wrote previously about Xander Phoena's intention to interview every CSM8 candidate that wants to be interviewed. I would go so far as to say, if they don't want to be interviewed, they're not worth the bother giving them a single vote.
My plan is to summarize, and give my own thoughts, on each of the interviews. I'm not going to summarize to the point that listening to an interview is no longer necessary. I'm not going to cover every detail of the interview, and will give broad strokes in many instances. If you're interested in a candidate, then you should still definitely listen. If you're unsure of an interview, perhaps these articles will pique your interest enough to listen.
As of this writing, there are two interviews available. This article will concern itself with Xander's first interview, with Mynnna, the industrial/finance/Goonswarm candidate.
Before we begin, I'd just like to offer up an opinion on voting. If the voting system remains the same, one vote one candidate (first past the post), then my suggestion (for non-Goonswarm and CFC voters) is simple: do not cast a vote for Mynnna. No matter how good a candidate you think he might be, cast your votes for other candidates you also like. Mynnna is a shoe-in. The organizational muscle that the CFC throws at the CSM election guarantees him a top seven position (and very likely the chairperson's seat.) He doesn't require your vote. So, as all the interviews are released, consider other candidates you'd like to see on the CSM, because they'll be needing your vote more, they're in an actual competition.
I don't say any of that because I think Mynnna is a poor candidate. Quite the contrary. I was quite impressed with his interview and I believe he will make a great CSM8 representative. It would be a shame if he weren't on CSM8. Thankfully, though, he has Goonswarm backing him, and we do not have to worry that he won't be a CSM8 representative.
After some necessary preamble, Xander dives right in. Mynnna is queried on his motivation for running. Mynnna states quite clearly that he would like to see the systems that CCP develop be as solid as possible. He doesn't want to see a situation during his term where a system is so broken on the first pass, that it has to be revisited extensively in a following expansion. He uses faction warfare as an example of this, since he had a strong role in breaking CCP's first pass at those mechanics. He wants to help CCP get it right the first time.
The other area that is important to Mynnna is nullsec, for obvious reasons. He would specifically like to see a POS revamp, an industrial revamp and a sovereignty revamp. Farms and fields, basically. He admits he'll have little power in defining what CCP ultimately decides to work on, but hopes that he can fit specific nullsec needs into their themes.
This is all good stuff, and there's certainly nothing to disagree with here, from my perspective at any rate.
Xander then delves into some ethical questions. He points out that Mynnna came to the attention of a lot of people as an "exploiter" (see faction warfare.) Xander wonders how that might affect the work Mynnna can do with CCP, or how CCP is going to approach working with him.
As a player, Mynnna saw it as perfectly legitimate to "exploit" the holes in the game to advance his own position and wealth. As a representative, his role is much different, his job, as he sees it, will be to find the weaknesses in new development before they're released. His job as a representative is to improve the game.
Mynnna explains that he never maliciously exploits, and has always (eventually) reported his findings to CCP where he felt they were overly damaging to the game. From his perspective, he sees no problem working with CCP, but CCP's perceptions are out of his control. I personally don't think Mynnna has anything to worry about. Judging from Twitter, I think a number of CCP devs are looking forward to working with him. This is, obviously, a good thing. I see no issues with Mynnna integrating seamlessly into the process.
Xander again tackles ethical issues later in the podcast, regarding market speculation. Granted, most of this is already covered by NDA, and a past CSM representative was removed from the council by CCP for insider trading, using upcoming development to his advantage. Xander, though, takes another tack on the issue, making the (fair?) assumption that Mynnna could probably hide any such insider trading. He wants to know what would keep him from engaging in this sort of activity. Mynnna figures he has only two choices, to only play the markets after devblogs are released or to remove himself from market trading for the length of his term (plus some, due to NDA considerations after his term is over.)
I would guess he'll remove himself from marketeering for his term, as it will lead to the least amount of drama and tinfoilhatting from the playerbase. As he states during the podcast, he's worth over one trillion ISK. Retiring for a year (or more) is not going to be any particular hardship. Ultimately, I don't feel he'll want a cloud of drama and accusations overshadowing any good work he might do during his term of representation.
Whether people will trust these statements is another kettle of fish. I, personally, am willing the give him the benefit of the doubt here. He seems to be ethically grounded enough. I'm convinced that he's running for CSM to benefit the game and the players, not his own agenda.
The next line of questions revolve around the importance (or not) of the chairperson's seat. Is it just a title? Or is it more? The CSM Whitepaper gives no particular importance to any of the titles, whether chairperson or secretary.
Mynnna is of the belief that the importance of those titles is in what one makes of them. He suggests that if the chairperson were to present themselves as the point of contact between CCP and the players, then that's likely what is going to happen. That is certainly true, and that's exactly what The Mittani made of his position as chair during CSM6. Mynnna states that if he does become chair, that he's likely to make something more out of the position than, let's say, Seleene did on CSM7.
Personality, of course, comes into play. It remains to be seen, but judging on first impressions and the interview, Mynnna likely has a strong enough personality to be a leader and spokesperson during his term. It will also depend on the strength of personality among the other representatives. (I can forsee Ripard and Mynnna bumping heads if Mynnna pushes too hard for control or a single voice.)
Will Mynnna get the chairperson seat? Unless he falls out of favour with Goonswarm, the chances are exceptionally high. The only coalition that could stop his ascendance to the chair would be Test Alliance. They have nearly twice the numbers of Goonswarm Federation. What Goonswarm has in its favour is organization, and it's likely their organization that will elevate any Goon candidate over a Test candidate, even given Test Alliance's greater numbers.
Next on the slate, representation. As Xander points out, The Mittani, during his tenure, was very clear that he was not representing the playerbase, but rather only the people that had voted for him. Mynnna's take on the issue is different. He realizes he'll have little control over what features CCP wishes to develop during his tenure, and he sees his job as ensuring that CCP delivers the strongest product possible each expansion. In that sense, representing the best interests of the game is representing the playerbase in its entirety.
This area should have been followed up further by Xander, because there are few areas of the game left to develop that would not affect nullsec to some degree or another. The three big recent systems, off the top of my head, that have very little cross-over into nullsec -- faction warfare, crimewatch and war declarations -- are finished. There's likely little extra development they're going to be given in the 2013 expansions. Going forward, nearly everything CCP touches is going to have some nullsec interest to it. Mynnna is likely going to push any development towards improving nullsec, and that's as it should be, because that's where his expertise and interests lie. Nullsec is the heart of his mandate, even if he claims loftier philanthropy towards the rest of the game.
The rest of the interview mostly revolves around Mynnna's take on CSM7 successes and failures. Some CSM whitepaper issues, concerning how and whether representatives can (or should) be removed from the council, and how and why people are selected for the trip to Iceland. I don't want to give away the entire interview. It's interesting stuff, and more insight into Mynnna the person, but not entirely important to his role as a CSM representative.
This article is not a transcript of the interview. It's paraphrased. It's interpreted. It's sprinkled with my own opinions. I do strongly suggest taking thirty-three minutes out of your day to listen to the interview yourself.
Credit to Xander for the interview. He asked a number of questions that completely caught Mynnna off-guard, that led to lengthy pauses, a sure sign that Mynnna was both uncomfortable with the question, as well as searching for the politically expedient response. I'm not going to judge Mynnna on any of those moments, not publicly at any rate. I really urge you to listen to the interview, if you have not already, and judge those moments for yourself.
At the very least, these moments have shown Xander to be an able interviewer, and while interested in being respectful to his guests, he's not interested in giving them a comfortable forum devoid of any challenges.
This series of interviews is definitely a first for the EVE community and a CSM election. It's certainly nothing we've seen before, not even during a CSM tenure. Xander has proven himself to be an able caretaker for this process.