In another recent discussion about how to decouple intelligence from chat in the local channel, Mabrick muses that 'In Star Trek every ship had its own transponder, but how many times did that fail, be faked, or otherwise masked on the covert mission deep into Romulan space?' It's an interesting question, but that really only happened during wartime or distinctly military operations. And although EVE Online has plenty of combat, and plenty in Concord-protected high-sec, no capsuleer really wants to annoy Concord by pretending to be something they are not. You'd better believe that if a hostile craft spoofed its transponder on approach to Jita 4-4 Concord would shoot the crap out of it.
It may be true that there has never been 'science fiction ... where the communications screen showed every pilot in system whether they wanted to be seen or not', but a ship's transponder has a solid place not just in sci-fi but real life. Traffic control would definitely require a transponder to be active for docking and stargate travel. Relying on visual information in even quiet stations would lead to catastrophic collisions regularly. And each transmission would include identifying information, and as ships are tied to sole capsuleers, pilot information would be included. Any traffic control board could easily display every ship in a system, coupled with pilot and ship details. They would have to in order to be able to control the traffic.
Transponder information couldn't be hidden without eventual Concord involvement, and would be difficult to hide anyway. Want to dock? You need an active transponder. What to use a stargate? You need an active transponder. This is how the list of pilots can be built and maintained in each system. Every ship that undocks is known; every ship that jumps from one system to another is known and tracked. The lack of hardware pushing ships to w-space is also how local doesn't work there. In fact, an interesting change, along with what I propose below, could make local be spoofed by pilots short-cutting through wormholes. Enter through a stargate, leave through a wormhole, and local thinks you are still in the k-space system until you dock/stargate-jump elsewhere, and vice versa.
As for how the information is relayed, maybe this is how local can be successfully transformed. High-sec has active Concord involvement. The traffic control information is relayed publicly, for safety and information, so is free to all. Low-sec could have a delay, maybe updating once every thirty seconds—or maybe having a base delay of thirty seconds that scales upwards as the security status of the system drops—just because the equipment isn't as high a standard as in high-sec. Stargates and stations build up a log of all entries and exits, and ping the log occasionally.
Null-sec could have two layers. Unclaimed null-sec systems work like low-sec. There is the same equipment, and anyone passing through a stargate or docking in a station is logged by traffic control. Sovereign null-sec, however, allows the bill payers to set access rights to the logs. All traffic information is still collected by stargates, but the log could be sent on an IFF channel, or whatever. Set the rights as you desire, whether you want blues, neutrals, or reds to be visible in local or not. Call it a home-field advantage.
Withholding information about the local system from one side and granting it to another may be a little powerful, and may make it more difficult to successfully invade null-sec space. So perhaps we need to add another layer. Assume that stargates gather information about all ships passing through, and that sovereign corporations can configure the hardware that controls local in their own systems. Now add a new function for hacking. Jump a scout in to the system and allow them to hack in to the stargate, using a standard or special codebreaking module, to reconfigure the equipment controlling the local channel. Mask an incoming fleet for a short time, reveal all pilots in the system, or whatever else, perhaps even done without the locals being aware of the hacking attempt. Intelligence and counter-intelligence at work.
As always, w-space won't be affected by these changes, because it seems to work already and I don't see any w-spacer complaining about it. Indeed, many arguments have been made that tip the functioning of the local channel to be more like w-space. But I have to admit that I can only really comment with any authority about w-space itself, as I live there, and my ideas for k-space systems may be unrealistic. One aspect of reading proposed changes that concerns me is how changes are rippled through all space, seemingly without a sense of how, for example, w-space actually works, or how the occupants want it to work. I'm therefore prepared to accept that my own suggestions aren't workable, for whatever reason. I merely present them for consideration.
Edit: the initial discussion and myriad reactions prompted Seismic Stan to make it the subject to become Blog Banter 44: Is There Anybody Out There?, thus provoking further discussion as listed on Stan's site and, as is customary, below.
Most interesting to me are the proposals to populate local, but only with the number of pilots. Who they are is unknown until they speak, or you end up on-grid with them. Then the intelligence is known to you, and your fleet, but not to everyone. A modal system that doesn't compromise too much. I like it.
Found on D-Scan
- This is a local channel, for local people by PJ Harvey @ Tiger Ears (that's me!)
- Local Spike by Susan Black @ GamerChick42
- Redefining Local Chat by Zensai Igunen @ Spacekeeping - The Art of being an EvE Online CEO
- The Local Nexus by Mabrick @ Mabrick's Mumblings
- The Social Side of Local Chat by Sugar Kyle @ Low Sec Lifestyle
- The Case For Keeping Local by Drackarn @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
- Is local broken? by Logan Fyreite @ Eve Opportunist
- Change Local and I'll Quit by Rixx Javix @ Eveoganda
- If It Ain't Broke... by Whistlerbean @ Shelter For An Empyrean
- Voices in the Static by Illyvelo @ From J Space to K Space
- Intel Gathering by Anshu Zephyran @ Structure Damage
- Another modest proposal by Kuan Yida @ Random Posts from Auga
- Blog Banter Too Late by Kirith Kodachi @ Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
- Not in My Local by Harrigan Vonstudly @ Gun Turret Diplomacy
- Thoughts on Local by Shalee Lianne @ Sovereignty Wars
- Transponders - More than meets the eye by Helena Khan at Aggressive Logistics
- Localised Information by Xander Phoena @ Crossing Zebras
- Local as chat or local as intelligence tool by Raziel Walker @ One Opinion.
- Free Communications by Ripard Teg @ Jester's Trek
- Local in 0.0 by Wiggles @ The Ramblings of An Eve-Radio DJ
- Safe? by blastradius1 and Blastrad Tales
- In the Local Newz... by TurAmarth ElRandir @ A Carbon Based Life
- Why Do Witches Burn by Mary Titor @ Out of Cake
- Capsuleer Identity Distributor (CID) Receiver by Swearte Widfarend @ Confessions of a Closet Carebear
- Local, the Universe and The Rest by Emergent Patroller
- The Local Problem: A Tale of Two Solutions by Mynnna @ TheMittani.com
- Local at a distance by Mike Azariah @ A Missioneer in Eve
- Only Fools Remove Local by Oreamnos Amric @ Notes From New Eden
- Transponders, Nerfing Local, Etc. by Siobhan MacLeary @ Big Red Gun
- BB44.2: Encounter Based Local by Rixx Javix @ Eveoganda
- Local-Chat-O-Rama by Azalean Ladder @ The Ladder
- Day 220: Nipping Down the Local for a Pint by Cheradenine Harper @ Diaries of a Space Noob