"... The mistakes committed by ignorance, in a virtuous disposition, would never be of such fatal consequence to the public weal, as the practices of a man, whose inclinations led him to be corrupt, and who had great abilities to manage, to multiply, and defend his corruptions." - Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's TravelsI actually intend to vote late-ish again this year; I like to save my ammo in case of new information, last-minute upsets or my own change of heart. But as voting opens today, here is where I stand for now.
The Rules of Voth
Ranking is hard, but making a list is easy; just apply the rules of Voth:
1. Wheaton's Law: don't be a dick. Don't vote for anyone who indulges the casual racism, sexism and homophobia that are sadly rife in large segments of our community.
2. Check for intelligence: Don't vote for anyone who plainly doesn't understand how EVE, the CSM or the voting process work. As a dreadful scrub, if I can tell that someone's ideas are silly, they have clearly disqualified themselves. "Features and ideas candidates" fall at this hurdle - and I speak as an enthusiast for features and ideas; that's simply not what the CSM is for. No-effort candidates also lose out here.
3. Judge on judgement: drama accomplishes nothing, and yelling at devs is a waste of their time and energy. Only vote for people who inspire you with confidence that they can express themselves calmly, clearly and cogently, without hyperbole or rancour.
4. Vote with your heart: having excluded anyone who fails these tests, vote for the people who care about what you care about, who want what you want, and who you look forward to hearing from and reading about for the next year. This is how I have ranked my ballot - and it's the hardest rule to apply.
5. Vote, dammit! Not voting, or a voting for only one candidate, adds proportional weight to the votes of the big blocs, especially the CFC.
Vote wisely. Voth has spoken.
The Choice of Voth
Special thanks to the hosts of Cap Stable for their fantastic work interviewing and discussing so many of the candidates; the interviews were revealing, and have informed a lot of my choices. You are all heroes of the community! Someone give them a medal or something.
#1: Corebloodbrothers - should be an automatic #1 vote for anyone who lives in Providence, and is a good choice for anyone who wants small sov-holders to be actually represented, not just pontificated about. Core is not much of a self-publicist, but has amply deserved the trust we placed in him last year, when he came second after Sion Kumitomo. He will have no trouble getting elected, so Provi voters should consider filling more of the slots on their ticket, if only with least-worst options.
#2: Sugar Kyle - as a lowsec candidate, she doesn't really represent me at all, but she's the ultimate communicator and generalist, a consummate politician in the very best sense, and cares enough about lore and roleplay for me to see in her a kindred spirit. I very nearly gave her my #1 slot, and may still do so if it seems less likely that she will be elected, but so far it looks like she is getting the top slot in any number of endorsements; of course, anyone living in lowsec should place her first without hesitation.
#3: Steve Ronuken - should actually be hired by CCP, but as long as he's happy to volunteer, let's keep electing him. There is nobody else on the ballot who can do what Steve has been doing, and his collaboration with CCP FoxFour has already accomplished great things for 3rd party development.
#4: Ashterothi - as a roleplayer and lore enthusiast, Ashterothi's platform and podcast catapult him to the top of the newcomers on my ballot. His ideas for the new player experience are more scripted and less sandboxy than I would like, but his heart's in the right place.
#5: Chance Ravinne - like many others, I was impressed by his Cap Stable interview. He knows his strengths, and could offer CCP a lot of helpful insights from a streaming and marketing perspective.
#6: June Ting - gets in fairly high on my ballot as a promising representative of small sov-holders; I'd place her higher on my list if there was no Corebloodbrothers to vote for, or if she was able to attend summits in person.
#7: Jayne Fillon - another candidate who doesn't really represent me, but who does great things for the community, and impressed me with his Cap Stable interview.
#8: Mike Azariah - I like him, I like his platform, and as far as I know he's always been unfailingly classy, but sadly I think some of his friends reflect very badly on him. Mike would be far higher on my ballot if he was less of a regular guest on Podside - see rule 1.
#9: Cagali Cagali - had an extremely disappointing Cap Stable interview; was he sleep-deprived, perhaps? If not, I'm left worrying about rule 2 - if that's how vague he is about his ideas, he won't be able to contribute very usefully. However, as a Brave frenemy I'll grant him the benefit of the doubt, and his beautiful presentation at EVE Down Under won me over somewhat.
#10: Corbexx - as a wormholer, Corbexx doesn't represent me at all, and I'm not wildly happy with his position on rule 1. Only Sugar Kyle's heartfelt endorsement of Corbexx as her spirit animal squeezes him onto the bottom of my ballot.
Notes on some noes
Jenshae Chiroptera - a Provibloc candidate who sadly fails on rule 2.
Xander Phoena - made it onto my ballot last year, but since then he has clearly and repeatedly broken Wheaton's Law. Never again.
Endie - talks the talk, but he's still a Goon. I like his thoughts on Sov, but when the chips are down and devs are tabling their ideas for a bonfire of the Supercapitals, can we really trust him to argue against the interests of his bloc? He might have squeezed onto the bottom of my list, but as a highly-placed Goon candidate, he'll probably be elected long before my vote trickles down that far.
Migui X'hyrrn - I was seriously considering whether he might make it onto my ballot, but with this childishly vile series of tweets in defence of TEST's anti-semitic 'jokes,' he forfeited my vote and my respect. As my first direct experience of TEST's corporate culture, the experience reminded me vividly of Gamergate. This is not the kind of person we need representing our community - or even in it, frankly.