Conflict of InterestXander Phoena
Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride because I am fucking furious. I will try and keep this as objective as possible but no promises.
Consider the following headline you spotted on a friend’s Facebook page:
MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION CEO PRESENTS EVIDENCE DISPROVING GLOBAL WARMING
Interesting story. You do a bit more digging around. On looking for the story on your particular favourite, slightly more reliable news site of choice, you find the following headline:
BP CEO DENOUNCES GLOBAL WARMING AS NONSENSE
Ahhhh, that changes things. Exact same story you but with a little more embellishment. I realise this is an over-exaggerated, extreme example but it illustrates a serious point. You see, when you read a piece of writing, you often have to be acutely aware of what the writer is and isn’t telling you to give you a good feel for any potential bias. Often what isn’t said is vastly more important that what is down in black and white.
Now consider this post from earlier today by Ripard Teg on the latest Somer Blink story leaked by TMC here. I urge you to go read Ripard’s piece if you haven’t already before going any further. 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.(1)
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. It infers that CCP suspected the community would be unhappy had they done so. This is purely supposition on my part however. Perhaps you agree with Ripard however. That isn’t the key point of this post.
Let’s consider what Ripard didn’t tell us. Let’s pick out the following quote from his post:
So SOMER Blink’s employees got some rare Scorpions out of this. They weren’t the first, they won’t be the last.
They weren’t the first. Some were given to participants of the Eve Poker Tournament at Fanfest 2013. We know some were given to Somer Blink. We also know that some were given to the staff of the Syndicate Competitive League as a reward for running successful tournaments.(2) 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.(3) That’s the same SCL in which several of Ripard’s corpmates, including Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent are both commentators in. 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.
That’s right folks, if you are outraged by CCP, this Somer Blink fiasco and the ships they hand out as they see fit to whoever they wish with little rhyme or reason, the Vice Chairman of CSM8 considers you to be overreacting or green with envy. There’s no scandal here according to him. The fact his colleagues and corpmates have benefitted from this to the tune of around 100b ISK (six Ishukone Watch Scorpions at 15-20b a pop) isn’t at all a conflict of interest and there was no need to mention it in his piece. Those of you who didn’t get one are just jealous or generating unnecessary controversy.
No need to mention that in his piece though. No need for the Vice Chairman of CSM8, main host and long time supporter of the SCL to point out a fucking stratospheric conflict of interest in his post.
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. I went out of my way in CZ30 to avoid calling out a specific CSM8 member who I believe handled themselves in a way in the forums after the TOS stuff from a few ways back that screamed CCP advocacy as opposed to representing the playerbase. The vast majority of the community appears to be angry about this Somer stuff and yet we have the Vice Chair not only defending CCP but actively attacking those who believe CCP have strayed here. Nothing from any other individual members and nothing from CSM8 as a collective.
Remember the example from the start of the article? Sometimes the most important information is what they don’t say explicitly…
1. I want to confirm that we at Crossing Zebras have never been offered anything other than the bog standard Fansite rewards of a single Eve Online account and two passes to Fanfest itself. I’m not suggesting we deserve any more either, simply pointing out that CCP have never contacted us to offer anything extra. And there are many, many more deserving entities and individuals before they got down the list to us.
2. By the way, I think SCL are richly deserving of those ships. They do an amazing job and work very hard to produce amazing player-run content.
3. To be absolutely clear, Ripard did not get an Ishukone Watch Scorpion. He was a guest host at the time and not staff.