The eleventh iteration of the Council of Stellar Management (CSM 11) is now open to selection by the EVE Online subscriber base. There are 53 qualified candidates running for the 14 positions on the CSM.
I must admit that my enthusiasm for the CSM is not as strong has it has been in past years. The effectiveness of the CSM, as an institution, is somewhat adrift as a result of bad behavior by some members, leading to increased distrust within CCP Games. CSM 11 will need to work hard to re-establish good relations with CCP devs, so that they can be effective advocates for the EVE Online player community.
In addition, there is not a singular developmental theme this year, which we voters can use to prioritize our selections. Last year, CCP's stated emphasis was on revamping sovereignty and null-sec space mechanics. The year before, everyone knew that industry was the principal focus. At this point in the process of bringing CCP Seagull's long-term roadmap to fruition, the next aspects of prioritized development are not as clear. This makes it more challenging to filter the backgrounds and experience of CSM candidates, in order to align them to CCP's stated direction.
I therefore find myself approaching the task of voting for CSM 11 with much less vigor, and not a little trepidation. Much is at stake. If the CSM falters badly as an institution, then CCP Games is likely to discontinue it. While CSM X accomplished much this year, meta-gaming shenanigans overshadowed most of those accomplishments. I am frankly uncertain if such behavior can be thwarted or even adequately restrained. As a result, the CSM may very well self-destruct, either by design or by accident, depending on who is elected. No matter how you look at it, CSM 11 is in for a challenging term.
Unfortunately, I must sadly predict that the turnout for voting will be at its nadir this year, as a result of the generally lower level of confidence in the CSM to act on behalf of the player community. This is very unfortunate, as it will give more weight to the already exaggerated level of influence of null-sec power blocs. This does not bode well for the interests of the "silent majority" of EVE Online players who do not dwell in 0.0 space.
Since I am one of those players - I have resided mostly in high-sec, and recently moved to Thera to play with the Signal Cartel exploration corp in w-space - my votes for null-sec bloc candidates will go to the bottom of my list. They frankly don't need my help to get elected, anyway. More importantly, I want to see at least a few members on the CSM who can represent interests of players outside of 0.0, and that desire is driving my recommended slate of candidates. If you share my point of view, you will find some value in my suggestions.
My friend and fellow blogger, NoizyGamer, has summarized some helpful resources for learning about the CSM 11 candidates in this post. I highly recommend listening to the CSM Watch analysis shows, which are excellent summaries of the strengths and weaknesses of candidates. Finally, the CSM Vote Match site provides insight about how well the candidates' views may align with your own.
Because the CSM is elected through a Single Transferable Vote (STV) process, how you select the number and order of preference of candidates is important. The bottom line: vote for at least six candidates, at a minimum, and vote for candidates that represent your own self-interests. If everyone votes in this way, the STV system does a decent job of selecting a fair cross-representational group.
My Endorsements for CSM 11
Here is who I am voting for this year:
1. Steve Ronuken - a CSM veteran, Steve has proven to be a drama-free contributor, and a strong and consistent representative, especially for players with interest in industry and third-party tool development. An expert in CREST, Steve brings some unique and valuable talents to the CSM. He is also one of the nicest gentlemen you'll ever meet. He's earned another spot on the CSM, absolutely.
2. Tora Bushido - I'm wincing a bit as I write this recommendation, but Tora has earned my respect and my endorsement. Tora operates in high-sec as a mercenary, leading the Marmite Collective. His vision of how to have fun in high-sec differs significantly from my own, but he agrees with me that war declaration and ganking mechanics need a serious review, so we share a common interest on these points. I've seen Tora bristle at opinions that vary from his own - if he can remember to be diplomatic, I think he'll be a good addition to the CSM.
3. DoToo Foo - an industrialist, market trader and PI bear, operating in w-space, which needs more representation on the CSM. He's also a capable blogger and good communicator. A worthy addition to the CSM team.
4. Joffy Aulx-Gao - a low-sec PvPer, I'm endorsing Joffy because low-sec needs capable representation on the CSM. He's earned other endorsements from many people I respect.
5. Lorelei Ierendi - a worthy high-sec representative, Lorelei's perspectives align with many of my own. I suspect that high-sec will see more development focus from CCP Games over the next year, as least indirectly, and I think Lorelei can be a strong contributor to those efforts.
6. Nashh Kadvr - a candidate focused on building the EVE player community and eSports events. Player-driven community events are a growing phenomena, and we need more well-organized tournaments, and so I think Nashh would be a good addition to the CSM.
7. RF Gnaeus Crassus - a Red Frog professional hauler, and therefore, a man after my own heart. I have a soft spot for the freight-running trade, and I'd love to see it better represented on the CSM.
8. Commander Aze - I am somewhat surprised to find myself supporting this candidate, after discarding him so easily last year. But he has more experience now, and I found his points of view to be better articulated and refined this year. An industrialist and interested in improving high-sec wardecs, Aze has earned my unqualified endorsement.
9. Falck Longbottom - an EVE University candidate. As an E-UNI alumnus, I feel compelled to support Falck. I met him at Fanfest last year and found him thoughtful and passionate about EVE. I think he'd be a good addition.
10. Diana Olympos - a fellow Crossing Zebras writer, I've had an opportunity to see how Diana thinks, and I like it. Now a null-sec mercenary, but formerly with PFR, I am endorsing Diana for her market knowledge. The mercenary career also needs some attention by CCP Games, in my opinion, and I think Diana can bring that perspective to the table.
11. Apothne - a PL null-sec guy. I really like Apothne. He's a fellow E-UNI graduate, another fellow CZ writer, very smart PvP'er, and excellent communicator - he's also been a savvy commentator on Alliance Tournament matches. He knows his stuff. Highly recommended.
12. Gorski Car - another PL guy, and the only other experienced CSM member running, other than Steve Ronuken, Gorski has proven to be a hard worker, dedicated and well worthy of re-election.
13. Kyle Aparthos - a null-sec guy (SMA), but I was very impressed with his interviews, which were thoughtful, articulate, and well-reasoned. He's earned my vote.
Those will be my votes for CSM 11 - I wish them all good luck!
CSM 11 voting closes on March 25th - the final results will be announced at Fanfest on April 21st in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Fly safe! o7