Failing In So Many Ways

Icon

Liang Nuren – Failing In So Many Ways

The Mittani: Conclusion

Today saw two new developments in the ongoing (but likely concluded) Mittani scandal.  The first was the announcement [eve-o] made by The Mittani with approval from the CSM (and almost certainly CCP?):

Though I have received many letters of support (my inbox is full of these, and for them I thank you) and the major bloggers have called for me to remain on as Chair, there are still some who doubt the sincerity of my apology to the player concerned, who – unlike those attempting to make hay from my mistake – is the person that matters here. I said that I would resign; to demonstrate the sincerity of my words and my apology, I will do just that.

With the increasingly high profile of the CSM in the wake of the Incarna Emergency Summit and the amazing turnout we had for the CSM7 elections, I have come to the conclusion that my two roles in EVE – that of the Chairman of the CSM as Alexander Gianturco, and the leader of Goonswarm as “The Mittani” are increasingly incompatible. It is, fundamentally, a problem of hats.

As the leader of Goonswarm I must be willing to make ruthless decisions and take actions that many players find objectionable – griefing, ganking, scamming, ‘dishonorable’ fleet tactics, espionage, metagaming, blowing up everyone who tries to mine Gallente Ice, sponsoring Hulkageddon, et cetera – whatever it takes to defend my people in this, the most exceedingly hostile galaxy to grace the internet. As Darius JOHNSON, the previous Goonswarm leader once said, “[Goonswarm] is not here to destroy /the/ game, but /your/ game.

Yet as Chairman of the CSM and Alexander Gianturco, I need to put a good face on CCP’s experimental player democracy and keep my nose clean. Inevitably, these two roles conflict with one another; when Goonswarm does what it does in EVE, this reflects on the CSM as a whole, purely due to my position as both Chairman and alliance leader. If I abandon the brutalist tactics of an alliance leader in hopes of keeping the CSM’s image pristine, I hamstring my people ingame and do a disservice to the line members who rely on me. In addition, the enemies of Goonswarm assault the CSM and CCP itself unfairly due to the in-game actions of our alliance.

After the successful restructuring of CCP, I am convinced that most of the hard work of the CSM is already done – CCP is now focusing on spaceships instead of avatars, and the success of CSM6 has led to a solid and competent crop of player representatives in CSM7 with a much greater turnout, demonstrating ever-more faith and trust from the playerbase in the concept of the CSM. This changes things for the CSM, as well as the Chairman title

During Goonswarm’s highly successful Gallente Ice Interdiction there were calls for my resignation as Chairman; those calls increased when Goonswarm began to use false supercap sales as a method of closing the gap between us and our in-game enemies’ supercap fleets. We are now planning an attempt to destroy Jita itself. All of these actions are entirely legitimate within the brutal world of EVE, yet, in the coming months, if I continue to hold the title of Chairman, CCP will be enduring one PR nightmare after another as Goonswarm’s in-game actions unfairly reflect back upon the CSM as a whole through the Chairman title. It is increasingly important that the Chair be a ‘good citizen’ in the game itself – and I cannot be a good citizen and simultaneously lead my alliance of magnificent bastards.

With CSM7’s term beginning on April 4th, I now exercise my right as the winner of the election with 10,058 votes to decline the office of Chairman. It will then be up to CSM7 as a group to decide how to proceed regarding the Chair. As a member of the CSM without a title, what I do as the leader of Goonswarm will no longer unfairly reflect on the CSM as a whole – leaving me and my people free to do as we please without needing to consider corporate, political, or media ramifications every time we make a **** joke, offend someone, or sell a supercap made of vapor.

The CSM seemed (almost) unanimous behind him with a couple of obvious political dissenters:

Two Step:

I don’t think this decision is the best one for the game, but it is Mitten’s decision to make, and I support him 100%. What he is doing is what he thinks is best for the game as a whole, which is what he has been doing during the entire CSM 6 term.

Trebor Daehdroow:

I have watched Alex wrestle with this decision over the past few days, and I hope I have been helpful in some small way as he came to it.

It’s the right decision for him, the community, the CSM, and our friends at CCP.

I look forward to serving with Alex on CSM7.

Seleene:

This has been a difficult few days and Alex did not make this decision lightly. The next CSM has a lot of work ahead of it now. Mittens has helped shape the CSM into it’s current form and I’ve no doubt he will help where he can as he always has. I am glad that he has taken this step so that we can all move forward to doing what the community elected us to do.

Elise Randolph:

A new hat: Mittani the altruist.

While the CSM did not ask for this action, I do respect and support it. From my perspective, which is not infallible but quite keen, Alex was the most successful CSM chair in that he helped usher in a new era of the CSM where the rigid bureaucratic processes were thrown aside to streamline the process and allow all voices to be equally as significant. A solid change that has borne fruit in what has been an incredibly effective CSM term. As a member of CSM 6, I have nothing but good things to say about how useful and effective Mittani was. I have no doubts that Alex will continue to work hard as a CSM 7 member and I look forward to working with him in the coming year.

I was personally relieved [eve-o] that we would at continue to have the effective player advocate that The Mittani has been on the CSM.  Over all, most of the responses in the thread seemed positive towards The Mittani staying on the CSM but declining the chairmanship.  However the drama wasn’t quite done for the day as later in the afternoon, CCP released what appeared to be a carefully coordinated dev blog entitled  “Alliance Panel at Fanfest 2012: The Conclusion” [eve-online].  I’ll quote it here:

As some of you might have heard, one of the Alliance leaders speaking at the Alliance Panel during EVE Fanfest 2012 breached our EULA/TOS with some ill-advised remarks about a fellow EVE player. It goes without saying that CCP deeply regrets this incident and will work towards reducing any possibility of this happening again in the future.

CCP requested that all panel PowerPoint presentations and discussion topics be handed in beforehand for approval.  Regrettably, the offending comments were made during an unscripted Q&A session after the main presentations.

Following a thorough internal review CCP has decided to respond to this clear violation of our Terms of Service and wholly inappropriate use of the Alliance Panel. According to our existing policies, we have issued a 30 day ban from EVE Online to the panel speaker.

The policy of CCP is not to publicly discuss warnings and bans on an individual basis. This situation is entirely unique because the panel was displayed via CCP’s Fanfest video stream component, a platform analogous to our forums.  As a result we have published this statement due to the special circumstances involved. However, our policy remains that we will not publicly discuss warnings and bans.

The panelist has subsequently posted a public apology as well as a private apology to the victim of his attack. He has also resigned from his position as Chairman of CSM 6 and has forfeited his right to serve on CSM 7.  As per our policies, this candidate may be eligible to run at a later date subject to candidacy review.

The Council of Stellar Management is a democratically elected council that represents the players of EVE Online.  Although council members may represent the players in any manner they choose, being a council member does not permit actions or playstyles that violate our policies.

GM Salmon

VP of Customer Relationship Management

The CSM responses to this were pretty telling in my opinion and indicate (yet another) disconnect in communication between CCP and the CSM:

Trebor Daehdroow:

The entire chain of events that have lead to this action are extremely regrettable and sad.

Alex was an extremely talented and energetic member of CSM6, and his absence will be keenly felt during CSM7. I am deeply saddened that CCP felt they had no choice but to take this action.

This unprecedented situation raises significant questions — such as representation and disenfranchisement — that CSM6 will be discussing with CCP and with the new members of CSM7 over the next few days. I think I can speak for everyone on CSM when I ask for your patience while we work through these issues.

Two Step:

I disagree with this decision, and am working hard with CCP to make sure the 10,058 voters that voted for Alex have their voice heard.

More to come, just wanted to make sure I had a spot on the first page

Seleene:

This was an unexpected development and we are now working toward resolving both the issue of Mitten’s 10k voters and figuring out the process for CSM 7 Chair. Straight

While this is obviously a sub optimal solution and one that I am supremely unhappy with, I think the thing that bothers me most about this is that the CSM obviously had no clue this was coming before it actually happened.    As The Mittani said in the State of the Goonion, he didn’t even know until it happened.  I’m enough of a realist to recognize that this was always the most likely outcome and its even a solution I suggested on Twitter as I pondered the situation as the news initially broke.  Its just not the solution I wanted though.

Another interesting thing is that no reasonable interpretation of the the EULA/TOS shows just how The Mittani breached them.  However, as so many people don’t seem to understand: it doesn’t matter.  CCP can ban any of us at a whim – just because.  There isn’t any required justification, even for someone as internet spaceship important as Mittens.

However, now we have a unique situation – 10,000 votes have been disenfranchised before the CSM has even been seated.  Two Step and Seleene seem inclined to fight this decision, and this makes me really glad that I voted for both of them.  Realistically CCP is under no obligation to re-enfranchise these votes and I don’t think CCP is going to.  They are under no obligation to back down from this and the most likely outcome is that they’ll just shift one of the alternates to the CSM proper.

At this point I think I’d be remiss in my duties as a blogger if I didn’t cover the next dev blog too.  Its longer, so here’s the relevant parts:

Such behavior crosses the line of acceptable player conduct and breaks the Terms of Service.  CCP finds this behavior morally reprehensible.

To be absolutely clear: directly calling for people to pressure someone into suicide, no matter the situation, is not acceptable in an official CCP forum.

CCP in no way condones the harassment of players, especially those who suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, as we understand the possible consequences of such abhorrent behavior…. Our Terms of Service (TOS), which can be found here, mirror our company’s stance on this matter.

While the content of online interactions between players cannot realistically be gated within our game worlds, we do take very seriously accusations of such behavior between our players.

Furthermore, we have a suicide hotline protocol which has, in specific cases, made a difference for several unfortunately troubled players…CCP will be very vigilant in monitoring any behavior directed towards the individual named in the presentation.

We are undertaking a full internal review of this panel as well as the process used for vetting the panel’s materials. Even though this panel was billed as unfiltered by CCP, we expect public presentations to be courteous and professional towards others. ~ CCP Manifest and CCP Navigator

The larger point.

This speaks to a larger point. We need to revise how we showcase the culture of EVE. It was clear in some comments from attendees and internet observers that while Fanfest was a massive success there are aspects of it that we can improve upon even more.

This solemn effort has already begun. Time for us to grow up a bit.

“Internet spaceships” are often called “serious business”, but increasingly they actually are serious business. It is moments like this that remind us that there are people beyond the characters we encounter and everyone in the EVE universe should always treat other players with a base human level of respect and decency—whether enemies or not. We would be remiss not to use this as a chance to revise our event and communication strategies.

CCP and the community of EVE Online need to understand this, and we, CCP, will be taking serious steps towards fostering a better environment at our panels and beyond.

This is almost disturbing.  While I believe I have a pretty solid handle on the social contracts in Eve, I’m concerned what formalizing them is going to do to the game and its culture.  I think The Mittani put it best in the State of the Goonion: we’ll see where things are in a month after he’s unbanned and razed Jita to the ground.  On the flip side, I’m a big fan of everyone knowing exactly where the lines are so that they don’t cross them.  And in case that isn’t clear enough, I copied a GM response [eve-o] below to make sure we all know where the lines are:

DISCLAIMER: I will not comment in any way, shape or form on the recent events and decisions made in relation to those events. I will only clarify how customer support enforces our policies to provide clarity on the day to day application of those policies.

I am going to explain this only once; and this really should have been clear to anyone bothering to apply some common sense to the EULA/ToS.

What happens inside the The Magic Circle is allowed as long as it abides by the rules of The Magic Circle (this is why you are allowed to hit someone in a boxing match, but not outside the ring). However, as soon as any action steps outside The Magic Circle and threatens harm to anyone in real life in any way shape or form, or when you incite others to do so (or when your in game actions are specifically geared towards that, joke or no joke), you break the EULA/ToS; even if you are only stating intent.

Any GM will always take immediate action when this is done.

And for those who think they can force an in game situation out of The Magic Circle to avoid in game consequences by threatening with suicide; the GM department has a strict policy of informing local and international law enforcement agencies of any suicide threats issued NO MATTER THE CONTEXT. In other words, do NOT joke about that. When a RL life is threatened we do not take any risks, ever.

And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.

Advertisements

Filed under: Eve, Gaming, , ,

3 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    I’m always intrigued by the stories coming out of EVE Online.

    But as something of an outsider, I’m surprised he didn’t receive a permanent ban. He not only has managed to drag EVE through the mud (or at a minimum, facilitate others doing so) via various gaming media sites, but now it looks as if he’s set CCP on a path of altering the game in such a way that it can not happen again.

    He must feel great about all of this.

  2. MrLoki says:

    What “The Mittani” did is being blown way out of proportion. If your intent is to pile on, then it’s a fine job you are doing. Such an easy target and shame on you.

    Maybe he deserves it and it just could be he doesn’t. If your intent is revenge? Great! Put his feet to the fire.

    Never been a big fan of “The Mittani” until now. His first reaction was correct. “Deal with it” would have been mine as well.

    I for one will never celebrate mediocrity.

    • Liang Nuren says:

      This particular blog post was more about the fallout of CCP’s decision to ban him and my disappointment with their communication with the CSM.

      If you would like to see what I have to say about The Mittani, perhaps you should read my other blog posts – social contracts and The Mittani: Hero? are a great start.

      But no, I’ve been one of The Mittani’s biggest supporters (IMO). I look forward to this nonsense dying down so that I can get back to my regularly scheduled (but friendly) Goon hating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: