Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Just Don't Seem To Care

Last year I wrote a scathing review of CCP's efforts to promote the CSM and the CSM 8 elections. Let's review:
We heard on various podcasts and media outlets that CCP was going to launch a publicity offensive to make players not plugged into the external metagame of the election and encourage them to vote. 
Media watchers like me observed and waited and wondered what CCP would do to drive voters to the polls that traditionally have stayed away. And what did we get? 
- The usual splash screen banner that no one clicks. 
- The usual news link in the character selection screen. 
Both of these are terrible in that a player logging into the game must be taken out of the game when they click on those links. I know that when I'm logging in the first thing I don't want to do is not actually log into the game. At best the player thinks about doing it later and at worst they say "meh, why bother?" 
- A horribly unimaginative and uninformative 38 second video. Words do not suffice for describing my disappointment. I love CCP Xhagen but the guy put me to sleep with his one line. This video should have been accompanied or replaced by a larger more vibrant video describing a) what the CSM is, b) how they are important and plug directly into Eve's development process, and c) what great things they have done in the past. And done it with energy like the Crimewatch video
- A mass mailing that one character of mine got. One. Out of eight.

Now maybe they have some metric for deciding characters that are active and yet still need a prod to go vote, but considering all my accounts had voted by this point and this character was no more active other ones, I don't know what metric they would be using.
To add to these failings I have to say the voting itself was painful. At least it was drag and drop but required my full screen and even then it was hard to get my voting boxes on with all the candidates. A side by side design would have been much better and easier to use.
I expected more. A lot more.
 So this year for this election cycle, was there any noticeable improvement?

- With the new launcher, we don't have a popup splash encouraging people to vote, and the news links in the launcher are even more obscured and un-obvious with all the other eye candy on there. My complaints about how these are terrible because the voting mechanic is an out of game utility and a player logging in does not want to immediately not log in stands.

- A 13 minute video with CSM8 members from the winter summit talking about their experiences and thoughts about the CSM and working with CCP. While this video is a vast improvement over last year's version, its still very dry and technical and probably only interest to people who are already interested in the CSM and will vote.

- A dev blog post with testimonials from a lot of CCP Devs about how the CSM has helped them do their job and advised on a lot of technical aspects of new development. This is a big improvements over last year but really only is visible to the people who are already plugged into the CSM process already.

In other words, the in-your-face prompts to go vote on logging in are less obvious and still take you out of game to do so, the promotional material from CCP about the CSM and the good it does is a lot better but only really visible to the people already aware of the election and probably going to vote anyways, and there was no mass evemailing to reach out to those more detached from the community. And let's not get on about the fiasco of the Summer Minutes and the marginally better job you did with the Winter minutes to get them out barely before the election started.

Overall its worse than last year. Which prompts me to ask, CCP, as an institution do you actually care about the CSM?

Voting is starkly down this season. I've heard many suggest that since it was a non-crisis CSM term that people are less motivated to vote, but that also implies strongly that your outreach efforts to expand the pool of potential voters, i.e. people who would vote in a crisis CSM term, were ineffective. Not that there has been any.

I have heard many devs from CCP extol the virtues of working with the CSM but the company as a whole seems loathe to expend any effort but the most basic steps (a single video and a dev blog). Expanding the elections to beyond the borders of those invested in the metagame and community requires some effort CCP, and you just don't seem to care.I mean, you didn't even try the mass mailing this time!

I CCP wants to expand the vote from below 10% it needs to take an active role in promoting and developing the election and its mechanics in the same way that effort was expended to promote and develop the CSM itself. At the very least, this should include:
- a voting tool built into the client for elections
- some sort of advertisement built into the client for CSM related activities like the elections
- mass mailing to each account linking the videos and dev blogs
- Hell, there should be a special window available on the Neocom for CSM information and related activities and elections.

You keep saying the CSM is invaluable, and you work them to the bone to get maximum value out of them, so now its time to show you really care in the CSM and make some investment in the infrastructure supporting them.


  1. Well, now I don't have to write that post tomorrow! lol.

    I agree, more in-game and integrated tools that communicate to the player base at-large and not just the 10% or less that care enough to vote.

  2. Want people to vote give them a item for voting. You vote you get item X for doing so. Make item X worth voting.

    1. +1 - Free stuff can go a long way!

  3. Mandatory suffrage.

    If the voting window is 2 weeks, for the last week, or 5 days, when you log in, you must vote before playing. The link can even take you in-game. It does not matter. People have to vote. I don't even care if they vote for a randomized list of people. It is better than the current mess.

    But with forced voting must come a commitment by CCP to educating the player base, which you speak of.

    But frankly, there is no incentive for that. They want to create a highly dystopian Eve, which meshes nicely with the aims of current makeup of lobbyists in the CSM now. Neither CCP nor the CSM has any reason to alter the statue quo.If the largest segment of the player base was actually represented properly on the CSM, the cartels and their lackeys would have a much harder time implementing the changes they want.

    So as much as we hear all these platitudes about how concerned CCP and the CSM are about the horrific turnout, we won't see much in changes.

  4. There are already in game billboards around stargates and in the captains quarters for those that use it with various advertising. Csm could be advertised there.

    It would probably have only a small effect and none in wh, but even wh pilots go to market

  5. Getting the voting interface integrated into the game would help a lot, I think, and I wouldn't mind seeing some small incentives given out (maybe a drawing for something nicer) to everyone who votes.

    The interface might also do something like Vote Match to help people figure out which candidates best match their interests.

  6. So I think they should have a CSM neo-con button that pops up the week before voting starts. It should automatically add itself to the side. You can remove it but you will probably notice it. I think it should first take you to a list of the candidates and their short description. Maybe have links to vote-match or other general info sources. If you do remove it. It should make itself pop back once every 24 hours while voting is open. Voting should be able to be done in the client.

    If CCP was serious about getting people to vote they need to do a video on all the bad ideas that the CSM shoots down in a year. And then end with a witty line about making sure you have a candidate there to shot down the bad idea that would effect your play style.

  7. whenever someone mentions the meta-gate as a method of communication is immediately picture this scene from Hitchhikers Guide.


    Ask yourself a question: do you read the plot of a movie before going to the cinema? In the same vein many players just want to experience the action without knowing how it ends. But in the cinema you can see a trailer - commonly aimed at the genre or audience demographic. Great, now I know what I going to see next.

    Unless it actually comes up as a condition of logging into the game - then CSM will remain a fringe involvement by the invested player.

  8. Anonymous7:03 am

    Bringing the vote mechanic into the game would be very helpful. I do what I can do motivate my corp mates who aren't that much interested in meta gaming to go voting. But if you hardly leave your client you don't learn anything about the CSM.

    More effort to bring the CSM into the game is needed to get a lager voting audience. Forcing to vote is the wrong way. Giving an Item for taking part would be ok, but it doesn't improve visibility.

    Last year we have been invited to "imagine" and "dream" ... now imagine there where new missions during election time in every level and all working fields of agents. Or storyline agents contacting you for important spaceship politic business. "There is that dude running for CSM, please deliver this stash of goods to station XY where Kandidate X will present his Ideas".

    Lets dream about creating an epic arc mission where you have multiple choices, like "I would like to improve high sec industries instead of ...". Once you completed that arc, it will present you the List of CSM which represent your opinion best like the voting match web-side.

    Is that stuff a lot of work? Hell, yes! It is. It would be an awesome lot of work to do. But in a voting turnout at 10% ... you most likely will access easily as much people who already vote, therefor maybe doubling voting turnout. This should be worth the effort.

  9. You seem to be assuming that "turnout" is good, no matter what. Yet CSM is an advisory council, not a legislature. As such, there is no need for it to be "broad based", or anything like it. It does not need "the will of the people" or any other such mystical justification. Its purpose is to advise CCP. As such, it does not benefit from politicians so much as smart, hardworking, and knowledgeable players. CCP presumably knows this, and perhaps they even know that adding noise to the election (which is what the "will of the people" is in practice) will result in a worse CSM.

    So why is high turnout worth having? Is not a low turnout of only the most motivated and informed voters better for this purpose -- electing an advisory committee -- better than a high turnout of unmotivated and uninformed voters?