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CSM Statement on the SOMER Promotion (with reply from CCP Pokethulu)

Author
Dirt Nap Squad.
#1 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:30  |  Edited by: CCP Eterne
The following is a summary of CSM activity over the last few days regarding the SOMER Blink promotion.

The CSM was not consulted in advance about this promotion, so it was just as much a surprise to us as it was to the community. Our reaction was broadly similar to that expressed in the forums.

On Thursday the 26th, we received an update on the situation from CCP Dolan after our regular Stakeholder meeting with Team Five-0. Later in the day, we got a second update from CCP Dolan and CCP Manifest.

During those meetings, we outlined five areas of concern that we felt CCP's response should address. These were:

1. Reintroduction of historically important or unique ships.

2. Favoring one community fan site over others.

3. Trusting a community fan site, and more particularly, a player, with the task of selecting the winners.

4. Forcing players to use SOMER Blink in order to enter -- which may have legal consequences in some jurisdictions.

5. Providing direct benefit to a for-profit gambling fansite.

CCP Navigator's announcement on Thursday of changes to the prize structure has addressed (1), and details of the method of selecting winners (which we urge CCP to make public) leaves the CSM reasonably confident that the actual drawing will be fair, addressing issue (3).

Issues (2) and (5) are business decisions that CCP has the right to make. We think they are a mistake, and hope that the uproar over this issue will cause CCP to re-evaluate these policies for future promotions. Supporting groups that have a clear educational/public service focus in-game is one thing; supporting a group that is distinctly for-profit -- and one that can use the ISK it generates to secretly support in-game groups -- breeds distrust for CCP in the community.

However, the requirement that one must be a member of SOMER Blink in order to participate remains, and for a lottery with such significant prizes, is very troubling to us. Furthermore, the structure of the lottery, which encourages and rewards extensive use of SOMER Blink, may raise legal concerns in some jurisdictions. For example, in the United States, commercial lotteries cannot require the purchase of a product or service in order to receive an entry.

For this reason, we strongly suggest that the entry mechanic be adjusted as follows:

1) Members of SOMER Blink are automatically entered into the lottery and receive one ticket, regardless of how much they use the site.

2) An alternate method (such as posting in a particular thread) be used to allow people to enter who do not wish to become a member of SOMER Blink.

We further recommend that procedures be put in place to sanity-check future promotions to ensure that they are acceptable to the community.

On Friday morning we sent this statement to CCP for their comments, and on Friday evening David Reid (CCP Pokethulu, CCP's CMO) replied to us as follows (reproduced with permission):

Quote:
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback, and for the opportunity to review your statement in advance of publishing it to the community.

We acknowledge that we rushed this event, and we are certainly learning from it now.

Your statement strikes us as factually correct and appropriate to publish, and there are a few further details we want to share with you also.

First, we are developing a program to allow all 3rd parties the opportunity to apply to participate in these kinds of events and promotions with CCP support, and we will have news on that shortly. In general, we believe CCP should foster the activities our players enjoy, and it is clear these kinds of activities have a lot of support in the EVE community, much like we see in other games.

That said, we recognize it is imperative for CCP to remain impartial with respect to which 3rd parties receive CCP support for these kinds of activities. To that end, we will develop a clear policy on how we plan to conduct future events, including how we will determine which 3rd parties and which events will receive CCP support, and we will develop that policy in consultation with the CSM.

We also want to assure you that we are working closely with CCP's legal team to ensure all legal concerns resulting from this event, and future events like it, are addressed.

If you wish, it's fine to let the community know in your statement that CCP has informed you we are working on a clear 3rd party program for future events and that we will consult with you on this program as we develop it, but there's certainly no requirement for you to include this in your statement.

Thank you again for your feedback here and we welcome your further thoughts.

Thanks,
David

The CSM will endeavor to keep the community informed as there are further developments in this issue, and as always, your input is most appreciated.

Sincerely,
The Members of the 8th Council of Stellar Management

Stickied on request of CSM. ISD Ezwal.
Retiring CSM Chairman • My picks for CSM9: http://treborofthecsm.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-to-vote.html
Sleeper Social Club
#2 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:30
First :)
CSM8 Member
Twitter: @ChitsaJason
Skype: Casparas
Shadow Cartel
#3 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:33
Good, hopefully now people will shut the hell up about it and let them work on it.
Pirates - The Invisible Fist of Darwin

you're welcome
Ineluctable.
#4 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:33
good job guys
Caldari State
#5 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:37
Trebor Daehdoow wrote:
Quote:
First, we are developing a program to allow all 3rd parties the opportunity to apply to participate in these kinds of events and promotions with CCP support, and we will have news on that shortly. In general, we believe CCP should foster the activities our players enjoy, and it is clear these kinds of activities have a lot of support in the EVE community, much like we see in other games.

Wait, so now lotteries and **** are going to be tied to CCP and 100% impossible to cheat?

Call me paranoid but I thought CCP was into letting players make their own systems. This seems like another way to prevent people from losing ISK when they give it to someone they shouldn't have.
How can there be resistance without leadership?



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Fidelas Constans
#6 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:37  |  Edited by: Abdiel Kavash
So CCP will now be giving out rare stuff/ISK to 3rd party organizations, and all you need to do is ask? How does that fit into the concept of a player built universe?
The Devil's Tattoo
#7 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:40
There would be no problem if CCP had implemented in-game casino/lottery/slot machines accessible via station services or something. But on the other hand they could also make fitting window to be actually useful so yeah...

Anyway, nice to have CSM and CCP feedbacks and as Darek said, maybe finally people will shut up about it and increase raging about carebears genocide apparently planned November 19th.
Exodus.
#8 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:44  |  Edited by: Carka Gerschen
I am just wondering about a few things though, since when is making ISK in an online videogame a commercial lottery. I might not understand the US legal system, but that might even be too farfetched for the US legal system.

And the second thing is, wasn't the reintroduction of unique ships the main issue here and the biggest problem, considering this wasn't something worthy for the CSM to look at when CCP gave Somer Blink some prizes at their last celebration.

And going for hypothetical legal systems, wouldn't changing the way the drawing is done be a breach of contract with the people who entered ISK into the Somer Blink site, with the promise of gaining a bigger chance of winning those items?

Regards,

Carka
ISK Six
#9 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:44  |  Edited by: ShipsOfEve
my soul is torn on this issue but good to see the community discussing this like adults.
DemSal Unlimited
#10 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:44
Mr Reid said

Quote:
To that end, we will develop a clear policy on how we plan to conduct future events, including how we will determine which 3rd parties and which events will receive CCP support, and we will develop that policy in consultation with the CSM.


So no, it isn't just ask and get. As to it being a new thing look back through the larger player meets and events. Swag has been happening for more than the past month. It is just this made the news because of the scale of the swag.

We (CSM) are working on it as the above letter shows. They (CCP) is working on it as well.

m
Mike Azariah  CSM8
#11 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:52
Carka Gerschen wrote:
I am just wondering about a few things though, since when is making ISK in an online videogame a commercial lottery. I might not understand the US legal system, but that might even be too farfetched for the US legal system

I'm guessing it's since you can get blink credit by buying GTCs through a referral link on their website, effectively buying lottery tickets with real money.

I'm also disappointed that CCP completely avoided the point about not everyone being able to play Blink.
Curatores Veritatis Alliance
#12 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:52  |  Edited by: ISD Ezwal
*Snip* Please refrain from personal attacks. ISD Ezwal


I honestly dont care about any of this, Ive never participated in Somerblink [not much of a lottery guy] but I wish them all the best. I dont mind CCP adding in old unique spacepixels into their game again, I dont mind never having a chance to get them regardless. I dont mind what the CSM knew or didnt know. And I dont mind wether or not CCP was wrong in doing what they did. It simply does not affect me one bit.

*Snip* Please refrain from personal attacks. ISD Ezwal
BoBwins Law: As a discussion/war between two large nullsec entities grows longer, the probability of one comparing the other to BoB aproaches near certainty.
Minmatar Republic
#13 Posted: 2013.09.28 12:53
Great work CSM (and you, Trebor Daehdoow, for keeping us up to date). We'll be looking carefully at what CCP has to say on this matter in the near future. Again, thank you for speaking up for us. Big smile
#14 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:03
Trebor Daehdoow wrote:
For example, in the United States, commercial lotteries cannot require the purchase of a product or service in order to receive an entry.
So ?! Maybe time for the U. S. to adjust to globalization ? Or else, this product and/or service is not for U. S. American citizens.
#15 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:06  |  Edited by: Amhra Rho
Yes. This.

It's would still be a minefield, though. One of the first questions that would be asked is whether or not a given winner was chosen from the Blink pool or from the non-Blink pool. It would be a mess - a mess that's simply best avoided as a less than stellar idea.

Accolades to CSM for a thoughtful, thorough, and timely response.
There's real reasons why your Eve character doesn't do /dance.
Amarr Empire
#16 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:08  |  Edited by: Red Templar
Thank you for your work CSM!

Not all issues been addressed in my opinion, but its good that CCP is learning from this. And it will be interesting what kind of policy they will come up with.

EDIT: As a suggestion - i think these promo prizes from CCP should never have enormous value, like unique or rare ships from AT. Im pretty sure there are ways to promote without giving prizes which worth a fortune in game. Small memoria stuff should be enough.
And if CCP wants to promote live Events, maybe its easier to grant real life prizes, t-shirts, ship models, stuff like that, but not in game items.
For Love. For Peace. For Honor.

For None of the Above.

For Pony!
#17 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:27  |  Edited by: Tao Dolcino
What this answer from CCP shows me first of all is that :
1) They don't think at all before they do something. But that is not a surprise anymore if you play EVE since a few years.
And/or :
2) They indeed support RMT, breaking their own rules, but are too coward to openly admit it. There is something fishy there.

Seeing that they are continuing in the same direction (don't be fooled by the friendly tone of the answer), i think that the reality is a mix of both : incompetence and influence from some lobbies.
I wish to remind everyone that there is a clear difference between unfairness in game, which is part of EVE's atmosphere, and unfairness out of game, which is not at all acceptable, for we all have to pay the same 15 € every months.
If they really wanted to thank some players for what they bring to the game, then they would support entities such as EVE-University or RvB, who have the real utility to make new players stay in game, instead of a shady online casino... it's not only silly and unfair, it's also vulgar.

Edit, and thanks CSM for trying your best.
Favoritism is good - CCP 2013
#18 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:43
Tao Dolcino wrote:
What this answer from CCP shows me first of all is that :
1) They don't think at all before they do something. But that is not a surprise anymore if you play EVE since a few years.
And/or :
2) They indeed support RMT, breaking their own rules, but are too coward to openly admit it. There is something fishy there.

Seeing that they are continuing in the same direction (don't be fooled by the friendly tone of the answer), i think that the reality is a mix of both : incompetence and influence from some lobbies.
I wish to remind everyone that there is a clear difference between unfairness in game, which is part of EVE's atmosphere, and unfairness out of game, which is not at all acceptable, for we all have to pay the same 15 € every months.
If they really wanted to thank some players for what they bring to the game, then they would support entities such as EVE-University or RvB, who have the real utility to make new players stay in game, instead a shady online casino... it's not only silly and unfair, it's also vulgar.

Edit, and thanks CSM for trying your best.

E-UNI and RvB don't sell game codes, therefore they will never get CCP's endorsement.
#19 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:44
Good to see CSM doing stuff. Thanks for that.

Does the CSM consider the value of the prices being handed out as reasonable?
To me they seem completely over the top. Like a factor of 10 over the top.
#20 Posted: 2013.09.28 13:48
Despite the obvious mistakes that CCP have made this time, I actually like that they are trying to be more involved with community sites.

It is a tricky issue, but I'm glad to see they recognized where they got it wrong.
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