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A final goodbye

I have received a “thank you” letter from Chris Burley that effectively closes the NDA discussion and other related matters for me. To be honest I’m quite grateful for it.

It is much better to know that the Couchsurfing admins really don’t want to discuss our issues than to be left with a false glimmer of hope. CouchSurfing has – for good or for bad – decided to show itself as a top-down run community and while I don’t agree with that decision, it is at least clear and final.

There are a few small corrections I would like to make (read the letter first):

  1. OpenCouchSurfing was primarily about a Free and Open CouchSurfing organisation. While OSS (Open Source Software) would certainly have helped in getting there, it was hardly the only proposal that has been made. For me personally, an Open Organisation was a much more important issue for instance.
  2. “We value group consensus above individual ideology” seems a bit weird to me. We had over 90 people signing the petition, including two admins, so its hardly an individual ideology. There were many people that really would have like to see some of our proposals come true, but unfortunately we don’t have the keys to the castle.
  3. As has happened before, Chris makes it sound like it was more about style than about content (“constructive criticism”). I think most people will agree that there has been ample opportunity to engage in friendly debate for the admins, which was never taken up. Most critical (but friendly/constructive) questions have simply been ignored over several months. It should be of no suprise that this angers people in many ways and it is therefor quite unreasonable to expect friendly banter all the time. “We’re working on it” or “we’ll publish something… soon” can hardly be considered constructive debate either.

In conclusion I would like to personally thank everyone who has tried to help us make a positive change within CouchSurfing towards a more Open and Free organisation. I do not feel that this was a wasted effort as getting the admins to make up their minds is an added value by itself. Amongst the relatively few cases of outright hostility, there were plenty of comments that helped us to continue this extremely difficult effort. Thank you for that support.

3 Responses to “A final goodbye”

  • Thomas, thank you for all the work you put into this campaign. I agree that though the goals of campaign were not achieved, it has brought some much needed closure to the topics at hand. The Leadership Team has offered up their ultimatum and now it is up to each individual volunteer whether or not they choose to accept the terms that LT has laid down. I am sad that open discussion and communication has been turned down in favor of an FAQ (I know there is one where they are beginning to give PR answers to questions, sorry about not providing a link) but I am happy that there is no longer middle ground to foster false beliefs about a democratic process. As it turns out, I am willing to continue to help the CS community by continuing to volunteer in ways that I hope are beneficial to the members of CS and will always stand up for what I feel is best for the community. I will also support the Leadership Team in any decisions they make that is based on the feedback of the community and that is made with the communities best interest in mind. We are all human, we all make mistakes and I think we should all remember that everyone involved in CS has the best interest of the community and CS in mind. While our opinions may differ, as long as CS remains a free service that allows members to surf each others couches and make wonderful friendships, it will continue to be something I support. I know that ultimately the true power of this organization lies in the membership and that if any fundamental changes occur in the mission and philosophy, we can demonstrate our disapproval and exact our power by refusing to donate money to a lost cause. In the midst of all that has happened, that is where I find my comfort. I really want to thank you Thomas, and all the members of OpenCS for being dedicated to CS and I hope that in spite of what has happened, we can all continue to surf couches and be a part of this community. I look forward to meeting you again on one of the amazing couches this community provides. I think we can rest comfortably knowing that no one can ever take the hospitality this community shares away from us.

    Love, peace, and surfing couches,
    Hungry Steve

  • The questions are at
    Anyone can write a question (wow, this is real openness! ;-)

    The answers are at
    Only some users (users that are more equal than other) can edit this page. My bet is that they will never complete the answers since there is no more incentive now that all the dissenting voices have stopped volunteering, but I hope to be wrong of course.

  • Steve, I just wanted to say, it is so nice, and reassuring, to hear your words and know that you and so many people like you are in the community.

    I second your words of support to Thomas and also offer my thanks to him and all those who initiated the OpenCS site…. I hope all of you are planning to surf my couch sometime!

    big Santa Fe hugs,

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