Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tomfoolery, Election Fraud and the CSM

There's a new groundswell in the EVE social media community lately, and I've touched on it a couple of times myself. Mostly it's about dissatisfaction with the CSM, and a comment Hilmar made in an interview that can be construed as his own frustration with the CSM.

And the general discussion is missing the forest for the trees.

The concept that seems to have favor (at the moment) is to have, essentially, districts. That's great, I'm glad that people are thinking about increasing participation (I've been a foolish voter for several years now). But the idea of district representation in EVE is inherently broken.

You can't elect someone in EVE to the CSM just to represent wormholes. Because for all you know, that person is going to get sick of living in a wormhole a month later, and go run incursions for less stressful ISK.

You can't elect someone in EVE to the CSM just to represent Faction War. Because the CEO for that person's corp could have plans on moving from Faction War to Nullsec Sovereignty that the CSM rep would know nothing about.

Basically, you can't create districts because one of the simplest things to do in EVE is to change the direction of your game.

White Tree was a member of TEST when elected. Now (if I remember correctly) he's in a wormhole corp. He's not in TEST anymore. So all those TESTies who elected him no longer have their "TEST" representative. This real-world example shows why the idea of representative division is a failure before it begins.

Each player (not character) who runs for CSM runs on a platform, like any politician, claiming to support (or oppose) particular issues. If you look back at the CSM platforms, each member of the CSM had their own platform and presented that to the community at large.
I'll have grounds
More relative than this—the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
Fun Hamlet quotes notwithstanding, the platform is what you vote for or against in a CSM election. Because that is the best estimate you can get on what a person will or won't support or oppose. And the simple math of 1 account = 1 vote means that if the candidate you support can get enough votes, they will get a seat on the CSM.

In addition, the CSM has changed a lot over the few years it's run. The terms are longer, and this group can run again (I believe they have recently removed term limits for the CSM). This allows for two things: continuity and complacency. If I were to humbly suggest anything to Hilmar for changing the CSM, I would do the following:
1. Stagger the terms, much like US Senators, so there is partial, regular turnover.
2. Limit the re-election to 2 consecutive terms.
3. Have the chairman selected by the CSM, from the CSM every election cycle.

Stagger the terms
This one seems the easiest. Make the term 18 months, with an election every six months. That's a lot of politicking, but 1/3 of the CSM would turn over every six months, leaving 2/3 to provide consistency. Of course, the problem here is the non-stop campaigning cycle that would barrage the EVE players. A second option would be two year terms, with half the council replaced every year. But can you really count on someone to be active and excited about EVE for two years straight with the pressure of the CSM?

Term Limits
A no brainer (sorry Trebor) but there should be term limits. Two consecutive terms, then you have to take at least one year off before running again. Gets the politicians back in the game as normal people for at least a little while.

Internally Selected Chair
This would be a requirement based on the staggered terms presented above. The chair would have a 1 year (or 6 month) term as chair. This should be merely a parliamentary position, and the "face" of the CSM for group issues presented to players or CCP. The CCP representative would have a vote on this as well in the event of a tie.


  1. White Tree isn't in w-space, he is in some other 0.0 alliance that is blue to TEST

  2. Thanks for the correction. I had thought that he went w-space, but the general idea still applies. No matter what he is doing in game, the platform he campaigned on is the best measure of whether he is compatible to someone as a candidate.

  3. The chair is actually an utterly powerless title already.

    However, the politically naive (most of EVE) don't understand that even empty titles have tremendous power when used properly. It was pretty amusing to run for Chair, have a bunch of people yowl mid-campaign about 'why run for Chair, it has no formal power' and then use the implied power of the Chair absolutely everywhere.