The word Trammel has enormous force with a certain section of the online gaming community.
Ultima Online was one of the first MMOs, arguably the first mainstream one. It was pretty popular. It had a very open ruleset as the developers made it without really knowing what to expect from their players. They had MUDs to look at and Richard Bartle had already developed his famous theory of player types but they didn't know if what happened in MUDs would happen in a 3D setting. They had earlier graphical MMOs to look at but the population in those was very small so it was hard to draw sociological conclusions from the way players behaved in them. So they went into the project wondering what they would find if they made a virtual world that was as unrestricted as possible, a sandbox full of possibilities. What they found was this:
Wolves eat sheep.
That trend, the intersection of the killer player type with the other player types dominated the game experience. Imagine you log on, chat with a friend, buy something from a crafter, admire some shiny armour on a very advanced player then get ganked robbed and corpse camped. You've met a socialiser, an explorer, an achiever and a killer, one each of the 4 Bartle types. Which one defines your experience of the game? The killer.
Now at first people put up with it but then a game came out where the sheep were safe from wolves and masses of players moved over. So in order to save Ultima Online the developers introduced the Trammel expansion, introducing safe play areas for people. And the word has been a curse in the mouths of aggressive pvpers ever since.
In Eve Online the sheep are guarded by a game mechanic of punishment. You're not actually safe in high sec but if you get killed so does your attacker. This is a loose deterrent to pvp that has worked very well so far for the game. High sec is generally safe but each player is likely to have an occasional moment of drama that keeps the heart racing and the game interesting. Sometimes people are very upset to be victimised in "safe space" but it's infrequent enough that the mechanic has worked to satisfy both sheep and wolves.
But maybe that's going to change.
There's been a growing interest in messing with people in high sec. Increasingly Eve corps have been interested in fighting people who don't want to fight. My impression is that pre-Goons people generally saw end game as big nullsec empires which is consensual pvp. And it's not just the Goons - Suddenly Ninjas have promoted ninja salvaging techniques, many corps do can flipping and camp gates around Jita to suicide gank afk haulers. There are two major alliances that just war dec as many corps as possible and camp Jita in the hope some targets will turn up. And of course there's Hulkaggedon, a festival of wolves ganking sheep.
The Mittani, furious at making a tit of himself over a highsec carebear, seems driven to disrupt highsec. He seems to view nullseccers as a much lesser evil than anonymous high sec carebears. He's been banned for 30 days but will come back on 28th April spearheading a Burn Jita campaign. He and his admiring followers want to cause as much disruption to the carebear high sec playstyle as possible.
So what if they win?
What if they manage to begin the process of shutting down high sec carebearing?
CCP will look at the sub numbers and if they're sharply falling because carebears can no longer play as they want they may institute a Trammel. Make high sec totally safe. I don't see how they could do any different - they want Eve to be a game that allows multiple playstyles, not a game that only supports Killers.
Of course it's possible that a war on high sec will be so interesting it will increase sub numbers in which case it will make business sense to allow the carebears to gradually be replaced by hardcore pvpers. But how long will it be interesting to grief the sheep if the sheep all leave? This happened in Ultima and basically when the sheep all go the bottom rank of wolves become the new sheep and everyone ganks them mercilessly until they quit and then the next rank of wolves become the new sheep.
How feasible is it to shut down high sec? I would say that under the current mechanics it's very feasible. Disposable gank ships are very cheap and nullsec alliances are very rich. If they really went for it they could probably keep their entire player base in suiciding Tornados and Catalysts for several months. If they're organised and loot and salvage the wrecks to sell off for more suicide boats it could almost be self-sustaining, especially if they get some lucky big loot drops.
And of course if sheep leave then there's less sheep. If 100 sheep ganked a day it doesn't matter much if there's 20000 sheep but it's a pretty big deal if there are only 2000. There's a point at which a consistent number of ganks sustained over a long period will thin the sheep out. And of course new players would tend to want to be the killers not the victims.
To add to the complexity of the situation, the player council is likely to support and facilitate the suicide gankers rather than the victims as the hardcore veteran players who run for and vote in the council tend to be pvpers/killers.
I predict a Trammel for Eve in 2013. Areas where players are untouchable.