Statement Regarding Brisc's Removal from CSM XIII
Anyone monitoring reddit, the EVE forums, or any non-rock location has likely heard that Brisc Rubal, of the alliance “The Initiative,” was permabanned, removed from the CSM, and barred from any further CSM runs due to his violation of the NDA, particularly his violation for personal profit. This is a hot button issue, and the second current or former CSM in the last year to be permabanned for these actions, so I feel it is important to address it.
I’d like to lead off with my personal feelings regarding the CSM’s role. To me, the CSM is an entity in which the members are part of the CSM first, and players second. When someone volunteers to run for CSM, they are, ideally, not doing so for personal gain. For this reason, as a CSM member, you agree to reduce or eliminate your participation in certain areas of the game so as to avoid possible conflicts of interest, as CCP needs to be able to trust that you will not disclose information discussed in confidence, due to the potential harm not only to the legitimacy of the CSM and CCP, but also to CCP’s business itself. The whole reason the CSM was created was to restore trust in CCP following the T20 incident, so if it is seen as a way for CCP to favor certain individuals, that destroys that trust. This means that if you are unwilling or unable to abide by these terms, you should not run for CSM. If you are unwilling or unable to put the game ahead of yourself, your corp, your alliance, or your coalition, you should not run for CSM. If you are unwilling or unable to provide feedback without disclosing that information to other people, you should not run for CSM.
One of the key reasons, I personally am running for CSM is because I have experienced a wide variety of gameplay in EVE. I am by no means an expert on everything, nor do I claim to be, but I can say I am at least a jack of all trades, from highsec to the AT. What this means is that I don’t need to go running to other people for feedback because my own knowledge is lacking whenever something is under NDA. Now, this does not mean I will not seek out or welcome input on various topics. I feel that a significant part of the role of the CSM is to find out what struggles people are having in EVE in order to better address those, and to consult with subject matter experts when possible, within the terms of the NDA. As the 20 town halls I’ve held in the last couple weeks may indicate, I have no qualms about asking for feedback when necessary, and I’m always happy to hear about what people feel should be better about the game.
Now, onto the more specific matter of Brisc. While CCP has not disclosed the specific NDA violations, nor do I expect them to, given that that would ruin the point of an NDA, I think we can glean some knowledge from the rather pointed questions at the end of the most recent summit regarding what CSM members can and cannot do while under NDA. These seemed to focus especially on market manipulation and Plex, and given the recent Plex market manipulation, as well as this quote from the dev blog: “All the illicit assets and ISK gained from this incident have been confiscated,” I think it is very possible that Brisc, Pando, and Shines may have been involved. This is obviously not concrete in any way, just a general theory.
Some sentiments that seem to have gained some traction is that CCP should have released more info on the matter, that this constitutes defamation, and that CCP is firing from the hip and doesn’t have anything concrete. The first one is fairly simple to address. CCP generally does not disclose bans, nor any specific details on those bans. You can see this policy in action with Pando and Shines, who were not named by CCP because they are not CSM members. Brisc, however, is a member of the CSM, which means, as explained earlier, it’s important for CCP to publicly denounce and distance themselves from him to preserve the legitimacy of the CSM. However, they do not need to release more info than they have in order to so, as the specifics are less relevant than the overall reasoning.
The second is the defamation accusations. Before I get into this, I want to be very clear that I am not a lawyer, and I am not an expert on this. This is purely the thinking of an uninformed individual. There’s two pillars to this topic, the truthfulness of the accusations, and the matter of Brisc’s RL identity. On the first part, Brisc has categorically denied he did anything in violation of his NDA, and has further implied he may take legal action as a result. He has every right to do so, but until such time as he proves CCP is lying in court, I am inclined to believe them. A denial on its own is not worth much coming from someone with a vested interest in you believing that denial when the accusation is coming from a trusted entity, which I’ll get into later. The other hand of the cookie jar is Brisc’s use of his RL identity. It’s a very key component of this that CCP at no point used Brisc’s real name, and the requirement to run using personally identifying information was removed from the CSM a while back. Instead, Brisc willfully chose to associate his online persona with his actual person, and did so to great personal benefit. CCP behaved in this scenario like they did in any other CSM removal, and therefore cannot be seen as intentionally dragging Brisc’s name through the mud.
Finally, there’s question as to the veracity of CCP’s claims. This is something I can speak to personally. When the Noobman saga went down last year following a report I submitted, CCP was incredibly exhaustive in their investigation, and spent a significant amount of time and energy putting together a case before coming to a conclusion, based on the glimpses I saw. Throughout the events that transpired, they were both professional and competent. Beyond my personal witnessing of this, I also feel that it is highly unlikely CCP would put out this level of a strongly worded statement and firm action without a rock solid case behind it. I am nothing but confident that they firmly believe Brisc did everything they accuse him of, and that they can prove it.
Overall, I think this incident is actually a net benefit for the CSM as a whole. CCP handled it very well, and in doing so, increased the legitimacy of an organization that has struggled with being seen as anything other than a direct feed from CCP to null blocs. Their willingness to crack down speaks volumes, as does the fact that the initial report came from the CSM itself. Plus, they’ve removed someone now known to be a leaker, which can only be good when it comes to sensitive topics like those the CSM handles.