Mar 19, 2016

Ahhhh, Diplomacy...You Make Me Smile

Diplomatic communications is one of a CEO's jobs, maybe the most important job when it comes to a corp like Signal Cartel with our unusual but remarkably widely-known Credo. Those communications can range from the more serious to the more light-hearted. The more serious kind is preferred when responding to inquiries from Providence residents complaining about a Signaleer aggressing someone there, or a worried pilot familiar with our PvP policies who wonders why a Signaleer has combat probes out, or accusations that our EvE-Scout scouts are behaving in questionable ways. Serious diplomatic communications typically need a delicate touch and demand timely, earnest, and respectful responses. 

Although "serious diplomacy" is the most common kind, I sometimes get a chance to have some fun with diplomatic outreach. For example, yesterday, I saw two reports--one from a Signaleer and one from someone else in our EvE-Scout public channel--about a null sec pilot who was posting Signal Cartel killmails in Local along with comments like "Signal Cartel PvP, nice". 

I was curious about this pilot's intent. I'll admit, I had some unfounded preconceived notions about him that weren't necessarily, shall we say, "generous" in spirit. But experience has taught me that in unsure situations, it's almost always better to take a diplomatic tack with a little humor and maybe self-deprecation mixed in rather than letting one's uninformed and probably wrong preconceived notions drive the message. With that in mind, I sent him a mail: 
Subject: Your Pleasantries in Local 
Sent: 2016.03.19 05:42
To: [redacted] 
Hi there, 
I've had word that you've been sharing pleasantries in Local about Signal Cartel PVP, along with linking killmails on which our members appear (for example, this one).  
I admit I'm curious about your intentions.  
Did you notice that I annotate every killmail after its inquiry is complete? Yes...I personally conduct an inquiry of every killmail our members appear on and document the outcome on the killmail. Thank Bob we don't have as many kills as we do losses or I might have had a nervous breakdown by now. But otoh we are at least doing our part to keep the Astero market afloat! 
Anyway, that mail you linked was a perfect example of the timing weirdness in the API that lumps everyone onto the same killmail if they had a same-system aggression timer within a few minutes of an aggressed pilot being killed. In the case of this killmail, our Hugs Fleet rained snowballs and fireworks down upon Mail Lite with extreme prejudice in an effort to get him to smile. I mean, one smile in Local is worth 1,000 words, wouldn't you say? :P When he tickled us with missiles, we tickled him back with ECM in self-defense. Cue aggression timers. It was a separate engagement from the one in which FCON swooped in and killed him but the API said SAME! What does the stupid API know, I ask you?! 
I hope this information helps. Thank you for taking the time to speak with my Signaleers as they go about their business in the vast reaches of space. It can be so difficult to find a friendly face in Local. Please reach out to me if you want more info about our Credo...or if you find yourself with an irresistible urge to become one with the Hugs. 
Snowballs! Fireworks! Hugs!
I wondered what kind of response I'd get. Would it turn out to be an interesting interaction or would the typical EVE Online status quo apply? I smiled when I read the reply:
So...I've got to be honest.

I wasn't expecting my local-smack to go that far, however, it's nice and really refreshing to see you guys having fun and living by your own rules and to fight the meta of generating "dank killmails".

Your pilot also told me about your Hugs Fleet, but I was still curious afterwards if he's not hunting for FCON. However, we had a nice talk and he vanished quickly after that. So please bear with me, as it's kind of frightening sitting in an really expensive ship (at least for me) and have a neutral in local. :)

Thanks for the enlightenment, I will keep that letter in mind next time I investigate the killboard of your members! :)

Have a nice day, Mynxee!
What a delightful response--made better because it wasn't what I was expecting! I may never meet this pilot nor hear from him again but I'm betting he has a much different (and better) impression of Signal Cartel than he did before I reached out. If nine years in New Eden have taught me anything, it is that you never know where your friends and supporters will come from down the road and that capsuleers have very long memories. Someone else might have tried to use this situation to harvest tears, intimidate, or insult that fellow. 

But our Credo shows us a different way...a way of building bridges with words rather than burning them with careless, unkind, or mean-spirited communications. Doing an unexpectedly positive thing and getting a surprised and positive response is enormously satisfying in the cold, harsh environment of New Eden. May the ripples spread ever outward.