I debated writing this post at all. I'm only a casual Council of Stellar Management observer and I wondered if trying to write an evaluation of CSM 7 from that perspective was fair. But then I thought that I'm part of an audience that needs to let current and future CSM members know where they are weak and need work, and where they need to continue doing what they are doing. So here we are.
I'm going to evaluate the CSM both as a whole and members individually in this post, and at the end wrap it up with a grade.
As far as I can remember, this has been one of the most polarized CSMs in terms of member participation. It felt like 90% of the work was done by 1/3 of the CSM, the other 10% by another 1/3, and the last third did nothing or actively worked against the rest. Alekseyeve Karrde, Hans Jagerblitzen, Two Step, and Trebor Daehdoow were visibly active the most for the whole year, while Seelene and Elise Randolph and Kelduum Revaan popped up here and there. I didn't even remember UAxDeath was on CSM 7 until I looked up the list to make sure I spelled names correctly, and Darius III I knew was on there but he can be considered a rogue agent for all intents and purposes.
I acknowledge that some members may have been more active in other non-english communities thus not as visible, but my impression is that is not the case here.
I'm going to say that I think making Seelene the chair of CSM 7 was a mistake. I understand that they had their reasons for voting the way they did but Seelene's participation in CSM 6 was not good enough to justify the chair and as CSM 7 went on we saw the same problem with him going off the radar. Yes, the CSM should not be allowed to replace real life as a second job but there is a many levels between fully engaged and fully disengaged and yet Seelene seems not able to find them. I think some of the problems with member participation could have been addressed by a stronger-willed, more diplomatic and more consistently present chair.
So what did the CSM 7 do for the year? To be fair to them they entered office at a weird time. CCP was getting over the mad panic rush to right the ship with Crucible and Inferno and did not pay enough attention to the CSM for the first half of their term. The CSM called CCP on the lack of proper interaction and steps were made to rectify that and the second half of their term was a lot more productive.
The minutes produced from the summits were extremely detailed (perhaps overdetailed?) and provided some much needed accountability by identifying who said what. I approve. But again we run up into the situation where the lion's share of the work is seemingly being done by the minority of the members. I disapprove.
I was very happy with the CSM when they produced the strategy document which laid out a clear vision of strategic planning recommendations for CCP. I think it was brilliant and should be held up of an example of good CSM-CPP communication and influence.
I believe that CSM 7's greatest contribution to the institution will be the improved stakeholder status and getting the CSM more involved with one team on a constant basis. I hope CSM 8 continues that trend going forward.
While I'm not as critical of CSM 7's communication as others like Ripard Teg have been, I do think it could have been better. CSM members that ran blogs went horribly silent for the most part, in particular two important members, Seelene and Trebor.
Here's Seelene's posts over his term:
There were a fair number of podcast appearances and I will give credit to CSM 7 for being active in the podcast circuit. Well, some of them, the usual ones. And Alekseyev runs his own excellent podcast called Declarations of War in which he had a frequent CSM section, but for the casual eve player these avenues are ineffective and a very different audience from the forum and blog readers.
Also, I was disturbed by how much air time on these podcast appearance were taken up by responding to criticism, real or imagined. Ripard Teg's posts in particular seemed to drive the CSM batty, especially Seelene and Alekseyev who at times displayed incredibly thin skin for public figures and went very aggressively after Ripard on podcasts until the whole thing jumped the shark when Aleks allowed co-host Ninja Turtle to deliver what I can only hope was a tirade fueled by accidently mixing alcohol and medications, since it was so over the top and outright demonstratively false. To their credit, Ninja Turtle and Aleks publicly apologized on the podcast when called on it and gave Ripard a chance to come on and speak for himself.
In the end, I give half the CSM 7 a passing grade and the other half a failing one. For the chair Seelene, I thought he would have been better suited to just being a member and not being the chair. I think they did OK on communicating with the playerbase but could have done better, but there communication with CCP was good to excellent and their work on planning and summits and the minutes were outstanding.
I think that the fault for the lower CSM 8 election turnout has to fall equally on CSM 7 and CCP's shoulders., and I'm hoping that CSM 8 takes improving community outreach as one of their common goals this year.