To endorse or not to endorse?


This morning I started putting together my endorsements for CSM8. There had been some thought as to whether or not to endorse anyone given my attempt at being politically neutral and unbiased during the interview process (‘that’ interview aside). I had weighed it up in my head and decided that any negatives were outweighed by the fact that I have a very unique position in the community given that I have spent half an hour speaking to the vast majority of CSM8 candidates discussing their platform. I sent a tweet out this morning mentioning that I had started writing my recommendations up.

The response to that tweet was fascinating and very, very divided. Kaeda Maxwell and Tigerlily both suggested that if I offered endorsements then that would perhaps sully the neutrality of the process. It may also put people off talking to me in the coming year or, indeed, during the run up to CSM9. This opinion was backed up by a lot of people whose opinions I respect including Apricot Baby (T’amber), Grey Fu and Dsan. Of course, a lot of people felt I should give my opinion including Seismic Stan, Rhavas, Wiggles and my CZ co-host, Jeg Elsker.

‘Pure objective journalism is beautiful, and you have been pretty close to it with the interviews, don’t ruin it. @midi2304 #tweetfleet’


Ultimately, I’ve put a whole heap of time and effort into this project and enough people believe that if I release a set of endorsements, the impact of those interviews will be lessened. I’m not going to say I’m happy about this – it wasn’t something I had foreseen when I started out – but I am sympathetic to the argument. As such, I won’t be releasing any endorsements. I may release who I would have endorsed after the election is complete. I’ll mull this over and discuss it with people to see if it would be a worthwhile exercise. My hunch at the moment is ‘probably not’. The whole CSM8 Election Interviews project was founded on the principle that anyone could come on and I would be equally probing and pointed towards any of them about their campaign with any personal politics removed as far as possible. Enough people think the project would be tainted by personal endorsements that I really feel the best thing to do is to leave it.


I do want to make one warning here though. I have noticed that a number of prominent members of the community – both CSM8 candidates and those not standing for election – have started posting their endorsements. I have also noticed a very alarming trend of individuals listing 14 candidates with some variant of the prefix ‘I’m not listing any 0.0 bloc candidates as they don’t need the help’. Be very, very careful when reading endorsements from these individuals.

My endorsements were significantly different from the 0.0 list (which I have seen but isn’t yet public). I’d have endorsed the 14 individuals I feel would be best at taking Eve Online forward, improving the game for everyone. There are some people on that 0.0 list who shouldn’t get anywhere near the CSM. There are some who very clearly should be. Any individual who writes ‘I’m not listing any 0.0 bloc candidates as they don’t need the help’ is therefore endorsing a weaker CSM overall. This is pretty bad if you are simply blogging or commentating on the election from the outside. If you are a candidate and you are actively endorsing a weaker CSM, it is pretty much unforgivable.

The same individuals would accuse 0.0 blocs of trying to march all over this election for purely political reasons (and by the way, they are – Sort Dragon has admitted as much) are effectively doing the same thing – employing political spin. My personal list of endorsements included a handful of 0.0 candidates because I believed they were best for the job. It also included candidates from Empire, roleplayers, WHers and industrialists. I was going to endorse the 14 people who would have made the best CSM possible, irrespective of where they play the game and what their background is.

When you do your research and study the endorsements of those prominent in the community, bear this in mind. Everyone is playing political games. Everyone. Am I? I could have. By not announcing my own list, I’ve removed myself from the process. The most important thing is you go out and vote. Vote for the 14 people you think will make the best CSM possible irrespective of where they come from in the game. Vote for those who will make Eve a better place. But most importantly, vote.

Fly safe,



Tags: csm, csm8, election, endorsements, politics

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.

  • mynnna

    Maybe everyone playing political games from all sides will cancel out and we’ll get a decent CSM composition.

    • Yeah, that’s worked in democracies the world over so far… /sarcasm

  • Two step

    I think you should be endorsing people, as you are (probably) the only person that has listened to *all* of the interviews.

    How about phrasing it another way. Instead of endorsing people, say who impressed you the most during your interviews. Don’t make a list of 14.

    • Jester

      He’s not the only one. I did, too. Even that one, cover to cover.

  • Harrigan Vonstudly

    I think you should put out a list of your endorsements. You have your opinions and they are deserved to be heard as is everyone elses’.

    Considering what you said to Fon during his interview at the end, and I agree with what you said, you’ve already entered an opinion in the political arena of the CSM. May as well release your endorsements after that.

    • xanderphoena

      The Fon interview was the exception that proved the rule. I very explicitly stated during the interview that this would be the only time I would become subjective over the whole process.

      And while I would love to share my endorsements, I can’t reconcile that with people who feel that might taint the interviews. Not when I put so much work into them.

  • If you do put out a list, I’d just ask you give me another shot before you do so. My campaign has evolved a decent bit, largely because of help from folks such as yourself, and I wouldn’t want your first impression to dictate your final assessment.

    • xanderphoena

      Will happily reresearch you for my own personal purposes but I won’t be endorsing any candidates publicly.

  • Pingback: CSM 8 Voters Guide – Voting Slate Recommendations | Interstellar Privateer()

  • Voter 315

    Better delete 1/2 of CZ episode #20 then, eh?

    • xanderphoena

      In that episode I simply stated who I thought did well in the interviews. I didn’t endorse anyone. I may have suggested who I thought may get elected. Not the same thing. I’ve been very careful not to endorse anyone up to this point.

      • Voter 315

        This is where language gets interesting. Recommending a slate of candidates to the voters is indeed making endorsements. But also, by definition, public approval also constitutes an endorsement. And, it follows that public disapproval would be a negative endorsement. I’ll just leave it at that.

        I wholeheartedly agree with your decision not to formally recommend a slate of candidates. Your interviews are a great service to the community and I agree it is best we voters listen to them and decide for ourselves.

  • Jester

    For myself, I didn’t endorse a bloc candidate because of the way STV works. The bloc candidates on the high end (mynnna, for instance) are going to get ALL the bloc votes: he’ll have Mittens’s 10k votes and then some if he needs them. Therefore, the votes mynnna *doesn’t need* (like any high-sec player that votes for him) will filter down to less impressive bloc candidates.

    So non-intuitively, every non-bloc vote that mynnna gets doesn’t do
    anything at all to improve mynnna’s chances and doesn’t go to mynnna. Instead, it improves the chances of these second- and third-tiers and goes to them.

    As for endorsements, I think you should endorse some candidates, Xander. Your position doesn’t prevent you from being objective. Quite the opposite. I don’t think it takes away from the interviews at all.

    • xanderphoena

      Regarding the first point, you are an exceptionally influential individual. It could be that a one of your endorsements who you believe to be weaker than a particular 0.0 candidate gets in because of your recommendation. Maybe you hold that much sway. We simply don’t know. The fact remains that your endorsements could land you in a weaker CSM than who in your head are the 14 ‘best’. That’s a very difficult position for you to maintain as a candidate in my opinion. For the record, Mynnna/all the 0.0 candidates are no better in this regard as they are tacitly supporting the 0.0 list.

      As for the endorsements, a lot of people agree with you Ripard. And frankly, I’d have liked to have given my opinions on the subject. But enough people have expressly stated that it could throw the interviews into disrepute that I’m not willing to risk it. I think what the interviews offer the community as a tool are lot more important than whatever my endorsements might be. As soon as people start suggesting I softballed a candidate I endorsed or hardballed someone I left off, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not – that sort of thing sticks unfortunately. As such I feel the best thing to do is to leave it.

      I do want to give you huge congratulations on finishing on top of the endorsements list however. I know they will not accurately reflect the final top 14 but finishing first looks fantastic for you getting in.

      • Thomas

        If you limited 0.0 candidates you refuse to endorse to the very top ones then there wouldn’t be a way to create a weaker CSM through that, because those people you believe are better but don’t endorse really are guaranteed a seat on the CSM and will be there. Once it gets to 6,7 on HBC/CFC that list then the endorsement issue comes up

  • Pingback: The Final 14 » Crossing Zebras EVE Online Blog and Podcast()