The King of Space needs no introduction to this audience. He takes the stage wearing very fancy shoes.
“The important question is not about the CSM, it’s whether you are doing this the right way – it’s 3 PM in Vegas, you should be smashed.”
Mittani’s giving sort of an off-the-cuff speech on his totally biased opinions on the CSM.
The Mittani: “It’s pretty much just going to me talking about – “
Mittani’s introducing himself (showing the famous Chairman LMAO slide from Fanfest).
Lifecycle of a CSM member: “Hey, I just won an election! This is awesome! Hey look, I’m going to Iceland, this is gonna be really cool. Oh shit, I’m in Iceland and I’m at a summit. Holy crap, what is happening here. Why are you guys doing things this way. Oh no, I’m back in Iceland for an emergency summit, and the shower water smells like rotten eggs.”
Now Mittani is going over his history of the CSM, giving shoutouts to UAxDeath and Zastrow. He’s covering the origins of the CSM from its origins in the T20 scandal through its history in the “Assembly Hall”, in which it had very little effect. “How many of you have been to the Assembly Hall forum?” A few hands go up. “How many of you look at Assembly Hall once a month?” Only Zastrow and CCP Sreegs raise their hands. So the Assembly Hall is kind of a joke.
Term limits also hurt the CSM, because the smartest, most interested and involved people couldn’t keep contributing.
Now talking about the CSM’s rise to stakeholder status. CSM5 was awesome in its handling of the “18 Months scandal” but really screwed over nullsec with the jb nerf, since it was primarily made up of hisec and lowsec representatives who felt that it wouldn’t be a problem. CSM6 brought a huge backlash from the nulsec community, in which the nullsec bloc took firm control of the CSM.
Mittani is entirely happy if people continue to view the CSM as irrelevant or unimportant, because it means that the nullsec bloc can continue to control it.
Mittani also notes that this is a very ‘dirty’ election – there’s no regulation from CCP so scamming and vote buying is totally acceptable. You can’t vote against any candidate, so all publicity is good. If your rep isn’t there, you don’t have a voice – since Vuk Lau missed the “remove bridges” summit, no one said a word against it, and the nerf almost got through.
Expectations versus Reality
Expectation: There are ‘good CSMs’ and ‘bad CSMs’.
Reality: All CSMs work together – there’s no infighting.
Expectation: CCP doesn’t Listen
Reality: CCP isn’t monolithic – parts listen better than others
Expectation: CSM is powerless
Reality: Influence is what you make of it. People with charisma and political ability have far more success in the CSM than spreadsheet nerds.
Expectation: Parliamentary Model – invoked by the election format. Things are voted on in Assembly Hall and passed on to CCP.
Reality: The assembly hall has no binding power over CCP. It provides recommendations, not policy.
CCP doesn’t have to listen to the CSM; devs don’t have to get involved. The CSM’s “stakeholder” status is really vague and meaningless. So what the heck is the CSM anyway?
The CSM are lobbyists, not Congress. They try to influence decision-makers in order to change the game; they don’t change the game directly.
Mittani rightly points out that devs prefer to deal with “chill” CSMs – one that acts as an advocacy group for both CCP and players. This means that devs WANT to hang out on the CSM Skype channel more, so you have a closer channel to the devs for reporting urgent bugs. Most CSM scuffles end up being with management, not employees.
If however a CSM is “unchill” they get shut out completely – the devs just stop listening to anything you say. Good examples of this are the Open Letter about Incarna, which closed the doors between CCP and that CSM.
The Free Trip To Iceland
Summits are where most of the CSM action occurs. Meetings run from 9 AM to 6 PM; the official dinner runs from 7 to 10, and the unofficial lobbying happens at bars from 10-6 AM in a bar. (That’s where the real meat of the meeting is.) The alliance tournament guys have it easy, because they’re not working all day.
Using Skype channels for immediate contact with Devs as well as private CSM channels to present a united front to the devs.
Spotlights and Fireside Chats – used for tactical influence in order to highlight a particular issue. Spotlighting an idea gets the players interested and impacts CCP prioritization.
More exposure: The CSM now uses stickies, login ads and media to influence player opinion and interest.
No tantrums. A mature, chill CSM is far more influential and capable than an unchill one.
The Sucking Chest Wounds
Fleet lag and time dilation – in progress; Team Gridlock are heroes. CCP Veritas “literally walks on water”. They’ve made huge improvements and are working hard on this.
Iterative ship balance – coming up in Soundwave’s talk.
Supercapitals Online – death2all supercaps. There’s a mixed consensus but on the whole CSM feels they need work.
POSes are terrible.
Stuff We All Agree Is Broken
Botting and RMT
CSMing: Pros and Cons:
The good – you get to affect the game you love, free trip to Iceland (not counting the Summits.)
The bad – It’s basically an unpaid consulting gig. CCP can be infuriating to deal with as an organization. Voters from other blocs will drive you up the wall. Progress can be frustrating. There’s a lot of unpaid work, and a lot of burnout.
Zastrow asks: “You seem so busy – have you ever considered taking a vacation?”
M: “It’s very hard being me. My day job takes a lot of effort, gardening and taking care of my puppy.”
Zastrow: “And has it been difficult to give this speech in the shadow of two of the greatest CSMs, me and Darius JOHNSON?”
M: “That’s true, Darius JOHNSON is a hero for dealing with Jade Constantine, CSM1 Chair and a terrible human being.”
Wormhole guy: “Isn’t the high-end ore nerf sort of the jump bridge nerf moment for your CSM?”
M: “I think it’s dumb that people jump out of Jita and into wormholes to mine high-end ore then jump out again, but there’s prioritization. We focus on the issues we view are more important, like supercap balancing and ship iteration.”
Player: “So if you’re the lobbyists… how do I bribe the CSM to champion my cause?”
M: “We sometimes literally bring gifts to CCP. I literally brought an entire bag of cheese from Wisconsin because Fatty over there (CCP Sreegs) couldn’t get cheddar in Iceland. As far as influencing the CSM goes, talk to the person you voted for with Evemails and so forth; they’ll take the time to talk to you if you’re not a jerk.”
Zastrow: “So does all this hard work create any friction between you and the wife?”
M: “A lot of time my wife wants to burn CSM to the ground.”
Zapawork: “What do you use in your hair?”
M: “A product called Lock, Stock and Barrel.”
Zapawork: “Do you ever grow tired of talking about yourself?”
M: “No, I love talking about me. Me, me me. Sreegs wanted me to just ignore my slides and start talking myself about to see how long it would take before people start throwing things at me.”
Zapawork: “Tell me about your puppy.”
M: “The summer has been really hard on her. Alaskan malamutes are like arctic wolves; the hot summer weather has been hard on her and she blames us.”
Player: “Thank you for what you’re doing…”
M: “Wow, defensive enough?” (crosses arms, copies player’s body language)
Player: (uncomfortable, uncrosses arms) “I, uh… are you planning on running again?”
M: “It depends on the level of burnout I have and the progress we’ve made. If it’s not too bad, I probably will.”
Player: “How will CSM continue to evolve in the future?”
M: “Communication between CSMs, and between CSM and CCP, is really important. Skype has been a huge improvement; that’s going to continue.”
Player: “What’s the worst corporation in GSF?”
M: “Worst in posting, or worst in EVE Online?”
Player: “What can I do to make my corporation the worst?”
M: “Get more (unintelligable).”
Player: “Since you asked us to, you’re a douchebag, please die.”
Player: “How do you feel about the crowdsourcing initiative?”
M: “I think it’s kind of pointless, but Trebor really wanted to try it. The problem I have with it is that it invokes the parliamentary paradigm – people vote and think it means something, when that’s not the case.”