Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The CSM and you.

One of the most dreary things in politics is regulatory capture.

I've linked the wikipedia article but the TLDR is that regulatory capture generally happens when an issue is too uninteresting for regular people to worry about so the people who make money from a certain activity get to write the laws that govern it because they're the only people who give a shit.

One of the clearest examples is copyright. Originally copyright law was introduced to give writers an incentive to publish works, some security that if it proved popular the writer would get money from the sales. It now extends 70 years past an author's death. Does anyone think for one second that any writer is going to refuse to publish because they won't get paid 70 years after they've ceased caring about worldly things? Of course not. It got extended because Mickey Mouse was about to go into the public domain and that would have killed Disney. The company wanted new law and no one cared about it enough to fight them.

The problem with regulatory capture is that, like all forms of political corruption, it's very bad for the politics of the institutions affected by it.

The CSM is riddled with regulatory capture and always has been. It's been getting worse and worse over time, mostly as rivalries developed in the Eve media world have grown as significant as rivalries developed in the conquest wars of nullsec. Candidates openly stand as representatives of vested interests - imagine real world politicians who wore badges saying Enron Senator or BP Member of Parliament. It's actually an outrage that we have "Goon CSM candidates."

The usefulness of the CSM depends on the dev's interest in seeking them out for advice. If a dev team would rather develop their feature without talking to the CSM they do so.

When Fozzie rebalanced nullsec ore he consulted extensively with Mynnna, the Goon finance guy and CSM member. Mynnna helped him craft a solution which was good for the problem (risk/reward of mining) but especially good for Goons. The profit of mining shifted some from high sec to null sec.

Eve is suffering a declining population. The low sec and null sec populations are stable, the people who are losing interest are the high sec players.

It's not a coincidence that part of the development process has been captured by nullsec vested interests and that the unrepresented space is in decline. I can't help wondering if maybe CCP Fozzie looks back to the solution he worked out with Mynnna and asks himself "Was I played?"

Political progress happens when people get active. The abolition of the slave trade in Britain was a result of publicity and political pressure by William Wilberforce and others. The emancipation of women in England was a result of passionate direct action by the suffragettes. The 1968 Civil Rights Act of the USA was the result of the civil rights movement.

In each case to make things better people had to get involved.

Gevlon proposed to run for CSM on a protest slate, various people recommend protesting by abstaining or voting for joke candidates. Look at the real world. When did anything change for the better because good folk did nothing or because people voted for a joke candidate? That's not the way the world works.

If we want a CSM that can rebuild bridges to the CCP developers, that can work to make this game better we need to install people who don't have these agendas.

People who are there to advance the interests of their block are not people who the devs should be listening to. People who are there for inside scoops on news stories are not people the devs should be outlining confidential plans to.

The fix is to vote for good candidates who genuinely have the good of the game at heart and who are not there to shill for some null sec alliance or Eve media site.

There's far too much conflict of interest - actually conflict of interest is too kind because people like Sion aren't conflicted about whether to put the good of the game ahead of the good of their alliance. He'll chose the wrong thing every time.

I will be voting this CSM and I will be voting for people who I think will make Eve a better game. If you don't vote, effectively you're empowering Sion and all the other nullsec and media shills because they do care, they will mobilise support and they will be there unless we work to put someone better ahead of them.

So let's not hand over the CSM on a plate to the people least deserving of power because the devs aren't stupid and they just won't want to talk to such people.


  1. Well put. Putting candidates that strive to enhance the entire game over personal interests are key. This is why I am running as a candidate without an alliance.

    Admittedly I stand as a High sec candidate because I feel that that is where the biggest opportunity to gain and retain new players is. and a healthy high sec means a healthy null sec and low sec by default.

    the position requires people like Sugar Kyle that are willing to look at everyone views and make a decision based on the best interests of the game. not the best interests of a single group.

    Commander Aze (CSM11 Candidate)

    Get out to Vote 2016!!!

    1. Sounds good. Have you done a Cap Stable interview?

    2. Yes I have http://csmwatch.com/2016/01/15/csm-11-candidate-interview-commander-aze/

      Id be open to talk about any of my platform

  2. No. The big difference is that in the real world there are no "devs" who could run the country if the congress is disbanded. In EVE there are.

    The problem with a good candidate is that he - exactly because he is "good" - will not go out to corrupt devs. He will provide fair and real information that will be ignored. Just ask Sugar. The bad one who will bring beers, kiss ass and lies every time he'll open his mouth will always have more influence than a good one.

    The best CSM is the all-Goon/PL CSM because it's seen as "Goon/PL" instead of "player" by devs and ignored.

    Oh wait, you are in Waffles, nevermind.

    1. Yeah, I accept that it's a contradiction. I like the playstyle of epic fleets while deploring the political dominance of the big nullsec groups.

    2. If you believe that no one will run the country without a Congress, you are seriously deceived. The USA is quite happily run by folks that support having a congress to give a facade to the truth.

      A statement that we shouldn't see politicians labelled by their supporting power bloc is a joke. In the US they are labelled by (D) or (R), in parliamentary democracies they are labelled by their parties. Politicians have simply become mouthpieces for the special interest groups that own them. Simply because in EvE the parties are labelled by the alliances/coalitions doesn't mean any less. If fact, I like the honesty. I'd prefer if my candidates in real politics had labels like "Owned by energy companies" "Bought by Monsanto" or "Pie-in-the-sky idealist".

  3. While i agree with a lot of things here, pointing that high sec is losing players and that it is because of CSM not representing them is easy without data to back it.

    Anyway. Even if i am not a high sec candidate, i agree with you. First and foremost, vote for the guy. Not for his "special interest in the aspect of the game i want to change".

    1. Well there are some data points. I mentioned the ore rebalance. It's also clear that the development focus is not on high sec. Player stargates, fozziesov, Phoebe jump changes, capitals - these are all not for highsec. High sec players could be forgiven for feeling marginalised.

  4. Don't get me started on copyright. If ever there was a case of the cure being worse than the disease...

    1. Regulatory capture is always ultimately awful. It's not exactly good news that banking law has been captured by the financial industry.

  5. I applaud your belief that the CSM can be something better in a way the benefits the game from a wider perspective. But hisec players just walk as I think both Quant's and Gevlon's analysis have shown ather than get organised within the game. If CCP can't respond to that then they are unlikely to respond to a revitalised CSM. The political action you refer to was extra parliamentary. Essentially the same as people leaving the game. There does need to be an alternative to that. But I don't think the CSM can ever be that alternative.

    1. In the UK I would cite the post world war 2 government that brought in the welfare state and the NHS as an example of positive change enacted through the parliamentary system.

      In the USA perhaps FDR's New Deal is an example?

    2. The New Deal is absolutely a good example of a parliamentary system. It is also a great example of institutional corruption and political patronage. :D

      In other news, Sion's illegible to run again, Xenuria is the endorsed replacement and I can't see CCP keeping him for a minute.

  6. Arguably in the real world Greece voted for the joke candidate, and look where it got them.
    The serious side of that point is that people getting active isn't enough - people need to get active in support of a sensible, achievable platform for anything sensible to be achieved. Voting for the "throw a tantrum until the nasty people cancel our debts" party achieved nothing because nobody in the EU is impressed by childish tantrums, even ones with a 'democratic mandate'.
    I guess the advantage EDVE has is, as you pointed out, the CSM is purely an advisory body. If it ever did get hijacked by 'protest candidate' clowns then it would just be ignored rather being able to do any damage... apart, of course, from the opportunity cost of not providing any actual advice.

    1. I think your grasp of international politics is a little looser than you thought.