Why You Should Run for the CSMJin'taan
The election season, much to my chagrin, has been officially kicked off before the 2nd Summit of CSM 12 starts, with J Mcclain announcing his candidacy in the 13th election. It seems a new generation of space politicians will be taking a look at the field and thinking about making their impact on the election. However I also know that a lot of those prospective candidates may just think “I won’t win.” and tap out before they even enter the playing field.
In my opinion that is the completely wrong attitude to take when it comes to the CSM, which is such a significant part of how the playerbase communicates with CCP. Given this, I want to explain not only why you should run for the CSM, but also why even if you have no chance of winning you can still have a major impact on the process, and CCP in general, as a result.
The first reason is one rooted in self interest. The vast, vast, majority of candidates want to see their particular branch of gameplay directly represented to CCP as they feel it’s either something they don’t understand or is underappreciated by CCP as a facet of their game. However what they often fail to see is the impact that they can have on the rest of the election, by steering the conversation to topics that other candidates would otherwise not talk about. In CSM 12’s elections for example, a large amount of the coverage looked at the niche issues, relatively compared to the voting base, of Faction Warfare and Hisec PvP, thanks to the concerted efforts of a few commenters and candidates in pushing it as a point of interest for the electorate.
I doubt I would have spent as much time looking into those subjects, with a roundtable on each, without those candidates engaging their voter base and bringing them into the CSM ecosystem, and providing an important communication link which didn’t exist before. All without getting a single member on the CSM.
This is something any individual can use the CSM election as a launching board for. It’s something that benefits all involved, as the players involved get to indirectly interface with CCP through the CSM, and as a result get a firmer grasp of what CCP’s intent and problems are with the feature. The CSM also gets a direct line of useful feedback which is directed at CCP specific concerns and aims that they can then use to couch any future discussion of the topic in first hand feedback, whilst trying to address the feature. This is something that helps to make the “Little Things” QoL upgrades pipeline significantly easier, as it allows the CSM to explain the costs that the niggling concerns have to CCP.
Even if you don’t wish to engage in this directly, several CCP devs pay attention to the election, as they attempt to judge the stances and personalities of the people that they will be working with closely in the next year. Injecting your area of interest into this helps to show CCP that there is a significant section of the population which is interested in these diverse areas, and as such that there is a great deal of value in them for the community.
The second reason is that even an unsuccessful candidate can have an impact on the result and shape of the election. The massive vote counts that blocks like Goons or PLNC can put up can seem insurmountable, but when you look past the first 3-5 positions and into the more loosely affiliated even 50 votes can have a huge impact on who gets on and who doesn’t. For example in CSM 11, the vote difference between Erika Mizune or Fafer getting the 14th spot on the council was 8 votes. That’s it. The most recent CSM 12 election was significantly less close due to a drop off of non-Bloc voting, but even there, 200 votes decided who placed 11th, and got on the council after Vince was kicked, and 12th, who didn’t.
This seems like a weird reason to run, until you consider the impact that you can have on your circle of contacts within the game, a decent percentage of whom might not otherwise vote or be interested in the CSM process. By running yourself and suggesting others to vote, you ensure that even if eliminated you will have a massively outsized impact on the voting compared to other participants.
We saw the start of this process solidifying into a running strategy in CSM 12 with the “Hisec Party” forming in order to share votes between different aspects of Hisec to ensure that those interested in the CSM would see their voting maximised. Unfortunately this failed to put a Hisec candidate on the CSM, but a valiant effort was made and in fact allowed Erika to beat several strong nullsec & lowsec candidates in votecount (White 0rchid & Capri Sun being the ones that stand out).
In summation, just participating in the CSM process can help to shift the vote the way you want it to go, and draw both CCP’s and the CSM’s attention to places you wish it to be, even without the necessity of winning the election. If that’s not a reason to try, I don’t know what is.
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