Apparently news of the translation team strike has reached up to the CS COO:
Hello translation team members!
First, I want to thank you all for your dedication to this team and for wanting to help make CouchSurfing available to more members around the world. Translations is important to us and we couldn’t do it without you.
I understand from Benjamin that this team is on strike and no longer actively translating the site. He has brought up several issues with us that we are trying to better figure out. This area is important to us and we want to be sure that we have thoroughly researched the issues before we proceed with a larger scale solution and possibly make it worse. I apologize if this process is taking longer than some of you may like. As you know, CouchSurfing is a non-profit organization. With very limited funding we, in turn, have very few resources to dedicate full-time attention to every program that we offer. Our tech team alone has hundreds of priorities listed and are working around the clock to get to everything as quick as possible.
We have certainly not given up on our Translations area and are working to correct the issues as soon as possible. Many of these issues are complex and difficult to understand exactly what is wrong with them but the tech team has been steadily resolving the reported bugs concerning it. For example, this weeks’ updated code release included some fixes to some backend functions that should help. It was reported that some updated translations were overwritten whenever our website code was updated. This should now be fixed. If you see this still happening please report it to the SBOT team, through your designated coordinator, or directly to us at www.couchsurfing.org/help and choose the Translations option in the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page.
Also, our WebOps coordinator has asked Benjamin to step down from leading this team. In the coming weeks we’ll be talking to some team leaders about forming a new overall leadership post.
We understand that the translation system is not optimal and some of you may choose to remain on strike. But if you’d like to continue translating please do. It’s completely up to you. If you no longer wish to remain on the translations team we ask that you kindly remove yourself from the translation groups and let us know in the future if you’d like to come back. Again, this is completely up to you. We appreciate and value your help and want to help you help the organization for as long as you’d like to contribute.
Thanks for your help, everyone. We couldn’t do what we all do together if it wasn’t for team members like yourself. You rock!
Happy Surfing and translating!
Chief Operations Officer
I couldn’t have written a better analysis than Margaret’s:
…has the CS management never heard of working together to reach a compromise? What about ‘negotiation’…does that word ring a bell?
I find Jim Stone’s answer to the Translations Team to be both disrespectful and disingenuous. If I had to devise an approach to the management of volunteer groups which would definitely *not work*, and would alienate and anger any competent volunteer, I could not have come up with a better example than this post from the COO.
I cannot imagine why any sane person, excepting those with pathologically low levels of self-esteem, would continue to volunteer for this organization.
This post is an example of exceptionally incompetent volunteer management because:
1. Jim says that his team must more thoroughly research the areas of concern, that Ben and this same team have already clearly and concretely outlined, before making any changes…why? Because (in classic arrogant disregard of volunteers by paid staff…) to follow the advice outlined by Ben, the team leader, would “…possibly make it worse” (“it” being the situation…please see paragraph 1 in the link Kasper provides). This is administrative double-speak at it’s most irritating….and is a thinly veiled excuse to buy time.
2. Jim excuses his own management incompetence by saying this: “As you know, CouchSurfing is a non-profit organization. With very limited funding we, in turn, have very few resources to dedicate full-time attention to every program that we offer.”
NO! I have never, ever, in my 5 years of reviewing non-profits, seen any organization excuse unprofessional behavior by saying, well…ya know…we’re *just* a non-profit.
Non-profits are held to even GREATER standards of professionalism than for-profits; they have to be, because they rely upon the public trust for funding. You never, ever, ever, want to betray this public trust…so to say that you cannot run or fund your programs appropriately because you are too poor is admitting your own inability to run the org….every non-profit is in this same situation…other managers just manage it better!
Jim Stone suggests that CS can’t do its job because it does not have the riches of a for-profit company; this excuse is simply insulting to the literally millions of non-profits which perform miracles, daily, on shoestring budgets: providing food, housing, jobs, hope and life to humanity, simply because this is their charitable mission. This can-do spirit is INSPIRING to volunteers…people want to join an org that puts it out there, for the universal good, despite having limited funding. Limited funding is not an excuse in the non-profit world. NO ONE wants to pitch in and help an organization which excuses its own management incompetence by saying they dont’ have enough money!! Do these guys want to drive away their own staff? good lord, it’s astonishing.
(the poverty plea is actually a lie: CS has tons of money…more than enough…to fund its programming. They simply *choose* to not put this money toward programming. What do they spend it on? Cohabitation bonuses, airfare, rent for luxurious spaces on the beach, and that nebulous catch-all category: Talent http://www.couchsurfing.org/donation/where_does_the_money_go
Jim has shown, in this post, a distressing lack of talent. If you add the entire expenditures from the Talent portion of the financial pie, you’ll see that CS spent (I’m assuming this past year, since this info is not dated…incompetence again) $1,590,172 on “Talent” alone…and for what? We get a reference counter that is far inferior to one developed, for free, by Dan?
Jim is the head of Operations. According to the pie chart linked above, CS spent $169, 032 on operations during whatever fiscal time frame this webpage documents. What has that money purchased?? Jill Kohlberg, the PAID volunteer coordinator-type person is unresponsive and evidently AWOL (despite her LinkedIn profile saying that she’s still getting a CS paycheck (source: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jillkohlberger ) ….while the competent Translations Team leader, Benjamin, who has diligently worked for free, is *fired*.)
…and “operations” is spelled “opperations”!
Well… I have one thing to add, it’s the first public post of someone in the higher spheres of CS in a while. One has to have respect for that!