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Launch of Open CouchSurfing – don’t panic

Welcome fellow couchsurfer. Perhaps you are wondering what this site is?

You’ve probably noticed that CouchSurfing has become a very big organisation. There are over 200.000 active profiles and 30.000 people log in every week. And there is no indication that the current rate of growth is going to slow down soon.

There are quite a few people within the CS organisation that feel that in order to sustain this growth, we need to have a more Open, Free and Inclusive organisation. Right now, the “top” of the CS organisation (admins) is a very closed and non-transparant structure. There is no direct representation, it is almost impossible to find out what is being discussed, there are no meeting notes publicly available, etc etc. CouchSurfing could easily become a much more open and representative organisation, if enough people want it to be. We are all volunteers for this organisation, simply by hosting people, organizing meetings and helping each other we make Couchsurfing into what it is. We should be included in every level of the decision making process and not be considered just users.

The current closed structure does not seem very good for CouchSurfing. Communication fails regularly, questions don’t or can’t get answered and there is often a sense of unilateral decision making. On a more practical level, the way the site development is being run is very inefficient, precisely because of the constant desire to keep things secret.

That’s why we turn to you. Help us make CouchSurfing the Open and Free organisation it can be. Get involved. Bring your ideas here and help us improve CouchSurfing.

You can start here (Wiki).

4 Responses to “Launch of Open CouchSurfing – don’t panic”

  • Just browsing through I noticed two things. Unefficient isn’t a word. The word you are probably looking for is inefficient. Secondly this sentence “CouchSurfing could easily become a much more open and representative organisation, if enough people have to want it to be.” is incorrect. Some options might be “CouchSurfing could easily become a much more open and representative organisation, if enough people want it to be.” or alternatively, “CouchSurfing could easily become a much more open and representative organisation but for this to happen enough will people have to want it to happen.” though the double happen seems akward to me.

  • Nodice, thanks for the comment. I’ve corrected the mistakes. I really need to brush up on my English (it’s my third language, but still) or at least review properly.

  • A good step in the right direction. Will this change the way things have been run for years? Time will tell.

    Bottom line this will galvinate the inner circle towards a more open organisation.

  • ScotchScotchScotch

    I applaud your effort, sincerely. I found CS due to the mainstream press coverage that resulted from “the great crash” and within a few weeks realized that there was minimal transparency, and that the whole thing was mostly about the cult of personality that is Casey Fenton.

    Glad to see over a year later, I was not alone in my observations. Found this site by reading a post referencing differing viewpoints posted on the wiki (about volunteering and consulting), posted here:

    When I was posting constructive criticism about a glaring lack of documentation and organization, seemingly deliberate, and was growing more frustrated by the day, someone anonymously directed me to that hyperboards forum.

    Glad to find this blog, too. I just completely gave up on volunteering any effort whatsoever to help support CS, either with tech talent, or monetary contributions.

    IMO, the whole thing was built from the beginning, purely to serve Casey. From his first hack in spamming the entire student body e-mailing list in Finland (or wherever it was) so he’d have some place to stay, to his efforts to keep a free vacation pad staffed with cooks and maids and coders, and a harem of fawning women around him at all times.

    Any attempt to request a divestiture of power, to a more transparent and shared arrangement, was met with either silence, or hostility.

    Looks like little has changed in the last year or more, and my observations were perfectly valid.

    Good on yer!

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