There's been so much debate over the last year about what the CSM is actually supposed to do once they have been elected. We've heard terms like "communication membrane", "junior developer", "unpaid intern", "marketing gimmick", and "doormat" thrown around. None of these terms cut it. Obviously the CSM needs to make decisions about the development of the game, but nobody wants to be a "junior" anything.
To determine the proper function of the CSM, we need to go back to the reason the CSM was formed in the first place. The CSM was created at a time when CCP was doing an overhaul of how they interacted with the EVE community--in the wake of Kugutsumen's scandalous discovery of the BoB-CCP connection in 2007. CCP understood that there needed to be a channel of communication between CCP and the EVE community, and that BoB's directorate wasn't it. The CSM was born.
Communication isn't the end of it, of course. There's no point in communicating with CCP unless CCP does something different as a result. It wouldn't make much sense for the CSM to offer a bunch of ideas, CCP to reject them, and everything goes on as before. Nor does it make sense for CCP to set an agenda, get feedback from the CSM, and then make a few minor modifications based on that feedback. After all, CCP can already get feedback of that nature from EVE-O, e.g. the "I want your little things" thread.
My platform is based around fixing the catastrophic problems with highsec and risk/reward. Suppose highsec and risk/reward aren't on CCP's agenda for the next term. In reality, we know highsec and risk/reward are likely to be on the agenda, since all of the recent expansions have involved nerfs to highsec risk and/or buffs to highsec reward. But let's suppose CCP is interested in tackling something entirely different. Would I be idle? Of course not. It would be my job to change the agenda. I believe it's the CSM's job to set the agenda for each term, not CCP's.
Some gasp at such notions. I would direct the gaspers' attention to CSM6, almost universally considered the most successful and consequential of the CSMs. In 2011, CCP had an agenda. It involved walking in stations, the buying and selling of pants and monocles, and inflammatory ideas from the infamous "Greed Is Good" memo. If we were to take the advice of the gaspers and self-styled "moderates", CSM6's role should have been to give CCP suggestions about how best to implement walking in stations, what kind of pants and monocles should be sold, and which of the unacceptable "Greed Is Good" items to give priority.
CSM6 had other ideas. Led by Chairman The Mittani, CSM6 wielded the rage of the EVE playerbase as a useful instrument, persuading CCP that they must radically transform their agenda. CCP threw its own plans into the dustbin and adopted The Mittani's "flying in spaceships" agenda. CCP, CSM6, and EVE all benefited as a result. That's how it's done. In the New Order, we often say that we save the miners from themselves. In effect, the CSM6 saved CCP from itself.
CSM7 took the opposite approach. They permitted CCP to decapitate the CSM by removing The Mittani (the threat of a mass-resignation would likely have been effective). Until the Winter Summit of December 2012, CSM7 pursued a moderate, cooperative, friendly course. Gaspers had no cause for gasping, since there were no extremists on board to make anyone uncomfortable. The result? Look no further than the recent CCP/CSM7 meeting minutes from pages 19-22 (among others):
Two step: "Part of the problem for us is that we not only don't know about the decisions until after they're made, we don't even know they are being made."These are the fruits of "moderation".
Some would point to the difference in the conditions under which CSM6 and CSM7 had to operate. CSM6's victories occurred against the backdrop of Monoclegate and the Jita Riots, the "Summer of Rage". CSM7 had no such controversies or community passions to leverage.
Change often requires a precipitating incident to serve as a trigger. Some are organic and fortuitous, others are manufactured. All are potentially useful. The Summer of Rage and the manner in which it was directed toward positive change by CSM6 didn't just happen. It's the responsibility of the CSM to fan the flames, or if necessary, to light them and guide them in an appropriate direction.