Author: Hippla Tsero
CSM voting has officially started and especially newer players can find it challenging to know who to vote for.
So who do we vote for?
Besides the official CCP interviews, EVE University conducted two extensive CSM candidate round-tables, which brought together many of the current CSM18 candidates. Besides, we could observe a myriad of community shows with different formats, giving the candidates the platform to present themselves and advocate for players to vote for them.
What is striking is that most shows had a very large focus (as is tradition) on the arm-chair development discussions. Candidates went on to present what they felt are the major pain points of EVE right now, their long or sometimes a little less long experience of playing EVE and how they would design EVE if they would just be elected to the CSM 18 this year.
A question much less discussed, despite it being asked by CCP Swift to pretty much every single candidate: What makes a good CSM candidate. A question so central that it’s worth looking at it a little bit closer.
What makes a good CSM candidate? I think there’s broad consensus that experience of playing EVE, even if it is just in a certain niche, is central to what makes a good CSM candidate. If the candidate can now also engage in the fun intellectual exercise of formulating aforementioned EVE pain points and come up with some cool ideas on how to solve those, this surely gives them some extra credit. But what truly makes a good CSM candidate has very little to do with EVE and is pretty evident to anyone who ever had to work in a large team trying to come to an agreement in a board room.
What makes a truly strong CSM member is the ability to work together, build consensus and clearly communicate a position. Talking to any incumbent or previous CSM member, it’s clear that the CSM is a focus group more so than an advocacy group. A group of players that helps CCP cover their blind spots, a group of players that can help CCP avoid implementing new features in a way that would negatively impact the game and its community. Yet, most of the discussions by CSM candidates focused on how they would develop EVE if they were just elected to the CSM.
No matter your ingame affiliation or your ideas on how EVE could be better. The moment you step into the CSM, you will be invited to attend meetings with developers and provide feedback on an already set developers road map. If you don’t like the changes or want to influence them, you and the other CSM members will need to have the ability to overcome your differences and find consensus on how to best convince CCP of how to move forward, without fundamentally questioning the core of CCP’s next expansion or feature.
During every show where potential CSM candidates discussed their ideas on how to develop EVE with current or former CSM members, those with the experience of having been on the CSM all said the same, no matter whether Null-Secer, Wormholer or independent candidate. As much fun as the intellectual exercise of arm-chair development is, it won’t help you much with your day-to-day CSM work. If anything, it will stand in your way if you are too insistent on a particular issue (e.g. bring back abyssal pvp arenas) or think that a particular group of candidates is over-represented (e.g. too many Sov-Null candidates). The message is loud and clear, yet seems to have largely been ignored by potential CSM candidates: Being a thick-head will make your time in the CSM miserable for yourself, for the other CSM members and for CCP.
The CSM is not a group of market experts versus fitting gurus versus sov-null leaders versus scary wormhole enthusiasts. It is a group that will need to work together closely to find a way to communicate potential concerns of the community to CCP and help to keep the car that’s already going at full-speed on the road, rather than in-fight about the colour of the car.
In light of this observation, it might be worthwhile going back to not only our own EVE Uni round-tables but to the CCP interviews and have another look at how your favourite candidate answered CCP Swift’s question: What makes a good CSM candidate? While some candidates gave some humorous answers, a striking number of potential CSM 18 members focused solely on their EVE experience and the ability to have great ideas on how EVE could be better.
And yes, while I argue that the CSM Is not an advocacy group per se, most previous or current CSM members also let shine through that being part of the CSM also helped them build trustful relationships with CCP developers. It’s these relationships that have helped them advocate for some changes they feel strongly about, rather than the actual day-to-day CSM work..
What do you think makes a strong CSM candidate apart from their EVE experience? Join the conversation on the EVE Uni Discord. And most importantly: Don’t forget to vote!!