Thursday, February 18, 2016

So Ends the Summit

It has been my habit the previous trips to Iceland to walk through my day in this blog. I did it for the simple enjoyment of writing about my adventures and struggles in a strange land. But, I also did it for accountability.

The accusation that the CSM is a popularity contest so that the winners can take free trips rankles me. It pisses me off. But, I cannot figure out how to counter it. I could sit back and say that I have the money to travel. That makes me look an arrogant braggart. I could point out that I use up huge amounts of my yearly allotted vacation, but that makes me look the whining martyr. And then, those can be countered by telling me to remote in if it is such a burden. The insult and accusation is well done. It is a slippery trap that I firmly step into and as with many such traps, there isn’t an answer that will render it inert. Even my sad little point that, I’d already been to Iceland for Fanfest before i even ran didn’t make much of a dent.

Instead, I decided to fall back on honesty. Maybe if I pulled the curtain back, people would understand what was inside. The trip is very interesting. I do find it pleasurable to meet with CCP directly and discuss the game that I have been so passionate about. I’ve been as much of a fangirl as anyone else. But, the trip wasn’t why I ran and I don’t actually think anyone thinks that is the reason that I ran. It is an easy and piercing insult. In these days of causing as much harm to others as possible, why not use it?

For three summits and one Fanfest trip I religiously documented my time in an effort to bring transparency and open honesty to the process. Some of it was a suprise to me. I’d not expected the long days and short nights. The cold walks and quickly consumed meals. The mental gymnastics to talk, focus, take notes, and attempt to be a voice for as many people as I had the privilage to represent surprised me in its exhaustion.  But, I hoped that somewhere there was a hint of humor and passion and a bit of amusement and sharing in my day.

I entered this Summit in the darkest mood since my term started. In January, I was so deeply angry that the idea of picking up the CSM, throwing it away, deleting Eve and all my Eve related social media and walking away from it all had all but consumed me with its allure. I had nothing positive to say. Venom and anger and bitterness consumed most of my thoughts. I stopped writing. I stopped talking. I looked at the situation that had become the sum total of my existance and I dispaired.

I wondered why I had given everything up. I no longer had a corporation. I no longer had much of a game. I had convinced myself that it was okay if I did not play for now because the CSM was not forever. If I were to focus all of my time and energy into the CSM aspect of my Eve existance I’d be able to say that I had done everything that I could. In a way I could not justify my own gameplay. I felt negligant to my duties and the possibilities and potentuals if I were to turn someone down because I wanted to go do something that I could do at another time.

It is very much my own fault that I found myself in the place that I was at. In ignorance, I had stripped myself of much of my support and the solid foundation for my work. It left me screaming into the darkness and my energy spent fighting a battle that was going no where. In fact, it seemed as if I was slipping faster and faster into irrelevence and fettered uselessness.

I debated not going. I debated it strongly. I’d wander around the house and think about it as I went through my day. I read up on boycotts. I pondered the meaning. In the end, I decided that angry or not, disparing or not, unsure as to what the summit would bring or what I was there for, I should still go. I should go because to many would not understand why I didn’t go. I decided that I would betray everyone who didn’t care about problems between some parts of CCP and the CSm. They’d not care about the concerns and struggles about the CSM’s place in CCP. They’d just want me to do what I could and it’d more or less anger them that other, less fathomable things that we had quietly been struggling with for months had taken precidence over the duties that they wanted me to try to preform.

But, anger taints everything. The travel plans for the Summit came extreamly late. For me, an obsessive planner this detail put me on edge. I do not fly be the seat of my pants. I’d never pack up and just go someplace and let things work themselves out. Last minute things leave me taunt and unbalanced and worried for I have no time to make a back up plan.

Also, the logings were not booked as smoothly as I’d like. Due to a lack of room, we were not staying in a hotel. Instead, AirBnB was called upon. I found myself having to sign up for an unfamilar website to contact a young lady whos apartment I would be staying in for the week.

I’m a deeply personal person. I don’t stay at other peoples homes. I don’t invite people to my own. I am comfortable in hotels bcuase they are richly neutral. Like a resteraunt, it is clear that you are not infringing on them. Things are done in neat scheules with rules. Now, I was staying in a stranger's home. I’m writing on that stranger's kitchen table staring in horror at the ring my tea cup has made that I will shortly clean up.

Really, my inner turmoil made the entire thing harder. I’d have found it hard even if I was calm. But, I was not calm. I was on an emotional rollar coaster full of doubt, rightiousness, anger, and wistfulness.

Somewhere in the middle of everything, I just wanted everything to be better.

And that started to happen.

The week before the Summit, as we changed coordinators has been one of very mixed emotions. Suddenly, into my turomoil was thrown hope.

And hope is what I came to the summit with. Hope wrapped in caution but hope still.

The Summit has been productive. There is good and bad. There is a lot of good. The bad is not horrible. It is just the fustrations of having an agenda and having to fit that agenda into that of CCP’s. It doesn’t always work. While, I understand it, it is still fustrating. And I must walk the path of productively channeling that fustration while knowing that I am not going to finish everything that I want.

But, what the Summit gives is face time with CCP. It is easy, when there is only a screen and a blocked path of communication to lose track of the individual humanities that make up CCP. CCP is a company and as a company CCP has much responsibility. But, CCP is also individuals. And those individuals are not all CCP. As I have asked them to see me as a player and not the CSM so I must give to them their individuality and not just see them as CCP.

I consider myself comfortable with communicating over the internet. I met my husband online thirteen years ago. We communicate by chat client when we are not in the house together. But, sometimes I pick up the phone and call him so that I can hear his voice. So that I can hear him say hello to me and his puzzled worry that i am calling instead of sending a message. It isn’t often that I do this. some days i Just need that extra link to him.

It is something that needs to be rembered when it comes to interacting with CCP the company and CCP the people. And its a delicate balance. For, we come to them from the CSM as both company and person. And they come to us as both person and CSM. That awkward linkage can create such amazing things and spawn horrific fustration and anger.

The last four days have been productive. There has been a lot of honesty. I’ve clenched my fists and cried, “We can’t keep going in this circle.” And, we can’t. We can’t keep term after term having these barriers and problems. We can’t struggle with accountability and double standards. We can’t keep behaving in this limbo where we are a real thing but not real enough to earn all of the structures that we need to fufill our potentual, to be productive for the entire term, and to work on this game that we love enough that we’ve all been brought together in that room.

I’m not the person that I was two years ago. I regret that in some ways. I love some of the changes and expierences. It isn’t something I ever imagined. But, I hate many other expierences and I wish that standing in this place did not come with everything that it does. I don’t understand a lot of the whys to things that have happened. There is still so much to think and reflect on.

I do believe that I have tried. I’ve given you everything that I have and I have no left overs. And well do I now understand that even your all sometimes isn't enough. Such seems to be the inevitable nature of the thing.

27 comments:

  1. Sugar,

    Your skilled writing occasionally leaves me awestruck. This is such a piece. I have no words, just stunned, appreciative admiration. Amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Agree. This piece should be required reading for every CSM member voted in, and every CCP coordinator assigned.

      Delete
  2. I don't always agree with your opinions, or the way you view the value of the CSM, but I'll make one comment I really mean... I host focus groups and product rollouts at my company, and I wish I had ten participants like you. You've never used your role as a CSM member to ask for special treatment, you've never tried to rally "the people" against CCP, and you've dedicated yourself to trying to solicit as much feedback as possible from players.

    I'd argue that you've done TOO much... after all, it sounds like you've paid a personal price over the past two years. Know that in all the bad behavior and - in my opinion - bad behavior by both CCP and individual CSM members, I can't think of a single instance in which I could reproach you for your behavior.

    Ultimately, I think there's an inherent tension between what the CSM members believe their role is, what players believe their role is, what CCP says their role is, and what CCP NEEDS their role to be. Is that the fault of the CSM? I don't think so.

    But there's undeniably messaging drift between CCP and the players, with the CSM caught in the middle. It's not an enviable position, and the players who DO care to try to do the right thing are anguished as a result.

    The CSM is set up for failure as a whole, and set up to burn out individual members. It's not anything the CSM does that causes the problems, but - I believe - how it's messaged to everyone from CCP down.

    I'm sorry that it's had such an effect on you. I hope that as your term ends, you rekindle the spark that made you love this game and want to give back.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with everything you've said about Sugar. In a way I feel upset that the harsh realities of the CSM and CCP have taken a toll on her. It's upsetting to see her strive to give the 110% of her capabilities when nobody else does.

      She will not like it, but in my opinion Sugar has been the best single CSM in the organization's time.

      Delete
  3. I accuse Sugar of brutal honesty! I think some of the "disconnect" problem stems from candidates claiming they will work hard to do something on behalf of voters, when they have no power to get CCP to do anything. CCP may reinforce this perception with rare callouts, such as Endie's advocacy for increasing wreck HP. CSM members quietly doing what CCP expects, can catch criticism from players because they aren't "visible" enough.

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  4. AirBnB? Jesus H. Christ. So CCP set the date for the summit how many months ago? And they couldn't get 14 hotel rooms reserved? A new coordinator, eh? It sounds like that change came about six months too late.

    I miss the friends that I made playing Eve, but I don't miss the game one bit. About the only thing that could bring me back is you, Sugar. And from reading this, I doubt whether you'd counsel me in that direction. I think I'll stay gone. Maybe I should log in one last time and give you my stuff.

    The good news is that it's about time to start the gardening posts in Downtime Hours. Also, puppy updates please.

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  5. Know that those of us that voted for you are deeply appreciative of all the work you have done. Your continued honesty and transparency in what is arguably one of the most exhausting positions I can imagine can only be a credit to your mental fortitude. That you haven't quit or given up only proves that any vote you received was well spent. Keep up the fight ma'am, and don't forget that you have people who still believe in you and the good you've done.

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  6. As for the CSM <-> CCP relation... CCP should really be leading the ball. The CSM has been burdened with being a one-time, spur of the moment solution to a crisis. Once the crisis was fixed, the organization had litle reason to exist... but one doesn't just walks away from "democracy" and "representativeness".

    There are good reasons why other companies don't have anything even remotely ressembling the CSM. Whatever solution CCP finds to this conundrum, will be something new in the corporation-customers scene.

    Personally I think that there is no solution. A company can't be as "irresponsible" as to hand the future of its employees to unpaid volunteers. The better a company stays professional and keeps everybody safe, the worst it can deal with people who are not in the fire line and risk nothing but their egos. There is no magical solution: either you sink with CCP if you do your job wrong, or nobody will risk his chances to stay afloat just for being "cool" an agreeing that they may shipwreck because some unpaid volunteers said "turn left" instead of "turn right". In short: EVE is CCP's live and the CSM's hobby. Those can't mix well.

    Last, as or listening to customers, there's a hundred ways and none involves a "CSM"...

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    Replies
    1. No other company has anything like the CSM because no other company depends on their players for content. I don't see us as consumers. Many of us are the content creators that attract and keep people in Eve. We're basically partners and as such there needs to be two way communication going on to ensure that nobody is stepping on each other's toes.

      Delete
    2. I am opposing the CSM as a tool, not the fact that CCP listens to players.

      In real life, companies have serious issues with knowing what do customers think of them. And CCP just pretends that customers will jump through three loops on fire if they really, really wish to be heard through the CSM.

      And then CCP ignores or bypasses the CSM.

      And then some individuals use the CSM to cross CCP.

      And then valuable persons like Sugar are burned and wasted.

      Delete
  7. Sugar this was beautifully written, it is utterly convincing, yours is not an inveigling talent, this blog is frank and generous, thank you. I can't imagine I'd appreciate anything much about the current CSM without it.

    Sorry you're not standing again but your candid reflections on the experience explain your decision to anyone's satisfaction I would have thought. I have not further questions.

    Long live lowsec, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on life the universe and lowsec in the usual place. Yours Dee

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  8. /hug

    About these accusations you mention at the start. Where are these? Eve O? If you don't respond maybe the community will shout these trolls down for you.

    It just seems like pure trolling to me. If I didn't like the people on it, going to the CSM forum and posting "CSM is just a gravy train lol" sounds like something I would do. :)

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  9. This has to be THE best blog post i've read on the other half of 2015. it's direct, on point and best of all, excellently written.

    I can't believe CCP weren't able to get hotel rooms.... It sounds like an employee has had a burn out or worse.

    O/ Just want to say, thanks Sugar.. In my opinion you've done an excellent job... More than anyone could ever demand!

    (Conjaq)

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  10. It's great the hear ccp's best GM aka CCP Guard and Logibro (great minutemen) is now on CSM overwatch.

    Regards, a Freelancer

    ps: "In ignorance, I had stripped myself of much of my support and the solid foundation for my work."

    Anything we the community can do to help you out, even a little, just hauler.
    Fly it like you own it :)
    source: http://www.lowseclifestyle.com/2015/11/for-want-of-blue.html

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  11. I for one want to say thanks Sugar. You've been the most open, honest, and informative member of any CSM. And for that I thank you!

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  12. You really are unequaled as a CSM member. Thanks so much for all your hard work. I don't want to overshadow the positives you've hinted occurred during this summit but the fact of your AirBnB accommodation is so WTF that I can't even comprehend the planning incompetence behind such a thing. Let's hope things are more professionally done for CSM XI. CCP Seagull tweeted positively about the summit yesterday and I was very glad to see that.

    I will be glad when you are free of the shackles of CSM because you are clearly not happy, and for all your hard work, you deserve to be spending your time on something that makes you happy (not just satisfied at a job well done). Hugs!

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  13. You are my hero Sugar. Thank you for serving and for fighting for the players. There are those of us that sincerely appreciate what it takes to serve and to stand up against the odds, the history, and the challenges of being a player-rep. Thank you.

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  14. Sugar, I would just like to say a simple, whole hearted thank you.

    So thanks.

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  15. Sugar, I for one, am happy that you're not running for CSM again. Not because you're terrible, or I don't like you, or anything. But, because the CSM has taken you to this point. I hope that you can find joy in just simply being a pilot again. And, if not, then go do what makes you happy. Puppies come to mind. The EVE community will miss you, but will understand.

    And for those critics, who cares. We know how much you tried to do for EVERYONE in the game, not just a small, core group. You know as well. CSM X has dragged all of its members down the street with issue, after issue. Each one of you that toughed it out to the end deserve some respect.

    I think that somewhere in CCP, someone had/has an issue with the CSM as an institution. It shows in how the summit planning went, and the problems with the trip planning. Hopefully that will start to change with Guard and Logibro taking the reins.

    Thank you for your time on the CSM. Take a vacation from EVE, you deserve it.

    Mi Sing

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  16. I'll echo what people have said here in terms of your writing talents and sheer effort and dedication to your role.

    Any corp or alliance in eve should be happy to have you if you want to come back and join the fray.

    Dom

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  17. Just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I'm really sad but at the same time completely understanding about you not running for another term.
    Your commentary will be priceless in helping CSM 11 navigate this relationship.

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  18. I voted for you. You never let me down. I am sorry it was at such a cost. Thank you.

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  19. You were #1 on my ballot every opportunity. You have been everything we could of asked for as a CSM, and to be honest, more than we deserve.

    Please take a deep breath, push past the high level of effort and personal intensity and just float. Go on a roam. Go stock a dead end losec system. Go play with a puppy.

    Please accept our thanks for all your efforts. You've done more than so many people, and I can only hope that others look to your example as the bar to be reached.

    You're a rock star, Sugar.

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  20. Sugar I must confess. I used all my accounts back in the day after I wrongly read that little 'CSM picker app' that mentioned your stance on players being able to join pirate faction militias.
    But with that said you did a good job I would have most likely voted for you again if you were willing and I was even willing to vote doing the CSM again. At some point we the players started to feel the 'fatigue' as well of being disenfranchised.

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  21. Thank you Sugar for your strident and dedicated voice these past two terms. Even though I knew from your first announcement that you would be an amazing representative, I had never dreamed that the players would have such a dedicated voice through you to CCP. You really did give 110% and I hope that you can find some task or goal in EVE that will reinvigorate you again.

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  22. good easy. We will get to that quickly. A word of guidance the Kodi Download Well, unlike the Apple TV, Google ChromeCast or others, nice.

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  23. I voted for you. You never let me down. I am sorry it was at such a cost. Thank you.
    Mua ngay các lô đất tại bac son song hong

    Nguồn: http://bacsonsonghong.com/

    ReplyDelete