First Call


Guesting CZ today is the one and only Mike Azariah (CSM 8, 9 & 10) with some words of wisdom to those with a mind to run for CSM 11. – Niden

Some people have started their threads for CSM XI already and election time is closing in on us quickly. CSM X has yet to have their second summit and already there are folks queuing up to replace them. This post is for those running or thinking of running. It is not a ‘how to’ however. It is more along the lines of ‘do you have any clue of what you are getting into’?

I have read the candidate posts and am fairly sure that many of you haven’t yet grasped the concept of what is going on and are just x-ing up in hopes you are picked. Some of you don’t even seem to have ever read any CSM minutes or any of the marvelous posts about the CSM that have been produced in the past few years. You can take Sion’s negative view of the recent events, Sugar’s steady blog which notes the week’s doings, or my own irreverent and rose-coloured glasses view of the process. Read the summit minutes and do some research or you are going to be extremely shocked and disappointed when and if you are elected.

Starting with the negatives. Nobody is forcing CCP devs to deal with you. If you are an asshat, prone to leaking things or just haven’t a clue, then you will be sidelined quickly. If you turn everything into an argument and then ‘I told you so’ when things go off the rails you should not be surprised as things get more and more quiet. Seriously, if you were a dev would YOU want to deal with such people? It gets worse. While you may be a saint and a blessing to listen to, if there are others on the council that are too toxic, you may be tarred with the same brush. The ‘bonus’ is that there is little you can do to remove a bad member unless they cross very specific lines, like NDA breach or just not showing up at all. For better or worse, you are stuck with them. So watch out for that joke candidate or the angry player with an axe to grind, they may become an anchor that sinks your ship soon after leaving the dock.

“CCP has a road map and you are not going to get them to make a left turn just because you have some great ideas about bringing the Drake back to its former glory.”

Even IF you get a good bunch of council members and you all behave, you still don’t get to push your pet projects through. CCP has a road map and you are not going to get them to make a left turn just because you have some great ideas about bringing the Drake back to its former glory. You can advise and backseat drive, but you never have your hands on the steering wheel. The reasons they give you will become a standard litany: ‘not on the map’, ‘would take too much dev time’, ‘legacy code’, or (worst of all) just plain silence and you do not know if you are being ignored or if what you are asking for is just not possible.

Give up? Well there are some bright sides to it. While the roadmap may show the big focus there are lots of dev teams working on other things and small side projects do happen. One on one conversations with specific devs may let you bypass a toxic council and remembering that you are dealing with people, not titles, helps. You get to meet the people behind the game and find out that they are often just as passionate about it as you are.


But. You get blamed for bad things, yelled at for making changes worse, being powerless or part of some evil cabal that has all the power. You are either a self important blowhard or the current winner of a high school student council with no importance whatsoever. (Anime lied to me). And you work, if you are serious about the task ahead of you it will become something approaching a second full time job. If you have a first job it will eat your vacation time and then some. Meetings will happen at the convenience of people in Iceland, not your timezone. You will be constantly watching multiple communications and trying to keep up with what has been said, who said it and where. NDA restricts the access of the other players to see if you are doing anything at all (and a lot of them are positive that you do nothing).

That’s a lot of negative and not much positive, so you are probably wondering why I served three terms. The answer is easy. I like doing this. I was willing to take all the baggage and so are other people on the council. Sugar served multiple terms, Mittani tried to, Sion served two and Steve is going to run for his third this coming election. For all the complaining, all the grief, all the frustration we keep trying and keep coming back for more. Kind of like the way the rest of Eve players react to the game, itself.

Know what you are getting into if you are going to run. If you have questions then ask away. I try to answer my Evemails promptly. If what I have written made it look like a challenge worth taking rather than a warning then maybe you are right for the job. That, or crazy.

Tags: CSM 11, mike azariah

About the author

Mike Azariah

CSM 8, 9 and 10, driver of the Magic School Bus, destroyer of podcasts and all around awesome dude.

  • Mike, this has been a really good eye openner and informative. I have recently been toying with the idea of applying for the CSM, and have only recently started reading a lot of the older CSM minutes and blogs. But I have to be honest, it has been the recent negatives of some of the current CSM that has inspired me to consider puttting my hat in.

    Plans to waste votes and elect negative candidates will only ruin the CSM. As you say, you are stuck with them unless there is a clear breach. If the voters don’t care, and CCP will only “sideline” these people, they are crippling everyone else’s opportunities, including CCP’s.

    I wish to embrace your wisdom, and will continue exploring the CSM. I do have a job and family etc, so I will have to also consider the clear time constraints. Thanks again for this article.

  • Fuzzysteve

    See this post? It’s accurate

  • Good and accurate post, Mike.

  • AFK

    Sounds like a whole lot of effort for not much benefit.

  • Joffy Aulx-Gao

    Thanks for writing this piece Mike it really put things in perspective.

    I run for CSM because it’s time for me to give something back to CCP, EVE and the community, i’ve enjoyed this game for three and a half year now, gained amazing friends from all over the world. EVE is very important for me and my life and this piece makes my desire to help even more,

    I’m fairly good with ppl and that’s what seems to be needed most right now,
    I strive to be nice to everybody i meet both in and out of game, people seem to like me for that and i’ve plenty of time because i’m on pension.

    I can be stubborn and quite crazy so it’ll go just fine 🙂

    Joffy Aulx-Gao

    CSM XI candidate

  • Yumene/Erika Mizune

    Great post Mike, thanks for sharing <3

    This is going to be my second year running and I am running because I also want to give back to the community and give a voice. I can't even begin to say how much the community has helped me, both online and offline and how many friends I have made because of this game.

    So while it may come with the baggage that you talk about, I know I am still willing to carry it because I love this game so much as well and my strong desire to want to help.

    Thanks again for posting, and thank you for everything you have done for the community as well!

    ~ Erika Mizune (CSM X & XI Candidate)

    • Freelancer117

      Hopefully next year there will still be a CSM worth being a member for,
      I will vote for you as my number 1. Focus groups will no doubt replace it.

      Regards, a Freelancer

      PS: please don’t be an Anarchist, and stealth appear late on podcasts, you got the website 🙂

  • Bill Bones

    Offtopic but concerning joke candidates, clueless tourists, lazy dogs and angry folks… wouldn’t be CCP interested to screen and/or veto those candidates before they waste eveybody’s time and votes? It also would help turnout if potential voters didn’t had to read about 80 total strangers when picking their votes.

    FAI, let’s say that in order to be a candidate, players need to fill up a questionnaire made by CCP, with some 200 or 300 questions, among which are hidden, say, 50 relevant questions for the next year’s development plan. Most questions are choices but some are broad questions with free answer. Then players who don’t fill the questionnaire are rejected on spot. If they can’t fill it in a sensible period of time (say, one week after being sent to their mail), then they’re deemed too busy/lazy and are rejected too. Giving silly answers to the free answer questions will also mean a reject since CCP developers need no jokers. Failing to do anything useful with the hidden relevant questions would mean a potential reject unless the free questions showed that the candidate is knowledgeable and competent in other areas of the game. After the filter, CCP is left with people who can work hard enough to bother with a long questionnaire, who ahve tiem enough to fill i ina sensible time, who can be used to provide insight and feedback reelvant to their term’s development plan, and who can be presented to the voters as worth being read about and picked or discarded.

    That would be more respectful to voters than just say “here’s 80 guys who gave us their passport numbers, now guess who are worth reading about and be picked for vote”. And also to developers who will engage the CSM to discuss their passion and their means of living.

    The CSM was born for PR reasons and still carries that dead weight; if it is to be of use for development reasons, then CCP developers need a voice in its election. Trusting the Community guys to let customers pick 12 non-clowns non-lazy dogs and non-NDA breachers so they give devs endless feedback on something that won’t be developed until 2017 whereas they are clueless on what could be used in 2016 is silly. “Here’s the CSM, they won a popularity contest, now use them” is not the same as “Here’s the CSM you needed, both us and the players agree that they’re the best, now use them”.

    • Viince_Snetterton

      Interesting idea…and who at CCP makes the decision on yay or nay to a candidate? A very small group, or an individual? I can see it now: some null sec zealot with ties to the RMT cartels wiping out any candidate who stands against them.

      And please don’t even try to tell me that every dev or CCP employee is completely unbiased. But it really does not matter. The RMT cartels have their tentacles deep into CCP, and the CSM is pretty much irrelevant anyway.

      • Urziel99

        Ah, Dinsdale, still living off those dividends from all that tinfoil stock I see.

  • Thank you for the contribution Mike. Essential reading for any candidate. The institution is broken though and it will take more than a sincere and dedicated candidate to fix it sadly.

  • Thank you for the timely description of the CSM process. Its not the first time we read about the onslaught of work and aggression with limited chance of success. It makes me wonder who in their right mind would volunteer for this “job” and whether their motivations are actually good for the game.

    In this view, its probably a good idea to step back and think about the role of the CSM, their relationship with CCP and the players and rethink the process rationally and with an eye toward benefit for all.

  • Freelancer117

    Who is responsible for delaying the new CSM white paper for a great while now ?

    CCP Leeloo;

    “we are also working on updating the CSM White Paper right now”
    source, 2014-10-29:

    “[The CSM white paper] is one of the things we’re about to drastically change.”
    source, 2015-02-08:

    She reminds me of another CCP member who took over the CSM watch, and said soon™ enough untill it was to tiring to hear anymore.

    Regards, a Freelancer

    PS: the only reason why no official charges have been raised against a(ny) former CSM member(s) is because the Company can ill afford another round of Bad press imho.

  • Kiandoshia

    This is the kind of thinking that makes me not vote for CSM tbh. I think Mike for actually spelling out what I thought the CSM was (I never read any of the CSM communication or really cared much for all of it since its inception)

    It’s not that I think the CSM is a stupid idea. I just think that the people who go for CSM generally don’t get what CSM is and looking at the “campaign threads” just kind of confirms it all for me and it does it every time a new CSM is chosen.

    At this point, I wonder why CCP even lets people run who seem to treat the whole thing as some kind of presidential election. They obviously don’t know what they’re running for. It’s just as bad as running in order to boycott it, in my opinion.