EVE Online is the thinking man's MMO, you won't any longer. CCP has released a 20 page paper in PDF format describing the new Council of Stellar Management, and you know you're in for something good when the paper starts off with the social theories of the Greek philosopher Aristotle.
This is one of the times when it's particularly clear just how bizarre and interesting it is to be writing about virtual societies. This is the stuff of cyberpunk novels and Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. CCP has produced something like the first draft of a constitution (with notes) for a representative government, with references to John Locke's social contract theory and everything else you'd expect from such a document. No doubt EVE's scheming political players are already looking through the document for loopholes and potential abuses. It may not be long before EVE players are having debates about campaign finance reform and separation of powers.
Richard Bartle doesn't think this will work. Whether it works or not, though, it'll be damned interesting. At the very least, it will be more fodder for discussion relating to Hardcore Casual's EVE Challenge.