Sunday, February 8, 2015

Piercing the Veil

I'm going to try and keep this post as short and to the point as possible. To bring everyone up to speed, last Sunday I published my CSM9 review blog. I Was careful not to say anything that anyone who knows anything about how the CSM really works would find surprising. Aside from focusing on the difficulties I personally had during CSM9's term, I made an attempt to focus on issues that were issues for the entire body, and left as much of my personal baggage out of it as possible. In keeping with my personal rule of not speaking for other members of CSM9, I kept the specific examples I used to things I had personally dealt with, though some context was obviously lost due to not mentioning a certain other issue that I had to deal with.

CCP Leeloo didn't like what I had to say, though since I had given her a heads up of what was coming 3 weeks in advance (basically a concurrence of a lot of the things Sion had to say) she can't have been shocked or surprised. As a result of her tweet, my blog post went to something that likely would have been read strictly by CSM enthusiasts and my own following (something like this is usually good for 2500-3000 hits), to something that generated over 13,000 hits in less than 2 days and a veritable shit storm covered on Eve websites, podcasts, and social media.

The message of my original blog was overshadowed by Leeloo and I slapping each other on the internet like a couple of high school kids, I felt bad, and apologized for my reaction.

Then Legacy of a Capsuleer came calling, and asked for an interview. I obliged. During that interview, I touched very briefly on an incident that had a lot of bearing on my term as a member of CSM, but because I didn't want to drag the whole CSM into this drama, I left a lot of specifics out and moved on quickly to other things. You can listen to that interview here.

Then on Thursday afternoon, Sion caught me on skype and provided a transcript of an article that was to be published the following day on I had to thank Sion for at least giving me more notice of his article going live than CCP gave us for a lot of planned changes to the game. After reading his article, I had to admit that it was a largely fair and factual accounting of what had happened this term.

I questioned the wisdom of breaking the "Code of Silence" with regards to inside drama, because if the lid cracks enough on the things that happened this year, I'd be concerned for a lot more dirty laundry getting aired than just mine. I'll be off the CSM in a few weeks, but some of these guys will presumably have to try and work together for another year. There's also the chance that I'll have to make some room in the dog house for him if there are internal issues that CCP takes on breaking this sort of story. Certainly, Xander is already up in arms.

Last night, after finishing up with a special music guest on our Eve Radio show, I went over the rest of the drama that everyone got to read about on TMC. I filled in some blanks, but had nothing to say to contradict anything he wrote. If you are a glutton for punishment, I'll link the soundcloud of that section of the show below. It includes a step by step accounting of this year's happenings from my perspective, and I answered some questions people had. I've told people that if there's any clarifications that are needed, feel free to hit me up on twitter, eve-mail or even in the blog comments below.

From here on out, there's really nothing left to say. If I have an issue worth commenting on before the end of the term, I'll make a post or tweet about it, otherwise, I'm looking forward to just talking about Eve in a couple of weeks. I'm really excited to talk about a couple new PVP fits I've been field testing, among other things.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Aftermath of a Pissing Contest

I made a blog post yesterday to review CSM9s term. The goal was to draw public attention to a plight that has been with the CSM since the beginning of the CSM. I was not the first, but the second member of CSM9 to make mention of CCPs consistent misuse of the body, though I was by far less diplomatic in the way I told the story. It's my style, I don't pull punches, and I say what I mean. I'm often blunt, and this can hurt feelings.

For the first few hours after release of yesterday's blog, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Comments were left on the blog, and I got many lovely messages from past CSM members thanking me for putting it out there. I got thumbs up from fellow bloggers and other Eve Media types for dropping an honest telling of the issues facing the CSM outside of the rosy light the term has been typically painted in. Many of these people were not surprised by what they read because, as I mentioned before, I wasn't the first to say these things this term.

Then CCP Leeloo read what I had to say. I must have struck a nerve, because her public response on twitter wasn't to refute anything that was said, but rather an attempt to marginalize my opinion with a statement that was misleading at best, and patently false at worst. My response to her attack is something (as Rixx Javix predicted) I am now looking back on with no small degree of regret, because in an effort to defend myself, I took focus away from the message I was originally trying to convey and allowed this to become about me.

The slew of personal attacks that followed in the wake of the twitter and reddit drama yesterday were to be expected. I've been a public figure on the internet too long now to let some trolling and faceless people on the internet flinging bad words get to me, but I must apologize to all of you because my response was indeed not the high road I should have taken.

I am truly sorry for that.

I will however, take vindication that while my character was assaulted almost non stop, not a single person stood up to say that anything I had claimed in the post that started all this was false. Many people agreed with it, a bunch of folks engaged in personal attacks, and the rest were just silent. The array of responses should be telling in itself.

When it comes down to it, my hope with that blog is that CCP takes a hard look at how they utilize the CSM, because the CSM doesn't have the capability to wedge their way in themselves no matter how nice OR forcefully they express themselves. There is no rule that any CCP employee aside from the CSM coordinator has to talk to the CSM, and nor should there be. What there should be is a desire to talk with and include the CSM more, because the many minds will only make the whole stronger.

For myself, I will continue to represent lowsec and the highsec gankers and scammers as I have for the remainder of the term (in private when possible, and in the forum of public opinion when necessary). I don't think there is anything left on the table this term anyway right now of importance for either of those crowds, so this will likely be my last CSM9 posting.

Once the term is up, I'll go back to my old role as a member of Eve's media community with a greater understanding of the CSM than I had back in April. DJ Big Country is not a man I have many agreements with, but he made a great point to me today about how much CSM and media duties can conflict and create drama when mixed together. In the media we're used to being able to have any discussion on any topic quite freely, to interview and talk to anyone, and we're not held up with concerns for the NDA or who's feelings we might brush providing we're doing our jobs properly.

There was a time when I was lauded for my approach to the issues facing Eve, and I'm looking forward to getting back to those roots once I shake off the bitter I've collected over the last 9 months.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Response to CCP Leeloo

 As expected, my blog popst this morning was not well recieved by CCP. I had attempted to keep specific incidents not pertaining to me out of it and keep things general, however CCP Leeloo decided to drop the gauntlet on twitter a short time ago calling me out.

 My response obviously took longer than 120 characters to create, as when refuting an outright lie, one must sometimes cite specifics. I made a twitlonger post, but have got reports from some people that they were having trouble viewing it. I will quote it below, though will likely fix a typo or 2.

I will finish by saying that if CCP Leeloo or other staffers at CCP would really like to have the full drama dropped in the public, I'll be more than happy to oblige with far more specific commentary. My initial hope was to show the issues facing the CSM as a whole more than my own personal issues and I focused on those issues that have affected everyone, and was hoping to leave it at that. It appears however, that we may not be done here.
@ccp_leeloo #tweetfleet Ok, so you want to talk about logging into confluence. First, I didn't bring up confluence because I assumed that particular site was NDA. I have actually logged in several times, and every time someone from CCP deigns to notify the CSM of an entry requiring review. Your claim that I haven't logged in is patently false and I dare say a lie. I don't always have something to say, because hey, why waste breath if it's not something directly affecting lowsec or my highsec ganker bros, it's not like the teams heed the advice before the trolls get hold of it.

You will however find my most recent comment (in confluence) on the 25th of January regarding a feedback issue which I am quite sure is still under NDA. I find that to be quite amazing for a guy that never logs into confluence to read and give feedback on proposed changes though.

Before that, I was in to review the daily minutes at the summit I was mostly unable to attend due to work requirements, and before that confluence was barely used, much like the internal forum that did not see a single dev post from mid december until AFTER the summit, though myself and other posted questions for you guys that went unanswered.

As far as meetings, it's extremely hard to make a Friday 2pm GMT (9am Local) meeting when you work a 9 to 5 job. I believe I have asked more than once for earlier meetings that I might alarm clock for (say 10am GMT) but when you deign to threaten other members of the CSM with "The FunkyBacon Treatment" for having a less than rosy outlook on the happenings of the CSM, I'm not surprised one bit that accommodation was never made. I do make a point however, to review and watch the video recordings you send us through e-mail.

Your move.

CSM9 Review Blog

And since it fell unto my lot that I should rise and you should not, I'll gently rise and softly call: good night and joy be to you all! - The Parting Glass
 A few concerned members of Eve's community have pointed out to me that only 7 of CSM9's 14 members wrote anything for the official CSM 9 Year in Review blog. Where, it was wondered, were the other 7? I can't speak for the other 6, but for myself, I've been so disillusioned with the entire process this year that I didn't bother. It's simply not worth it, and the amount of fucks I have left aren't enough to go through the effort to write something to hand to CCP so they can "clean it up" and drop it on an official dev blog that might get as much traffic as my blog when I don't write anything new for 3 months.

When I decided to run for the CSM last year, I didn't have any grand delusions about changing the world of Eve or making huge waves in the development process like some of the fresh faced people running for CSMX seem to have. I've worked with CCP and the CSM enough in the past as a member of the Eve media community to have a basic understanding of how the process works, however even my muted expectations were dashed by the end of the summer summit.

I originally wrote this blog entry a couple weeks back. I attempted to skirt around the NDA and give as many examples of the futility the CSM faces on a regular basis as I could, but going back over it and looking back on those members of the past who have both publicly and privately decried this storied institution, it seems ill advised to test the waters with specifics. As a result, I've scrapped the old entry entirely, and made a new one from scratch.

Allow me to sum this up as plainly as possible without pointing fingers at anyone specific or dropping anything that might be clasified as proprietary or confidential information. For 2 weeks per year, during the summits, the CSM matters. If you're a fan of reading the minutes, you can see that many teams sit down to meet with the CSM and give progress on what's being worked on, discussions are had and there is some semblance that the CSM has value.

The people who get flown out to Iceland (and it's not a free vacation despite what anyone on the outside may claim) get a day to shake off the jet lag, and are then immersed in meetings every day with some cool off time at night. For those of us who can't make the trip, we're invited to attend remotely. Though getting a word in edgewise is considerably more difficult than it is for those actually in the meeting room, effort is made to relay our typed messages to the speakers in the room, and you'll usually see something from us in the minutes as a result.

Outside of the 2 summits, communication from the vast majority of CCP to the CSM is practically non existent unless there's some sort of crisis (SOMERblink 2 for example). The CSM IS a stake holder on one team, so communication there is pretty decent at least.

During the 6 week release cycle, as much as half the patch notes (if not more) are seen by the CSM at the same time as the rest of the Eve community. Many changes that are put in front of the CSM for "feedback" are shown mere hours before being released on the F&I forums or in dev blogs giving no time for meaningful feedback, or to make any changes to the initial offering based on that feedback. Outside of maybe fixing a typo or the wording of a sentence, changes are often dropped to the community almost untouched from what was shown to the CSM.

Some people might think of this as a scathing attack on CCP, but I don't think the majority of the CSM's misuse has been due to a negative attitude at CCP. I honestly believe that for many devs, they might feel intimidated presenting something to the CSM, like their work is being put on trial to be judged. I have to put a disclaimer on that statement that no one at CCP has said as much to me about feeling intimidated, but it's certainly one of the vibes I've gotten over the course of the term.

Unfortunately, when the CSM is bypassed entirely, or feedback is unable to be acted upon because of the short amount of time between when the CSM gets the info and when it goes public, many of the changes to proposed developments (take Freighter changes earlier in the year, or the Nullsec jump nerf for example) are a result of angry mobs on the forums, bloggers, and writers for the various eve related news sites lashing back at CCP. Many of the changes made may have been suggested by the CSM before the original post went public, and had the CSM been listened to or utilized properly, much of the trolling and negative backlashes would have been avoided entirely.

Instead what we have here is something that TheMittani learned long ago and holds true to this day: The people who are able to shape and direct the discussion of Eve on the outside have far more influence on the development process than the CSM does.

Love or hate him, this man's blog probably changed Eve
more than his efforts as CSM8's Vice Chair.
Looking back at the Erotica1 situation last year, Ripard Teg the CSM member was incapable of convincing CCP to act against the Bonus Room's shenanigans, but Ripard Teg the blogger was able to whip up a community backlash so severe that CCP had little choice but to cave E1's skull in with the ban hammer in what turned into a public spectacle.

Before I even thought of running for the CSM myself, I was one of the voices able to influence the balancing of T1 haulers, and had more effect on that balance pass than I've had on any balance pass since I've been on the CSM.

Between the summer summit and the release of the minutes, I bashed my face into a proverbial brick wall to get a compromise on the highsec awox nerf and got nowhere. Minutes were released, myself and others wrote some blogs about the issue, and a bit of backlash hit. A couple weeks later I joined CCP Fozzie on DJ Big Country's show on Eve Radio where it was FINALLY revealed that CCP was considering making intra corp aggression a toggle. I wanted to scream in frustration because I'd been advocating that for months at that point, and to think I could have skipped 2 months of frustration and just jumped on the issue when the minutes went public was the last straw. The fact is, CCP might hear what the CSM has to say, but they heed the community mob.

So for those who have asked, the reason you won't be seeing my name on a CSM ballot anytime in the foreseeable future is because if you have a blog, podcast, or write for a news site, there's really no reason to be on the CSM. If CCP continues to bypass the CSM or give hardly any time for them to react to changes, I can be a far more effective voice for the community without the restraints put in place by the NDA and an unspoken rule to "play nice". Goodness knows I'll be getting my info either at the same time or within hours of it being presented to CSMX, and won't have to deal with any internal blow back because I went off message.

It's true that my bittervet level this year has increased by a factor of at least 10, and the tone of this blog has gone increasingly negative as time has gone on. I had a rant on Eve Radio a few weeks ago about being out of fucks, and considered aloud giving up on this game entirely, that's how much this CSM term has dragged me down. When it comes right down to it, by itself Eve would be a pretty shit game, however the community that has attached itself to it makes it something greater than the sum of its coded parts.

If this was just about a game, I'd have probably peaced out a long time ago, but the game is merely a tool that we all use to interact with one another. That's why you see so many people give Eve a try and then quit days or weeks later. You'll be reading some news article about the largest internet space battle in history, and see them lamenting in the comments section telling us how they were never able to get into the game.

They don't get it. Many of you reading these words today do.

What makes Eve amazing, and what has kept me around for 11 1/2 years isn't new art or spaceships, or a balance pass. Those things, if done well, help to keep things a bit fresh, but what keeps me subbed and playing this game are the people I play it with. Most of the people I play Eve with have never been in the same room as me. We live all over the world, speak different languages in our daily lives, have a multitude of cultural backgrounds, and yet I consider these space bros and sisters as much my friends as anyone I've ever hung out with in person. I have played many games over the years, and in no other game have I made that connection with the other people I've played with.

In the sandbox, you have to be able to make your own fun, and it helps immensely to have other people to make that fun with... and against. With that in mind, and being completely honest, CCP Rise and Fozzie could completely cock up the next 3 ship rebalance passes and I'd still be playing.They probably won't though, because even if CCP continues to misuse the CSM, the bloggers, podcasters, news sites, and even the forum trolls will still be around to help feed the discussions and give voices to the players.

For myself, I'm looking forward to getting back into Eve with friends, and shaking off some of this CSM bitterness. I'll see you in space!