I’ve started a post regarding the CSM about a dozen times now, not really sure entirely where to go after the first sentence. It is that time of year, where everyone is giving endorsements and suggested ballots. And I admit I’ve started down that path a couple times, as a list of saved documents on my hard drive will attest to.
But I think I will scrap them and talk about something else entirely. You can go read endorsements and excerpts about candidates elsewhere today.
Is the CSM effective? This is a question that has been asked before, perhaps not always with the greatest response. Those who question the effectiveness of the CSM are often scoffed at, mocked with sarcasm, or simply dismissed out of hand. I have often gotten the feeling that to some,(especially people in the CSM!) questioning the CSM’s worth is considered a ‘ridiculous’ thing to do. They point to a list of things that the CSM has influenced and ask, “how can you possibly question our effectiveness?”
I guess that when I think about whether or not the CSM is effective, I don’t necessarily think about their influence with CCP. It would be hard to argue that they are not influential on that side, given the things that I know and have observed.
I think about their representation of the EVE Online community, and how we only ever really hear a very small percentage of voices and opinions within the entire playerbase.
One thing that I have learned since I started blogging is that there is a sort of invisible line through the community. There are those people who actively engage in ‘outside’ things—they blog, they write on the forums, they run pod casts. And there is a huge number of people whose sphere of activity resides entirely embedded in game play, and game play only.
I know this, because I play with a great number of people who are not particularly fond or interested in the ‘outside’ parts of EVE. They might go glance at something on the forums if someone links something interesting, but they are there to play the game, not write or read about it.
It’s kind of a fascinating thing to think about. So often you see the idea expressed that EVE is more interesting to write about then to play. The irony being that the people saying this are the people who write about EVE, and that the number of people who engage in this way are a relatively small percentage of the playerbase.
I think that a huge number of the playerbase would actually disagree with us. Though I suppose that saying that is kind of like saying that trees make noise when they fall in the forest.
Xander Phoena recently wrote a post giving some statistics about how much of the playerbase actually votes in the elections. Last CSM, it was only 12%.
While I have nothing to backup this claim, I would argue that a huge number of that 12% are part of the ‘outside’ community. Bloggers, forums posters, and others who have make it a habit to engage outside of the game itself.
So, I guess when I question the effectiveness of the CSM, I’m not necessarily questioning the effectiveness of the CSM representatives, but rather how the institution works as a whole.
The CSM, by its very nature, seems to cater only to a specific kind of EVE Online player. And believe it or not, we are the minority. I have occasionally ‘poked’ people in-game regarding certain issues and been surprised at their responses. I think that the ‘outside’ community influences each other quite a bit, not just in our opinions and views but also in the things we decide are important.
I have often wondered how different things would be –how different the advice and suggestions given to CCP—if the rest of EVE somehow found a voice.