The Handcuffs of Apathy

 

Round about this time last year, I wrote an article covering what I thought was the poor coverage and promotion of the CSM8 election by CCP themselves. CCP Dolan promised me in an interview that we would see some initiatives during the election to get people to actually vote. What we ended up with was a mass Evemail and a short (and frankly, terrible) video. Despite what some  said at the time, I predicted that voter turnout % would be down in the CSM8 election in comparison to CSM7. It dropped from around 17% to around 12%, a massive decrease given how many people actively engage themselves in the CSM process.

It’s the morning of Friday, 4th April as I write this. The two week voting period of the CSM9 election begins in four days on Tuesday, 8th April. Let me list all the official communications, promotions and discussion from CCP covering the CSM9 election to date:

 

 

  • On 21/3/14 we had a dev blog from CCP Dolan confirm the CSM9 election schedule, process and candidacy applications.

 

 

  • Earlier today we had confirmation on the forums of the official list of candidates available for the ballot during the election from CCP Dolan

 

 

 

 

Yeah, that’s it. There’s been nothing else. No Evemails, no videos, no push on twitter or the forums, nothing. We are less than four days from the CSM9 election and CCP have done absolutely nothing to promote the event. I would understand if CCP felt it didn’t need to heavily promote the election after an incredibly successful event in terms of turnout last time around. Except the turnout for the CSM8 election was horrendous.

CSM8

Now I am all for not firing your powder too early on these things. Push election promotion too early and by the time it actually rolls around, voters will either have forgotten or grown apathetic. But we are now four days away. And there has been zero promotion.

I don’t know who is to blame here but the situation leaves me incredulous. The fact that I am a candidate this year makes zero difference. Read those posts from last year when I was banging the same drum. I had hoped lessons would have been learned but it would appear not. Is it simply that CCP have grown apathetic about the CSM process? Is it that CCP Dolan’s job is such that he can’t devote the time to CSM work necessary? One only needs to look at the summer summit minutes fiasco to see that there are appears to be administrative problems with CCP when it comes to dealing with the CSM.

We keep hearing that CCP is keen to get the CSM increasingly involved as a stakeholder, we see great slides in presentations at Fanfest and when pressed, we hear plaudits from the relevant CSM devs. And yet CCP appear to be unwilling to get people involved in the election process, a vital part of what makes the CSM. I have some ideas about how things can be improved but whether elected or not, if the voter turnout % is down for the CSM9 election in comparison to CSM8, I will be all over CCP.

I guess we should be happy we have the winter summit minutes in time for the election. Just…

Fly safe,

Xander

Tags: csm, csm9, dolan, xander

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.

  • There’s a banner advertisement in the bottom left of the client launcher, but apart from that complete agreement.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, despite CCP’s poor initiative efforts to encourage the player base to vote, the way noteworthy communications are left to the last – or months beyond the last – minute, the 5% drop in voter turnout and the overall aura of apathy et cetera… the “12%” voted in one of the best councils to date.

    Is it a coincidence that the drop in voters essentially resulted in a more active and communicative CSM? Does this reflect well on the 12% who seem to have made solid choices and helped establish a stronger council? Are the 12% more involved with the process, have a clearer image of who the candidates are and are more capable of making the ‘right’ or the ‘better’ votes?

    If this year the voter turnout rises up to 17% again do you expect the potency and effectiveness of CSM9 to strengthen or would it be burdened by space politicians that decide not to participate a few months into their term?

    Fine print.
    This point of view is not indicative of Esha Amphal’s own point of view.

    • xanderphoena

      Hey Esha. I think more people voting is good for two reasons:

      1) more people voting in an STV system means the CSM is more reflective of the overall player base

      2) more people voting means the CSM has more sway when it has to come to CCP with a tricky issue or problem.

      I can see what you are suggesting with CSM and the low % turnout last year but I think you are probably reaching a little tbh.

      • Poetic Stanziel

        “2) more people voting means the CSM has more sway when it has to come to CCP with a tricky issue or problem.”

        That seems somewhat incorrect. The CSM’s role with CCP has increased, as the number of voters has decreased. It seems the CSM makes themselves useful to CCP by demonstrating it, not by pointing to how many people voted for them.

        • Saint

          ” It seems the CSM makes themselves useful to CCP by demonstrating it, not by pointing to how many people voted for them.”

          That’s the way it should be. The problem is that the voting system has to get the worthwhile ones there in the first place, or it has failed.

  • This has been a problem practically since the inception of the CSM (with the possible exception of CSM1 when the CSM concept was a shiny new experiment). It is difficult to fathom why the same issue crops up every year. By now you’d think there’d be a standard promo plan in place, complete with a timeline, milestone activities, and templated content that was slightly repurposed as needed from year to year. But even if there existed such a plan, what good would it do (*points to CSM8 Minutes*)?

  • Foobles

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the decrease in voter turnout isn’t strongly influenced by two things – the new voting system and the movement to actual campaigns.

    Back in CSM 5 you could literally go down the candidate voting list and dismiss about 75% of the people because they couldn’t be bothered to fill out their candidate bio properly. So you glanced through the bios of the half dozen remaining candidates and threw your vote to one.

    Now you have 20 fucking half hour interviews to wade through plus hours of podcast banter and issue panels. You have to pick and rank fourteen goddamn candidates out of, what, forty candidates? (I just looked at the dev blog list but apparently they candidates aren’t worthy of a dev blog or I’m retarded and can’t see it.) Who the fuck has time for this? Is it any wonder than a casual voter goes to the voting page and decides that they don’t have time now and will do it later, then never do it at all?

    I’m not saying the STV system is all bad but I think that it does seem to have some downsides that haven’t really been discussed.

    In real life you don’t rank the top 100 senators out of everyone that’s running for the Senate in the US, or the top 650 in the Commons out of a couple of thousand candidates. They break seats down over regions. they make candidates give a deposit that they only get back if they get a certain amount of votes to discourage frivolous candidates shitting up the process.

    • Foobles

      Just to clarify, Xander, I thought that you did a great job with your candidate interviews last year and I listened to every single one of them. I wasn’t trying to bash on you, just to illustrate how much the process has changed irrespective of CCP’s advertisements and tweaks to the voting system.

    • xanderphoena

      It’s a really good point actually. Is the whole voting system just too convoluted? At the end of all those bloody 30 minute interview I did last year ( 😉 ) I interviewed Dolan and one of the things I put to him was the voting system becomes less relevant the more people that vote – should CCP efforts be put into getting more people involved? Anyway, here we are. STV is ostensibly ‘better’ than a first past the post system but I think we have real issues if voter turnout drops again. I’m going to keeping a very close one on this and lobbying CCP whether I am elected or not.

  • Poetic Stanziel

    It’s kind of pointless for CCP to be advertising the election before people can vote. Advertise it now and people will just forget about the election in four days.

    Short of building the election process into the client, CCP did about all they could do last year. And CCP is never going to build the election process into the client, because that might be a waste of development time if CCP decides in six months they no longer want a CSM.

    Since the CSM is a player elected council, the onus for most of the advertising falls to the players. And the players do a pretty good job of it. Unfortunately, only 12-17% of the playerbase pay attention to the metagame. For the rest, EVE Online exists only within the client.

  • Pon Teyuen

    Honestly, combined with last year’s CSM8 total lack of promotion after promising fireworks — combined with the CSM minutes — I can only come to the conclusion that CCP Dolan is incredibly lackadaisical in his approach to his job. I get that he has other things to do, but isn’t doing these CSM elections part of that job?

    I mean, seriously, the CSM election isn’t even promoted on the LANDING PAGE OF THE CSM SECTIO OF THE @#$%^ EVE ONLINE SITE! Is the goal a stealth election? Does he get a point raise for every % the election turnout is down?

    I’m not usually one to hammer employees, but I run a midsize RL business and let’s say his job performance would not result in a bright future in my organization.