Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Politics, Voting, and Coordination

The results are in, and of nearly 50,000 votes the numbers are scary. 33,635 people voted for candidates that made the council (and alternates). That means nearly 20,000 votes (or over 1/3 of the total) did not go to one of the 14 (yes 14) names on the delegate/alternate list. That means that the top vote getter (The Mittani from Goonswarm) took home barely more than 10% of the votes cast.

In fact, if the only people who voted for The Mittani were Goons (and they weren't) he'd have had close to 6000 votes (if all those members were on different accounts) - which is still barely more than 20% of the total number of votes cast. What was most interesting to me in this election was the average age of the voting character was over 2 years, which means that most of the folks who took the time to click three times on a web page (after logging in) were older players, and likely nullsec players, based on the results.

55.44% of voters had accounts older than 2 years, 13.33% older than 5 years and 2.88% older than 7

Most of those 55.44% of voters probably bloc-voted for nullsec candidates, in light of the type of campaign run by most of the nullsec candidates. The entire CSM is made up of Nullsec alliance members, if I am reading this correctly (yes, even Trebor, who is in Initiative Mercenaries). What does this mean for those of you who are feeling un-represented? Well, not all is lost. First of all, many nullsec pilots have hisec alts who run missions, so that aspect of EVE is probably not going to be ignored or unknown to the CSM members. Second, even though The Mittani is Chairman, Goonswarm isn't out to destroy EVE - so his guidance (if he has any real authority) will not be to run EVE into the ground. The biggest worry is for the New Player Experience, with no solid representative to stand for the clueless in EVE. New players aren't leaping immediately into nullsec alliance politics and war, so hopefully a couple folks in the CSM will remember new players are the growth and future of EVE.

What may surprise you is that none of the Empire/HiSec candidates made a significant showing. This makes sense, since (unlike the nullsec alliances) these candidates don't coordinate (either for or against each other) with the same type of regularity as the nullsec alliances. Nullsec alliances are powerhouses compared to the rabble of hisec, groups who easily gang together 10-20, 50, 100 or more pilots at a time, alliances with thousands of members who communicate regularly in one way or another. This year they did so, and the results are striking. How do you overcome such organization? Fight fire with fire, as they say. EVE is a social game, a shared experience, and even though you, and your corp (of 15 buddies) and your alliance (of another 30-40 guys you loosely associate with) feel like you have an impact in your little pocket of EVE, those numbers need to expand exponentially to become a powerhouse, and you can't exactly run missions with battlefleets of 20-50 (I'm ignoring incursions and wormholes here on purpose) with any real profit in EVE.

To present a unified front for the Empire/HiSec players, coalitions need to be formed well in advance of CSM elections - coalitions that represent players with common goals, playstyles, and experiences. A coalition (or even 3) of Empire/HiSec players would have easily found a seat on the CSM, but fractured, independent candidates are actually representative of life in Empire. These players are fractured, independent, and rarely group-goal oriented. Only by creating a coalition around a similar playstyle/goal/method can the fractured Empire playerbase hope to compete in this event. Perhaps the new structure of Incursions, where groups must gather and play together with others more than before, will be the foundation for some sort of structured Empire coalitions, if not (assuming that forward progress with CSM as a stakeholder continues), when CSM 7 comes around next year we will see the same thing. If you were a candidate, and you didn't have a large playerbase to communicate with and to, now is the time to start campaigning again, get out and talk to the players you expect to represent, find out where they disagree with you, and find a common ground to move forward. Build your coalition. Or, be satisfied that others can do it better than you. Politics isn't for everyone, after all...

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