Rhavas, noted writer and blogger, has written a piece stating why he thinks Trebor should stand once again for CSM8. In amongst ~words~, he suggested an idea that on the surface of things has some merit. His primary reason for asking Trebor to seek re-election is that he feels it is important that there is some continuity from one CSM to the next. All the other members of CSM7 who have actually done any work have confirmed they are standing down after this term.
Now Rhavas believes that some element of continuity is important and I can definitely understand this argument to a point. Further on in his post he suggests that to ensure some form of continuity always happens, there are two CSM elections a year, six months apart, with half the CSM being voted for each time. While I can understand why he is looking to solve this problem the solution drags up many more. The key to pretty much all the issues the CSM voting procedures generate is to get more people to vote.
The fact is, voting turning for CSM elections is poor. The CSM7 election saw the best turnout yet at just over 16%. Whoever is elected for the CSM does not have a mandate to represent the playerbase as a whole because the playerbase as a whole either doesn’t know how or doesn’t care to vote. People complain about bloc level voting sweeping the upcoming elections – this would be irrelevant if all 400k+ accounts in Eve Online actually voted. But something stops them voting. Whether it be that the average man on the street doesn’t care about voting, doesn’t understand the process, doesn’t have a representative candidate – doesn’t matter. Apathy is the order of the day.
Rhavas’ idea is to split the CSM so there are two elections a year. It’s hard enough to make players understand how important it is to vote without diluting that process even further by making it a biannual event. All that serves to do is make the voting base even more apathetic than they currently are.
The solution is simple and has been suggested my people such as Marc Scaurus and myself many times before. (EDIT: Turns out Poetic Stanziel had much the same idea around three months ago. Great minds think alike. Or fools seldom differ…) Force people to take part in the process even if it is only in the smallest way. When a player logs in for the first time after voting is officially opened, they should be faced with a window with the following options:
1) Vote now
3) Learn more
Selecting option 1 brings up an alphabetical list of all the candidates allowing the player to pick who they wish to vote for there and then.
EDIT: Mynnna has suggested in the comments below that it would be better if the list appears randomised rather than alphabetical to mitigate for the select few who hit vote and then click the top name in the list. I don’t think that many people would do this with the ease at which people could abstain but it is still a very good idea for those who don’t want to treat the process seriously. This would ensure that all those random voters should statistically cancel one another out.
Selecting option 2 brings up a second box with the text ‘Are you sure you wish to abstain from voting in the CSM8 election?’ followed by ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ buttons. ‘Yes’ closes the box and that person can carry on with their day. ‘No’ takes you back to the previous menu screen. Even for those with absolutely zero interest in the CSM, this entire process would take the player, what, ten seconds? It’s no great inconvenience.
Selecting option 3 takes you to a window (maybe a browser page) describing what the CSM is, it’s importance, what they do, etc. I’d imagine the CSM would help CCP to design the layout of this page, what needs to be there, external links and so on. At the bottom of the page there would be three options – Vote Now, Abstain, Close Window. If the the player elects to close the window, the original menu appears the next time they log in. The first two, as per option 1 and 2 above.
It’s as easy as that. Don’t tell me this would be complex for CCP to code. I’m not the most IT savvy guy in the world but I’m not buying that for a second. What this system does is ensure that everyone is forced, even for a split second, to consider the CSM process. If they really don’t want to be involved, fine – they can abstain quickly and easily. If someone doesn’t vote because they simply don’t understand the process, they have the option to read into it. Those who would have voted anyway, don’t need to bother logging into Eve Gate and doing it that way.
The only potential argument against is that someone would choose to vote and pick someone randomly from the list. I can’t see many doing this with the option to abstain being so quick and simple but hey, never underestimate the power of idiocy.
More people vote, the CSM has an actual mandate to take to CCP, they have a voting community behind them who have more understanding of the process and perhaps will involve themselves more through forums and such like. Everyone wins. I’ll expect my ISK-cheque in my wallet before I get back from this trip offshore please CCP 🙂