Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CSM Interview with Xander Phoena

Xander Phoena of the "Crossing Zebras" blog has been conducting a series of one-on-one, 30-minute interviews with each of the candidates standing for CSM in the next election. Most of the CSM candidates have participated in or scheduled an interview with Xander, who is quickly making a name for himself with his direct, aggressive interviewing style. Xander wrote about his CSM8 interview project, tellingly including a photo from the Frost/Nixon interview. His goal is not to ask softball questions or provide a friendly atmosphere for the candidates, but rather to challenge the interviewees to defend their candidacies by asking them as many difficult and pointed--but fair--questions as time allows.

As a candidate for CSM8, I was interviewed by Xander, and we engaged in a thorough discussion about my CSM platform, risk/reward in highsec and elsewhere, the PvP food chain, and EVE's overall design philosophy. You can listen to the entire interview at Crossing Zebras. Although my microphone was a decidedly Tech I piece of equipment, hopefully my beliefs and passion for EVE shone through.

Bonus! Poetic Stanziel created a poster commemorating the "Phoena/James 315" interview, which you can view on Poetic's own blog.


  1. Great interview James, although I'm pretty much against the specifics of your platform I was really impressed with how you interviewed. Great job and eve does need more people like you.

  2. I enjoyed the interview.

    The one thing that it does for me is clarifies the belief that having James 315 on the CSM is a good thing for EVE players.

    He has the ability to remain composed, present relatively clear ideas, and communicate effectively in the face of, shall we say, a challenging environment.

    The CSM needs view points from all sectors of the game and James 315 brings a voice that is vital to the discussion. CCP needs to hear from all sides when soliciting feedback.

  3. This interview is a strong rebuke to all those who did not take James 315 seriously as a CSM. I think Xander himself was among them.

  4. The way the interviewer asked question irritated me, just something in his voice that reeked of anger (a victim of the order perhaps?).

    Very good answers, voting for 315.

  5. Congratulations to James 315 on a solid interview. For a 15 year old he surely articulated very well his opinion.

    And that was a "tongue in cheek" comment if you didn't realize it.

    Ya gots my vote James. Only one cause I'm a poor 6 year old noob industrialist and I don't own more than one account. But every vote counts eh?

  6. The Saviour never fails...he is invincible

  7. This was a wonderful interview, however I may go listen to Xander's other CSM interviews to compare the other candidate's responses and stances.

    On the topic of the interview itself, the most poignant aspect that stood out was Xander questioning James on multiple issues that New Order detractors pose to us everyday. Halfway through the interview, I was anticipating a comparison of James' views to Serenity, the Chinese EVE server. Sure enough, the topic was brought up.

    This is not a negative view, though. James was allowed to express his viewpoint on each topic, and I don't believe he was interrupted once. It was a way of taking public concerns in the EVE universe of a new candidate's views and performing an argumentative crash test to see if said views stand up to criticism. On the issue of GSF and TEST "needing to make more money", James clarified his point that an alliance's passive income from moons is acceptable, but that the line members themselves have no incentive to stay in Nullsec - with the exception of structure wars - and contribute to the PvP food chain that allows fights to happen.

    Even if Xander did come in with a biased view of Minerbumping by calling James a "troll candidate", it was fairly clear that Xander's side in this interview was as a looking glass into the general EVE population. Xander even admitted that he was a pilot in Nullsec who could not care about the activities of Highsec pilots. This was followed up by James explaining that those Highsec targets could be out in Low and Nullsec, earning income for those alliances and providing targets for pilots like Xander.

    I hope this interview does serve as inspiration to other EVE reporters. The issues were delivered with no kid gloves, but were addressed with tact and respect. James, I hope you do another interview, and my gratitude goes to Xander for holding this one.

    James 315 for CSM.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Bill.

      FWIW, I was definitely very harsh on James but I think there was a degree of justification there. I would say however that despite the way I conducted the interview, James dealt with the questions incredibly well. That I went hard on him and he was still able to ask all my queries meant he came out even better from the interview than had I went soft. I don't think I'll vote for James personally but he did incredibly well and I now have no doubts at all that he is a very serious candidate with a serious platform.

    2. I very much appreciate the interview. I think the last almost year has prepared James for any hostile or negative opinions that are bound to come his way. While I personally thought his platform at first being a bit too radical, now that I hear it discussed in actual conversation a lot of what he says are things I can appreciate. He will certainly be getting at least one of my votes. I agree as well though that how he handled himself with you is a clear indication of the caliber of person James is. That all said I have a tough time trying to realize if the candidate's for CSM run their platforms as an extension of the role playing in the game or as concerned EVE citizen with no RP involved. James I think rides this fine line, especially when bringing up examples of trolling on the site and him being a Savior etc. I could almost feel that he wanted to say that his CSM platform was separate from his in-game persona but you caught him with the, then why did you out your intent on your RP'ing blog.

      Either way I sincerely appreciate your effort in making me an informed voter!

      Mark Munoz

  8. The voice of the Savior! My ears weep with joy!

    Great interview James! I was appalled by the last part concerning CCP Fozzie and CCP's moratorium on suicide ganking! What is the world coming to?

    All of my accounts will be voting James 315 for CSM8.


    -Galaxy Pig

  9. Even the microphone couldn't handle the real talk.

    1. You win the internets for today.

      Mark Munoz

  10. The couple of things that I'd like to know more about are:
    1. Historically, back "in 2006", were the risks/rewards more balanced, but CCP has buffed and nerfed them to where we are now? It was said multiple times that there "used to be" targets. Then the followup is what was the impetus for making those nerfs/buffs. I'm aware of the recent suicide ganking buff, but before that.

    2. One significant issue in EVE that I see is that you learn the game in a safe PVE situation in hisec. The gameplay of lowsec or nullsec is markedly different. And there are two problems. One is the barrier of entry. Everyone knows that one. It's why we have "schools" in the game from helpful PVPers. The second is more interesting and important to me. You attract PVPers with the adds. Some PVEers think, "Hey, I'll try it. Looks pretty." But the PVPers get on and have to do a bunch of PVE for a while and have a harder mountain to climb, while PVEers immediately get the game they wanted to play. I wonder how many PVP-centric players have quit EVE because they see the wrong game during their trial.

  11. Mad props to James for defusing the overly aggressive and insulting questions with his composure and amazing politeness, letting the spiteful inquisitor/interviewer dishonor and ridicule himself for half an hour.

    And best of all, the icing on the cake : instead of shoving the interviewer's nose a little farther in his own shit, James' note on this blog elegantly makes it sound like that guy was really good and a great professional. Everybody's a winner.

    Allowing one's enemy to save face is the sign of superior minds and great leaders. 315 4 CSM8 .. NAOW ! O_O

    1. I think the interviewer made a gob job bringin up the carebear's point of view against James 315...he gave James the opportunity to show how their points can be shattered by Saviour's logic, competence and passion.

    2. Echo Belly, the interviewer was really good and a great professional.

      Granted that some of the questions were tough and the tone was aggressive, but no different from what is said every single day in every ice system where the Order is present, misguided as those pilots may be. In that sense, the interviewer presented the opposite view to James' platform as that is the most vocal opposition.

      Had he been neutral, the interview would be no better than a post in this blog.

    3. Dear anonymous, if i follow your logics the interviewer should also have called James "asshole !", "Hitler !" and threatened to kill him IRL, since that's exactly what the carebears say... *rolleyes*

      My remark above wasn't about the interviewer not being neutral... of course anyone has the right to have their own opinions. What i said is all that ridiculous aggressivity made him sound insulting and clueless, like an angry child more than a great pro.

      I mean just look how it turned out for James : *he* was very calm and well mannered and that gave his point of view even more weight and credibility. *He* pulled the interview upwards because he was smart enough not to reply on the same tone as the interviewer.

    4. You wanted me to polite and less dismissive of an interviewee who on the same site he announces his CSM candidacy on also has 'As the Father of the New Order and Saviour of Highsec, it is my responsibility and privilege to tell highsec miners what they can and can't do.' on his About page?

      You are a fucking moron.

      When I do these interviews it is imperative that I take all subjectivity out of the equation and try and take the perspective of the average guy in Eve. Going to let you into a secret here - before his interview, a lot of people had dismissed James as a troll from guys in the CSM to the average dude in high sec, all across Eve. I have never interacted with James or any member of the New Order in game at any point before the interview.

      I asked questions from that perspective, James seemed incredibly happy afterwards, most of James' followers seem very happy because I didn't go easy on neutral on him and he came across incredibly well. I've heard countless stories since then of people now considering voting for him on the back of that interview because he remained calm under pressure and clearly has an actual platform. I can assure you I was perfectly *calm* during the interview and the other fifteen I've done too.

    5. "Going to let you into a secret here - before his interview, a lot of people had dismissed James as a troll from guys in the CSM to the average dude in high sec, all across Eve."

      "You are a fucking moron."

      Going to let you in on a secret here: As the number of people dismissing James as a troll goes down, the number of people dismissing you as a troll goes up. There's something about ending reasonable discussions by calling people 'fucking morons' that has that effect. Hope you enjoyed your fifteen minutes.

    6. 'As the number of people dismissing James as a troll goes down, the number of people dismissing you as a troll goes up.'

      And yet day by day more and more people flock to CZ knowing that I am offering something no-one else is and and almost every new candidate who has announced (and many who haven't yet publicly announced) are banging down my door for an interview. I am putting a lot of effort into these interviews as a service to the community. I'm not a professional. I'm not being paid. I get nothing for it and the candidates get the benefit of speaking to the substantial CZ listenership. If someone is being a fucking moron, I'll happily tell them. No shits are given. I don't owe you or anyone else a fucking thing.

      If this is 15 minutes then fine. I'm happy that I've provided a service that the community appears to be delighted with, both the voters and the candidates. The numbers on the site support that people are taking interest. The CSM are taking interest. CCP are taking interest. Why the fuck would I care if people think I'm a troll?

    7. 'letting the spiteful inquisitor/interviewer dishonor and ridicule himself for half an hour.

      And best of all, the icing on the cake : instead of shoving the interviewer's nose a little farther in his own shit'

      'reasonable discussions'


    8. "Why the fuck would I care if people think I'm a troll?"

      For the same reason that you hammered on the troll question during the interview, obviously--and the 'numbers on the site' issue applies there perfectly as well. Apparently you think you're a special snowflake and your own questions should not apply to you.

      Keep double-replying here, to prove how much you don't care. It's working, honest.

    9. I am not standing for CSM. It matters not one jot what anyone thinks of me. I'm not anyone important. James is standing for CSM. It 'does' matter what people think about him. Do you see? It's pretty simple stuff and I am going to guess you have the minimal intelligence to understand what I am saying here. It's not that the question doesn't apply to me. It's that it is completely and utterly irrelevant.

      And hey, way to dodge that second reply.

    10. "The numbers on the site support that people are taking interest. The CSM are taking interest. CCP are taking interest. Why the fuck would I care if people think I'm a troll? "

      "I am not standing for CSM. It matters not one jot what anyone thinks of me."

      so, you don't care that some people think you're a troll, because you feel so validated in the fact that people are taking interest in you, but it doesn't matter one jot to you what people think of you. Yea, that's not going to fly.

      This following the supreme irony of declaring the fact that you're a troll irrelevant, because your blog is gaining popularity, despite the fact that this all started with you repeatedly accusing a famous blogger, whose popularity is growing, of being a troll.

      Just keep digging yourself deeper, fellow. It's quite amusing.

    11. No, I didn't claim the fact that I'm a troll irrelevant. I'm not a troll. Most people in these comments (James fans) agree with that point. I called the question irrelevant.

      And again, ignore my question from my previous post. You're not very bright, are you?

      I hadn't heard of James before he announced his candidacy. He certainly wasn't famous to me. And I like to keep pretty keyed up about Eve politics as I am sure you know from listening to the 20 episodes of CZ up to now. I didn't accuse him of being a troll. I asked him if he was a troll.

      I care not for validation. I did CZ for 8 months and no-one listened. Didn't matter to me. People have started listening in the past 8 weeks or so. The interviews have been very popular.

      Anyway, wasting my time here. You are clearly a bit dumb. I'm out.

    12. "And again, ignore my question from my previous post. You're not very bright, are you?"

      Bright enough to realize that the post you're referring to contained zero questions, merely a factual statement, by you, referring to you getting your nose shoved in your own shit--(your own words, in case you think your cursing and swearing is rubbing off on me). It didn't seem like that needed any elaboration from me, it was already a vivid and complete image.

      Go back and look: no question marks in that post.

      "i'm not a troll."
      Anyway, wasting my time here. You are clearly a bit dumb. I'm out. "

      Well, seeing as how your posting style consists of repeatedly insulting and swearing and calling other people stupid, I'm going to disagree with you on the whole issue of you being a troll. I'm sure it won't be too long before this vile habit of yours reaches the people you're so proud of attracting attention from so far.

    13. Good lord. I'm sure the mess above me is a misunderstanding, but I wanted to take some time to talk with Echo and offer words of wisdom.

      Echo Belly, your passion for the Order is astounding, but we can't let it blind us to enemy views. Those that we take into consideration temper us and make our arguments stronger. This is Xander's job, to shoot these tough questions at James. I mention it in my post above, but let me share with you a line from a wise old teacher I knew a long time ago:

      "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

      Our enemies, the non-compliant Miners, fear us everyday and it has brought them nothing but anger and suffering. Still - we do not hate or fear them. We love them, and wish to bring them under the umbrella of the New Order so they don't bring harm to themselves. Even now, we have ex-rebels in our ranks who denounced their ways and vowed to work alongside us.

      They may be enemies now, but we can become friends under the protection of James 315 - once their permits are paid for, of course.

    14. I wouldn't call it a misunderstanding. The longer the argument went on, the more curses and accusations of stupidity were seen from Xander, and the more carefully I avoided them. I couldn't agree more, that the eventual goal is to bring more people under that umbrella--but first comes shining the light where darkness now reigns. In those unkind demesnes, achieving understanding brings more discord than letting such misunderstanding live on ever would.

      Probing into the angry and crass thoughts lurking beneath Xander's initially calm exterior wasn't pretty, but neither is disturbing the tranquil yet unclean waters of a bot-aspirant infested ice field. Either path brings angry retorts into the previously quiet air, but they do not create this tumult, but merely bring it into the light of day. This pain is the pain of growth, which we do not relish in, but know to be necessary for future development.

  12. I made another post on the death of the EVE Ecosystem, with a story about how things were back in the glory days:



Note: If you are unable to post a comment, try enabling the "allow third-party cookies" option on your browser.