We all know that everyone in highsec is required to obey the Code. Even the worst of the rebels understand this, though they choose--for now, at least--not to live up to their obligations. There are, perhaps, some in the "resistance" who still fail to realize that the Code is their law. But even they are aware that disobeying the Code results in the destruction of their ships.
So we know that all of highsec must follow the Code. And to follow the Code, you've got to read the Code. This responsibility can't be delegated to others; everyone has to read it. Some carebears struggle to read the Code at all. Many others struggle to give it a proper reading: Casually scrolling to the bottom like it's an update to the EULA and clicking "accept" simply won't do.
I'd like to spend a bit of time talking about one's duty to read the Code. I think this conversation will be enlightening for a lot of folks.
The responsibility to read the Code, to read it well, and to read it often, is a responsibility that falls heavily upon the highsec carebear. Before we dig any deeper, though, I'd like to address something that the more mischievous rebels will undoubtedly want to raise--the old "you don't follow your own Code" chestnut.
Agents of the New Order are experts in the Code. Alt 00, for example, is famous for pulling quotes from the Code (and MinerBumping posts) like arrows from her quiver: Fire arrows, poison-tipped arrows, boxing glove arrows, or whatever the situation calls for. It's an impressive talent.
Yet an uppity miner may be inclined to ask, "Don't Agents need to read the Code? Shouldn't they be required to memorize it, and prove it to a rebellious carebear's satisfaction--or else they're breaking their own Code?" This is nonsense. It is not an Agent's job to answer to carebears. Agents, in fact, are the Code; they embody it. The Code manifests itself in them. A carebear trying to quiz an Agent about the Code would be like a man demanding that a gust of wind read books about aerodynamics.
No, like the other aspects of the Code, it is up to the carebear to obey. And the carebear must do so to the Agent's satisfaction.
When confronted with his responsibilities, a highsec miner may wail. They so often do. Yet the requirement to read the Code is probably one of the easiest and most enjoyable tasks a carebear will be called upon to carry out. It's a lot more pleasant than being ganked, or engaging in PvE. It's not depressing or toxic like talking to an Anti-Ganker. The Code is short, and it's so well written. And it's in seven(!) languages. How does a carebear flunk the "Read the Code" test?
The Code, as I said, is brief--fewer than 2,300 words. According to Google, the average adult reads about 200 words per minute. We can assume that the average highsec PvE'er reads at about half that speed. In less than 23 minutes, then, they can train "Code" to level I. Compared to other EVE tasks, that's not so bad, right?
It should go without saying that reading the Code once is a good start, but it's only a start. A carebear should read the Code slowly and carefully enough to comprehend it, too. We don't want all of those beautiful words bouncing off the miner's thick skull, do we? Since the Code is so profound, so deep, and so layered, it's important for a miner to read the Code more than once. And, owing to the frailties of the human memory, a miner needs to read the Code on a regular basis.
It's not a lot to ask. Carebears, think about how much time you spend playing EVE overall. Now do the math on how many times you could read the Code if you spent just 5% of your EVE time reading the Code. Just five percent! The other 95% you could do whatever you want (within the boundaries of the Code, of course). Just as an example, consider the miner who spends around an hour per day playing EVE, five days per week. That comes out to 260 hours a year, 5% of which is 13 hours. Within that space of time, a carebear can easily read the Code more than 30 times. Someone who devotes twice as much time to EVE could read the Code 60+ times per year.
So, carebear, how many times did you read the Code last year? I'm guessing many of you came up short, even with 95% of your EVE hours being open to activities other than reading the Code.
(And before you ask, no, you can't multitask. If you're reading the Code while mining, you're considered AFK. Dock up, log out, and then read the Code.)
So, carebear, what's your excuse? We've proven that it isn't a lack of time. "But James 315," you say. "I'm a rebel miner. I don't agree with the Code. I don't believe in it."
That's an exceptionally bad reason not to read the Code. First of all, you live in highsec. Even if you reject the Code, it's the cornerstone of the culture and civilization in which you live. That alone makes it worth reading, for compliant and non-compliant miners alike.
Then there's the fact that there are so many powerful Agents out there, and they do embrace the Code. If you're a rebel, you have every reason to read the Code, if only to better understand your enemy. If you were a terrorist and you had a copy of the counter-terrorism manual being used by the people hunting you down, wouldn't you read it? And carefully?
No, rejecting the Code isn't a reason to avoid reading it. It's in the rebel's self-interest to read the Code. Rebellion isn't his motive, then. If he fails to read the Code, he can only be motivated by pure, unbridled bot-aspirancy.
I'd like to conclude this post with a suggestion for CCP, since they can never have too many good ideas: Incorporate the reading of the Code into the new player experience. However, as we saw with the example of EULA/ToS getting scrolled through, it needs to be implemented in the right way. I think the most obviously reasonable way to do this would be to display the text of the Code one phrase at a time, and then have the player click to go to the next phrase, and keep on going until the Code has been fully read. Have each player do this when he creates a new account, and maybe once every month after that. Agents of the New Order would be exempt from this requirement.
Also, the player should be required to enter a Captcha each time to unlock the next phrase. I know it's a pain, but unfortunately we've seen how people have used macros to automate things in EVE. The bots and bot-aspirants need the Code most of all. Let's give it to them.