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The CSM is currently locked in a heated battle between the “Evil” Goonswarm and the ever present, ever “Whiny” High-sec carebears over a mechanic that is so confusing, so outlandish, so provocative that its very existance is something of an enigma!

“One account, one vote.”

Yes, provocative isn’t it?  Dare I say, it is down right.. sinister.  Yes, please, put your tray tables in the upright position, and ready your Tinfoil Hats, because we’re about to take a messed up ride through the minds of people who think that their opinions matter more than most, into the hearts of people who don’t have one, and into the spirit of those who originated out of someone’s backside.

Lessee.. first, we should preface this with the fact that every year the argument gets made that the CSM voting (i.e., one account, one vote) is horrible unjust to one group or another.  Usually its “unjust” to people who reside in high-sec mainly because the vast majority of high-sec players can’t be bothered into doing any voting at all while they get their rocks off.. rather literally.  This, of course, means that the CSM is horribly favored towards the evil Null-sec alliances who desire to control all of EVE ONLINE AND THUS RUIN THIS GAME FOR EVERYONE!!!

Now, to be clear, they have been saying that since CSM 1.  But the fact of the matter is that CSM1 thru CSM4 were pretty much just window dressing.  CCP rarely, if ever, listened to the CSM and those CSMs pretty much just got the blunt end of the popularity stick because they couldn’t make CCP heel to every knucklehead’s wants and desires.  Needless to say, this argument carried over into CSM5, which was decidedly low-sec in focus.  Yes, despite CSM5 being very low-sec focused, with the chairwoman a very vocal low-sec player, was still innundated with call that evil null-sec alliances were secretly controlling the CSM for their dark and nefarious purposes.

In fact, the only thing that really stopped the “CSM is a pawn of null-sec” cries was when CCP introduced Incarna and threw everyone for a loop with all the problems of the gold store, the Aurum issue, the lack of items, the massive expensive of items, the whole best avatar rendition ever.. but stuck in a single room problem, etc, and etc., and etc.  Even the tinfoil hat specialists had to concede that perhaps, maybe, this wasn’t a null-sec conspiracy.  CSM 6, mainly due to a combination of drastically dropping subscriptions and the charismatic leadership of TheMittani (mostly the loss of subs), managed to get CCP back to the tables to talk.  Where in things got fixed and CCP got back on track.  And much to everyone’s surprise (including my own), the Mittani really DID love the game and didn’t want to see it gone.  Of course, soon after everyone got down with the “Wow” factor of the new battlecruisers, the tinfoil experts once again were back on the prowl, constantly looking like a Monty Python sketch.  It truly amazes me that more of these people didn’t accidentally kill themselves trying to tie their shoes.  Nonetheless, again the make believe problem of voting was again put forth.

And somehow, to which I will never, ever understand, this got to become an issue in CSM 7.  It was even discussed in the minutes.  The sad part is that this one the first item for discussion.  Of ALL the things that needed to be discussed, getting people who didn’t care to vote.. to vote, was first.  And apparently “wasted votes” are a critical problem.  Because someone might game the system.

Yeahh…. okay.  Not that I don’t believe that the Null-sec alliance aren’t above gaming the system, it’s just that the one who would be the most successful at it, i.e. TheMittani, would probably do a really good job at making the game more rounded.  The rest, probably couldn’t hold their coalition long enough to get everyone on board.. and after the first time they failed, it wouldn’t happen again.  Sadly, this discussion, instead of being either a.) Ignored, or b.) Ignored, trampled, and disgarded like a wet baby’s diaper… it was brought up again.

Rather publicly.  Here.

Trebor makes an interesting note that:

“almost 25% of the votes were cast for candidates who did not win election to the CSM. These lost “undervotes”, coupled with the fact that some candidates have increasingly overwhelming information and organizational advantages, threatens to effectively disenfranchise a significant portion of the electorate.”

Yes, that is likely to happen in a voting situation.  I’m kind of baffled by this because, as most people who vote on anything know, usually the number is 50 to 60% don’t get their way.  We don’t call them “undervotes”, they are usually just called.. the losers.  And losers lose because a.) Less people like their ideas and b.) Less people care about their ideas.

Which..is.. kinda.. the point about voting.

However, Trebor shoots himself even deeper in the foot with one of the stipulations:

3) Reduce (but not eliminate) the advantages held by highly organized voting blocs. In the previous election, for example, one voting bloc did extremely sophisticated exit-polling; if they had chosen to use this information to efficiently split their votes, they could have won 3 of the top 7 positions on the CSM.

You of course know who the most organized voting bloc in Eve Online is don’t you?  Why yes, it’s those rascally noobs, Goonswarm.  Trebor points to the STV, or Single Transferable Vote, voting system as a way of allowing these slippery undervotes to be used more effectively.  The concept means that instead of your vote going to the main guy you picked, if that guy doesn’t get have anywhere enough votes to get him elected, then your vote goes to a secondary electorate, or even a teritary one.  To be fair, it isn’t an uncommon type of voting.  The United Kingdom (Britian for the Americans), Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, and even a city in the US uses this form of vote gathering.

However, various pilots in Goonswarm weren’t swayed by the fancy arguments, and were rightly justified that they essentially were being discriminated against because, well, let’s face it.. they were smart enough to think like a voting bloc rather than to just pick any Tom, Dick, or Bertha.  This clearly infuriated the “We can’t be bothered to organize” hi-sec crowd who still managed to successfully get at least one representative into the CSM this year.. one who hasn’t done much, but at least they tried.

Poor Hans, the representative from the Faction Warfare bloc, got attacked over and over again.. this despite the fact that he was actually neutral about the issue, and his being neutral required the stance HE EXACTLY GAVE because he wasn’t sure about the benefits or detriments of the STV system.  That didn’t stop vast numbers of Goonswarm members (well, maybe about six) from blaming him and the rest of the CSM for trying to marginalize their votes.

Of course, the members of Goonswarm responded with well-reasoned arguments like (me paraphrasing):

“Its Unfair.”

Um.. let me be the first to explain how ironic this statement is coming from any member of Goonswarm.. Ever.  In fact, they are forever barred from using that as an excuse.  Still, they are right for the simple reason that votes that don’t go to the guy you wanted, go to guys you didn’t really want.  The problem is that people wrong consider a single vote to be a single point of information, for example, “I like this guy best.”  When really, it is more like, “I like this guy best, I don’t like others as much”.  That difference is huge, because if a particular CSM candidate is running on a particular platform, then it might be the difference between just the new guy, or a vocal referendum.

You see, both the chairmanships of CSM 5 and CSM 6 were not just elected because they were popular, they were elected because people were VERY angry about what CCP was doing.  Both The Mittani and Mynxee were elected essentially, “in force”, with record numbers of voters backing them individually.  Those extra votes allowed them to push CCP that much harder.  Some might say that this power could be used against the players.. but remember, unlike an election in Real Life, you have still have the ultimate VETO power..

.. by leaving the game.  And that is something very precious to CCP.