CSM7 Minutes – Quantity Has an Annoying Quality all its Own

I said elsewhere that I thought CSM7 was going to be damned to obscurity.

Not that being so damned is a reflection on the members of CSM7 or the efforts they are putting in to their jobs.  However, they will naturally be compared to CSM6 and there is almost no way they will stack up to that legacy.

There is the Great Man Theory that says figures will rise up due to the exceptional abilities to shape and leave a mark on the times in which they lived.

I tend more towards what I would call the “newspaper headline” theory.  You only get interesting headlines when something interesting is actually happening.  A so-called “Great Man” (or woman, or whatever you would call somebody of one sex using the avatar of the opposite sex) can only achieve greatness if the right opportunities arise.

Hi, my name is Peter! But you can call me Elise.

So it came to pass last year.  There was the crisis of Incarna.  To many players CCP seemed to have gone completely off the rails.  CCP gave us an expansion with a cash shop stocked with pants and expensive monocles, most of which nobody else could see.  The station view was replaced with the pretty… as in “pretty useless”… Captain’s Quarters.  CCP also wanted to license any use of EVE on the internet.  And then there was the leak of CCP’s internal newsletter where they rather vigorously explored was to monetize the game beyond the subscription.  The specter of epic spaceships and gold ammo on the market for real world money took the level or rage in the community and cranked it up to 11.

The CCP response to all of this took the form of repeatedly spraying gasoline on the fire via pronouncements from Chairman Hilmar.

So the moment was set for Council of Stellar Management, lead by The Mittani.

And the council… which I derided back at its origin as the Galactic Student Council, seeing it as a window dressing debating society or a junior league UN with members in it mostly for a free trip to Iceland… stepped up and became the voice of the protests.  It was prepared to bite the hand that created it even as CCP was flying the council out for an emergency summit.

It appeared that CSM6 emergency summit was an instrumental part of the effort to talk CCP off the ledge, though there was still a gap between CCP and the CSM.  While they did a joint video, the CSM released its own statement on the summit, since CCP still seemed to have the whitewash brush in their hand. (I’m still annoyed a year later about CCP trying to minimize the station changes as some sort of bizarre affection for “ship spinning.”)

Fences were mended.  Players calmed down.  And in the fall we got an expansion that was largely made up of fixes and improvements to things that players had been bitching about for ages.  Flying in space was again to be the main focus of EVE Online.

And the Council of Stellar Management came out of it looking like a major force in the game.

But now it is a year later.  A new council, CSM7, has been elected and they clearly want to leave their mark as well.  And while there was some drama between the election and their being officially seated, not much else has been going on.  Things have been very quiet.

CCP doesn’t seem inclined to go insane again just to give the CSM something to do.

So, in the absence of a crisis, CSM7 seems to be determined to build themselves a monument of words.  That has to be the explanation for the  165 page PDF file that constitutes the minutes of the two day CSM summit that took place back on June 1st.  You can find the whole enchilada here.

And the favored topic of CSM7 appears to be CSM7.

The document opens up with a 30 page transcript of the CSM talking about various aspects of the CSM.  They want rules.  They want rules to justify kicking somebody off the CSM.  They want rules about how they should communicate with the player base.  They want rules about the behavior of members of the CSM in game.  They are worried about voting.  They want to elect their own chairman rather than having it go to the candidate with the most votes.  They bring up The Mittani nearly a dozen times.

The transcript starts off  in as amusing in a way, and Trebor adds in his own tidbit about transcribing the discussion about transcriptions that adds a bit more humor, but the whole thing quickly becomes a too long warning against doing transcriptions.  The CSM is made up of people, and we get to see them exposed as such as you read along.

They are trying to be witty or amusing.   They have personal agendas or axes to grind.  They seem to obsess about petty hair splitting.  But most of all, they seem to be very much focused on themselves for 30 freaking pages to no useful purpose.

If you wanted to put together document to reinforce the Galactic Student Council image, you would have to work to top that opening segment.  I bet this document is going to come back to haunt some people come next CSM election.

Not that the whole thing lacks for interesting tidbits.  You can mine the 165 page document for a few updates, though nothing besides the CSM talking about itself appears important enough to take up nearly 20% of the total length.

Jester, in his usual OCD way, has gone through the document and come up with a list of interesting points.

Now I realize that the CSM is a part-time job in addition to the members real and virtual lives and that the position, as Hans Jagerblitzen pointed out, has conflicting aspects of its own.  But if you want to make your jobs easier, next summit stick to more traditional minutes and give us a few pages of details.  More substance, less… whatever the hell you want to call that CSM section.

And yes, I know some loud people were clamoring for a detailed “who said what” during the last CSM, but there are always some loud people clamoring for something in EVE.  We don’t have to listen to all of them, do we?

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me either.

But if people have questions about your summary, you can bet they will ask.  And then you can engage with the community which you were elected to represent.  Or not.

So who has read the whole thing, word for word so far?

11 thoughts on “CSM7 Minutes – Quantity Has an Annoying Quality all its Own

  1. Jason

    I skimmed it super heavy, skipping probably 80% of it. Most of it, as you point out, is page upon page of what I would term inane drivel.

    That said, I believe Ripard Teg(Jester’s Trek) has read it from start to finish.


  2. minorfreak

    just read you, mabricks (and i posted the bit about mining on my blog) and some other blogger.
    I could get down to reading it but i think the tone they had during the mining session said i’d only want to strangle someone


  3. evehermit

    I think they accomplished what they set out to do – shine a light on their personalities and highlight the fact that they are on the CSM and doing something. The problem with this is that it wasn’t such a great image. On the bright side, I now know what I want from the CSM minutes – something that is quickly released, short and to the point, and communicates a clear summary without the background chatter.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jester – As Dorothy Parker once said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

    @Evehermit – So you believe the CSM7 minutes to be deliberate abuse of the electorate then? Hah!


  5. Aufero

    I got about 30 pages in and realized that there were many, many things I’d rather be doing instead. (And one of those things was cleaning up cat vomit, which the cat had chosen that moment to kindly supply.)

    Perhaps a bit shorter next time?


  6. stnylan

    I think this is case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. CSM have consistently been lobbied to provide more details in the minutes. Now they have.

    Of course we have nothing to compare this with. Even so, I somehow doubt previous CSMs were any more graceful, and given some of the personalities involved in earlier CSMs I imagine a good deal less.


  7. Kobeathris

    What they should do is release two documents, a summary minute sheet, and a full transcription. The summary sheet can link to the relevant section if anyone cares. The full transcription would just require someone to read through and redact any NDA stuff. What they have here is a mesh of the two, which is probably why it took so long to publish. They basically had to retype and summarize every little piece of nonsense, instead of just the important main points.


  8. HarbingerZero

    Seems like they are enacting Pournelle’s Iron Law of Beauracracy, the tl;dr version of which is that this CSM is not working for the player base, but for the CSM as an entity unto itself.


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @stnylan – Oh, absolutely. I mentioned that CSM6 were being hounded by a few loud people who wanted to know who said what whenever their pet feature was being talked about.

    And I am sure that similar transcripts from any previous CSM would reflect as badly on them.

    But CSM7 is the group that chose to do it, even though they could have said no. But being more transparent was on somebody’s agenda. So they are now the doofus CSM compared to the rest. Welcome to their legacy so far.


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