Why Even Vote?

Karsten Schmidt 2017-03-10

The CSM elections are upon us again, and once again, many people think that things are weighted against them. They feel like voting for the CSM is not going to help. Frequently, comments are heard like:

“Elections are rigged in favor of nullsec candidates”

“The blocs control the vote”

While these sentiments may be widespread, they miss the real point, and even work against the people expressing them. The big question should be why the blocs control the votes.

The answer is organization. They put out ballots and some of their members vote the way they are told.

In my opinion most of the blocs don’t even vote with all their power. But low turnouts allow for even minimal organization to beat the opposition. Last year the turnout was 22345 votes. Goonswarm alone is 25000 members strong at the moment.

What’s Wrong With Highsec?

We always hear stories about most of EVE’s playerbase sitting in highsec. So naturally high sec candidates should get some strong backing. So why do we see (or think we see) no candidates from high sec “winning”? Do people that are not involved in the meta or consume out of game content even know about the election?

I myself have listened to interviews and podcasts pretty much on every commute and sometimes even at home or at work. This amounts to about 30-40 hours in the last 4 weeks. But does Mr. Joe Highsec do the same thing? Probably not.

This year we are seeing a highsec ticket formed by Roedyn, Commander Aze and Toxic Yaken. But will that be enough? What they need is people voting for them. It all comes down to getting people to vote and trying to organize against those evil powerful nullsec blocs that take all of the votes and leave you no chance.

So who should be responsible for getting people to vote? I asked one candidate from the highsec ticket and was told that he had tried campaigning in highsec systems. Most reactions where things like “get rekt” or just no interaction at all. So while campaigning can probably reach some people, getting them to make informed decisions or even going through the effort to vote is something different.

Make It Easy, and Get the Word Out

Why can’t we have the vote ingame? By now we have video tutorials in game. Give every candidate a small website he can design. Either link to his interviews, just give an overview about himself or embed a small youtube video. Nobody just hearing about the vote is reading 64 candidate pages out of game. And having to log into your account in an external browser adds even more effort to this thing.

There also have been no e-mail notification about the election whatsoever. CCP can calculate the networth of millions of characters and their billions of items. How hard would it be to send a weekly reminder to all accounts that have not voted about the election as long as it is running? Notifications about sales on PLEX or SKINs seems to be working flawlessly.

So CCPlease help out a bit here. If you don’t want to keep pushing for a varied CSM you might as well just nominate people to it and skip the vote. We know the CSM had some rough years but it was a mighty tool during the summer of rage. After years of decay, an almost all-new CSM with new CCP leadership has shown this year that it can be that mighty tool again.

This year the Council was reduced to 10 members. We were told that it is not because of the money. We were told the CSM is a very valueable tool. But I can’t see any effort being put into by CCP.

So please: If you have not voted this year, go ahead and take some time out of your day to inform yourself. Voting is open until March, 27th. Your vote counts, but only if you use it.

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Comments

  • Arrendis

    Thanks for sending this in, Karsten. Obviously, the CSM as a representation of the players’ interests is most effective when as many people vote as possible. It would definitely help turnout for CCP to take a few simple measures to raise awareness and make it easier for people to vote.

    March 9, 2017 at 9:41 pm
    • Axhind Arrendis

      Problem seems to be that promising tons of crap is easy, just as in RL politics, but then that person has to actually be able to work well with CCP and other CSM members. It’s not all about who blows more sunshine up your ass 😉

      March 10, 2017 at 7:05 am
      • Arrendis Axhind

        There’s also the hang-up (also found in real-world politics) that the things you’re selling have to actually be deliverable. You can’t promise, for example, to cut everyone’s taxes by 90%, triple the size of the military, and somehow reduce government debt—at least, not if you actually want to deliver on that promise.

        March 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm
      • Karsten Schmidt Axhind

        For me: A candidate that pushes his agenda of changing specific things is almost automatically done for.
        My guess is that CCP will listen to some feedback or even a recommendation. But you can’t strongarm them to change anything as a CSM-member. Especially as you would just be a laughing stock for the rest of your term.

        For me a valueable member for the CSM is somebody that just knows his stuff. He or she does not need to know everything but being able to give CCP valueable feedback on upcoming changes is the thing I look for while choosing who to vote for.

        March 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm
    • Karsten Schmidt Arrendis

      You’re welcome. I just hope we get some higher turnout this time and I would like to see people making an effort. Candidates without bloc backing should go and organize themselves and CCP should show a bit more effort in promoting it.

      March 10, 2017 at 8:19 am
      • Arrendis Karsten Schmidt

        Personally, I think CCP should also give people a longer period to sell themselves and their ideas to the players, and then give us a way to gauge whether the people who were voted in made sincere efforts to do what they said and got cockblocked by CCP and the others, or if they just faffed off and focused on sucking up to the devs.

        Transparency after the fact is not a bad thing.

        March 10, 2017 at 1:09 pm
  • Bill Bones

    The CSM rewards commitment to EVE. Most people in highsec just play a game and don’t feel more committed to it than to their cable company.

    It would be cool if the CSM rewarded being a paying customer, but that was never the point with it, and can’t be.

    The key question is whether CCP knows and cares about who’s paying the bills and why, and the answer is “not enough”. This is the underlying reason why CCP’s best efforts to develop EVE better than ever are accompanied by a shrinking PCU and other signs that CCP’s paying customers are not keen of what they’re getting for their money.

    March 10, 2017 at 7:44 am
    • Arrendis Bill Bones

      Unfortunately, your two points kind of work against one another there:

      If the high-sec players are the casuals who aren’t really invested in the game and will flake off as soon as a new shiny comes along, then they’re not the ones CCP needs to rely on and focus their efforts on to keep ‘paying the bills’. New, splashy moves like alpha clones can bring those guys in/back (jumping PCU by 15,000 people according to eve offline), but nothing you can do will get the people who don’t invest themselves into their games to be a ‘die hard’ customer.

      Think of MMOs less as ‘games’ and more like ‘hobbies’. Sure, maybe you see a jump in people buying HO-scale model trains around Christmas because they want their little scene around the tree or something (I dunno, I needed an example), but nothing you’re going to do is going to make people who simply don’t have the time or energy to invest 20 hrs a week into serious, consistent customers.

      March 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm
      • Bill Bones Arrendis

        Commitment is not the same as customer loyalty, thus not being committed doesn’t means to be casual or unloyal.

        I guess that most people wouldn’t buy merchandise from their brand of sliced bread, but they’ve been buying it for years… Now let’s say that your sliced bread suddenly uses a different yeast and the flavor changes, and they tell you that it’s OK because there’s a focus group of highly committed customers they fly to their HQ each year and it said it was OK with what the company researchers wanted to do with their traditional yeast…

        Chances are that the next thing the brand learns about their non-committed customers is that their loyalty had a price they couldn’t afford to waste.

        So no, comitment is not the same as loyalty. The average tenure for highsec players it’s over 2 years. That’s loyalty, IMO, even if chances are that they don’t know that there is a CSM…

        March 10, 2017 at 3:02 pm
        • Arrendis Bill Bones

          Exactly that scenario happens all the time. Companies use focus groups in exactly that way. Sometimes, it has terrible results (‘New Coke’) but most of the time, it’s how they make sure their changes aren’t going to alienate the majority of their most consistent customers.

          One thing to keep in mind here is that for all we talk about a ‘highsec/nullsec’ divide, a lot of the really dedicated people in highsec are in nullsec. Incursions, trading, shipping, running the citadels that are trying to become competition for Jita… nullsec and highsec are a lot more cross-pollinated than most people realize. The nullsec blocs aren’t out to destroy gameplay in highsec.

          Nullsec needs a healthy highsec, and most of the people with half a brain out here know it. What nullsec—and the game in general—doesn’t need is a highsec that’s so good that it stifles development in the rest of the game, or game devs who are so focused on highsec that they decide to screw over other parts of the game just to cater to highsec players.

          And that’s happened. Granted, it hasn’t happened in a few years now, but that’s primarily because after CSM V, the null blocs got organized, speciically in order to combat the consistent trend that had been developing. The devs focused too heavily on one part of the game, so the people they neglected got organized and made their voices heard. If the players feel the devs are focusing too heavily on one part of the game now.. the blueprint is there. Make your voices heard.

          Vote.

          March 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm
  • Sullen Decimus

    It’s funny that you bring up the concept of notifying people in game. I personally agree even wish (and brought up at vegas) the concept of voting in game rather than a website. The problem is that for every person like yourself who wants to see it, there are others who will say this

    “Why am I being notified of this! I don’t care I just want to play the game!”
    “Putting voting in game will just have mobs of uneducated players voting.”
    “If they care about it, they can put the effort to find out about it.”

    I personally don’t agree with those statements but that’s the uphill opposition faced anytime the CSM is eve attempted to be made accessible to the masses of high sec.

    March 10, 2017 at 7:59 am
  • Keith Sollenberger

    The “high sec ticket” is ultimately a self-defeating one. Asking a bloc of people strongly dedicated to playing as individuals is already ice skating uphill. It’s an entire neighborhood of urban hermits.
    Other than the common refrain of making high sec totally safe, there isn’t any one high sec voice. It’s crazy to visit high sec and there be 30 people in local and no one is saying a word. Even if (maybe especially if) I were alone in a system full of hostiles in null sec, I would feel compelled to communicate- often through interpretive dance and pulse lasers- with the people there. At least to wave as I blew right by their gate camp.

    March 11, 2017 at 12:14 am
  • dragonshardz

    The “high sec ticket” is such a weak ticket anyway. It’s invariably people who do nothing outside of highsec and usually consists of either cowardly highsec “mercs” or boring freighter pilots. These people limit themselves to one area of the game and have less knowledge of the game than people in nullsec.

    Nullsec players generally end up experiencing all the varied areas of gameplay – a nullsec player will have his mainline subcap DPS guy, a market alt for buying things in Jita, a capital ship alt, maybe a wormholer and an NPC DST alt, etc. The “bloc vote” wins out on representation due to better organization and a better ability to do the job – these candidates have a wider range of experience and can do more than narrowly focus on one small region of the game since what they do ingame is so much more broad.

    March 11, 2017 at 12:54 am
    • Jump Clone dragonshardz

      I wonder how much time so called elite NS pilots would survive in HS, where a crowded local doesn’t give you a clue and everyone is spying you.

      But, hey, they’ve all the game knowledge y’know.

      March 11, 2017 at 3:52 am
      • Arrendis Jump Clone

        You realize that most of us have high-sec alts we use, right?

        March 11, 2017 at 3:31 pm
        • Jump Clone Arrendis

          I do realize you have a far easier life in Null Sec & wspace and far more isks to loose playing stupidly, of course. But you just don’t live & make your living in High-Sec. You just sit on your gold mine and give lessons to the whole universe.

          March 12, 2017 at 4:01 pm
      • dragonshardz Jump Clone

        You’d be surprised at how much time a nullsec player spends in and around highsec. And is it really so unbelievable for players who spend a lot of time in different security levels to have a broader knowledgebase?

        March 11, 2017 at 8:57 pm
  • Viince_Snetterton

    I could go on indepth about why high sec players (the majority of the player base), don’t care about, or in many cases don’t even know about, the CSM’s existence.

    Fundamentally, it is irrelevant what high sec thinks. As long as the key people at CCP believe that ignoring the RMT activities of the cartels is better than the alternatives, subscription wise, Eve will continue its slow death spiral.

    March 11, 2017 at 8:11 am
    • So what do you think needs to be changed to climb out of this death spiral you speak of?

      March 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm
      • Viince_Snetterton Goschti

        Really? I guess you have not read any of my posts over the past few years. Same as always:

        1. Clean house in the C-Level at CCP, also taking out all the devs who are in the employ of the RMT cartels or simply highly sympathetic to the concept of null sec supremacy.
        2. Roll back about 3 years of reductions in high sec profitability.
        3. Make suicide ganking very very expensive.

        That alone will be bring back thousands of players.

        March 11, 2017 at 8:52 pm
  • Daytrip

    Who do I vote for to give the Muninn another midslot and the Stabber enough powergrid to fit two LSE2’s?

    March 11, 2017 at 8:17 am
  • Kael Decadence

    I love this article. It really illustrates some of the points I have been making over the past year regarding the CSM. There is a huge disconnect between “casual” hisec players and the meta player. Some folks feel that’s the way it should be, but it can’t be a healthy dichotomy. It’s almost like we’re playing two different games and only one player set is aware of it. If null life is the only way to play, get rid of Concord all together as force everyone into one play style.

    March 13, 2017 at 2:23 am
  • Xenuria

    Don’t forget to vote!

    March 13, 2017 at 4:54 pm