It has started depressingly early his year. Potential CSMXI candidates have started putting their hats into the ring for your delectation and delight. Baring their soul and a shopping list of changes for us to judge and pass sentence on. They must be mad. If you consider CSMX are barely halfway through their current tenure it is also premature. What they are pitching now could be completely irrelevant come April.
Whatever your opinion, you cannot deny CCP have delivered a lot of game defining changes already this year. There is more to come that we know about - structures for example, and more that we don't - capital roles for example. I wouldn't be surprised if here is even more completely off the radar. This is not trivial stuff and it is what the next CSM is going to have to work with, refine and build on.
It seems to be the habit of the Everati to come up with a preferred list of candidates. I might do that but not some time and besides, who cares what I think. But it worth exploring what the CSM role actually is compared to what candidates and the voting appear to think it is. So lets start with CCP.
CCP does care about the CSM. It devotes time and resources to it. A business does burn money on something like that if there is no value proposition. They will continue to support it so long as the benefits outweigh the costs. The main benefit is a straightforward one. The job of a CSM member is to be the canary in the coal mine. To constructively identify flaws and suggest improvements to future features and changes CCP plan to introduce. It is user assurance. Assurance done by users chosen by the users so it should be good right? Well maybe.
The thing is we are talking about humans here. CCP, like all the organisations I have encountered of a similar size will be dysfunctional. It is just the nature of the beast. Crossed lines of communication, conflicting roles, responsibilities and priorities, etc will all conspire to confuse the poor CSM member. Getting things done will always seem harder than they ought to. Some CCP teams will use the CSM, while others might not even be aware of its purpose and usefulness. Assuming CCP do make use of the CSM's talents - and they do, then the member is going to be bombarded daily with several hours of work. CSM is a job. Even more so with the current release cadence.
An CSM's relationship with both CCP and other CSM members will determine the extent to which you get listened to. Crying or sulking on social media every time they want something or undermining other CSM members they don't like will just result in them being frozen out of the debate because they offer CCP or indeed their voters no value. Constructive, productive and preferably evidence based discussion is what a developer usually wants to hear.
That in essence is the CSM job. If a prospective candidate feels they can just turn up and 'fix' EVE with a shopping list of demands they are going to be very disappointed. That is NOT the job. CCP have a plan. A plan they outlined in April and CCP Seagull reaffirmed on the o7 Show a few weeks ago. If the candidate's ideas coincide with CCP's plan for 2016-2017 then their voice might get heard. If it is an easy fix then it might get scheduled. Otherwise they won't get any priority or will be dismissed out of hand.
So while I don't want to dampen the enthusiasm, I will be cautious of any candidate promising to drive changes. Sure they will be part of the change process, and that can be rewarding and interesting in itself. But they won't be driving it. That is down to CCP as it should be. It is their jobs on the line after all.