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Daily Tip:The ability to disengage from a fight at will is always more important than firepower. Thus the popularity of the Vagabond.

Sins of a Solar Spymaster #82: Manufacturing Dissent

Updated Mon, Sep 03, 2012 by The Mittani

(Editor’s Note: The opinion of this article is that of the author and not reflective of the view of Ten Ton Hammer.)

It was only a matter of time. Several years ago, an independent Eve media began to develop outside of the confines of CCP's control; first the offsite forums like Scrapheap Challenge and Kugutsumen, then the Czech Lion-initiated EveNews24 project, and finally a growing community of bloggers, podcasters, and radio hosts emerged. After the Incarna crisis demonstrated the power of this independent media to mobilize the community to counteract CCP, it was apparent that Eve's own media was evolving and developing in the same way that the culture of Eve itself has begun to imitate the structure of a real-world civilization - with escalating nuance and complexity. Meanwhile, the very same crisis demonstrated conclusively that the 'official' , 'mainstream' or 'professional' gaming media fundamentally misunderstood core aspects of what Eve was, what the community cared about, or even the English language.

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Yet even within this evolving media, there was a significant gap: if you wanted to talk seriously about Eve as a player, your options were limited. The official forums are intolerable, populated with players who barely understand the basics of the game and moderated by a volunteer staff which seems to know even less. Kugutsumen exists as a direct reaction to the official forums and their failures; Kugu offers an almost completely unmoderated arena for players to slag on one another with impunity, but no room for serious (‘hurf blurf’) discourse. Worst of all is the comment section on EveNews24, where endless and pointless upvote/downvote competitions take place while the most asinine conspiracy theories and stalest of 4chan memes are enthusiastically rebroadcast.

When EveNews24 was first introduced by a Kugu user named CzechLion, I heralded its arrival in a column - here, at last, was a place for reliable news from across the galaxy. Unfortunately for everyone, Czech Lion quickly burned out and handed EN24's reins over to Riverini, who has in recent months attempted to turn EN24 into a propaganda mouthpiece spewing whatever his message of the moment is - some days his own attempt to become a CSM delegate, some days a persistent and delusional anti-Goonswarm agenda. The site has devolved from a useful source of news to a joke; TEST and Pandemic Legion have regularly fed Riverini 'news' that - as he often neglects basic fact-checking - turns out to be completely false, or merely stories that he wished to believe. Matters came to a head shortly after Riverini announced that he should "become the -A- propaganda minister" and published a post on his internal forums insisting that every EN24 author deny the existence of the TEST-led HBC.

Meanwhile, the 'proper' gaming media has repeatedly demonstrated their tin ear when it comes to Eve. We need not go into the manifold failings of so-called gaming journalists who do little more than vomit up company press releases while reinforcing some of the most negative stereotypes of gamer culture; it is enough to note that the Eve community never turns to this 'official' gaming media to find out what is happening within the game, and that this media exists mostly to display Eve players in a distorted light to the players of other games, as if New Eden were a freakshow rather than the only remaining pure-PvP sandbox, populated primarily by hypercompetitive 30something college-educated professionals.

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Something had to be done. The original concept behind EN24 died when Czech Lion handed it over to Riverini; if New Eden's only source of news was a tabloid rag on the level of the New York Post or National Enquirer, someone would have to make a New Yorker or an Atlantic where actual discussion of the game could take place without the risk of irreversible brain damage. Fed up, I took the initiative and assembled a team of writers and coders - and now, after months of effort, TheMittani.com is live.

The site is the product of what can only be described as a development death-march. An attorney by trade, I - like many web users - was of the opinion that making a website would be easy; we'd throw up a site and then write some words about spaceships. The real work would be in the news writing and journalism. Ha! It turns out that making a site more serious than a halfass WordPress blog takes a tremendous amount of work; it required a team of professional Drupal and CSS devs as well as a professional frontend designer some three months of work as well as four top-to-bottom redesigns before we finally arrived at a design that combined a proper scalable functionality with an appropriate aesthetic.

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