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The Mittani Removed from CSM7, Banned from EVE for 30 Days March 29, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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CCP has come out with their ruling on the actions of The Mittani at the Alliances Panel at the 2012 FanFest in Iceland.

It was determined that his behavior violated the terms of service of the game.  The Mittani voluntarily stepped down from the chairmanship of CSM 6, which runs out its term early next week, and from the chairmanship of CSM 7.

CCP issues a 30 day ban from the game and declared that he had also forfeited his right to sit on CSM 7.

The Latest Goon Image

A more detailed look at this and what it means can be found here.

So The Mittani, who had just received an unprecedented 10K votes in the CSM 7 elections, securing him the chairmanship for another term and giving him a clear mandate to continue his policies, has seen all that come to naught due to his actions at the alliance panel.

The results announced on March 24

The ban will not affect his position as the leader of the Goonswarm.  The Mittani is famous for running the alliance while rarely ever logging in.

As Jester pointed out, and The Mittani confirmed, one of the The Mittani’s problems has been wearing hats that represent conflicting roles.  Being the leader of Goonswarm, the mastermind behind the most controversial alliance in EVE, is a role that does not mesh well with being the chairman of the CSM, which is a political position that requires being a good citizen.

Relieved of the second responsibility, The Mittani now returns to the role that built his reputation, the leader of Goonswarm.

And his first post-ban declaration is that Tenal must burn.  The State of the Goonion broadcast announcing this can be found here.

The war with Raiden will go from harassing cross-board exchanges to a full scale conflict.

The fury of the Goons will be thus focused.

April 4 Addendum: Seleene has been elected Chairman of CSM7.

Comments»

1. Aidan P. - March 29, 2012

Yay!

More changes to watch on the influence map. I wonder what the post-Raiden[dot] verison of BoB will call itself?

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2. HarbingerZero - March 29, 2012

Wait…so…you can say anything you want to another player in the game itself. You can swindle and cheat them, greef them 24/7 and drive them into a murderous rage, and its peachy keen. But if you say something in real life to someone else, and CCP knows your identity, its the banhammer for you?

Am I missing something? Because that makes little sense to me.

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3. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 29, 2012

@HZ – Well, it is more… nuanced I guess… than that. Or so I understand.

First, the whole thing was recorded and up on YouTube, so it cannot be made to disappear. Mittens will be there forever mocking The Wis and his mention of suicide in front of a live studio audience.

And this came at the same time Sony Computer Entertainment had a crowd of people on site for DUST 514 related announcements.

So CCP was in a spot. They had to do something or look like they were soft on what got called cyber bullying… a big hot button word these days, bullying… in front of their new partners. So they came down on Mittens, banned for 30 days and kicked off the CSM. (He only resigned the chairmanship, not his seat on the CSM as Massively would have you believe… but their coverage has trended towards sensationalist on this.)

In the end, it is what it is, though there are certainly other views on CCP’s culpability in this fiasco.

We’ll see whether this means a real change to how CCP views things come April 28.

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4. Serpentine Logic - March 29, 2012

Actually I think you’ll find the sound is blanked out during that the offending sentence in the official youtube video.

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5. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 29, 2012

@SL – Well, unless CCP asked YouTube to take down the unofficial versions that we were all watching, it is still out there.

I wonder if CCP would do that? Those were recordings made from a pay-per-view stream that no doubt has some copyright associated with it.

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6. ishtare - March 29, 2012

Hate to say it but as a member of the CSM on stage at fanfest he was, at least in part, a representative of CCP.

You get drunk, say something morally reprehensible, you get fired simple as that. If you want to be a member of the CSM you can do what you want in the sandbox, but out side of it people see you as an extension of CCP the company.

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7. mbp - March 29, 2012

I am kind of surprised that Mittens didn’t have the cop on to resign himself. This is politics 101.

A public representative under the influence of alcohol makes an unacceptable gaffe while on camera.

Step 1. Said representative makes a heartfelt and honest public apology. Check, Mittens did that very well

Step 2. Said public representative resigns.Mittens talked about this but bottled it. There is a world of difference between honourably falling on your sword and being thrown out in disgrace.

Step 3. If said former public representative wants to return to public life he then spends an unspecified amount of time doing charitable works for those he maligned (widows, orphans or in this case depressed players of EVE). Remains to be seen if Mittens is prepared to do this.

Step 4. Re-enters public life after period of rehabilitation being clearly and obviously supported by leading members of the community he previously insulted or threatened. “Former victims of in game harassment applaud The Mittani for helping them get back on their feet” .. that sort of thing.

@Harbinger of course there is a huge difference between what a character called “The Mittani” can do inside a game and what a real person called “Alexander Gianturco” can get away with in public in front of a camera while he is supposed to be an elected representative for a large group of real humans.

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8. Default - March 29, 2012

Personally, I always felt that he was way too rough around the edges for the political side of EVE.
EVE is full of good people playing bad guys, and that is just fine.
But this time, he went from being an unpleasant, influential guy to making morally reprehensible comments, publicly, to a live human being.
Any real politician would probably go down for that. It is only fitting that Mittani would too.

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9. Lewis Maskell - March 29, 2012

A while ago I said I wouldn’t vote for The Mittani because he rubs me raw: his actions on the panel are why.

But equally I should say, some of the hysteria in the other direction (I’ve seen plenty of people comparing him to various dictators) is equally stupid and out of place.

Here’s good luck to burning Tenal. Even more good luck in burning Jita – but alas I think one will find Jita will be far more difficult to remove.

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10. Chris Bickford (@kiztent) - March 29, 2012

Lewis:

Jita is going down. I think everyone will be in for a very rude shock once they discover just how miserable Goons can make everyone if they’re actually angry enough to “get organized”.

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11. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 29, 2012

@mbp – You speak of politics 101, but that is in a situation where a politician has done something to lose the support of his constituency. Many politicians have said or done things that have pissed off people who didn’t support them in any case and have gone along their merry way with very little in the way of what you suggest.

If CCP said tomorrow that they were going to have a “do over” for the CSM and Mittens was eligible to run, he would easily win a seat and very likely win the most votes yet again, making him eligible for the chairmanship.

In that situation, stepping down from the chairmanship, a very visible position that he quite wanted, and quite clearly earned, seemed to be enough to him. CCP felt they needed to kick him to the curb. Their game, their rules. A real elected official who retained as much support as Mittens would not face such a threat.

Plus, there is the whole “this is a game” aspect to this. The same rules do not always apply. EVE is Real was just an ad campaign.

And on a different topic, this post is currently the top result on Google for the search term “Mittani Banned.” The mysteries of the Googleplex.

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12. HarbingerZero - March 29, 2012

@ishtare – I agree in principle, but disagree on the details. Alexander was not elected to anything, as the picture above provides solid proof of. And this was not a formal meeting of the CSM. It was an annual “roast” where alcohol is the norm and bad behavior is, if not encouraged, at least tolerated. What he said is no worse than what gets said in the game a thousand times a day.

So either cyber-bullying is only really dangerous when done in person or CCP did play some politics here and used him for a scapegoat.

The real shocker in all of this is Mittani’s aplogy and blood money. That’s not generally what one would expect from a Goon.

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13. mbp - March 29, 2012

If you held the election tomorrow perhaps the results might be the same because a lot of Mittani supporters still feel defensive about voting for him and are rushing to his defence. Hold it again next year and I am not so sure. I think he has played the game badly and has damaged his political credibility as a result.

Did he resign or was he pushed? The story seems to change every time I read it. Whatever way I think it will be an embarassing blot on his copybook going forward. Surely there are a few pretenders in the wings of Goonswarm who will seize on an opportunity like this to make a play for power.

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14. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 29, 2012

@HZ – And there is still some question in my mind as to how culpable CCP is in this fiasco.

CCP, by their own admission, reviewed all the slides for that presentation, including the one in question, which they say merely “hinted at depression and thoughts of suicide,” and gave it their approval for presentation.

So mocking a player who represented himself as potentially suicidal was okay until names got named. And maybe that is when the line was truly crossed.

But as a company, if you let people booze up, approve questionable topics for presentation, and stream it all live, you seem to be asking for trouble in the first place. And when you don’t jump on the issue until people actually start to complain, as though you didn’t see it as a problem until that point….

@mbp – He resigned the chairmanship of CSM 7. He was then banned, and due to being banned, he was ineligible to serve on the CSM and so was removed. That is how I read the statements, where they took pains to say he resigned from CSM 6 but had forfeited his rights to serve on CSM 7.

I differ in view on his popularity in his own alliance. Nobody has risen up yet to challenge his leadership of Goonswarm. He is a popular and successful leader. Things can change in a year, but my gut is that what happened at Fanfest won’t affect that.

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15. jaggins - March 29, 2012

Given the tremendous bad press and distraction from the DUST ramp up, I cannot fault CCP for giving the king of suicide the axe from a business perspective. The community reaction to the issue of attempting to incite suicide in a mentally ill person has been eye-opening. I am amazed at how many people have defended, minimized or excused that action.

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16. bhagpuss - March 29, 2012

As an uninvolved and really not all that interested observer, I’d say the two probable reasons why this has blown up so far so fast are a) the potential commercial damage that could accrue to the Dust 514 project as highlighted by Wilhelm above and b) the potential legal ramifications for CCP as a company and for individuals within CCP should the individual in question actually attempt suicide at any time from now on.

I have no idea what the legal position might be in Iceland but in the UK we have a lot of legislation on individual and collective corporate responsibility relating to duty of care. Had Mittens made his comments just about anywhere else CCP probably wouldn’t have needed to take any action but at an official corporate event organized and hosted by them? I would think their lawyers would have been quite concerned.

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17. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 29, 2012

@Jaggins – EVE is one of those games, as you well know.

I have seen, as expected, reactions from the HTFU end of the spectrum, who see no issue at all with The Mittani’s behavior, all the way to people saying that blowing up miners in high sec, or scamming people in game, is immoral and people doing it ought to be banned because it is cyber bullying in and of itself.

My own feelings are certainly colored by the fact that I think people who bring up suicide in such trivial circumstances are attempting emotional blackmail. But I seem to be in a tiny, or at least very quiet, minority in that regard, and it certainly does not excuse the behavior at the Alliance Panel.

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18. Anonymous - March 30, 2012

the best part of the GOON poster is the last word is mispelt

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19. Stabs - March 30, 2012

“I think people who bring up suicide in such trivial circumstances are attempting emotional blackmail.”

It certainly can be. “If you don’t buy me a pony I’ll throw myself off the roof!”

In this case it may well not have been. The text of the letter isn’t an ultimatum, it has a note of resignation. The way it reads to me, he’s not trying to guilt-trip his griefers into behaving, he’s accepting the situation.

Anyway the real problem is that knowing the person might be suicidal Mittani used his leadership position to urge people to pile on more hurt in the Q&A after the talk. That’s pretty despicable and reckless of another person’s life. And it’s enough that it might be genuine, you don’t need an actual suicide to show that that was a poor way to behave.

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20. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 30, 2012

@Stabs – You have obviously never dated a black belt in passive-aggressive. After that, anybody bringing up irrelevant personal issues is clearly trying to influence you. My issue I know, but it plays into my world view.

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21. TurAmarth - March 30, 2012

I find it interesting no one is getting it… It has nuthing to do with fair or even what EVE is/was…

CCP is now in bed with Sony.

Sony is a Very Large OLD mass market retail corporation.

Sony does not allow vulgar, offcolor, inappropriate language and behavior (IE cussing and public drunkenness) and threats most especially when directed at a paying customer, in its public relations or public venues.

CCP historically has and currently still does and this led to the massive grey area in EVE of “allowed griefplay”. CPP had a prominent public figure representing CCP and EVE make a public statement that, in ANY OTHER PUBLIC VENUE, would be immediately seen by everyone as “cyber bullying”. CCP does exactly what they now see (in the light of their new business relationship) as “the right thing”.

With several hundred thousand Sony PS2 customers watching… is there ANY other way CCP “could” react???

You think CCP doesn’t listen to us as well as WE feel they should? Wait till Sony takes it’s seat at the table… and quietly says, “We don’t approve of ‘________’.”

Sony (and now CCP) will weigh the (non plexed) income from our 300K playerbase in EVE against the potential income from the (potential) millions of Sony’s current and target customer base…

…and our beloved EVE will get wholegame Apocanerfed without so much as a Dev Blog post to say we’re sorry but RL ISK means moar to us than you, the Brave, the Rude, the Few…

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22. Sered Woollahra - March 30, 2012

@TurAmarth Kind of agree. One of the devblogs mentioned, in bold and cursive, ‘internet spaceships is serious business'; that immediately reminded me of Sony.

Yet if you look at the current proposals for the wardec revamp, I don’t exactly see CCP softening up on casual highsec carebears. On the contrary. So all may not be lost, yet ;-)

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23. Lewis Maskell - March 30, 2012

Chris,

Goons get bored. They always do. Jita will burn for a while … and then most likely after Goons get bored, it will return.

Don’t get me wrong, I personally would love it if Jita was taken down. But realistically, I just don’t see it happening long-term.

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24. Stabs - March 30, 2012

@ TAGN no, I haven’t, at least not for long enough to be scarred by it.

I certainly don’t like being guilt-tripped or whatever. I just think there’s a moment in play to back away and when the person talks about suicide that’s the moment. I’m not advocating that Mittani should go out with this player, just that the line was pretty frikkin clear.

Do we really need a death before we start to say, “oh yeah, baiting suicidal people probably is kinda bad”?

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25. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 30, 2012

@Stabs – You are clearly confusing what I am saying.

That I believe this guy was an ass-hat for dealing out a classic passive aggressive “don’t worry about poor little me” message does not mean I think Mittens was fine in calling this guy out at the alliance panel. I do not. That was wrong.

But it isn’t a zero sum game. There is room for both of them to have done wrong.

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26. Illutian (@Illutian) - March 31, 2012

Wonder how this would have played out had Mittens not mentioned the dude’s IN-GAME (people keep thinking he said the guys RL name) name during the Q&A.

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27. The Community You Create | Kill Ten Rats - April 2, 2012

[...] outcome of that particular EVE situation? A 30-day in-game ban on the leader of the largest group of organized sociopaths, who can still lead them just fine [...]

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28. sarapickell - April 2, 2012

It seems to me that maybe the “good people playing bad people” part of all of this is may be more of a problem than I thought. After reading Mitten’s apology it’s pretty clear he thinks he made the mistake of getting caught up too much in his in-game persona.

But then that’s the problem with playing at being evil, villainous, or even just a serious asshole, it’s all fun and games until it isn’t. And when that line is crossed it can’t be walked back over.

Having the balance of the facts at my disposal, I’m not so sure I would really want to see The Mittani crucified over all of this… but I think it’s also pretty clear that by and large people are getting behind their reactionary and defensive lines. Any lessons that may have been learned from all of this seem destined to lie fallow.

But that’s how EVE goes. It would be silly to expect it to change now.

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