TL;DR is at the bottom
You’re minding your own business as you fly around in your fabulous spaceship, doing whatever you do in said fabulous spaceship. You’ve been flying with a corporation for some odd months now, and you come to find them to be a pretty solid group of dudes and dudettes. This same corporation decided to join an alliance, and embark on a glorious journey through nullsec to try and make a name for itself and step on some toes.
Things are going great and everyone is getting along with each other. Your leadership starting from the corporation level on up to the alliance executor is taking excellent care of you, and doing all of the heavy lifting so you can enjoy your internet spaceship hassle free.
Then disaster strikes.
Someone bigger and meaner than your group attacks you where it hurts out of nowhere. Panic is in the air. Jimmies have become rustled. Uncertainty of what happens next begins to cloud yours and every other line members’ mind. But don’t worry; your leadership is there to help you. They’ll make a quick decision. Your alliance executor has been good to you since the beginning.
But wait. Your leadership needs to talk about things. They need to talk about what they’re going to talk about first, before they can talk about what they want to do.
You understand. I mean, you don’t want there to be any irrational decisions made after receiving such a heavy blow. You need a plan of action.
Oh, they want to vote now over what to do. Ok, got it. Seems fair right?
Oh, someone “special” wasn’t there to provide his input, so now the decision has to be put off so said individual can make his 2 cents. Never mind the fact that your fearless and glorious alliance executor has been present this whole time.
You as a line member could care less about the “bullshit”. You don’t care what decision is made on what is to be done, you just want some direction. But hey, this is serious stuff, and your alliance runs a democratic leadership. Everyone gets a vote on what should be done! Well, at least anyone in leadership does.
As the talks keep going, and voting keeps on voting, you get attacked again. No decision has been officially made still. No campaign announced. No plan to defend yourselves….
I’ll stop right there. I could go on and on with this scenario, but I’m sure you’ve gotten the point by now.
I’ve been playing MMOs for over a decade now, and have been a part of several gaming communities. Some failed, some succeeded. I have seen what works, and what doesn’t. I’m not an expert mind you, but I like to think I’ve been around the block long enough to have a firm understanding of what is functional or not for a gaming community.
On paper, running your community democratically is absolutely great. In fact, it is a great system in several games. However, when time is of the essence, and there are severe consequences for being slow and lax, it is not effective. Whatsoever. Eve Online is not the game to run a corporation/alliance democratically.
See, being a virtual world, you can get away with running a community as a dictatorship. You can be however harsh as you want, and no one can really tell you that you are wrong. You’re the big boss, so you make the decisions. If someone doesn’t like it, then they can GTFO. Plain and simple.
If you are a sov holding alliance, you can’t afford to be bog downed by political bullshit by trying to run a democratic community. Everyone thinks their idea is the next big thing. Everyone else wants to convince the other person why their idea is the shit, and why the other persons’ is wrong. By the time all the talking has been done, and somehow everyone comes to an agreement, the time for action has long since passed. You missed your opportunity, and are now going to pay for the time delay.
So now it’s back to the drawing board, and the whole process starts over again.
Does it work? Technically yes. Something does happen out of all of it. Is it effective? No.
Before I continue, being a leader doesn’t make you infallible either. You should listen to the people who follow you of course. If you didn’t, there would be absolutely no need for anyone else in leadership except for you. However, you as the big boss need to also be willing to make any decision based upon what you know, and stick to it. If it fucks up, oh well, own the mistake and move on.
You can get away with that as a dictatorship.
“Democracies” in Eve are weird. Everyone in leadership holds a position somewhere where they can have a huge effect just by the click of a button. Yet, restrain themselves and attempt to vote on everything before doing anything. Your alliance executor is a figurehead, and often times in said situation, it doesn’t really mean anything.
It’s more hassle than it is worth.
This is a game ladies and gentleman. If you are in leadership, your sole responsibility is to provide content for your members. I can tell you, and in fact guarantee you; the majority of your members couldn’t give two shits over what their being told is going to happen. At least something is happening. If it doesn’t work out, or they don’t quite agree with it, it can be handled at a later time.
But at least something is happening, and action is being taken. Not being debated for hours, days, or even weeks on end while everyone else sits around clueless with their thumbs up their ass. More often than not, having a good plan is better than having the perfect one.
I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation before, and it sucks.
All of that said, a “democracy” works in more laid back games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft and so on and so forth. Your generic theme park MMO is usually where that system works because time isn’t really of the essence, and no one can really just come by and push your shit in.
A dictatorship is the way to go when running a community in most MMORPGs. Especially Eve Online.
The Scruffy Pirate