TL;DR: I am not burnt out or burning out. I’m running for CSM X.
That was the new stuff. Now for all the extra words and thoughts.
I decided to wait for the minutes to be released to write a halfway point post. In many ways the minutes would be a reflection of how I was doing. They are my report card. I believe they’ll let people see as much of me as I could show. I figured that if I did a terrible job at it, I’d know if my idea of being a CSM was good enough or not. I can think I am amazing all day long but my opinion of my actions doesn’t matter. It is the opinion of those whom I represent and speak for, those who I defend and fight for, that matter.
The start of this was last December when I started thinking that I should try to run. I worked up my courage to do so into January. The few vague feelers I had put out had left me nervous. I was a noone. I was not Eve-famous. I was not particularly interesting or skilled at anything. Basically, the few people I casually dropped the thought on laughed at the idea of my running. “You have no chance of being elected, Sugar.”
I decided not to let that stop me. I believe in trying to make the things that you want. It is nice when someone else does it but if no one else does, someone has to. I realized that I’d spend another year wishing that someone would be the low sec CSM representative of my dreams. I would write blog posts about things. I’d be irritated and fractious. It made me ask myself why I wasn’t trying to make that change if I was going to be so damn particular about it.
I attacked the election as I attack anything in Eve. With energy and enthusiasm while I learned along the way. I believed in what I was doing. This was a good idea to me. The response from the players who participated in the election floored me. People liked me. People voted for me. And I found myself elected to CSM9 when I had almost convinced myself that it would not happen due to the above lack of fame, importance, and relevance.
Where that left me was with a huge responsibility and no manual about how to handle it. So, I used my patterned “wade into it and figure it out as you go along” method to what I feel is good sucess.
My goal has been to be the CSM member that I wanted to have. I want you to feel comfortable talking to me. I want you to know that I will listen even when I disagree. I don’t want anyone to feel brushed aside or not worth my time. That means I have focused on listening to people, no matter what their complaint is. I have tried to be available to people and to talk to them. I have attempted to communicate in a reasonable manner. I have collected the wants, needs, and thoughts of other people to take to CCP along with my own. I have poured my energy and my priority into this because the CSM is more than just a title to me. It is an opportunity that should not be taken for granted or missed.
There is a lot to learn in the CSM interaction. It seems as if it is an infinite portal into opportunity. The developers at CCP are at work doing their job. At times we are able to gain attention for things or projects or change the priority status but that is not common. I have a stack of needs and wants from the players that have not yet been addressed and may not have a place where they can be addressed for a while. Learning that is incredibly hard. I cannot give form to every want and desire much less everything that I feel needs attention all at once. But, by paying attention and constant effort more and more things are layered in and at the very least looked at and considered.
Being a member of the CSM is interesting. I did not know any of the other members before I joined. While we are a group that works together our power is in our individuality. At times we will all agree on things for some things are simple and easy to agree on. But we are often at odds. The beauty of the group is that they come from different areas. Being a team sounds lovely and productive but it also gives the idea that we do things by group vote or support. Similar to the way having a chairman made it sound as if someone had final authority on what the CSM did and did not present to CCP. I was very happy when my idea for no Chairman was taken up and CCP agreed with it. I think each member is an equal part.
At the same time the depth and access shows me how much I do not know. I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself over the last six months. I have to expand myself. There is so much to pay attention to and so much knowledge to gain. I’ve developed viewpoints and concepts that I might never have and I believe that I’m a better person for it.
I said that I would communicate when I started. I have kept to my weekly updates. I read the forums extensively and I have tried to increase the amount of posting that I do. People are kind enough to eve-mail me and e-mail me with their thoughts, ideas, and words of encouragement and support. I venture onto Reddit at times and onto some of the other Eve forums that are out there. I have feedback threads on the Molden Heath forums and on Snuff Box’s forums.
I feel that I’ve had successes in other areas as well. I’ve given input where its needed. I’ve brought attention, representation, and some definition to low sec. I have to admit that the tagged on, “... low sec” as I clear my throat when a topic comes up pleases me. Sometimes the low sec qualifier is dropped before I ask. That means I’m a bit of a nag. I’m okay with that. I cannot assume and catching things at the start is much, much easier than popping up later going, “Oh whoops! I wasn’t paying attention. Tee hee! I have feedback about this fully developed project you probably wanted months ago!” It’s easier to pay attention at the start, make sure low sec is treated as an individual area of space and go from there. Also, I’ve been able to dive deep into personal projects such as my PvE improvements project. That project started with my ideas about improving income in low sec and grew larger than low sec alone. Not a bad thing. No one said I could only do one thing.
I try to stay visible and be available. I logged in daily. My chat room has regular conversations about current topics. I feel visible and available. Where am I? Right here. You can send me a convo most evenings during EST. However, I feel weird running around going, “I’m on the CSM so talk/listen to me.” It is not my style and lots and lots of people don’t know what the CSM is or what it does. It deflates the ego quickly.
I’ve found the CSM process to be a lot of fun and absolutely stressful. At Eve Vegas I got to talk to people and gather their feedback and thoughts while answering and explaining things. It was a good tonic for the stressful part of things. The enjoyment, exuberance, and positivity was wonderful. And I need it. I’m not used to being the center of attention. I don’t really enjoy it. Yet, I took on this responsibility and I don’t have the time to sit around going ‘woe is me’. So, I charge it. I did a live stream. I do my open Q and A’s and I put myself on the spot if thats what I need to do. It isn’t my nature and I don’t think I’m ever going to be in love with the concept of being videoed and recorded but I knew it would be part of the process even if I don’t like it, too damn bad for me.
Working with CCP is fascinating outside of the CSM process. Going to Iceland and sitting down with a company to talk, seriously, about my beloved video game was amazing. The intensity threw me off a bit. I developed a stupid nervous laugh in reaction to that. I’m a bit embarrassed with myself. But, we gain comfort with doing things. And embarrassed or not, I still got it done and in that, I am pleased with myself.
Everything isn’t always wonderful. I want to log into the game and play and do my CSM thing and help Eve be a better place. I’m endlessly naive in that fashion. I’m always surprised by ugliness and trolling. There is a lot of negativity in the Eve community. There is a lot of negativity towards the CSM. It is not hard to find posts writing about how useless, stupid, irrelevant, lazy, and worthless the CSM is. Often they suggest that we are disbanded on the light side or personally attacked on the more unpleasant sides. And sometimes it gets me down. I don’t like being called names and treated poorly. I’m not here to tell people to go fuck off or mock them. You won’t see me calling Eve a stupid game and spending my time being bitter. Other’s can do that for me.
It’s probably my fatal flaw. I didn’t run for office for some special metagame reasons. I did it because I love low sec and want to see it represented. I read a comment about me where the author said that I am not what they consider a poster child for low sec. That may be true. I also think that’s okay. I strive to be open minded and consider others. I don’t have to be everyone’s idol. I just have to be able to accept other opinions as valid and be willing to fight for what someone else loves like I fight for what I love. Being here has enforced my belief that the CSM is a positive tool for the game and I am thankful for the trust that was given to me. I will continue to try to repay it.
It’s been six months. I feel I’m in a good spot. I have a lot before me. The January summit. People are bringing forward good issues like the war dec, bounty, and mercenary systems. Considering that corporation changes are closing in on us, these areas are rather important as well as topics that have been coming up a lot. We’ll see how the teleportation changes affect low sec and see what tweaking may need to happen. I have more things on the table that I am working on. I’m still gathering up PvE items as I can. As we move closer to having PvE tools I move closer to my hopes for general PvE rebalance and updating everywhere. There are a lot of things I’d love to see happen to improve communication between CCP and the player base when it comes to policies and actions. Boosters haven’t even really come to the table yet!
I’m pleased that I’ve managed to keep my blog pretty normal. It helps ground me in the day to day of playing. It also caused me to chart the changes the position has put on my game. That’s not such a bad thing. Hopefully my blog readers can get a more rounded view of what being on the CSM can do to the average player. There is still so much to do and I believe I’ll continue to enjoy doing it. I’ll also continue to find it stressful. I’ll have good days and bad days. I never expected anything other than that.