The final round of the CSM8 elections is underway and the votOmat has published its results. Go and have a look! There are some quite interesting questions there and some of the answers, the candidates gave, might surprise you! We already got some positive feedback on the votOmat, notably from CSM7 member Alekseyev Karrde. Thanks a lot! I would really like to know what my readers think about the tool!
You can find a complete list of the questions and statements at the end of this post. Some of these questions are obviously very polarised and there were several people, especially amongst the CSM8 candidates themselves, which complained that a questionnaire like this is simplifying things too much. They did not like the idea of giving a single answer to an often complex question. This is something I absolutely understand and I appreciate when a candidate is honest enough to deny “simple answers”. The issue has indeed caused some headaches during the design of the questionnaire.
Overall, I think there are a couple of reasons why breaking down the issues the CSM will face into basic blocs has its merits. Most importantly, a voter needs to know who is representing what. Interviews, like the ones Xander did, are an excellent way to portrait the individual platforms of candidates in a nuanced way. However, there remains the problem how to compare the candidates, how to rank them for a voting system like STV, where you can specify up to 14 candidates in an order of preference. In order to enable this comparability a questionnaire with predefined answers is still the best known way (if you come up with something better, let me know and we implement it for next year!).
But comparability is not the only reason to build a questionnaire. The CSM will have to work together with a company that is under significant pressure to stay competitive and make money out of their product. While CCP does an excellent job in handling the complexities of a game like EVE at the end of the day there will be tough business decisions. We have tried to reflect that somehow in the way the questions are formulated. Every feature you discuss finally will be decided upon based on a tradeoff. The real questions CCP is repeatedly asking the CSM is not only “Do you think this mechanic will work?” but also “How should we prioritise these ideas?”. There are limited developer resources and CCP needs to decided where to spend them at the cost of other things the players would like to have. These are business decisions that often will boil down exactly to a very simple “this or that” type of problem. A CSM candidate has to be able to handle such questions. It is good, even necessary to be aware of all the complexity involved but you also have to be able to clearly communicate your priorities, even if that means forgetting about subtleties for a moment.
I guess this is one of the first lessons of politics and it is not always a nice one. To take into account that reality is often more complicated than what is reflected in the questionnaire the candidates had the opportunity to write their own explanation to each of their answers. I really, really recommend reading these! It tells a lot about the candidates. You will find these explanatory statements by looking for the bright marks in the results table.
Let me thank Xander Phoena and Sugar Kyle again for their work on the editorial board. Without them the project would not have been possible. I really enjoyed working together with you!
We still have one and a half weeks left to spread the word about the elections. Now is the time to drop the links into chat and to encourage people to go voting! I always have seen votOmat primarily as a tool to get people interested in the election and make them cast their vote.
Although CCP has done a nice Community Spotlight on the elections and there is a banner on the login screen, this still falls short of what I would like to see in terms of reaching out to the electorate. In particular there is still no in-game announcement of the elections. @CCPDolan has hinted in his very interesting interview with Xander, that there are concerns inside CCP against “forcing” players to look at election related stuff in-game. I hope Dolan will be able to convince his colleagues that this is a fallacy. Actually I believe in-game features on the CSM would not only raise awareness, they would also make the Council more appreciated and linked into the world of New Eden. If there are concerns about breaking immersion, sit together with the Life Events team and discuss how to do this properly!
CCPDolan has also mentioned that there will be more activities surrounding the elections to come from CCP. I hope he was hinting at more than the Community Spotlight (which was released after the interview was recorded). There is still time to make the elections count and if – through the recent progress in the stakeholder project – the relation between the CSM and CCP has really changed as the people involved claim it has, then there is hope that we will see more efforts to publicise the election.
In the meantime it is our job as fans to support the people who volunteer to represent us. Let’s not only cast our votes, let’s go out and raise people’s interest in the election. It is time to reach out to those players, who do not regularly read blogs or #tweetfleet. Drop the votOmat link in chat. Ask your mates on comms if they have already voted. Spread the word!
Finally let me say a thing about the future of this project. votOmat is collecting anonymised answers on the questionnaire from the visitors of the page. I hope we can build up a nice dataset. The more people fill in the questionnaire the better. If there is interest in the community I will consider publishing these data. I have some ideas how to make them available and enable some basic data mining features. Please let me know if you would be interested in this.
Fly smart! Chira.
Here is a complete list of the question and statements we asked about at votOmat:
- Area of Space : The most important area of space in New Eden to me is …
- Gameplay : The type of gameplay that I most strongly identify with is …
- CCP performance : CCP has improved Eve Online over the past 12 months?
- CSM7 : CSM7 did a good job?
- Solo vs Social : New features in EVE should favor group activities and social game play over solo activities?
- Highsec security : Highsec needs to be safer?
- Non-consensual PvP : In highsec, non-consensual PvP combat should be …
- Wardecs : War declaration game mechanics are currently …
- Role of Corps : In the EVE sandbox the tutoring and retention of new players is foremost a responsibility of player owned corporations?
- New Player Zone : The introduction of some form of ‘new player zone’ would be beneficial to EVE as a whole?
- Subscriptions : For the long-term health of the game, a focus on raising the number of EVE Online subscriptions is …
- PvE content : CCP needs to add more PvE content to EVE, even if this means other features would be delayed?
- Industry : The industry game mechanics should be overhauled. CCP should put significant resources on this, even at cost to other features of the game?
- Industry Priorities : Which of the following should CCP prioritise first when attempting to fix industry issues?
- Mining : Mining game mechanics should require more …
- POSes : You feel let down by CCP over how they have dealt with the POS revamp in the past 6 months?
- POS capabilities : Industry wise, anything that can be done at an NPC station, a POS should be able to do better?
- Income : It should be possible for a player to make all money he needs in the vicinity of his home system, even if that would mean a re-balancing of WH, nullsec, lowsec and highsec incomes?
- Lowsec : In terms of gameplay, lowsec is currently working as it should?
- Faction Warfare : Faction Warfare is primarily a PvP combat activity?
- FW income : Income in Faction Warfare is currently well balanced?
- Intel : Local chat should be replaced as a source of intelligence in nullsec?
- Blobbing : The current ‘blue donut’ situation in null sec is caused by broken game mechanics?
- Jump Drives : Jump drive ranges are currently too high?
- Self Destruction : When a player tries to self destruct inside a POS force field, while the POS is under attack …
- Dreadnaughts : Dreadnoughts should be balanced by …
- Communications : The most important direction of communication between players and CCP is …
- Stakeholder : The concept of CSM as a CCP-stakeholder is important to me?
- Chairman : The fact that the CSM Chairman (and the other offices) will be elected by the CSM members will strengthen his position among the council?
- CSM abilities : What is the most important ability for the CSM as a group?
- STV : The new voting system is an improvement on the old system?
- CCP strategy : CCP’s new development strategy to build themed expansions that affect many pieces of EVE at once will allow better integration of player feedback?
- Development Prio : Reiteration of unbalanced or semi-finished game mechanics has to be prioritised, even if that means development of new game elements will be delayed?
- ESports : How much resources should CCP spend on promoting and improving ESport events like the Alliance Tournament?
- Live Events : CSM members should be directly involved in planning Live Events?
- Dust514 impact : Dust514 is a net-positive for the entire New Eden universe?
- Dust514 integration : The integration between the Dust and the EVE economies should be …
- CREST : I expect the new EVE API ‘CREST’ to be important to me as a player in the future?