Sunday, March 30, 2014

Impeach Ripard Teg?

I told my readers about a year ago that I wouldn't ever write about CSM politics again. Before I ever started my own EVE blog, I was a fan of other blogs like Finders & Keepers, Rifter Drifter, Hallo Can I Violence Ur Boat, My Loot Your Tears, and other greats. All of the blogs that I enjoyed, and still enjoy, are those which focus on the actual experience of EVE, and don't try to lecture the reader on space politics or ideas for game development. I have tried to follow that principle myself - to blog about the adventures I'm having in this amazing game and leave the readers to think for themselves when it comes to all the boring crap.

Today, I'm going to break my own rule and talk about the CSM. Or rather, about one CSM member in particular - Mr. Ripard "Jester" Teg, author of the popular EVE blog "Jester's Trek".

Why talk about Ripard Teg?
Excellent question. I want to talk about Ripard Teg today, because he recently instigated a pretty significant scandal for our game community that resulted in the permanent ban of well-known isk doubler Erotica 1.

Everyone who is even remotely connected knows the details of that scandal and has their opinion about it. My own feeling is that CCP was justified in the decision that they made, but I'm not really here to talk about that today.

What I want to discuss is the role of Mr. Teg in the affair, whether he did wrong, and whether there should be any consequences if he did.

What did Ripard Teg do wrong?
If you were to post in the EVE online forums, "Hey everybody, I've become aware of a situation in which several players harassed another player, and I've got a Teamspeak recording of the whole thing," the thread would almost immediately be locked. You would no doubt be informed that you can file a petition to report any violations of the EULA or ToS.

"...this is the EVE equivalent of the Jerry Springer show. In lieu
of paternity tests and transgender midget love triangles we've got a
bunch of guys picking on a man-child. Ripard's playing Springer,
putting the thing on a stage, publicly shaking his head and delivering
shame-on-all-of-you's so that he may run for re-election as mayor of
Cincinnati. After all, he assumes, none of us are bright enough to see
through the charade. All of us voting idiots will just eat this shit up."
- Daniel Whitaker
Since Ripard Teg is a member of the CSM, it is safe to assume that he knows the correct process for reporting rule violations. It is also likely that he has additional channels of his communication at his disposal in the case that he feels the need to bring a situation to the attention of the developers directly.

Yet, for some reason, rather than using these legitimate channels, Teg chose to publish a public call-out thread in his blog, rife with inaccuracies, exaggerations, and the most blatant sort of rumor-mongering. The content which he reported was a legitimate cause for concern, but the way he reported it was calculated to incite a virtual lynch mob.

There are only three reasons that I can think of why he would choose to do this, all of them ugly. The first and most straightforward is that he wanted to coerce CCP to hand down a ban or face wider media attention for supporting griefers. In other words, he was trying to bully CCP into doing things his way. The second is that he just wanted the attention, that he gets off somehow on it. The third possibility is that creating this scandal fuels his own political agenda as a CSM. He has long argued that highsec PvP needs continued nerfs, so perhaps he published this as an attempt to discredit the minerbumping and Belligerent Undesirables communities and the playstyles that they represent.

But EVE culture is bad! Drastic measures need to be taken to purge the Reavers from the game...
This seems to be Mr. Teg's argument. He has fallen into the carebear mentality of associating in-game criminal activities with out-of-game criminal behavior. This idea is so absurd that it is almost not worth rebutting.

EVE Online is a role playing game, and from what I understand, it is one of the few online role playing games available on the market which allows you to play as a bad person. Since I have never played any other online game, I can't say for sure whether this is true or not. In any case, I can tell you that it is a lot of fun to roleplay a douchebag criminal type, even if you are a genuinely nice guy in the real world.

When I first was invited to join Belligerent Undesirables, I had a bit of apprehension that these highsec "griefers" wouldn't be nice people to be around. I couldn't have been more wrong. Outsiders never believe me when I tell them that the "griefer" community is the most mature community in the game, but I assure you that it is true. BU chat is only slightly less PG rated than chat.e-uni (about the only time you see profanity is when we are quoting what some irate carebear called us). I have never seen a newbie in BU or minerbumping chat who wasn't getting straightforward answers to his questions and genuine offers of help.

Teg would have you believe that the infamous "bonus round" tape is a typical example of the "Reaver" culture that he is allegedly trying to save us all from, when in fact it is anything but. No doubt he scoured the internet for the worst example of EVE "griefing" that he could find, and then made sure to represent it as being even worse than it actually was, so that readers who were too lazy to listen for themselves would know how they were supposed to feel.

Ohno! The Reavers are in Jita!
What should be done with him?
I generally don't like to call for players to be punished by CCP. Since this is my blog though, and I am
not a member of nor candidate for CSM, I think I will. If it was my decision to make, I'd probably boot him from the CSM and give him a temporary ban. Since he's not running for reelection, booting him would be a symbolic gesture - a small statement that yes, CCP holds CSM members to a higher standard of personal conduct. As should they.

I don't expect that to actually happen, though, so instead, Ripard Teg should voluntarily step down, and publish an apology to the community for the disrespect for our collective maturity and intelligence that he has shown. Of course, yeah that isn't going to happen either. I am not even sure if he yet has the perspective to see how badly in the wrong he has been. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is actually a good person behind the keyboard, and will eventually come to understand.

Really, we know that nothing is going to happen to Ripard Teg. Perhaps the best we can hope for is some statement from Devs, current CSM members or CSM candidates to say,"Yes, Ripard Teg was out of line. Yes, he abused his position to discredit a segment of the community and that is not ok. Yes, a good CSM is supposed to represent the whole community, from the wide-eyed newbies to the lifelong carebears to the small gang PvPers to the wormholers to the nullbears and yes, by God, even the pirates gankers and scammers."

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