Tomorrow is the last day for EVE Online players to cast their vote for the Council of Stellar Management (CSM) candidates. Members of the player-elected council act as representatives of the playerbase, bringing issues with the game before the developers and working towards keeping EVE Online a game that reflects the interests of those who play it.
EVE's Council of Stellar Management is one of the first significant implementations of a democratic process impacting both the players and developers of an MMO. Other titles and developers have taken smaller steps towards this in the past, but the first CSM was a first for the industry as well.
Player response to the Council of Stellar Management, both in terms of what they've accomplished thus far and what they are able to accomplish has been mixed, and decidedly negative. However much of this negativity can be attributed to the fact that the delegates went into this blind -- with little input from EVE's developer CCP Games -- figuring out the way forward as they went, while establishing the foundation for future councils to build upon. This has been compounded by a lack of transparency as to what the CSM does (which they've stated they aim to improve upon) and the fact that results of their work will not be readily apparent for months further down the development pipeline.
Opinions and beliefs vary wildly among individuals in real life, and it's no different in New Eden. The candidates running for the second CSM have made their views on the game and what they hope to change about it public, in the 'Jita Park Speakers Corner' section of the official forums.
Four members of the first CSM are up for re-election in its second incarnation -- Sean Conover (aka Darius JOHNSON), Eva Jobse (aka Ankhesentapemkah), Charlie Eriksen (aka LaVista Vista), and Marcell Tóth (aka Tusko Hopkins, who originally sat as an alternate).
Each of them spoke during the recent CSM panel at EVE Fanfest 2008, fielding questions from the players about what the CSM has accomplished over these last six months, and what the scope of its influence really is. But beyond the four who are running for re-election are a number of new faces, with 42 individuals in all running for the 9 seats on the Council.
That's quite a number of candidates, so EVE University recently held a CSM debate over Teamspeak, and the recording of the open debate is hosted over at the Dawn of EVE blog. The open debate was a chance for the candidates to introduce themselves and their ideas about where the game needs to go in the future. Both the Jita Park Speakers Corner and the EVE Uni debate are a good place to learn more about the candidates and make a decision.
If you have an active EVE Online account, you can cast your vote. It's that simple, and is done on the Council Elections page. Voting ends on Friday, November 21st.