On the topic of how do you know what highsec Pvers want/like:
Currently the approach is to set a stand with a large sign saying “SHY PEOPLE COME HERE” right in the middle of a Gay Pride Parade. Assuming that shy people even leave home those days, an assuming they know there will be a stand, they will be embarrassed to go to the parade, and if they go, they will not make themselves notorious by going to the stand. But oh, you will gather a lot of opinions about shy people.
What has worked for me, and probably would for CCP, is proactive engagement. Usually I would say in chat “if you need help with mining or missions just ask or convo me”. Just knowing that there was someoen who was not a nullsec PvP poking others like him about killmails, wars and the such, was enough for some people to break theirradio slilence.
What could CCP do? First, I suppose that they can tell players by their behavior -someone who only runs misisons, and never jumps to lowsec, and only activated a module on another players after being attacked, probably is a highsec PvEr. Mass mailing a poll to those accoutns could provide a framework on what do they like and why, and with that information, CCP coud venture into the more risky waters of asking what would they like to see. Another thing would be to set up simple prototypes with common MMO mechanics and just see which ones players use and repeat, and figure what does that mean. Another thing would be to make a open poll, but that would get a lot of noise from non-target players, that is what non-PvE players think about PvE -which would be just one step ahead of the current flawed system.
Another possibility would be to make personal interviews with selected targets (probably with a tangible reward for their time) in order to let the horse speak from its own mouth.
Or maybe, you know, CCP could just ask the noisemakers like me to get a fast and cheap input on why they’re flogged whenever they try to do anything for highsec.
“Why you beat me?” works wonders when people are legitimely angry and not just are saddistic mofos who enjoy abusing CCP.
All in all, the thing that really upsets me is not that CCP never gets highsec right, but that they never have asked directions no matter how lost and clueless they are. In a way I’ve been waiting for a massive poll about highsec and PvE like the ones they did for structures. Or just something else than “oh, fly a few thousand kilometers and have a coffee with your favourite dev if he even bothers to attend -or you know who you should talk to”.