self sacrifice, the CSM dropped the important work they were doing and were flown to Iceland for an EMERGENCY MEETING to debate such important topics as the outrageous cost of a 100 percent cosmetic cartoon monocle. Somewhere in here the conclusion is made that the solution to a bunch of people objecting to a thing during the scheduled presentation about said thing being ignored is to have them believe they are developers while being ignored. As a professional I can tell you nothing puts the delicious cherry on top of an ambitious project quite like having someone who works as an anime peddler for a living telling you how to do your job nonstop and having access to your co-workers ears to disparage your work and your character.

In a way it’s kind of sad. The CSM was a noble and ambitious goal. Unfortunately when you don’t have clear definitions of the separation of church and state people will take advantage of that. In very special and rare cases however they will run roughshod all over everything they can shod run on, all the while screaming angrily, voices united in some kind of hoofed frankenmonster way. You can’t cure frankenmonster. Frankenmonster needs to die. It’s the humane thing to do.

736

On space corporations as space businesses

I’ve seen some good and dear people lately caught in the crosshairs of this idiotic intersection between some kind of pseudo-space-empire turned business and actual videogame space playing. The worst perpetrator of this action happens to be a space journalist and also on the CSM. By my math that’s like 200 reasons to have validly enacted a removal and yet…. crickets. Let me put this here again:

To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.

-Winston Churchill

There’s quite frankly no room for this shitheel tactic of thanking people who have devoted years of their time to you and thought themselves friends beyond that with pitiful internet threats and wannabe big boy intimidation.

The internet space character Sion Kumitomo, or whatever his anime name is, is a wannabe space toughguy/businessman and also a garbage monger. I’d hurf and I’d blurf about “not in my Goonswarm” and it would sound pretty dumb. What I’ll say instead is that those of you with any pride can do better and should demand better. It’s not that I think Goonswarm should disband or anything. It’s that Goonswarm has about three Goons left in it and has a sackless zilch like Captain Roboto barking about space discipline to all three of them.

Grow some self respect. There are plenty of fine ways to have a good time that don’t involve you getting on your hands and knees to file FORM 269’s at the altar of space Ayn Rand. If you need to know what a good time is because you’ve got some bizarre form of PTSD, take a look at what decent people like Endie are doing and go do that. Nobody has to put up with this idiocy and it’s high time for people to start calling this bluff. He is not a wise and powerful space champion. He’s been given a gift and squandered it overplaying his hand and just being a dick in general. “Go fuck yourself” is the only response required from ANYONE to demands from this zero. I have never filed a space timesheet (except on a lark and I think that was an alt nobody knew about) and frankly I’d rather quit than do so. My instinctive reaction to being asked to clock in to a videogame is to mock and spit in the face of the person demanding that, but for some reason we pretend it makes sense here. I don’t think it’s Stockholm Syndrome so much as the fact that there’s not much goony about Goonswarm.

“Goonswarm” with this asshole coming down on people for their space records due to his need to play internet businessman and be space important isn’t for Goons. It’s for the legions of pubbie sycophants who are addicted to abuse and lack the intelligence or emotional fortitude to decide if they want put a stop to the cycle for themselves, and they likely won’t. You can and should all do better, even if that means just pretending this garbage human doesn’t exist and ignoring him until he flexes the only muscle he has and kicks you out. Somehow, if I lose my space GBS access my heart will find a way to go on.

Elise Randolph’s new hobby

It came to my attention this week while chatting with some bros, as one does, that Elise Randolph has taken up competing in amateur chess tournaments with old men in the park, Bobby Fischer style. He’s lost to two guys who thought they were playing baseball until their families tracked them down and took them home and a man known as “TheWeedMaster”. If any of you are good at chess, like REALLY good, he could use some coaching. Hit him up on twitter @eliserandolph and tell him your awesome chess stories and maybe give him some tips. He needs all the help he can get.

Closing

All in all, this is just a random collection of thoughts I’ve had festering, for a few years in some cases, and it wasn’t until recent events that I felt compelled to say something. I don’t really have any skin in the game insofar as what happens, aside from the usual attachment someone has when they’ve devoted a significant portion of their life to creating something that was wonderful. Even if it was an ugly baby that went around smashing everything it was still our ugly baby and I loved and nurtured it.

I still love The Mittani and I still count him among my friends. I believe he means what he says when he says “Our people deserve the best”. I just think we have different opinions of who “Our people” are (which has always been known) and what “the best” is. I’ve always been a strong proponent of a Goon master race mentality in the alliance, with partnership evolving through social compatibility. When we won the Great War, we were capable of victory because we had forged personal friendships among the leaders of many of the top alliances involved. We took the risks we did and were able to achieve what we did BECAUSE we focused on the social concerns first. Without friends we had no victory. Without burning our boats like Cortez we had no victory. It’s not sexy enough to make a selectively edited comic book about but, revisionist history and bitter mewling aside, the metagame did not win us that war. Goons staying up all night for days on end won us that war.

We could have won in Delve 1, but our will broke when the Russians lost a titan in NOL. Sov 4 was breakable, we just didn’t have the support to break it. The defection of Haargoth (of which I was a participant in all but comic book history (so bitter)) certainly made the path easier and provided Goons and our allies with the belief that we could achieve, but victory was reached through military means and the military existed with or without a disbanding. It may be that we’d never have been that aggressive without that catalyst (though I was never accused of being too timid), but that doesn’t change the reality that victory was achieved through sound military strategy enacted by some talented and dedicated FCs (and I won’t flinch from giving DBRB some credit here).

I think we’ve lost sight of that. It’s a shame. It’s not lost forever and if nothing else, hopefully this missive can serve as a catalyst for change or at least inspire a candid conversation. The obvious thing here is the question of whether penning an article like this isn’t just being a douche. By way of explanation (which I’m not sure anyone deserves), it’s because this article isn’t about you personally. It’s about a dream that has taken some weird turn into a kind of ether binge hallucination-fest and how that makes me feel. I think I’ve put enough into this to have that right and this is frankly the easiest way for me to reach the audience I want to speak to.

Anyway if you don’t like it you can eat a bag of dicks.

t(-_-t)

DJ

Tags: csm, Darius Johnson, Goonfleet, Goonswarm Federation

About the author

Darius JOHNSON

Darius JOHNSON is the former two-time CEO of Goonfleet / Goonswarm Federation, a former CCP developer (CCP Sreegs) and former CSM 1 & 2 member.