The Council of Stellar Management (CSM) has lost its third member this term. This time it was the top vote-getter Manfred Sidious (Manny) from Pandemic Legion (PL). Manny was removed by CCP for reasons unspecified, but the worst kept secret in EVE is that he was patient zero for leaks on capital ship changes.
Earlier this term, corebloodbrothers resigned his post to spend more time with his family (or rather RL time constraints). Second, the absent Gorga was removed for inactivity, and soon after his alliance, Nulli Secunda, died too. Both candidates were replaced by runners up. This time there will be no replacement.
“…we would not be replacing if there would be less than 4 or 3 release cycles left until the end of the term. Reason for that is the fact that it takes about 3 months to catch up on things when you join the CSM, so it doesn’t make sense to replace this late.” – CCP Leeloo
Should there have been a replacement, Bobmon also from Pandemic Legion and Editor in Chief of Evenews24.com would have filled the spot. Bobmon is currently running for next cycle of CSM.
Manny has been a high profile player for many years and was often consulted by CCP before he became a CSM member. He was leader of Havoc Corp, heading up AAA, and later in joined Pandemic Legion in various corps. He broke stories about RMT and other major news in the Kugutsumen forums. He is also credited with being an innovative theory crafter, developing very popular fleet doctrines like “slowcat,” carriers, a concept that later morphed down into Ishtar Sentry fleets. In one of the most famous blunders in EVE history, Manny’s failure to pay the sov bill in B-R5RB lead to an invasion that ended 20 hours later with 70 Titans dead, most of which were from PL and Northern Coalition (NC). Manny is not your typical player, but as we saw with The Mittani years ago, even the most powerful CSM members can be humbled.
This time rumors that capital ship changes were leaked angered players who speculated that a drunk Dev (whom shall remain nameless) in EVEsterdam was to blame. However the nature of the information out there was far more detailed than what witnesses claim the Dev divulged. Eventually, speculation focused on Manny as the culprit, and today’s dismissal seems to bear out the fact that privileged information got away from him. Manny’s only response in the announcement thread was “Seems Legit.”
On this week’s “Open Comms” show, Grath Telkin of PL came to Manny’s defense suggesting that if there was a massive leak of material that he would have seen it in PL circles, but he did not. Most CSM members leak to some degree, and what is whispered between friends normally stays under wraps. This time that didn’t happen.
CCP has considered not having an NDA and withholding sensitive information altogether, but found that it diminished the value of the CSM too much. Instead, CSM members sign a five year NDA to keep that information secret, and the members are closely watched through unspecified means. This is the third time a CSM member has been removed for breaking the NDA since its inception.
The CSM has fought for legitimacy and relevance since it was formed. It still suffers from low voter turnout; in the last election, only 37,000 votes were cast. If CCP announced 500,000 paid accounts a few years ago that puts the population at a maximum of 1,500,000. Meaning, 2.5% of the potential voting population participated. Those numbers are not accurate since the paid accounts have fluctuated, and include China, and not every account has 3 character slots full, but the idea that very few people vote for CSM is true.
This is why CCP does not consider the CSM a fully representative body. It is seen as one avenue, of many, to consider the player base views and thoughts on EVE’s development. Both CEO Hilmar, and recently CCP Fozzie, have expressed to players that using other avenues to reach CCP developers works: Twitter, Tweetfleet Slack, and game forums. It is a very Protestant idea that you can have your own relationship with a Dev, when the Catholic CSM get mired in controversy.
“CSM X has been an absolute trainwreck. Truely the CSM we deserve. Not the CSM we need though…” – desertpolarbear, CVA, Reddit
The perception that this session of CSM is a mess ignores that the system is working, cleaning itself up. The removal of Manny and Gorga were signs that the process has safeguards, and it should because the CSM influence the game we all invest in. They pre-warned CCP about the backlash that Aegis Sov suffered, pulled fleet warp from the chopping block, pushed for keeping EVE epic and brought back high DPS fights over structures. They even made wormhole citadels drop all the loot inside when destroyed, and outright vetoed jump clones in w-space.
The CSM are one of many avenues to reach developers, but it is unlike any other. It’s a serious privilege that requires a serious commitment. Some CSM members are better at it than others, despite the number of votes they get.