The CSM is a group of players democratically elected by the player base to work closely with CCP on the future of EvE Online. CCP hosts two CSM summits every term and the members of the CSM are invited to Iceland. Like any business trip, some of the travel expenses are covered by the company. In this case, CCP pays for the hotel and the airfare for the CSM delegates attending the Summits. The logistical gratuity provided by CCP has led some players to call the CSM a “Free Trip to Iceland”. I am going to break down in detail all the ways in which that is bogus.
Lap of Luxury
As a former member of the CSM and having attended both summits during my term, I can say with certainty that this is not the vacation some people think it is. For starters, we do not get to choose what time of day the plane picking us up or dropping us off. We fly economy and usually get either Icelandair or WOW air for our trip to Iceland. Those of us that have connecting flights usually have to contend with odd hours and a counter-intuitive itinerary prepared by CCP. Once actually in Iceland, a driver picks us up at the airport and takes us in order of our arrival to our lodging. Upon arrival, our rooms were not ready the first summit and most of us had to wait in a crowded lobby until mid afternoon. There were similar problems during the second summit.
When we finally did get our rooms, we were antagonized by defective light switches, machine controlled windows that open and close on a whim, extremely loud construction sounds at all hours of the night, bright flood lights that shined directly into many of our rooms, missing towels and in one particular instance the entire building ran out of water due to an “obstruction” at 2 AM while I was taking a shower. We were provided with a taxi service to take us from the hotel in the morning to CCP HQ but we had to pay our own way back to the hotels after spending the day inside a very warm office room.
The Sauna is provided gratis
Many people responded to my wearing of tank tops with disdain and insults but what most people probably did not realize is that the room the CSM uses during the summits at CCP has horrible ventilation. It can at times reach 75-80F (23-26C) with the CSM, a bunch of CCP devs and a table full of laptops purring away. Aside from the total lack of ceiling fans or non-mobile cooling solutions I personally have a condition called autism that causes me to generate more BTUs than I should and this results in profound discomfort in warm environments. There is a window in that room but the flow of air is such that without any actual wind, cool air doesn’t really enter the room.
A part time job
I have said before that the CSM is essentially a part-time job where you are an unpaid volunteer consultant/communication apparatus. In the real world I work in retail and while horror stories from this industry are to be found all over the internet, the CSM is challenging in different ways. The CSM summits are probably the most work intensive period of your term on the CSM because you are spending an entire work day in one location. Anybody who is under the delusion that CSM delegates are out going on tours or actually experiencing Iceland should remember that this pipe dream was initially started as a sarcastic joke. I would be the last person to discourage somebody from running for a spot on the CSM but I will say that it is important that you are aware of the significant time investment required. If you decided to run because you were told that it was a “free trip to Iceland” then you are sorely mistaken.