Tuesday, December 03, 2013

CSM Minutes Are A Conceptual Failure

First of all, I'm a big fan of the CSM. I think that they have provided CCP with valuable input in the past and will continue to provide valuable input going forward. I think they are a useful communication link between the playerbase and the developers. And I think the summits are incredibly important for fostering the relationships and improving communications between the representative body and the developers and designers at CCP.

But the minutes themselves that come out of the summits are a failure. Not just in execution, but in their conception.

Over at Jester's Trek (linking him again!) we see in the Week Thirty status update that the minutes are still not released. The summer summit was held in the end of August. Its now the beginning of December. We might actually be closer to the next summit than the last with no minutes in sight, and no promises for imminent delivery. This is an execution failure and could be addressed for future summit with procedural changes.

But as long as the concept of the minutes is to provide a blow-by-blow, line-by-line account of a week's worth of meetings, the minutes will always be a failure. The handful of nuggets of useful information that comes from the released minutes are not worth the massive effort required to produce and review them and could be imparted in many other ways without the same overhead.

Perhaps the easiest solution is for the CSM to pull those nuggets out and present them to the community in a 2-5 page document (with CCP's approval of course). Failing that, just release the damn meeting recordings  although that would require someone editing them to excise the NDA parts, and editing that video would have to fall to CCP in order to decide what's NDA'd and what's not. So I think that's out.

Regardless, as it stands right now, the minutes are a failure both in concept and implementation. Either the CSM and CCP have to commit fully to completing them in their current form wholeheartedly (i.e. make stories with high stack rank in the backlogs) or come up with a new plan.


  1. Kirith, my response was too big for a comment so I posted about it here: http://manufacturingconfusion.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-csm-minutes-accountability-and.html

  2. The handful of nuggets of useful information that comes from the released minutes are not worth the massive effort required to produce and review them... May I to disagree with you in the strongest of terms...

    Albeit there are only a "handful of nuggets of USEFUL information" for EACH playstyle... there is a butt tonne of useful info pertinent across ALL playstyles...

    You know what constitutes "useful information" to your playstyle, but what about people who play a completely different EvE from the one you play? The one that Ripard (NPC Null Small Gang PvPer & CSM Rep), or I (unemployed Anoikis Mercenary) or Hermit (Carebearus Emeritus) or Sugar (Lowsec Industrialist Pirate Queen) or ANY of the vast variety of NULLsec drones play...? Who decides what each of us deem is "useful information" to our game... Ripard? Me? Fozzie? You…?

    This is the point and overriding concept of The Minutes. That as much of ALL the (non NDA'd) stuff that was discussed by the CSM & CCP for the WHOLE of the EvE sandbox and ALL its myriad playstyles is captured and disseminated as completely as possible so that the WHOLE of its vast and diverse playerbase could pick, nitpick, rage, cheer, cry and hurrah for, about and over ALL of it... not just the parts that are deemed important to the one, the few or even the many... but for ALL.

    This issue is not that the minutes 'as a concept' are outdated... it's that those involved, from the CSM members, who have to juggle RL jobs and family etc. with the time they spend on their VOLUNTEER duties as a CSM… to the CCP devs who basically have to do exactly the same thing… (keeping in mind that, as I understand it, there is no CCP employee who’s ONLY job is working and dealing with the CSM… Ripard, pls correct me if I am wrong.) they all have to do the same as all of us who juggle worktime/familytime/playtime do… prioritize.

    I have been keeping up, mainly through the as always amazing efforts of Ripard Teg but also any and all posts and mutterings from Reykjavik, with the progress of the 2013 Summer Summit Minutes we are owed… I feel the delay is quite simply a congruence of ‘priorities’ pushing the Minutes back and back as other things, such as the Somer of Stupidity and what seemed like to me a shit tonne of work prepping the Via ad Rubiconem among other things… add to this the, to me obvious, probability that CSM8 may be the most involved CSM CCP has had to date and you get a simple failure of available man hours.

    If you have committed to spending 200 (Dollars, Euros, man-hours, whatever…) but you only have 150 to spend… well… yer fucked... and what we end up with is… Minutegate.

  3. @TurAmarth ElRandir - Hrmm... sort of.

    There can be value in the minutes, but the last CSM group got it in their head that they needed to provide something closer to a complete transcript of CSM meetings with CCP. So they ended up cranking out a huge document where the first 30 pages was the CSM talking about the CSM, each joke carefully document.

    That is silly as it represents a time commitment and generates so much noise for so little signal that I would be fine letting that go. At the time the CSM said they went this route because people were demanding to know who offered up which ideas.

    But we don't need a transcript for that. We just need actual minutes with some simple annotations. That doesn't really take that much time. At my office we do that in every project meeting I am in week in and week out, and minutes are distributed to the group, reviewed, and finalized very quickly. Now, we don't have to clean the minutes up for external consumption, true. But to do that would not represent a huge task if minutes were taken in a clean outline format.

  4. @Wilhelm, Hmm correct!

    As you yourself stated, there is value in the minutes, not the minutiae… there is much that happens during meetings of any kind that everyone can agree need not be included, jokes among them. Spending time on jokes and banter, other than to highlight and delete them, is a waste of everyone’s time.

    What I was commenting on was not the noise, that’s just both the CSM and CCP folks not doing due diligence… I was commenting on what constitutes “signal” as compared to “noise” and who decides. IE just the minutes, stripped of noise, but leaving ALL the signal… IE everything “directly” related to discussion about any Mechanics, Art & Gameplay in EvE.

    Keep in mind also, you are comparing a regular weeklyish meeting between people who work together closely and a week’s worth of meetings a couple of times a year between 2 groups of people (CSM & CCP) who, while obviously very dedicated, do not work quite so closely as a group in the same building day after day… bit of the old apple and banana thing there, yes, same type, but very different tree… =]