After two days of media coverage, both from official gaming outlets and the Eve community as a whole, CCP has finally delivered the bottom line regarding The Mittani’s Alliance Panel Debacle (popularly called MittaniGate or SuicideGate). Similar to an orbital strike from Eve to Dust, this has wreaked havoc in the Eve community and could seriously jeopardize the legitimacy of CSM7.
Calling The Mittani’s remarks a ‘clear violation of our Terms of Service’, GM Salmon (VP of Customer Relationship Management at CCP) announced today that The Mittani would be subject to a 30 day ban from Eve Online. In normal circumstances, CCP has a straightforward policy of never discussing bans publicly, however in this instance they felt that ‘special circumstances’ made it appropriate, indirectly referring to the explosion of game media coverage in the aftermath of the panel.
Despite The Mittani’s issuance of both a public apology to the Eve community, a private apology (and compensation) to the ‘victim’ of this breach of the Terms of Service, as well as his preemptive abdication from the Chairmanship of CSM7, CCP’s ban effectively renders The Mittani ineligible to hold any seat at all on CSM7. The CSM White Paper, the only public document currently in existence that outlines the rules and procedures of the Council of Stellar Management, has this to say on Representative Candidate Eligibility:
“Players with a serious warning or ban on any account in their possession can be excluded from candidate eligibility. However, in-game behavior, regardless of play style, will never be a criterion for candidacy unless the rules of the EULA and/or TOS are violated.”
In addition, the White Paper also outlines causes for a current CSM member’s removal from office, which could also be deemed applicable to the current circumstances. From the CSM Represenative Conduct section:
“Any behavior or actions considered being a material breach of the EULA or TOS by a CSM Representative is ground for immediate dismissal and permanent exclusion from all pending and future participation in the council. There are no exceptions, regardless of the infraction.”
With the 30 day ban being delivered just days before CSM7 takes office, it has disqualified him as per the terms of the White Paper. This despite the fact that voting has already concluded, with The Mittani achieving a record breaking 10,058 votes in the election. No mention was made in the devblog by GM Salmon as to any steps being undertaken to insure that The Mittani’s record breaking support would have a voice on CSM7, though some CSM7-elect members have declared their intent to insure that those ten thousand players are not voiceless in the coming Council term.
“I…am working hard with CCP to make sure the 10,058 voters that voted for Alex have their voice heard,” said Two Step, CSM6 Alternate and CSM7-elect Representative. Another high profile CSM member, Seleene, had this to say: “We are now working toward resolving the issue of Mitten’s [sic] 10k voters.” Of course, calls were heard almost immediately to schedule a second election for CSM7, but no comment has been forthcoming from CCP regarding the issue as of the writing of this piece.
The fallout from CCP’s move has wide-ranging implications, even apart from the issue of ten thousand voiceless voters. Fortunately, there are some guidelines to the replacement of a CSM chairperson in the event of their resignation or dismissal, ably covered by Ripard Teg of Jester’s Trek here, but summarized herein:
“If the Chairman decides to step down or rescind his responsibility at any time for any reason, a vote must be held among the Representatives to elect another Chairman.”
As Ripard points out, the term ‘Representative’ refers to the old format of the Council which had the top 9 vote getters flown to Iceland for the CSM/CCP Summits. As Ripard concludes in his post, it is likely that this will be amended to include just the top 7 vote getters (which after the removal of The Mittani from the CSM will be: Two Step, Trebor Daehdoow, Elise Randolph, Seleene, Greene Lee, Kelduum Revaan and UAxDeath).
Many questions remain unanswered at this point. Who will be the new CSM7 chairman? Will it even matter, given the fact that as it stands a full one sixth of all votes cast in the election have been disqualified?
The ramifications of the move by CCP could be game-shattering, with the forcible removal of one of the most powerful alliance’s CEO from the Council. Goonswarm’s planned Jita Suicide Ganking Campaign could become that much nastier with the anger and rage this move has no doubt generated in their camp. It would be no surprise to see subscription numbers drop appreciably as a result of the move as well, and not just by members of Goonswarm. For every player clamoring for Mittani’s dismissal due to his drunken mishap at Fanfest, there was another player calling for The Mittani to stay.
While the title of CCP’s Devblog was ‘Alliance Panel at Fanfest 2012: The Conclusion’, I think it is safe to say that this move has made a conclusion all but impossible at this point in time.
UPDATE: As of 2030 EST, 28 March, a State of the Goonion commenced in which The Mittani addressed the Goonswarm faithful. A rough transcript can be found here, and a recording can be found here. In it, The Mittani urges the Goons not to quit Eve, riot, or start threadnoughts on the forums. Instead, he incites the Swarm to violence, stating that NCdot will be evicted from Tenal (campaign commencing immediately). Further, he states that on April 28th (the day his ban is lifted), Jita will be destroyed.