What’s going on with the CSM?

 

As some of you may recall, Pandemic Legion’s Apothne was voted into the current CSM but could not serve due to unexpected personal reasons, choosing to step out rather than make a farce of the seat. However, he is still passionate about the work that CSM does and the following is his take on the debate that has been developing in the community of late regarding the communication, or lack thereof, coming out of the council. We’d like to remind readers that these are his opinions and should only be taken as such. – Niden

Today, a thread was published on reddit.com/r/eve regarding the state of the CSM now that we’re 20% of a term in. You can read it here. I’m the guy who would have been on the council but turned it down, so while I realise that it’s very easy for me to run my mouth while not actually being in their shoes, consider this my attempt to articulate mine and others concerns regarding the CSM which have been raised as a result of the recent discussion. I consider multiple members of the council personal friends who I know to be working their asses off at the job of CSMing, and I do not regret at all endorsing or voting for them, or my decision to pull out after voting ended for that matter.

Thus far, thankfully, we have had no major drama incidents, mad leaks, players being removed, public hostility between members, or anything of the sort. I and many others have found many of the current council to be very available and up for discussion on multiple platforms such as reddit, ingame, Twitter, Slack, etc.

a disappointing lack of broader communication from the council

However, the post raised the issue that while there has been some fantastic one-on-one discussion and small group discussions through these mediums and more with the player base, there has been a disappointing lack of broader communication from the council. Thus far we have Jin’taan’s spreadsheet listing meeting attendance and minor summaries of the core weekly meetings that occur, which is fantastic. What is less fantastic is that thus far, only he is being publicly visible to the community as a whole.

Further, this statement made by Jin is one I find exceptionally disappointing:

No offense man, but very few of those who are elected are as publicly facing as that CSM was. You had a LOT of full time writers and bloggers, our only real community facing member is Bobmon, with the rest being more subject matter experts, which is why we’re quiet.”

Now, Jin is a good man, a friend, and I have no doubt that he is doing a wonderful job advocating for the players to CCP. The part of not being publicly facing however is absolute horseshit. With the exception of perhaps Aryth (who we’ll get to later) each member of the CSM ran a formidable campaign to get publicly elected in the first place. There were forum posts, podcast appearances, AMAs, so much that proved that not only were you capable of such “public facing”, but that you were capable of doing so in a manner that the playerbase appreciated and connected to and based upon which they voted you all in. If you want to pick out Bob specifically, he started “Bob’s Corner” on EN24 shortly before the elections. A brief scroll through EN24 shows that that stopped on March 14th, shortly before voting ended. This along with EN24 as a whole could have been a great platform for him to regularly update us on his personal experiences within the CSM.

many players are left feeling cut out

I like Bob, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with him at #EVE_NT and his passion for the game is clear. I absolutely believe he is working hard behind the scenes to advocate for the playerbase. However, my point is that so many of you showed the ability and skill to communicate to a wide portion of players in a meaningful way in order to get elected, which has almost entirely disappeared post-election. You showed you could do it, claimed to have the appropriate time in your real lives to set aside for your CSM duties (of which I would consider communication one of the most important), and yet many players are left feeling cut out in near radio silence.

I absolutely understand that the NDA can be a restrictive bitch. I had a minor taste of it the two times I commentated the Alliance Tournament, being a CSM member must be orders of magnitude more restrictive and frustrating. The majority of (reasonable) players can absolutely understand and respect this, and again, the one-to-one and small group interaction has been stellar, but exclusively waiting for people to come to the CSM is insufficient. I would personally be absolutely satisfied with something like the following which I posted in the aforementioned reddit thread. Even though it doesn’t actually give any information, it reassures the players that their voice is being heard and that the CSM is doing its job.

“Hey guys, MrHyde here.

This past 2 weeks everyone on the CSM has been working really hard, we have raised these [insert issues here] that multiple people have brought to us with CCP, and CCP agree that these are problems the need addressing. Obviously we cannot give a timeframe on any changes or what these changes may be, but please know that we are bringing them up regularly and are pleased/satisfied/unsatisfied with how well CCP are taking on our feedback.

(If applicable) As of the moment, we are especially interested in feedback on topic N as it is something we CSMers want to provide more to CCP on.

Hugs and kisses, death to the frigate menace,

MrHyde”

Nothing that could possibly break NDA, but it reassures players that their voices are being heard, publicises the existence of the CSM and confirms its continued value – all while taking maybe 5-10 minutes max to write. Sure, you could argue that some players will then demand a timeframe for releases or details which obviously cannot be supplied, but it would certainly be much of an improvement.

‘Repairing the relationship between the CSM and the playerbase’

A big part of the issues discussed during the election cycle was “Repairing the relationship between CCP and the CSM,” and “Repairing the relationship between the CSM and the playerbase,” after more and more bad news came from CSM 10, which seemed to resonate through CSMs before that too. Little updates every two or three weeks from various members in a public venue would go leaps and bounds to help not only to allay fears or cynicism, but further promote the CSMs value and get more people potentially interested and voting for the next election.

Now, the Aryth thing. Understandably, people have expressed concerns that he hasn’t had great meeting attendance, along with some other CSM members. It is entirely reasonable that US nerds or anyone really may have scheduling conflicts that prevent them from attending those meetings, and it’s great that as MrHyde mentioned that they are recorded and made available for those who could not attend. However, in the specific case of Aryth and Xenuria, one of the ideas floating around is that they were being elected to “punish” CCP, entirely to cause issues and if nore be useless, be directly counterproductive.

Almost from the first week we have heard that Xenuria has in fact been incredibly active, doing a wonderful job with his unique perspective and contribution to discussions. It’s actually hard to bring him up without a CSM member coming out of the woodwork to defend him. The same cannot be said of Aryth. Those of us who aren’t just trolling and searching for drama would like a simple statement that Aryth has in fact been a sufficiently active and valuable member of the CSM thus far for the duration of this term. The trolls and “grr Goons” will never go away, but given the circumstance of his election it again does not seem unreasonable to ask.

To be clear, I am under the impression that CSM 11 has been doing an exceptional job working with CCP, that relationships are positive and productive and I could not be happier with that given how CSM 10 came to an end. Several CSMs came out and made multiple replies in the thread I linked at the beginning very quickly, which is awesome, but it should not take a thread like that to pull CSMs out to speak more publicly. We love you guys, we’re just a bit insecure and sometimes need to be reminded en-masse that you love us back, okay?

 

Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting Crossing Zebras.

Tags: apothne, csm

About the author

Apothne

Apothne is a proud member of Sniggerdly and an experienced roaming FC. He is a Guest FC and Lecturer for EVE University and anyone who invites him to ramble on their comms for a few hours. He is currently one of the most active and experienced player commentators for EVE Tournaments, including hosting and casting AT XII-XV and all #EVE_NT leagues, as well as the Amarr Championships on stage at Fanfest 2016.