Too little too late?Xander Phoena
After the CSM7 election, CCP proudly proclaimed it the highest voter turnout yet. While this is technically true, the final figure was less than 17%. When you listen to Sgurd’s CSM8 interview, it is clear that it isn’t just that people choose not to vote – a significant proportion of the Eve Online don’t even know what the CSM is. Some of them don’t even know it exists.
No-one can deny that 17% is a poor turnout and CCP Dolan enough was gracious enough to concede this point when I interviewed him just before voting opened. He assured me that CCP had a lot up their sleeve this election on top of what they normally do to promote the election. A few days later, CCP Fozzie appeared on CZ22 and reiterated the fact that CCP would be going out of their way to promote this election in ways not seen before in an attempt to bolster voter turnout.
Before we go any further, let’s have a look at day-by-day voter turnout for CSM7:
7th March, 16:00: 19,519
7th March, 22:00: 26,351
8th March, 13:00: 31,933
8th March, 21:00: 33,854
9th March, 15:30: 36,625
10th March, 17:50: 40,000
11th March, 13:45: 41,814
12th March, 15:00: 43,879
13th March, 15:00: 45,196
14th March, 14:00: 46,066
15th March, 13:00: 49,233
16th March, 16:00: 50,753
17th March, 21:30: 52,217
19th March, 11:00: 53,512
20th March, 13:00: 58,163
I am writing this post on 11th April. Voting opened early on the morning of 5th April. For those of you keeping count, we have had six full days of voting and we are currently on the 7th. By completion of the 6th day of voting in the CSM7 election, over three-quarters of people (75.4% to be exact) had already placed their ballot. Indeed, by the end of day one, over one third (33.6%) of those voting had already done so. From that point onwards we are on a long tail as voting dies away before an inevitable flurry on the final day.
The point being, most of the buzz is now over. The vast majority of people who are going to vote already have. The spamming in local, messages in #tweetfleet, podcasts and blog posts are all starting to die away now. And yet at this point, all we have officially from CCP is a splashscreen, some tweets, a message on Facebook and those aforementioned appearances on CZ. The CZ interviews don’t count because a) it was during those that Dolan and Fozzie confimed the good stuff was still to come and b) if you are listening to a CSM8 interview on Crossing Zebras, you aren’t the people CCP need to be promoting to. The same applies to #tweetfleet. I’d love to see the % of #tweetfleet who vote for CSM as opposed to the % of the general Eve populace. Facebook is all well and good but this isn’t anything new. The same applies to splashscreens.
Now, Dolan and Fozzie were both keen to point out that what they didn’t want to do was bombard players with CSM information too early before the main election opened. With such an apathetic playerbase, I totally understand this perspective. This is one situation where you don’t want to shoot your load too early. However, it seems farcical that CCP still haven’t shown us any new promotion for the CSM election when we are seven days into the process proper. Where are all these cool new promotional tools that we were promised?
CCP will argue that if they did it during the initial few days, it may have been caught amongst the buzz from other sources such as podcasts, twitter, blogs, news sites, etc. That argument holds no water. The kind of people CCP should be getting involved in the process aren’t the same players who listen to podcasts, read blogs and involve themselves in forums and social media just to discuss Eve. Whatever cool new stuff CCP have in their arsenal, we should have seen it long before now.
CCP are stating in public that they want voter turnout to increase as well as general CSM visibility. Yet here we are in yet another election period with them running out the same tired old stuff. The fact is that voter turnout >>> voting system. The closer you get to 100% voter turnout, the less relevant whatever voting system we have becomes. A lot of effort has been put into the new system but it has been rolled out too close to the actual election in lieu of hard plans to promote the CSM not only during the election but throughout the year too. A lot of people have put a lot of effort into promoting the CSM elections on behalf of CCP this year. It’s not unreasonable to expect that they do the same.