Thanksgiving here in the United States is usually full of turkey, stuffing, pie, and football – at least on the surface. When the game is over and the turkey tryptophan has induced food-comas, we usually take time to remember what we are thankful for. Even out here on the road as I make do with truck stop fare for my meal, I’d like to take some time to reflect on what I’m thankful for when it comes to this community. And in response to Sion Kumitomo pointing to Reddit trolls as the litmus test for the behavior of this community, and blaming anti-Goon sentiment for the failure of their latest funding drive, I’d like to remind everyone why such narrow, emotional arguments are wrong.
To begin, a special Thanksgiving message to our listeners and readers: I couldn’t be more grateful. We are human just like you, and sometimes stumble. You keep us motivated with messages and tweets of “when is the next podcast?” and your continued support while we grow our network. You are all a part of a growing subset of the EVE community that thrives on having fun for the sake of fun. Toxic behavior and negativity get so much spotlight time, they sometimes seem to be the mainstream, but we aspire to something better: from our own struggles to get Nova Haven off the ground, to the small new-player groups, to people in all the largest entities of the game – we are the counterculture. We are persevering. By doing so, we are not only encouraging each other, but our game development team at CCP as well.
– we are the counterculture.
EVE has the most consistently supportive, positive, and generous gaming community in history, and I defy anyone who suggests otherwise. We in the counterculture will not be talked down to like some ne’er-do-well teenagers, or held hostage by the ambiguity and anonymity of Reddit. We don’t base our opinions of the general community on the comments of the vocal minority. Heck, if I paid attention to what the karma trolls thought, I would have closed down the website and the podcast months ago – the comments Sion was complaining about were pretty tame by Reddit standards. But while I understand the instinct to get defensive, I have learned to give this community the benefit of the doubt, even if some of its members don’t always seem to deserve it.
“The commonality here is that is that someone somewhere is making money. Where is the outrage over these self-interested charlatans?” – Sion Kumitomo
I appreciate the sarcasm, but here Sion is comparing funding drives that have nothing in common except the fact of seeking contributions. Everyone has different ambitions for their projects; some operate without profit or payment, and return surplus funds back to the community directly, as we do here. I for one took great exception to the implication that those of us who seek enough revenue to keep the lights on are in the same league with an organization attempting to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a for-profit undertaking. That’s not fair, Sion, and you know it. The Fountain War book project was troubled from the start, for reasons that had nothing to do with #GrrGoons sentiment. Reasons such as the large amount that was being sought, the non-transparency of how the funds were to be allocated until that was answered in the AMA, the list goes on. Nonetheless, we at the Neocom happily lent our whole-hearted and full-throated support to a genuinely exciting idea; Kira Tsukimoto happily volunteered to express our endorsement in the hopes that the sheer willingness to get it done would be enough.
Sion compares this unsuccessful attempt to raise $150,000 to a successful, but vastly more modest GoFundMe from a long-serving and endlessly generous pillar of this community. Yet somehow, the community is playing favorites now? Okay, sure. Maybe we do have some favorites. Here, let me list a few more of the “competitors” that Sion feels the community is biased towards:
PLEX for good. When disasters occur somewhere in the world, our community is among the most generous. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by giving up our in-game wealth, in order for CCP to turn that into real money to make a real impact. From the simple purchase of a PLEX by a single player, to the massive PLEX drives by our most popular Twitch streamers and media personalities, the EVE community has made a difference. Some large portions of the funds for these campaigns come from the likes of Goonswarm / Imperium, Pandemic Legion, and other large bloc entities – but that doesn’t stop anyone contributing.
Then, there are the in-game charity groups such as The Angel Project run by Sindel Pellion of Pandemic Legion, Operation Magic School Bus by CSM Mike Azariah, and others. No longer are we content with leaving new players to struggle, as we did years ago. Giving a hand up and pointing them in the right direction is our mantra now. The rise of new-player-friendly organizations is a direct result of the realization that if we want our community for grow, we must foster and mentor rather than saying “HTFU noob or go back to WoW!” Again, affiliations for these programs don’t stop anyone from supporting them.
‘If you can’t run, you crawl. If you can’t crawl– you find someone to carry you.’ – Joss Whedon, Firefly
Also integral to the counter-culture are the support networks that look after our fellow players. The mental and emotional support that we provide to each other in times of depression, desperation, and crisis. In-game and out of game, we exercise patience, trust, faith, and hope that we pass on to each other. Broadcast for Reps is one example; another is The Best of Us, founded by J McClain, who at the time was a member of a CFC/Imperium alliance. Yet despite these affiliations, the program got, and still gets, the full support of the community.
When we lose a member of the community, we grieve as one. Fleets fly in their honor, the legacies are carried forward by others in the game who take up their torches, and we set aside petty differences to console each other because the game, the relationships that both game and community are built on, are that much emptier. New initiatives are started in their honor that benefit everyone. We honor John Bellicose. We honor Sean Smith and we mourn him – not because he was a Goon, but because he was a human being taken tragically from the entire community.
We are fostering the next generation of EVE players by sending them some comfort and entertainment in a time when “fun” is often forgotten. Care For Kids is turning these player donations into real life benefits for children who need a little getaway from their conditions. This operation is ran by c4w3 of Pandemic Legion.
Just a few months ago, we decided to give back to our game developers by taking the most direct way to their hearts – through their stomachs! An idea that started in one of the most positive, pro-CCP Reddit threads I’ve seen in eight years, the goal for the GoFundMe was $60.00. The result? $2,116.00. Nobody had to be browbeaten every ten seconds on Twitter to do it. It was fun, nostalgic, and a little crazy. We did it just because. This project, led by Cornak Firefist (then in Brave Newbies), succeeded even though BRAVE isn’t everyone’s flavor of the month anymore, and was the butt of everyone’s jokes on Reddit for months – the CFC / Imperium included. Even the EVE Reddit community is capable of doing good things, and of seeing past a corp ticker.
I could go on and on about GoFundMe drives, charity projects, kickstarters, and other great things that get done in this community with absolutely no regard for the affiliation of the people in the driving seat. So Sion, do yourself a favor: quit blaming the vocal minority, quit admonishing them for not supporting your project enough, and get back to the hard work of creating or supporting initiatives we can all be proud of. The counterculture are making changes for the better, and not asking much, if anything, in return. The counterculture is speaking. You can choose whether or not to listen.