That Grr Goons PL Site


In the minds of many EVE players there is a strong tendency to think in terms of antagonistic absolutes. People are relegated to pigeonholes like carebears, griefers, blobbers, elite-PVPers, lowsec scrubs, nullsec F1 monkeys and of course members of specific alliances or coalitions. To do so is among the oldest reflexes of social psychology right after protecting your own progeny, partner or sibling.

“The more polarised views become among EVE players, the stronger the desire to identify who belongs to which side.”

Despite that seemingly irrevocable “natural law”, we humans have evolved to a point where we developed the ability to encompass more than just our personal little corner of hardcore darwinism with our thoughts and acts. At least some of us have. We still have our difficulties with it though, and it is still reflexive for us to put a label on those we see as our opponents, call them different and identify them as “the others”. Such pigeonholing has happened to our little fansite collective time and again. The more polarised views become among EVE players, the stronger the desire to identify who belongs to which side. It will not have escaped your attention that in recent times, the leadership of a certain coalition has been busy rousing their members into a storm of outrage against those who supposedly persecute them unfairly.

It began with the claim that another coalition was in the making which had one purpose: to destroy the peace and prosperity the Imperium had forged. It is customary in all artificial narratives of conflict to point at those which are beyond immediate control and label them as opponents. The /r/eve subreddit was quickly identified as such a hotbed of anti-Imperium hostility because it conveniently lacks any moderator coming from the ranks of Imperium notables. All the downvotes which were directed at people with Imperium flairs were used as evidence and for some reason Gorski Car was singled out as the main person responsible for allowing this to happen, maybe even encouraging it.

To collectively declare the core of posters on a subreddit as hostile may be a bit far-reaching. After all, we are talking about a rather diverse community (yes I used that word) of people who are not so easy to categorise. A small group of fansite writers is something else entirely. They are clearly identifiable and for the purpose of creating an impression of a hostile climate beyond the safe demarcation lines of the Imperium community, the evidence against Crossing Zebras seems staggering.


It is a site founded by a “turncoat” who has left the well-meaning and prosperous CFC community behind to go howling with the wolves of Pandemic Legion (then ended up joining the Bastards and GalMil by proxy). It has attracted prominent writers and podcasters from said organisation to a degree that it can undoubtedly be called a site run by Pandemic Legion and their sycophants. That they have some other people who live in FW lowsec, Phoebe Freeport Republic and a smattering of other “irrelevant” organisations, even the odd “token Goon” or two, is just a false claim of pluralism. Let’s not forget, they count Gorski Car among their number too, the number one oppressor of /r/eve. If you need proof of the “Grrr Goon” bias, just look at this list of recent pieces provided by TMC EVE Desk Editor Matterall:

* The Imperium and the Road to Serfdom (critique of Imperium)

* Charlatans and Space Cliques (critique of kickstarter)

* Why We Left The Imperium (positives of leaving Imperium)

* Greed And Loathing In New Eden (critique of TMC money)

* Don’t Believe It (lighthearted rebuttal of TMC article on coffee)

* CZ Minutes: Grr Goons? (critique of kickstarter)

The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

The above reflects the narrative that Mittani and Sion Kumitomo have spread on their site, the Meta Show and on Tweetfleet Slack. Now, to put that into context, the pieces Matterall lists were published over the course of two months while a good 30+ pieces were put up on the site in total. Let’s be gracious and say that brings us to roughly 20% supposedly “grr Goons” content. I wouldn’t call that an overwhelming bias. At the same time, there were a number of publications written by PL members, but none of them was written from a pro-PL viewpoint. Only one article in all that time mentioned PL in passing and it wasn’t even written by a regular contributor. With his claim, Matterall provides a classic example of the so-called Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy: an argument constructed on the basis of very select evidence while there is a much broader body of evidence that contradicts it.

To elaborate, when I started writing for this site, there were quite a few CFC and GSF members on staff. Xander and Jeg themselves were with Gentleman’s Agreement and later The Bastion. We had Hibbie, Black Huey and HVAC Repairman. Furthermore, Pandemic Legion were not necessarily enemies of the CFC back then. Both groups were firmly bound together by the B0TLRD accords, and while they may not have been allies nor best friends, they were not antagonists either. In fact, those were the days when many feared the emergence of a “blue doughnut” where all of nullsec is controlled by a coalition of major powers. Interestingly enough, nobody accused us of being a “Goon site” or a supporter of the nullsec powers back then, and for a reason.

“A place where one could be an EVE player first and a member of any corp, alliance or coalition second.”

When Crossing Zebras evolved from a podcast-only site into one which also featured written content, the idea was to have a different writer assigned to each day who would represent a different angle, faction or playstyle. Presenting the many ways how different players can experience EVE was the goal. Crossing Zebras wanted to occupy a niche between the hardened fronts of TMC and EN24. A place where one could be an EVE player first and a member of any corp, alliance or coalition second. We did not want to take sides or allow ourselves to become the voice of a specific clique of players. Unfortunately, the political metagame of some factions would not grant us that position for too long.


Those who threw their lot with NC. and their allies would be more likely to write for EN24, and anybody with writing ambitions on the CFC/Imperium side was quickly claimed by TMC. In fact, our current lack of GSF or Imperium participation has nothing to do with any policy from us, quite the contrary. It was the coalition leadership themselves who, through peer pressure or sometimes even more blatant measures, made it extremely hard for CZ to get any contributions from writers who were affiliated with that coalition ever since Xander left their ranks.

Furthermore, TMC burned through several well-meaning editors and contributors, some of whom were PL members. One or two of those ended up with us because they wanted to escape the increasingly meddlesome attitude of TMC management. By alienating and censoring everyone who would not follow the “party line”, the people behind TMC – who are incidentally also the leadership of the CFC/Imperium – created a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you drive all people of critical attitude or opinion away, they are going to end up somewhere else where they can speak their mind freely.

Doesn’t That Make You “Grrr Goons” By Default?

The answer is no. Grr Goons is a meme used as a smokescreen by a group of people who mistake criticism for persecution. The purpose is to discredit all forms of disapproval indiscriminately. Whether The Mittani really cares for “his people” or whether he wants to leverage them for personal gain, the effect remains the same. He and others in his cadre of leaders create a simplistic demarcation line between themselves and everyone else. By doing so, they apply their own logic of “us vs. them” and expect that everyone else does the same because that is the way they view their gaming environment. I even suspect that their tunnel-vision is so strong that they are to some degree incapable of understanding that there are people who do not think like this. Based on that view it is only natural that they would assume everyone who is critical of them must immediately be hostile and negatively biased. There is – however – no particular bias here against EVE players who are Imperium members.

“Many times we do not see eye-to-eye on issues, and we consider that a healthy state of affairs.”

That we allow writers to criticise the leadership style and politics of that coalition does not make us irrevocably anti-Imperium. Like I said before: we are EVE players first. Members of the community who enjoy all the complex interactions this virtual world provides and publish our thoughts about it. Many times we do not see eye-to-eye on issues, and we consider that a healthy state of affairs. The very first article I wrote for this site was a piece which Xander disagreed with vehemently. I was still accepted as a writer, the article got published and I have since written many things which disagree with different members of our team.



T-shirt designed by Rixx Javix

Recently we published an article written by Darius JOHNSON which was inflammatory and controversial. I will admit freely that I am not a fan of the man, his style, or the culture he represents. I very much agree with The Mittani when he says it is misguided nostalgia to want the “old Goonswarm” back. Many people who pat Darius JOHNSON on the back for “sticking it to the man” forget that at the time he was the leader of Goonswarm he would have gladly ganked them, scammed them, trolled them and laughed all the way through it. After all, the famous quote “We don’t want to ruin the game, we want to ruin your game.” comes from him.

I still support the publication of his article because it voices an opinion that factually exists among many EVE players, and Darius JOHNSON speaks from a position of authority when he criticises the revisionist metagame and control-freak bureaucracy which characterises today’s Imperium. One thing I always appreciated about the Goons of the past was the mockery they made of people who took EVE way too seriously, and Darius JOHNSON directed his scathing attack right at that subject. This is a point of undeniable merit which is lent more strength through the fact that it is coming from him. We have been criticised for the style of that particular article, and personally I concur. However, this site exists to be a platform for free expression of different opinions, especially opinions which might not be popular elsewhere. That is our niche.

We select our contributions on the basis of merit, not based on who they come from. We want to showcase playstyles and provide analyses of various aspects that shape our gaming experience or how we perceive the EVE player community. As members of different organisations in the game, we would happily shoot each other and smacktalk in local, but when we are not piloting our spaceships we are just players, united by our common hobby. Everyone who shares that interest and can write coherently on the subject is invited to do just that and will be welcome to publish here.

In closing, I would like to paraphrase Xander Phoena who said something to the following effect during our internal discussion surrounding Darius JOHNSON’s article: if Sion Kumitomo wanted to publish a piece on our site explaining how shitty we are in his view, I would publish it.

I would gladly do the same.


Tags: Crossing Zebras, Darius JOHNSSON, tarek, The Imperium, The Mittani, tmc

About the author

Tarek Raimo

Former nullsec spy (no not under that name of course) and current failure at lowsec solo PVP, Tarek spends his time not logging in to the game as much as he keeps thinking about its social and metagame nature and sharing some of those thoughts with the CZ readers.

  • Fat Elvis

    This is why CZ #1 Eve Media Website
    p.s. Matterall just added another “Grrr Goon” bias to his list.

  • Arrendis

    Nope. There’s been no directives from alliance or coalition leadership to avoid CZ. What’s more, Sion has repeatedly made the point that CZ is not TMC’s enemy. Hell, Matterall’s written articles specifically for publication on CZ before TMC.

    It’s not us claiming there’s bias. If it’s members of the Imperium getting that impression, well, they’re your readers as much as they’re our readers, no?

    The piece that really generates the questions, though, is that you feel the need to defend yourself. As many of us have pointed out to a number of people across the years, defending against baseless accusations is completely useless. All you do is elevate the visibility of those accusations, and draw to them the attention of those readers who weren’t giving them any credence. Then they have to ask themselves ‘why are people saying this? why does this person feel the need to address this if it’s such blatant nonsense?’

    The proper way to address flagrant, baseless nonsense is to simply ignore it. At most, lampoon it. Any serious investment of time and energy you give to it only serves to create the impression that you find those accusations serious enough to address them. If the claims you’re trying to debunk are tribalistic in nature, then this effect is only increased, because your detractors will simply say ‘oh, of course they’d say that’.

    This is why what is termed ‘a whispering campaign’ is easily the most effective and unstoppable means of undermining public sentiment and organizational morale in the history of human society. It’s why it’s endured as a tool for propagandists, sensationalist journos, and espionage groups for over five thousand years.

    You can’t win that fight. All you can do is try to show how little power the claims have, by ignoring them.

    • Messiah Complex

      I have to agree with the third and fourth paragraphs: there was no reason to mount a defense in the first place. If some jackass loyalist is going to boycott CZ for whatever reason, he’s not going to read this article anyway.

      The only way to win is not to play.

    • Fat Elvis

      im sure Sion kicked up a big fuss about CFC guy (Hvac maybe?) just being on Xanders podcast at one point and mittens had to step in to cool things down. “Sion has repeatedly made the point that CZ is not TMC’s enemy” does not really ring true. Or i am misinformed?

      • Hendrick Tallardar

        Yeah, it was HVAC and it was the dumbest shit with the most idiotic of rationale behind it.

    • xanderphoena

      Whilst there may be no directives any more I can assure you as will Sion who explicitly told me, that there was one to stop anyone from GSF working at CZ. I had to go directly to The Mittani himself who sorted the issue out and was very decent and magnanimous about the whole thing. This would have been maybe 9 or 10 months ago.

      And it certainly is members of GSF who are posting and stating that CZ is clearly biased towards Goons on all manner of venues including and not limited to r/Eve, #tweetfleet and indeed, The Metashow.

      And here’s why your entire point about ignoring it is incorrect. It’s because you are working from a central point of presuming we are somehow one side of a ‘war’. We aren’t in the slightest. We’re an Eve site trying to produce quality content from all portions of the community. It seems reasonable to address the question that is constantly levelled to us – why don’t we have more pro-Goon content? It’s certainly not for the lack of trying.

      • Arrendis

        It’s because you are working from a central point of presuming we are somehow one side of a ‘war’.

        No, I’m working from the central point of presuming CZ is one side of a *conflict* – which there most certainly is. If nothing else, a conflict between the folks at CZ, and the folks looking to cast CZ as ‘Grr Goons’. You don’t have to be belligerent to be involved in a conflict, you just have to have someone nearby willing to put themselves in conflict with you.

        And ‘why don’t we have more pro-Goon content?’ is decidedly not the same as ‘Are we a Grr Goons site?’. From the very headline, this piece focuses on the accusations and perceived accusations. Perception is everything. The things you appear to prioritize will directly impact how your efforts are received. If you wanted this to be about ‘why don’t we have more pro-Goon content?’, then that’s what the focus should have been, not debunking claims of Grr Goons – go into the historical causes, sure. (And yes, I totally admit, I was thinking recently (as in, the last 6-8 months) when I said there wasn’t any ‘hat CZ’ directive, because there’s no solid time frame to reference within the article.) But then instead of putting your time and effort into ‘NO, LOOK, SEE, THIS STUFF IS ONLY PART OF WHAT WE DO’, pivot to focus on ‘if you want to see other points of view represented, hey, here’s how you go about getting that’.

        But that’s not where the investment of labor was here. The investment of labor, of time, of ‘this is the important issue here’ was solidly on playing defense – on being reactive, and letting the detractors control the way the issue’s framed, by meeting them on their terms, literally.

        And that doesn’t ever work.

        • xanderphoena

          I guess we’ll see what the readership thinks. I feel zero regret in once in a while staking out our claim to be (as far as possible given the points Tarek makes in the article) a neutral and unbiased platform for all of Eve.

          Side point Arrendis: your two long replies so far would have made / could make a very interesting counterpoint article either here on CZ or on TMC 😉

          • Arrendis

            Eh, they’re really no-where near long enough for what I’d consider a substantive response. They’re comments, man. An actual position piece should be somewhere along the lines of 50-150k pages. >.>

          • Arrendis

            Words. Not pages. Fuck, it’s late.

          • xanderphoena

            Who do you think you are – James315?

          • Arrendis

            Nah, he’s nowhere near pedantic enough. 🙂

    • Hendrick Tallardar

      “Nope. There’s been no directives from alliance or coalition leadership to avoid CZ.”

      There actually was. Like Xander said, it caused a few folks to have to leave abruptly before The Mittani put a stop to some fuckboy threatening to kick folks for writing at CZ over TMC. It was mentioned on at least one podcast episode with HVAC and Xander.

    • Kamar Raimo

      My purpose is not to have a fight, my purpose is to point out how ridiculous it is that some people constantly make it appear like one. I know for a fact that antagonism as I have described it has at least existed in the past. The Mittani is constantly raising the corpse of BoB to parade it around and make people scared of some imaginary mortal enemies. We have spaceships with weapons and regions of space where we can use them without prejudice. It’s really not necessary to have all this posturing just to have a fight.

    • The G Lob

      Guess you should have told Sion that?

      • Arrendis

        Sion knows, and does what he does for his own reasons.

  • Nashh Kadavr

    Proven yet again you are the best of us Tarek. Great piece.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Ah, I just write things. Not like I’m organising something that truly builds community like EVE NT 😉

  • AFK

    It’s not a bias. It’s that there’s literally no one else TO write or talk about since goon is the only one who adapted and kept playing the political game while every other major group threw their toys out and sat on the sidelines. The sov entities remaining are either too boring or insignificant to write about beyond the usual template battle report.

    When the game is finally reduced to fozzie’s vision of world is spaceships you’ll WISH you had something to grrr about.

    • Kickkarmafleet

      There’s plenty going on elsewhere. The only stagnant part of EVE is the north west.

      • Minty

        Say that to all the people that defend Venal and Pure Blind daily! It is far from stagnant; the only reason why sov doesn’t change hands there is because of the constant vigilance of the Imperium’s pilots to not drop sov, turning away aggressors at any opportunity.

    • Kamar Raimo

      TBH I would like to spend more time exploring all the other stuff that is going on. Unfortunately some people are so great at creating drama about themselves and others that it’s hard to ignore. OTOH, as I have pointed out, the articles we write here that have anything to do with Goons or The Imperium are in the minority.

  • “Despite that seemingly irrevocable “natural law”, we humans have evolved to a point where we developed the ability to encompass more than just our personal little corner of hardcore darwinism with our thoughts and acts.”

    Sorry to test your claims of welcome disagreement right off the bat, but I would like to question this. In regard to the social state of humanity, the idea that society continues to advance in acceptance of those other than our own group finds little to support it.
    On the contrary, the shrinkage of the World due to technology has done more harm than good. We are pigeonholing with increased intensity. The Earth is awash with fear of those who are not like “Us”, and it appears to me that a group like the Goons are symptomatic of this devolution.
    Their current infighting is yet another manifestation of the same phenomenon.
    Then again, I can think of a certain well-armed society that is falling victim to the same thing.

    • Kamar Raimo

      What you say isn’t untrue, and indeed the overload with information has lead to an adverse reaction among many who want to close themselves off and reject outside influence. That being said, there is more mutual understanding, international and cross-cultural cooperation than there has ever been before in human history except under regimes which practically enforced this.

      People who are afraid or even hostile to those who think and act differently have existed virtually since humans evolved, the development that we can come to terms with that and treat each other’s differences with mutual respect is rather recent and still very much ongoing.

  • GrouchyOldGamer

    Grrrr Xander

  • schwaboy

    I have 3 points to make

    1) I don’t think CZ as a site, or Xander Phoena personally, is anti-Goon or anti-Imperium.

    2) This article is full of self-righteous cuntery, and should be dumpstered with prejudice.

    3) I look forward to going back on the CZ pod and/or writing another piece for this site.

    • Tarsas Phage

      The man who takes the high road is often easily seen as self-righteous.

      But that doesn’t make his words and their meaning wrong.

      • schwaboy

        Nah, but he is wrong. And he’s wrong while being self-righteously cunty at the same time.

        • Tarsas Phage

          Wrong about which part, exactly? There seems to be one or two details you’re keying in on as arguable, and ignoring the rest.

          Is he wrong about how the Imperium “Us vs. Them” mentality and that you feel it doesn’t exist?

          Is he wrong that he feels that such mentality has bled over into the a “war of the websites?” I mean, there’s plenty of prescient to make it seem like that exist (I do recollect that when TMC canned or otherwise forced out their non-CFC writers several of them pretty good, that was pretty glaring.) He’s just putting it on record that CZ doesn’t want to play that game, and never intends to. Is that “cunty”?

          I think you really need to ask yourself why your feelers are hurt.

          • schwaboy

            As I have stated publicly many times, I don’t have any ties whatsoever to TMC, nor do I want any. But I take pretty extreme issue with the notion that The Imperium and its leadership have taken an anti-CZ stance, or called it out as a grrgoons site. The author is conflating the recent drama, and the previously well documented sion/xander stuff, and is trying to make it somehow an Imperium vs CZ thing. It’s not, the author knows it’s not, and chooses to say it is anyway.

            The whole “oh look at them call us out” (for the record, materall isn’t even in The Imperium), and “we would never do that, because we are righteous journalistic professionals” reeks of indignation, and just really fucking irritates me.

            Edit: Also, I feel like you know all this already, and just wanted me to spell it out for you for funsies.

          • Tarsas Phage

            The drama isn’t just a recent thing, though. This whole debate goes back, dare I say, a year if not more. It predates Materall by a long shot. All those individual incidents have finally coalesced into one, and DJ’s reemergence has push that bundle of joy over the edge.

          • schwaboy

            None of the recent drama has anything to do with whether or not Imperium leadership views CZ as anti-goon or has some sort of agenda to shit on CZ.

          • sayod

            I would suggest you read the comment section of DJs article – that was probably what caused this article.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Among other things, yes.

          • Tarsas Phage

            Keep obsessing about the finger, instead of what it’s pointing at.

          • schwaboy

            It’s all garbage.

          • Hendrick Tallardar

            Except it does given that someone within the leadership within the CFC tried to prevent CFC members from working on CZ over a year ago because ~space politics~. You can ask Jeg Elsker, HVACRepairman, etc. or listen to Episode 52 of Crossing Zebras where they talk about it and why it was utterly stupid.

          • schwaboy

            Sure, 2 years ago, and that got shot down by The Mittani. So FFS get over that, please.

          • Hendrick Tallardar

            January 2015 was 2 years ago? Go figure.

          • Kamar Raimo

            If you are not involved with TMC why do you white knight for them?

            Also, I didn’t call out the Imperium, I called out the leadership – two guys in particular – and Matterall for his baseless defense.

            Guilty as charged on indignation and self-righteousness, but “It’s not, the author knows it’s not, and chooses to say it is anyway.” is ridiculous in the light of everything that has happened over the years and up until the last few days constantly and repeatedly.

          • schwaboy

            I’m not white knighting for TMC at all. In fact I’m making exactly zero commentary about TMC here. Materall isn’t a part of The Imperium, he’s a staff member on TMC. This article is trying to pass off his opinion has that of Imperium leadership, and its dogshit.

          • Kamar Raimo

            I am not saying that Matterall’s opinion is that of The Imperium. What I am saying is, that Matterall has internalised a narrative driven by the TMC management who are also the Imperium leadership. Matterall has spent many words in the comment section on DJ’s article on this site here accusing us of Grr Goons bias based on no grounds. Mittani and other people within the Imperium have called us “a PL site” on The Meta Show and Podside, not to mention baseless and constant discrediting of Xander and now Gorski Car.

            The tactic which Mittani and Sion generally employ is repeating something for so long and so consistently in public until as many people as possible believe it to be true. Just read DJs AMA piece and the authoritative responses to it to see an example of this at work. The fact that Matterall is so far that he is now pleading their case tells me how much the narrative has progressed.

            For what it’s worth, i decided to not wait for years before I say this is a narrative they have manufactured from nothing, based on preconditions which they have created themselves to fit with their piece of fiction.

        • GrouchyOldGamer

          Calling people names isn’t the same as calling out something.

    • GrouchyOldGamer

      With such an elegant critique of this article I know I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for your next piece.

      • schwaboy

        I call out bullshit when I see it.

        • callduron

          Clearly you don’t or you wouldn’t be a Goon director.

          • schwaboy

            I’ve called out some bullshit from other Goon directors. Sorry all that dirty laundry isn’t public.

    • Kamar Raimo

      “2) This article is full of self-righteous cuntery, and should be dumpstered with prejudice.”

      You think Sion or Mittani had a monopoly on that kind of stuff? In the relentless world of EVE media someone has to compete with those guys and Seraph IX Basarab usually falls short.

      Wait for my next piece in which I explain how GSF is not a community and that the fall of BoB is a piece of fanfic. To be honest, I am still struggling with finding an expression of similar evocative eloquence as “we will fuck them to death”. Unfortunately some of my other favorites like “twisting the knife” and “we will stab them over and over into the heart until they stop moving” were already taken.

      • schwaboy

        I really don’t quite understand what you’re saying here. Are you admitting it’s self-righteous cuntery, and that it’s ok because TMC has self-righteous cuntery, too? Is it sarcastic? I’m legitimately not sure how to interpret what it is you are saying here.

        • Kamar Raimo

          I generally don’t respond seriously to matter-of-fact statements like “this is shit”

    • Niden

      Looking forward to no. 3 in that list 🙂

  • Minty

    There are more biases than just having a pro-PL vibe on EN24. By posting articles that may seem to have a neutral standpoint on PL and items that may interest people who are fans of PL but leaving out any items that do not concern those things, that in itself is a bias.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    The CFC mgmt are clearly out to influence/control the media channels they’ve neglected for the past few years (Tweetfleet Slack, Reddit, CZ) to help build a war narrative and to try and repair some of the damage caused by the kickstarter fail.

    I’m not quite sure who would care enough to fight them for months over it though; They appear to be rattling their sabres and shouting war-cries on a battlefield where everyone has wandered off.

    • Anoron Secheh

      The same can be said of /r/eve’s posters. I go there and I see only tishu, PL, PH, NC., and other non-Goon/non-CFC entities posting. It’s a circlejerk and the goons and their friends have given up on discussions, me included.