I'm making a thesis about the CSM and I want to hear your thoughts!

NOTE: TL;DR at the end of the post.

Hello nerds!

---- Some Context ----

I’ve been playing EVE-O seriously for over 4 years now, I had tried it previously a couple of times but like probably a lot of people in here, it didnt stick due to confussing UI and lack of newbie guidance. Despise that, I kept watching videos and reading news as the concept of the game itself fascinated me: player driven conflicts, economy, coalitions, backstabbing, salt, big battles, (more) salt… EVE was unique in its own way, enough to keep me interested although I wasnt playing it.

4 Years ago, after reading Empires of EVE and stumbling upon some news about WWB I, I decided to give it another go and never stopped since, that was the same year I switched from a Computering Science degree to a Game Design degree.

The more I played and learned about game design, the more I became fascinated with the complexity of the mechanics in EVE and how hard must be trying to balance every aspect of the game so even most of the playstyles remain viable whilist keeping a steady flux of changes in order to keep the game interesting. That was when I started looking into the CSM, an elected representative player council whose primary goals were help CCP shape the game and act as a bridge between the players concerns and the company.

The concept on paper sounds great, but what do the players think about it? How does it work? And most importantly, does it work?

It doesnt take a thorough research to see that players are very vocal about the CSM, wether they like it or hate it there seem to be plenty of valid points on each side, and thats where the “truth” becomes a little blurry.

I decided that I wanted to try to shed some light into the matter. As I’m approaching the end of my studies and I have to write a closing thesis, this seemed a perfect opportunity to work on it.

---- My Goals ----

Once established that I wanted to work on this subject, I set a list of goals that I want to cover:

  • How does the CSM work?

As stated several times already by the community, there’s not much information about how the CSM works and what do they do other than the Summit Meeting Minutes and the CSM webpage.

On this behalf, it seemed to me like not enough information was beeing shared about the CSM for the players to feel like it was something real and useful for the game.

  • Do players like it?

It may seem out of place but, ultimately, a videogame is a product, and the players are its consumers. Finding out if the general playerbase is happy with a feature its important by itself, regardless of that feature beeing good or bad for the game.

  • How legitimate are the usual complaints of the playerbase about the CSM?

“Is the voting system fair?” “Does the CSM act thinking about the health of the game or only their own organizations?” "Is the CSM just a PR stunt? " If theres some talk about the CSM there will be people arguing about this stuff, so I wanted to research and ask about this as much as I could to try to give an educated answer to this questions by myself.

  • How different it is compared to other player councils?

There’s other online games with player councils similar to the CSM, I want to research how do they work and what pros/cons could I find comparing those to the CSM.

  • What does the CSM provide compared to other traditional ways of gathering player feedback or how can it complement them?

Perhaps the most important question, analyzing what does this exact approach can provide in terms of feedback, suggestions and ideas that would make maintaining an organism like this over the years worth it.

  • Could something like the CSM be integrated in other videogame genres?

Not a simple question to answer, as EVE’s council is very unique in its approach, I wanted to experiment trying to find a model that could work outside MMOs.

---- What did I do? ----

With this list in mind and after researching, I started contacting some eve personas, CSM and ex-CSM members with a list of questions to try to give an answer to some of the points stated above, at the same time I contacted CCP with the same goal (thanks u/CCP_Dopamine for your help).

Kindly enough a number of them answered my polls (thank you too guys), and even one of the topics I wanted to adress have found some short of response in this excellent post (https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/ht08ke/csm_15_monthinreview/) by Brisc Rubal explaining some of the CSM agenda and giving us, the players, a perspective of how much work they put into this game and what are they working on.

---- The Poll ----

Now that I’ve put in perspective some of my work, I need your help with a short poll to find out what you guys think about the CSM. The poll itself its very short by design, so as not to driven away people with a cascade of endless questions, but theres some blanks where you can write your opinion in any topic you may want to adress, I would love to hear all of your opinions and experiences on the subject so please share as much as you want.


TL;DR

I have been writing a thesis about player councils and the CSM for my Game Design degree and I want to know your thoughts on the topic, which is very important as ultimately you guys, the users, are the final goal when designing for a videogame.

For that I reason, would love you to take a short google form, which you can do while waiting for the next stratop to form, the next target to go through the gate or the next site to pop up.


Thanks everyone and fly safe o7.

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The CSM exists because CCP is afraid of alienating the nullsec blocs. The voting system inevitably favors organized groups (nullsec). The CSM isn’t really meant to “represent” the players - it is more like a brainstorming group. In fact, the CSM members are forbidden from saying much of anything to the players about the meetings.

The only two CSM members that come to the forums are @Brisc_Rubal and @Mike_Azariah.

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Being one of the two Xeux mentioned and one of the elder members of the csm (first term was csm 8 first election that I lost was a few years before that. You are welcome to send me questions or ask them here or read the updates that I have been posting for this term,

Oh and I am one of the exceptions to ‘null blocks own the CSM’ as I am neither null nor a member of even a corporation, let alone an alliance.

m

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Yeah, but Brisc has “turned you” to their dark nullsec ways. You are a null bloc sympathizer.

Those are some of the points of view that I’m trying to cover in my thesis, it is hard to draw a line on this issues and I’m trying my best to figure out how much truth are into those

Tyvm! I did send you on discord one of my polls but I think you forgot to answer it as bussy as you were after the elections, if you want to do it I would love it!
EDIT: Scratch that, you did answer it sorry :smiley:

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@Nywax CSM is going to hate you for sharing the CSM Discord :wink:

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Im counting on it :rofl:

lol, now now, have you been skipping your meds, again?

Mainly when the null bloc folks yell at each other I consult my notes so I can remember who represents whom. I am so bad with names I cannot recall from time to time which side each of them is on.

Which I think would qualify me as one of the worst ‘sympathizers’ EVER

That said? I am unabashedly a fan of Brisc and the work effort that he puts in. Which side is he on again?

m

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Speaking of which… @Mike_Azariah you previously said on the forums you don’t have / have no intention of using Discord… I was already on the CSM Discord message before this poll and was surprised to find you on it. :face_with_monocle: I’ve long flirted with the idea of harassing Mike with a bombardment of PMs to expand my Mike-trolling mediums from forums onto Discord :japanese_ogre:
:love_letter: :love_letter: :love_letter:

(On a serious note, I hope you do in fact respond to PMs because I have stuffz I want to ask you.)

It helps to get along if you two live in the same retirement home :crazy_face: . By the way, how is Brisc doing with his multiple personality disorder? Is he still refusing to take his meds? Poor Fountain Frankie… :pill:

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“Fountain has already been replaced.”

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My take on the CSM: a useless, failed project, which has led to EVE nosediving in quantity and quality over the many years it was present. It started off as an effort to be more transparent, and literally became the exact opposite of that as soon as its second year. In my not-so-humble opinion, the entire thing needs to be scrapped, and all mentions of it need to be stricken from the record. All players who are or were members of the CSM, or even ran for the CSM, need to be given permanent bans from the game due to their ill will and intent to game the system in their and their friends’ favor. I would be willing to consider a few specific individuals, like Mike up there, one-time exceptions in which their stats and assets are transferred to new characters, with the old ones being deleted.

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While I have to agree with almost everything you said, I backed off after I found Brisc, Steve and Mike to be as open as possible with info. That and the CSM is still a good publicity stunt for the game. At least they deserve to sit in a hot pool drinking blue goo till a lifeguard needs to drag their drunk arses outta the water! :crazy_face:

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I don’t have personal experience with the CSM and very little experience with any members of it. I have some outside perceptions of the CSM since it was first formed,

  • The CSM was formed more to bail CCP out of a major public relations/misconduct situation than a true desire to get player input.
  • CSM has little effect on actual EVE design or feature development, they are more of a sounding board to give CCP some feedback on whether they are going completely off the rails on some notion.
  • That said, even if the CSM says “Yes this idea is completely out of whack”, CCP will go ahead with it anyway if it’s already gotten the green light from management.
  • Null Sec is indeed vastly over-represented on the CSM, and since CCP has steadfastly refused to even slightly adjust the voting process to give other segments of the player base more input, it could be inferred that CCP does want to get feedback from what is likely their highest-paying population segment.

Overall, I feel that the CSM is essentially CCP’s subsidized effort to create at least the semblance of listening to and interacting with their player base, to help quell community dissatisfaction.

I believe there are more targeted, accurate, and even cheaper and more easily managed ways to get good player feedback. However CCP is not really looking for help on making the game better, they’re quite confident they know how it’s done, despite over a decade of failures.

If you want some more detail on the origins and development of the CSM, I would refer you to articles such as EVE Evolved: The Council of Stellar Management

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Bingo! And this part of the reason I got off their back, their just as frustrated as the rest of us. (at least the ones we hear from)

And @ the OP, I hope your working on your Doctorate because if you figure out ANY part of the psyche of this game, then you deserve it! :wink:

Those are interesting points and they seem to be very widespread among the community, what I have a hard time finding are some references that support the claim that the CSM is useless, do you have anything in particular in mind?
In that same article you pointed me to the author ends up saying that he thinks that the CSM is invaluable for the development of the game.

Thanks! :laughing: It’s really hard to work around EVE

Keep in mind there’s a significant difference between “the CSM is useless” and “the CSM isn’t what it could or should be”. Also keep in mind that article I referenced for you is from 2009, when the CSM was still quite new and hopes and expectations for it were high.

The point was to give some background on the start of the CSM, but also to contrast what early expectations from the player base for the CSM were and what their actual long term effect has been.

If you want some additional scholarly type detail on it, check the CSM portion of this paper (though it’s somewhat CCP-biased): https://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/arts/PlayerCouncil.pdf

For direct support of the claim that the CSM is effective or ineffective, or what it’s biases are, I would suggest you review the minutes published after the CSM meetings, and then search for the threads discussing those minutes to get a broader view of what impact the CSM actually had, vs. the optics of a bunch of NullSec guys sitting and shooting the breeze with a bunch of mid-level CCP guys. Neither group being particularly heeded by those who design, approve, and implement the actual changes that end up as part of the game.

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Thanks for the link, that is actually the original white paper released for the CSM by CCP. I already stumbled upon that one doing my research, if you want to read a bit more about how the CSM started, those white-pages are based on the thesis of Pétur Jóhannes Óskarsson (https://skemman.is/bitstream/1946/5394/1/MA-ritgerd_heimspeki_pjo.pdf) who was one of the creators of the CSM as it is today.

I think it is very hard to differenciate between what does the CSM do and what does CCP act upon. As you said previously there has been instances where the CSM did warn about something and CCP didnt listen, but then we could argue that the CSM did a good job as it is out of their reach to decide how CCP would act.

I already read the minutes but it may be a good idea to try to follow the changes and how things ended up, thanks!