CSM8 RetrospectiveMangala Solaris
The 8th Council of Stellar Management is drawing to a close and the elections for the 9th are in full swing. Today I am taking a look back at my campaign, the election and the past year as a CSM8 delegate.
On the campaign trail
Back in January 2013, I decided to run for the 8th CSM. Despite my decision being founded ever so slightly on a joke post by a fellow RvB member, I felt that my point of view as a representative of a high sec combat organisation and as a pilot with a varied in game history would translate well if elected. And so I began campaigning.
As with many candidates, I put together a platform that covered the things that interested me and and that I felt would be of sufficient interest to others. During the campaign while ‘kissing babies’ in my Jita Park thread, I was asked many questions about other aspects of the game, and I put considerable time in to ensuring I answered those as comprehensively as possible, even the ones I felt were daft or pointless. Hey, all those asking were potential voters! Even my loyal minions in RvB did not spare me – I received many pointed questions from people there. It was refreshing to see as I had been concerned they would just blindly vote for me because of who I was, rather than what I represented.
I also made many media appearances, taking interviews with EVE news sites and podcasts. Now as someone who has only ever been interviewed for work purposes in the past, these were a whole new ballgame, especially my interview with Crossing Zebras’ very own Xander Phoena. I went into that interview with more trepidation than I had for any job interview. To this day I still think I fluffed it.
Once the elections opened things really ramped up – more media appearances, more interviews and several question / answer sessions with various groups including EVE University. The session with EUNI is easily the one I look back on the fondest. Both new players and vets alike asked some great questions and were very much enthused with the process.
While all this was going on, I was constantly reaching out to other candidates to secure cross endorsements. Let me tell you that of all the things I did during the campaign and the election, that was the hardest, as often times finding common ground with a candidate proved more difficult that it seemed, due to positions both sides would develop based on what we got asked by the voters. However, I was very lucky that early on in the campaign I had been approached by a cabal of non-aligned individuals including Trebor, Ali, Ripard and Mike. We all agreed to cross endorse one another, to work towards a common goal of ensuring we all made it on to the CSM, which as you have seen worked thanks to the new STV voting system.
One negative I found with the election, and that I feel is still the case today, was despite STV being a considerably better election system that allows a wider spread of candidates, the playerbase really was not aware of the election. Advertising by CCP was very lacklustre, with many candidates doing a considerably better job at getting out the vote to both their followers and the wider EVE community then CCP did. The election for CSM9 may well see a lower turnout that CSM8 thanks to this. Even CSM9 candidates are doing less widespread ‘get out the vote’ initiatives than many of the candidates for CSM8 did during our campaigns.
“And the winners are…”
When the results of the election were announced I was, for want of a better word, shocked. Yes, I had passed the earlier pre-election with flying colours coming only second to Ripard, but to find myself elected to the CSM just stunned me. I mean I had considered a win, but had not given thought on how I would go about processing it internally.
RvB and many friends around the game were quick to offer congratulations and this helped me come to terms with my new position within the EVE community. What really helped me take this victory in, was the numbers blog released by CCP which showed that my efforts had paid off with hard numbers – that my supporters were very much ‘real’ and had not just made vague promises to vote in order to get me to go away.
The weeks following the election were a blur of emails, NDA signings, Skype chats and much more as CSM7 handed off to the newly minted CSM8 while Dolan took us under his wing and promised us the Earth!
With the numerous announcements CCP had made at Fanfest about the upcoming Odyssey expansion, CSM8 really had to hit the ground running using both the CSM/CCP forums to catch up and CCP Dolan to ensure that key players in that expansion and future point releases were available to us. And we had to do all of this while at the same time dealing with numerous fires that cropped up along the way, especially the launcher issue that saw everyone granted 50,000 SP by way of an apology from CCP. Somehow in the midst of all this the CSM managed to elect its officers, most notable of which was Trebor being elected Chairman. He was a worthy choice. A font of CSM knowledge who has (now) held all the positions possible on the CSM.
This being EVE, you know ‘spreadsheets in space’, you will not be surprised at all to learn that your CSM uses them too. CSM8 used spreadsheets to determine our officer positions, to register our availability for the townhalls, to find a suitable time for meetings with CCP that benefited the majority and of course to see who could make the Summer and Winter summits.
Speaking of the summits, these were the real eye openers for me as a member of the CSM. Firstly the level of access CCP gives you during the summits is second to none. They were frank in discussions with us about the subjects at hand, with nothing obviously being held back at all, even when the topics being discussed were purely theoretical and very contentious. This really helped me keep faith in CCP over the past year, despite the major fires that both we and they have had to fight. At times, CCP had me seriously doubting if anyone knew what they were doing or had the ability to predict the communities response correctly.
So here I am looking back over my year as a CSM8 delegate, and I can say that the effort involved in running a campaign, getting out there making yourself known and encouraging others to vote really does pay off once you are on the ‘inside’. I just wish that I could have made better use of the past year. At times I was not as active as I had hoped I would be (even though CSM 8 has been considerably more active than those before it) or was even as knowledgeable on a subject as I had assumed. However, I learned that teamwork is the key to getting the most out of the CSM internally and in conjunction with CCP, something I really hope to carry with me should you elect me to CSM9.