Quote of the Day – CSM members have no agency

CSM members have no agency.

-Sion Kumitomo, Now We Got Bad Blood

The quote was so small that I put it in the title of the post.  Saved you a click… unless you’re already here.  Ah well.

The post from which I took it however is somewhere in the 4,500 word range, or about double the number of words at which I start thinking that I might be rambling too much.  So many words in order to build up a context, set the story, explain the machinations, and try to tease out some of the nuances of the whole saga. (And then there is the comment section which seeks to compete on the total words front.)

The words of Citizen Sion

The words of Citizen Sion

Yes, the post was put out there to tell a story and justify an resulting action, and that can require many words.  Sion gets to have his say.  Yet, for me, the essence of the whole issue was delivered in five words nestled deep in the heart of that enormous post.  This all came about essentially because members of the CSM, for all their hard work and devotion to the game, cannot make things happen.  They cannot make CCP listen to them.  They cannot make CCP like them.  They cannot make CCP disclose information to them.  They cannot make CCP fly them to Iceland.  They cannot make CCP acknowledge their existence.

The members of the CSM hold almost no power in their relationship with CCP unless they take the game out of school, so to speak, and start getting players riled up directly.  And even that has worked exactly once, back during the Incarna brouhaha.  Going out of school mostly just gets you ignored or ridiculed or excluded from the proceedings so far as I can tell.

School is, of course, the apt metaphor.  I called the whole thing the Galactic Student Council back in 2008… and I am not going to let that piratical Rixx Javix steal my lead on that insight either with his 2011 observations!

Not that I begrudge CCP their hold over things.  They have a business to run, and adding a bunch of well meaning outsiders to the development process can be a hindrance to getting things done.

But CCP also set this whole CSM system up.  They have encouraged players to step up and pitch in, on their time, and generally work at what I once described as essentially a “horrible middle-management job,” all for the love of the game.  It is not unreasonable to expect that, if you’re going to ask people to put in the effort, that you not jerk them around.  You don’t tell people they matter, that the whole process matters, and then consistently prove to them that they really don’t without some blowback.

And so Sion boycotted the latest CSM summit.

Part of me doesn’t agree with his choice.  After all, what does a boycott of one accomplish?  And doubly so, how effective is a boycott when you’re alleged to be the member that CCP changed the whitepaper, without consulting the CSM, just to exclude from running for CSM again?  Staying away seems to be giving CCP exactly what they desire.  It would be better, to my mind, to show up and bang your shoe on the table like a latter day Khrushchev just to let people know you’re there and won’t be ignored.

Then again, I haven’t been in Sion’s shoes.  After his experiences, it may be that exercising about the only agency he has left within the confines of the CSM Whitepaper seemed like the better plan.  In the end, he made the choice and gets to live with the consequences.

Anyway, the management of the CSM at CCP has traded hands, with CCP Logibro, a friend to all fan sites, and the perennially popular CCP Guard taking over the helm.  Perhaps that will change things a bit for CSM 11.  Putting one of the most well known and well liked members of the CCP team on the case does send a message.  But CCP Guard also seems like one of the busier people on the CCP team, at least when looking in from the outside, so I hope he and CCP Logibro have the time to do something with the CSM.

10 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – CSM members have no agency

  1. anon

    That might be the first Sion post I read that doesn’t spin the goon narrative. At first glance, it ought to contain at least 4/5 of truth.


  2. jarhead

    on reading his rant the first thought that came to my mind was “when did they stop splitting articles into 7 pages to get more add veiws?”.

    at this point they should just make MDC into an internal CFC site so Sion can become a candidate. it not like anyone else reads TMC anymore. they’re irrelevant.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @jarhead – Heh, I hadn’t noticed that they stopped the multi-page thing. But there were a lot of complaints about the site within The Imperium as well as from without. Hell, the feed into the forums hasn’t even been running for a couple months at this point.


  4. Dirk MacGirk (@dirkmacgirk)

    I don’t think the views from various CSM members, including Sion who is the most vocal, is about this…

    “This all came about essentially because members of the CSM, for all their hard work and devotion to the game, cannot make things happen. They cannot make CCP listen to them. They cannot make CCP like them. They cannot make CCP disclose information to them. They cannot make CCP fly them to Iceland.”

    So much as this…

    “They cannot make CCP acknowledge their existence.”

    One would think it should never be a case of CCP not even acknowledging their existence. But maybe that’s just what happens when it all breaks down so completely as it seems to have this term.


  5. Stabs

    This is how I see it. Developers at CCP all have their own way of working. Some have habits that became ingrained before the CSM, some were taught by such staff members. The CSM is a resource for devs if they choose to use it as such, otherwise a red tape afterthought they need to tick off before they can get work signed off.

    Some development clearly has been collaborative – CCP Fozzie leaned heavily on Mynnna’s expertise for the ore revamp.

    But it’s an option, something that has to appeal to a dev as a superior way of working.

    Sion comes across as someone who feels entitled to respect and gets cross when he doesn’t get his own way. He’s on thin ice here with his revelations (allegations) about what was said in private confidential meetings.

    It’s not because he’s a Goon. Mynnna and Mitanni are Goons and got a lot done.

    It’s because devs didn’t find him appealing to work with. And all this toy-throwing rage on TMC completely vindicates that choice.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Stabs – Yes, what I will sum up as the “Sion is an entitled jerk and his experiences are unique to him and brought upon him solely by his own actions” opinion has a lot of supporters. You can see them in the comment thread on that post and, of course, there is a whole hate thread over on Reddit that is pretty much universally of that mind. That wasn’t what this post was about, but since you’ve gone there, let’s look at that.

    The problem I have with that premise is a couple other former CSM members, Mynxee and Funkybacon, have commented on Sion’s post, saying that Sion’s description jibes with their experiences. There also looked to be a comment from a Russian CSM member in support of Sion, but the English was so broken, and I didn’t recognize the name, so I couldn’t be sure.

    Then there is Sugar Kyle. Did you read her latest post, the one about the summit and how she debated whether or not to go, in part because of the relationship between the CSM and some parts of CCP? To me that seems to support Sion in its own way.

    And then there is CCP, which moved CCP Falcon and CCP Leeloo away from CSM duties just before this summit. I suppose you could say they were being rewarded for their excellent work and given better assignments where they didn’t have to work with the likes of Sion. But then are they punishing poor CCP Guard and CCP Logibro for some reason?

    For me the evidence seems to add up to this not just being “Sion is an entitled jerk.” Other CSM members being quiet isn’t evidence either way. If another CSM member, past or present, came out and said Sion (and Mynxee and Funkybacon and Sugar) has it all wrong, I would listen to that. But most of what is being said is just outsiders, including myself, projecting their personal views onto the whole thing.

    Which is, of course, why I made this post about a simple topic, agency, which I claimed that the CSM would never have back in 2008. I was mostly interested to have another point of confirmation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fucknuckle

    I read the sugar Kyle post and Jesus what a clown. 90 % of it is personal whine, but one bit struck me. It was the part of being uncomfortable staying at an Airbnb, and being a very private person.

    Why the hell would you run for a public position if staying at an Airbnb is enough to make you uncomfortable?

    Not just that, but the entire thing reads like a soddy novel by someone focusing more on the writing than the actual content. I can’t imagine working with someone like that to ever be productive.

    Which I guess is why the CSM doesn’t work. It’s a bunch of anti-social nerds, and as much as I empathize with that, and the fact they won the popularity contest to get there, they don’t really possess any form of leadership, strategical or business skills so why would they ever be taken serious by people who do?


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