Why the CSM Matters -Reform Before Dissolution

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn they have, offending thread closed. :slight_smile:

I think it makes the forums a nicer place (got a ban afaict, as is now posting on an alt).


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I personally would not subscribe to such a dismal view of democracy in general. But I would have to agree it is reasonable for an MMO company that has to pay to keep the lights on to take the more self-serving road and follow the money trail.

Are the people in Null making hundreds of millions of isk/hr, that could easily plex their accounts with isk, paying real money into the game? Only CCP would have that data, but if so, then CSM should definitely represent them.

Are casual players puttering around in EVE paying money into the game? I would qualify as one of these players, and the times that I do pay up for Omega, it’s because I don’t have the time to grind plex for it. And I know I’m not the only one. But unfortunately the casual player is the least likely to get involved in CSM. However, if the casual player is a significant revenue source, then CCP should find a way to reach out to this population and represent it somehow in CSM.

Point is, as a for-profit entity, CCP needs to determine what populations are paying, and find out what keeps them in the game if they truly value the concept of CSM and it’s opinions, which in the end pays the bills and makes the game fun for those that are truly invested in it.

Picking up from my previous post, many critics of the CSM seem to be of the opinion that it does more harm than good. So, let’s break that down into (1) the Harm, (2) the Good, and (3) the alternatives.

  1. The Harm

So first up, the CSM has an official watchdog in CCP, and we can assume that other CSM members, Spies, and a small portion of the player base provide additional oversight. This results in a lot of eyes on the CSM and their friends, and, presumably, makes it extremely likely that any infractions come to light. Now, it is possible that we only see the tip of the iceberg, and that CCP is just not equipped to police the council. But this is unlikely. CCP is not bound by any of the normal restrictions that many “free” nations place upon their law enforcement agencies in order to protect the rights of their citizenry. They never have to get a warrant, give a jury trial, or even prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, given that CCP is now teasing the possibility of reversing the Brisc Rubal decision, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that CCP is overcautious when it comes to policing the NDA. Their net may be so wide, and their burden of proof so low, that their process is more likely to result in false positives than guilty parties going undetected.

Of course, I’m sure many will point out that our huge botting problem flies in the face of any argument that CCP is capable of delivering swift, harsh, and certain punishment to offenders. Well, I hate to say it, but it’s possible/probable that CCP may intentionally take a softer stance on botting. I can’t find where I heard it (?possibly in a GDC lecture?), but I have definitely heard someone from the business side of things assert that MMO devs typically aren’t 100% committed to eliminating botting from their games. Of course, they don’t want rampant inflation or legitimate players jumping ship because they feel disadvantaged, but they also don’t want to lose all the money the botters bring in (and yes, even botters who plex create revenue for CCP because they increase demand for plex, which drives up prices, which incentivizes players to purchase plex for cash in order to sell on the market). In short, you can’t say that the botting problem is indicative of CCP being unable to police the CSM because the circumstances surrounding botting and CSM abuses sufficiently distinguish them from each other.

Finally, I find it interesting how we interpret CSM scandals. Some see each scandal as further proof that it’s too easy to abuse one’s position on the council, while others reason that the exposure and punishment of these offenders is indicative of CCP being able to effectively police the institution. Thus, some may be left wondering, how many breaches go undetected? After all, if the answer is zero, then we have nothing to worry about. Culprits will eventually get caught and punished, ill-gotten gains will be seized, and CCP will get backlash for a job well done. However, even I must admit that it is highly unlikely that CCP has a 100% detection rate. Hopefully, they are extremely good at catching offenders, and I am willing to be that they are, but it would be foolish to assume a perfect track record. So, what is the dark figure of CSM crime? The answer is… drumroll please… it doesn’t matter.

I heard it said multiple times in relation to different aspects of game design (hell, I’ve said it myself) -perception is more important that reality. When it comes to things like RNG, balance, fairness, and progression, the truth only matters insomuch as it influences perception. Thus, the ultimate question is, “do the majority of players perceive the CSM as doing more harm than good?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to deny the victim, or otherwise justify breaches of EULA and NDA’s, but, can we really justify the dissolution of an institution when all abuses by its members basically fall into two categories: 1) those which were detected and addressed, and 2) those that were undetectable (sorry, we don’t have any whodunits). Once again, I’m not trying to justify the crime or imply that there is no harm, but how can we assume more harm than good if we can’t even detect the harm that goes unaddressed? We can, however see the good that the CSM does, and it would appear that the majority of players either disagree, don’t care, or are uncertain when it comes to assertions of more harm than good. Thus, perception is on the side of the CSM, which, in turn, dictates that the institution should be maintained. Of course, not everyone is convinced, and that is a certainly a problem worth addressing. CCP can and should take all reasonable measures to ensure the integrity of the institution (for multiple reasons), and they should try their damnedest to ensure that it is perceived as being a net positive for the community. However, as long as community support for the CSM outweighs the opposition, it should be preserved.

P.S. Yes, I have been trying to influence perception of the CSM. I do believe that it does have a serious representation problem, but I also believe that it is worth preserving.

P.P.S. Holy crap, I think I have a problem with walls of text.

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I remember that as had a bomber in Yulai at the time but it was out of my TZ to get in on the action, anyways, didn’t realize that they had been given a choice from CCP, you got a source for that?

In regards to the CSM, well this particular scandal is still playing out so who knows (bar CCP) if Brisc and co will be back yet, but if it all gets reversed, will start to wonder if the CSM may have been used and abused as a platform for some sort of meta game with some of the reps on it.

Points. You make.

Would they have to center on those paying the most, or the many that are paying something?

Or the old quantity versus quality sort of thing.

I can ask, but that answer is beyond my pay grade. I would not know. But I can say that if there were people actually concentrating on the Eve “product” and it’s success, and not some concept of “CCP Flimflam’s vision for the next five years” or some bunk like that, things would certainly be better.
Ultimately, while we hate marketers because they are naturally born irritating people, they serve a purpose.

By Floki’s Hákarl-flecked beard! This again!?
*sigh…it is very simple;
-The PLEX in the game were bought by somebody for real money from CCP, thereby putting real money into CCP’s coffers.
-Players using PLEX to add gametime to their accounts trade isk for those PLEX - which were bought from CCP thereby giving CCP real money, remember.
-Players using PLEX to add gametime to their accounts create a demand for PLEX to be bought from CCP for real money.

  • End result; players PLEXing their account puts real money into CCP.

Actually, since all subs except monthly are cheaper than the amount of PLEX needed for a month of gametime, PLEXing an account produces more real money for CCP than subbing.

They know.

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The harm is the biased feedback over years which lead us to a stagnant and less complex game, a game where safe ISK making is the only thing matters, where no big wars will happen again, where only one playstyle benefits, and others are removed by changes to the game.


You know what, I think I heard that on comms. Thus, I can’t confirm it. Since I’m unsure if I’m spreading false information or not (and I don’t have time to investigate further), I’ll edit that out of my original post.

Past that, I have to check out of this discussion. I’m being targeted by a copyright troll, so I need to deal with that.

I was specifically talking about whether CSM members abuse their power (i.e. insider trading), and not whether they promote the interests of their ingroups over others. But, yes, I do agree that the CSM has a representation problem. Some people think the best way to fix this problem is to get rid of the CSM. I disagree, and think it should modified to better represent other demographics and playstyles.

Anyway, I would much, much rather continue this discussion with you, but I’m being targeted by a copyright troll. So, I need to deal with that.

Yes, we are all just theorizing here, only CCP has the data to chase down all the trails. And maybe they are. The data could show that 90% of revenue is coming from Null, then CSM is working as intended. But if the data shows otherwise, then it would seem CSM is not working as intended for a private money making company, in theory. At least that’s IMHO.

As for the argument of quantity over quality, a whole essay could be written to sifting through all the combinations, but in short yes, a for-profit company should be “chasing the whales” if that is where the majority of revenue is coming from. But that doesn’t mean CCP would neglect the rest, everything else would just be secondary priority (of course for optics, they would never say this). But I also doubt that is the case, more than likely if EVE economy reflects real life, it may very well be that “whale” revenue could be 50%, so in theory 50% representation. As we said, EVE is not a democracy. Also again, we don’t have the data, only CCP does, so this is all just fun speculation.

You are correct that in the grand scheme of EVE this is probably true. But in the scheme of CSM representation and in the context of what we were referencing earlier, that a for-profit entity should base CSM on where real money comes from, this may not be the case.

The sector of the game where Plex was applied, does not necessarily represent the “why” and which sector the Plex originated.

As an extreme example, if all Plex was created from wormholing, but bought and used in Null, high sec, Abyss, etc… then CCP focusing its attention anywhere else besides wormholes would not be self serving and by extension possibly unprofitable. It’s not pretty and it’s not democratic, but devs do need to eat too. So in theory, CSM should be based on where the revenue comes from. The Plex buying player’s idea of “fun” does not necessarily represent the Plex generating player’s idea of “fun”, and it’s the generator that is the one keeping the lights on. Plex will be bought, even when prices have skyrocketed, so the demand side unfortunately doesn’t seem to be much of a factor.

But in light of your argument, I should say that doesn’t mean sectors with little or no revenue generation should have no representation. They should, because since EVE is a sandbox and there is almost no “safe”, every player is potential “content”. But “paying” players should probably be represented by maybe a 2:1, or more, margin than non-paying players, in theory. We may just end up agreeing to disagree, but without any data, this is just all speculation anyways.

There is your fundamental mistake, I’m afraid. PLEX are not generated by anybody. PLEX are, of course, purchased from CCP…for real money…which is what “keeps the lights on”. We disagree that player demand is not a factor.

But anyway - I suspect the csm idea may have run it’s course and if ccp did disband it I probably wouldn’t shed many tears.

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Hmmmm… Plex is indeed generated by CCP, but it wouldn’t exist without a player purchasing it, who put in their real money for their reasons. So then it seems, by extension, the player generated the Plex. We may have to agree to disagree here as well due to semantics(?).

But I think the important thing in regards to this topic, is the “why” the player purchased the Plex in the first place, and what is CCP going to do about it?

I really don’t think semantics are involved.

It seems you may think that most PLEX are purchased directly from CCP by the end consumer (whom you refer to as the ‘generator’) for the purpose of adding omega time, and that there are many individual players doing that.

I would say it is probably more larger-scale speculators buying PLEX from CCP in larger amounts than many individuals who account for the majority of PLEX purchased from CCP…but as far as I know CCP doesn’t say.

Sure many players buy PLEX on the ingame market to add omega time, but they are not the ones who purchased it from CCP for real money originally. They are the ones who create the demand that motivates other players to buy PLEX from CCP to then sell on the ingame market for isk. This is the demand factor you said was unimportant.

If you’re saying CCP should step in and assign CSM “representation” according to who makes CCP the most real money, then how CCP gets real money would seem to be pretty important to the future of the CSM.

…if the CSM has a future…

I never said anywhere or implied that the Plex “generator” was using it to purchase Omega. I don’t know why people use real money to buy Plex or what they are using it for. Only they do, and maybe CCP through some data analysis. And the “generator” has a cheaper way to get Omega and that is subbing anyways.

The point still is, why did the “generator” purchase that Plex and maybe how much, and is CCP acting on that information in a manner that benefits the game and their bottom line. Maybe they are, but none of us have that data. Also, the why’s of people subbing should be added too, but was mentioned in one of my earlier posts. But again, we are all just having fun speculating.

FYI, there were 1300 comments on the initial Brisc Rubal thread (plus hundreds that were deleted, and the fact that the thread was closed by ISD Buldath after 4 days), but there are currently only 400 comments on the Winter CSM Summit Meetings Thread -with the last comment being 16 days old. Hell, the Brisc Rubal Interim Statement collected more comments than the CSM minutes.

Is it just me, or does the playerbase, as a whole, seem more interested in community drama and complaining than actually trying influence game direction.

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That’s usually how forums go.

You have problems getting the players to read the TOS and EULA; hell they even don’t want to read the mission briefings completely and are confused when something bad happens. Getting them to read through the detail rich summit meeting notes is asking probably too much for those who grew up texting each other via their phones.

…which is sad, since the summit notes has a ton of information about the game, as well as illustrating the dynamics between CCP and the CSM, the limitations of CCP Devs and planning, and the disconnects between CCP, the CSM, and the rest of the EVE players. Good stuff all!


Mainstreamers care about drama. This isn’t news to you, I’m sure. The whole media landscape revolves around tragedies and dramas and they love piling up on others when they’re given the opportunity.

I don’t understand how you could assume anything else. The game’s population’s average IQ slowly dropped since 2013. A great example of average mainstreamers, who probably belong to WoW, being the modern goon members.


Drama is more entertaining, sorry.