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Ramblings: My Momentary Writers Block

TL;DR: I was sent an Eve mail that made me debate where the boundaries are to others dictating what I may or may not do as a 'public' figure.


Sometimes, in the evenings when I settle down at my desk to write I feel that I have nothing to say. I look at my list of drafts and go, 'meh'. Nothing quite works. The words do not flow. The ideas are behind a barrier. But, it is not really writers block.

It, is instead, annoyance block. My writing is whatever dances across my mind. However, those are not always happy, positive things. And while I do not mind approaching topics I do not wish to write post after post venting.

Sometimes, I do have to vent. And I will today, because something happened that is on my level of not acceptable. But, before I vent I like to remind myself of the positive things.

The Eve community is often under a lot of fire. It is easy, very easy to skim across the top of the community and come away with nothing but bitterness and negativity. It is incredibly easy to not see past that thick, ranting foam that coats so much of the media that is connected to Eve. It is easy to sink into it. It is easy to talk about it. It is easy to indulge in it. After all, this is why the news is popular.

However, under that thick, frothing, negative foam is the actual core of the game. The place full of people who are just good people. It is all of those moments when people are not jockeying to make the best sounding, 'don't care' statement or are not in immediate challenge with each other.

It is the moments when someone hands me a player that needs some help and coaching. 'Sugar, I put them in your chatroom,' they say to me. And I say, 'thank you'. I don't ask them why they didn't help. They did help. I thank them for taking a moment to communicate to someone with more than smack talk or 'your tears are delicious'. And its not just my personal distaste of smack talk. It is because this is also part of the community and it is one that is sadly overshadowed by the much more showy negativity.

Sadly, positive things just don't sell as well. That doesn't mean they are not there. And so, when I have days like today where I wonder what I just read, I remind myself of everything else before I get angry. That's just because I don't want to soak in the negativity. I won't deny its there. I won't deny any of it. I simply will not accept that the negative is all that is there. Because it is not.

On Saturday, a very inexperienced player was invited along on our roam. A player who has never roamed with a low sec corporation on the hunt found themselves thrown into the deep end and overwhelmed. And I watched players be supportive, and be helpful, and not lose their temper. I watched people take a minute to remember what it was like to be new and overwhelmed and not understand things that are now second nature. And that made me feel good. I know that everyone comes to Eve for different reasons. Lots of people don't come to Eve to spend their time dealing with people in the early stages of learning what many consider the fun parts. But, it made me feel good to see it happen. It reminded me of all of the good parts of being in the community.

It may be why it stops me cold and leaves a terrible taste in my mouth when I receive Eve-Mails from people who tell me that I should not associate with various individuals because I have a responsibility as a member of the CSM not to potentially validate or add credibility to people. Those are the times when I wonder, 'where are the boundaries?' I want to know where are the boundaries that permit someone to mail me and tell me that I am in the wrong, or potential wrong, for communicating with someone. “No Sugar, you can’t talk to them!”

I've made it my policy to be open and approachable. I want people to come sit on my virtual couch with me for tea. I love just hanging out in game and talking to people. So to have someone tell me that its not acceptable for me to speak to someone in public because they disapprove of the person... well I found it terrible.

Then I got angry. Then I got sad. It was a disappointing moment. It was the type of moment that I could spread to everything else in my Eve experience. I could taint everything and let that bitterness grow.

But, as the miffed feeling grew and I debated how to deal with it as it consumed my thought, I logged in for the evening. It's a work night. I'll soon go to bed. But, someone tells me immediately that they herded another new player towards me.

I stopped being mad.

I'm still deeply disappointed. I can not but feel that this is an okay thing to be told that I need to ignore people other's do not approve of. I take pride in communicating. I respond to people. I engage with people. I try, very hard, to be what I'd like to have now that I have this CSM position. And nowhere in what I've wanted to do is ignore people.

So, I won't. It's a pretty simple decision. I will not stop engaging people. I will not stop talking to people. Even if I have sacrificed my Eve privacy by elected office and writing a blog I will not give it over. I will not cast aside people because others have demanded. I will not allow their distaste to make my opinion for me. I will not accept it any more than I accept the bitterness people try to pour into my cup.

Back in March, I wrote a poem on the way to the airport. I called it "That None are Lost". I wrote it as a response to a true bitter vet who had lost any ability to enjoy the game and complained that nothing was interesting anymore because all of his skill queue's were now long. Every word he typed in was just awful. At the time, I was riding the up and downs of excitement about my CSM campaign. I had some interviews coming up and my path in Eve was full of unknown, shining potential.

And that’s kind of my every day. Some of that is my own naivete. But, that's okay to. I'm that kind of person at the end of the day. I’m not interested in being here to spend my time angry, scornful, or ostracizing people.

And so to the person who asked me to ignore someone. The answer is no. That's not who I am. That is not who I will be. That is not how I play Eve.

And that will hopefully be writers block fixed.

Comments

  1. Sugar,

    Perhaps you need your version of Breaking Bad’s, “I’m not in danger. I am the danger.”

    Maybe “I’m not hanging with the wrong crowd. I am the wrong crowd.”

    But then wearing proudly that which was intended to disgrace has always tickled my heart. Wanna make something of it?

    Alternately, your blunt "No" works well too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never seen breaking bad so Ilk stick with no. :P

      Delete
  2. Well, if the CSM chairman and King of Space can scam for titan level isk - well surely hanging with the wrong crowd is a least of someone's worries.

    Hmm Writers Block, left hemisphere and right hemisphere imbalance. Do some logical things for a while (left) and give the creative a rest (right side). At least that's the theory. Train "grain of salt" at least to IV before fitting.

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    Replies
    1. I normally do puzzles to.clear my mind. However a lot of this block was wanting to write about it and wondering if I should.

      Delete
  3. Kick butt. Help newbies. Take names. Write on.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sug, it's practically your *job* as a member of the CSM to talk to people. Whoever complained should be gently but firmly reminded that you aren't their representative or mine, but everybody's -- and, given that this is New Eden, that includes people whom they, I, and even you may "disaprove" of.

    If they still think different, ask them to provide a list of "approved" people. And one of "non-approved". With reasons in every case, for both lists. To include every active player character, with weekly updates. Until they do, talk to whomever you want!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That amuses me. I'm so bad at snappy comebacks like that. I get caught up in, "Do you really believe the things you say or does it amuse you not to make sense?"

      Delete
  5. By choosing not to communicate with someone after being told not to you'd be making more of a statement than following your own judgement - It sounds more or less like someone's trying to push their own agenda by having a "political" figure agree with them - kinda manipulative

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    Replies
    1. The whole thing was and still is strange. Maybe there are deeper motives that I miss. I don't know. I don't work that way.

      Delete
  6. Your job is not to represent me, or this manipulative SOB, or any particular EVE player, or even all of them. Your job is to advise CCP when they ask for it, to bring things to their attention that they ought to know about, and perhaps get in their face to do what is best for the game even when they drag their feet. As such, you can choose to communicate with one, none or all of the players. Who you communicate with is your own business, and the only entity that can have any reasonable claim at all regarding it is CCP. (And even there, I think they should leave it to you.) It is absolutely none of this guy's biz and he should know that. Shame on him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, her number one job is to provide transparency of CCP's actions to their customers in order to prevent CCP misconduct (either by individuals or as a company). This was the driving purpose behind the establishment of the CSM. All other roles and activities that have been tacked on since, while they may be useful and productive, have served to obfuscate that role.

      I don't mean to detract from all the other useful functions CSM members have filled, but I believe that it is important, even imperative, to make sure that the CSM, CCP, and the players remember the primary purpose and responsibility of the CSM and how it came to be in the first place. Just for an example, had the CSM been properly utilized by CCP, the whole SOMER Blink fiasco last year would have never been an issue. In the end, the final result was swept under the rug and ignored in a way that only served to decrease the transparency and trust between players and CCP. Until the CSM gets a handle on its first priority, and holds CCP accountable to enabling that role, it will continue to be a failure at its designed purpose.

      Delete
  7. Sugar, out of curiosity, what constraints (if any) do you feel are in place on your actions or behavior as a member of the CSM (excluding of course the obvious NDA)? I'm not asking you to follow the dictates of others, but I am wondering whether you hold yourself to any particular standard as a result of your position? Or do you simply continue to play and post as you would have regardless of your status as an elected player representative? I'm sure every CSM member has different thoughts on the matter, but I'm curious to hear your perspective.

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    Replies
    1. Well I do believe that I am expected to follow the rules and EULA.

      I hold myself accountable to the things I can control that I said I would be. Accessible, available, approachable to the player base. I said I'd communicate and be honest and I take those promises very seriously.

      I continue to play as I would play because that is what I was doing before hand. That is how I interact with Eve. In a way, playing Eve is more important to me now that I am elected because I don't want to become disconnected from everything that I wanted to work for and towards.

      My status does not affect how I'd play except that I am, sadly, aware of the scrutiny that I am under. I dislike it. I dislike that some will take everything that I say and do and dig into it trying to find some level of the meta game that I must be participating in and hiding.

      Sometimes I hesitate to write things. I grit my teeth and write them anyway. Not because I don't want to write them but because I don't look forward to the criticisms and finger pointing that come with 'you are a CSM you can't do/believe/think X'. But, I believe I was elected for the person that I am so I continue to be that person.

      It is a hard balance. CSM me is neutral. CSM me is a bit different from player me. CSM me has to understand when player me wants stuff that is just a want not something great for Eve. CSM me argues with people that I really, really like because well, I don't agree from them from a broad perspective vs a personal one.

      It is a weird duality sometimes.

      Delete
    2. "I dislike that some will take everything that I say and do and dig into it trying to find some level of the meta game that I must be participating in and hiding."

      Being on the CSM most definitely places you in a unique position. I am curious about your perspective on what causes this level of scrutiny and the expectation that you are "hiding" something. Do you feel that this is a result of the actions of CSMs before you, or that it is simply the nature of the game? Basically, do you think that other CSMs, in using their position to further the metagame (not thinking of any specific examples here, just general theorizing) have harmed the trust of the players that the CSM members are working towards the benefit of the game in place of their own personal benefit? Or do you feel that such distrust is inherent in a game like EVE, and that those in a position of power will always be thought to be out for themselves first, regardless of who they are or who has gone before? Is it some combination of the two?

      If you do feel that the reputation and trust of the CSM role has been at least to some degree influenced by the actions of others, do you feel that there should be any strictures placed on CSM members to prevent such actions in the future? Given the choice, would you prefer to be under the scrutiny you are now, or would you rather play under limitations designed to make it clear to others that you were not using your position on the CSM for your personal gain?

      Delete
    3. Wow, questions. You ever going to tell me who you are, anon?

      I think some people are looking for hints and clues as to the future. Ones that I may or may not intentionally leave. That is understandable but it becomes ridiculous.

      I think there is a certain level of drama in the games population that some eagerly embrace and enjoy. Something like a soap opera but the player personalities are the members. Considering our single world nature it is understandable. That doesn't mean I'm one of those actors.

      I also think that people understand that the individuals elected are individuals. Some are larger than life and are considered caricatures of their alliances. I feel that people treat me like an individual person. That also means some dismiss me because I'm not important enough and obviously Goonswarm/PL/sov null must be doing something. It goes back to the embraced drama.

      Is this really a position of power? It is one of knowledge, sure, but power? Of course, some automatically assume that everything that happens is a clever goal to distort the game towards someones individual play style and not a broader look at the subject.

      I think that people should elect who they want to elect. If they want to elect someone who will treat them like crap and be super crazy and alienate themselves from CCP because they think its funny they should be allowed to. I think its sad and wasteful but I don't think we will get an honest view of the invested players without allowing them the freedom to make poor decisions.

      I don't think there can ever be enough things to make people feel I'm not using the CSM for personal gain if they feel like that. If someone feels there is a conspiracy theory its going to happen. Eventually the proof would be so invasive that you'd rip away anything personal about me to prove to someone who does not want to believe and cannot be convinced, that I'm just trying to do my thing.

      The scrutiny is part of it. You don't go into this, engage in the interviews and all of the pre-election stuff and not realize this. Still, with anything knowing something and living that something are different. It is not a place that I'd ever go, 'huh, let me jump under this microscope' but I accept that it is part of the process.

      I think I'm rather uninteresting for people who want to watch and wait. Maybe I'll lose it and just have a huge rage out and splatter drama sauce everywhere. Right now, I feel pretty stable. I have my frustrated days but half of the frustration comes from not being able to say things.

      I can see why people burn out. Some things are very frustrating. I'm not prone to raging and being angry about what I can't change. I just try to change it anyway. :)

      Delete
  8. This one would have been easy for me...

    Response:
    You said I should not talk to "X"... but strangely it seems you have been blocked... hmmm... wonder how that happened?"

    ReplyDelete

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