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Reasons for not using

To preserve this information in case of a decision by the CS ‘leadership’ to suspend my profile for having the wrong hairdo or something, and because OCS attracts more readers than my CS profile, what follows is my current list of 10 reasons for not using It is personal, not exhaustive, and contains little explanation. Still, I hope it will give first-time visitors to this website some kind of overview of all that is wrong with Comments and additions (and corrections if factually incorrect!) are much appreciated.

  1. The company that owns, CouchSurfing International inc., is privately owned and has Casey Fenton as is its sole owner and director. He holds all power over the company and, consequently, the website. This means that, when push comes to shove,
    1. He cannot be held accountable for how donations are spent
    2. He can sell to whomever and walk away with the dough whenever he gets tired of it
    3. CS users have no of influence whatsoever on anything CS-related
  2. Although incorporated as a not-for-profit, CouchSurfing International inc. is not a charitable organisation. Not-for-profit status only means that the company cannot pay dividend to its owners (i.e. Casey); the company and its assets still are his, and his alone. Casey can do with it whatever he wants, whenever he wants it
    1. In addition, not-for-profit status does give not any kind of guarantee that company assets are not utilised for personal enrichment. For instance, as its sole owner/director, Casey can give out loans to himself or others at zero-interest rates, and use that money privately to make a profit
    2. Such potential abuse of company assets is even easier because CouchSurfing International inc. does not appear genuinely interested in obtaining a “501c3″ tax exemption. Non-profit organisations can easily apply for this designation with the IRS, but it requires compliance with strict disclosure and reporting duties, plus having a board of directors, and Casey doesn’t like that much openness. Therefore, part of user donations is waisted on avoidable tax-paying
    3. Most importantly, CouchSurfing International inc. does not have a clause in its bylaws that irrevocably dedicates company assets to a charitable cause. This means that Casey can always revoke the company’s not-for-profit designation and cash in, by volition but also by necessity (for instance, when he or the company ever get sued for damages)
  3. In clause 5.1 of the Terms of Use, CouchSurfing International inc. claims a virtually unbounded and irrevocable right to use whatever material you decide to upload to its servers for its own purposes, without limiting these in any way. This opens up the road to selling user data, including your contact and site usage details, to third parties. At the same time, CouchSurfing International inc. does not have a published policy detailing how they keep your personal information safe
  4. There are no published protocols how the company deals with users committing crimes (violence, abuse, theft…) that involve other users; instead, these appear to be dealt with in an ad hoc fashion. In addition, it is extremely difficult to find who’s responsible for what when it comes to safety. By being so negligent, CouchSurfing International inc. puts the users of CS at risk
  5. On the whole, scores very poorly on transparency. There are hardly any protocols about anything; there is no full list of people on the payroll of CouchSurfing International inc., information is scattered across countless forums and scores of mailgroups, etc. The current management seems to take no interest whatsoever in even starting to improve this situation
  6. Apart from being fraudfully sollicited (i.e., under the pretext that CS is a charity / non-profit), aspiring volunteers are asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement in which they cede all rights on the material they develop to CouchSurfing International inc.
  7. All known employees of CouchSurfing International inc. (i.e., Casey Fenton, Matthew Brauer, Jim Stone and Weston Hankins, all of whom are members of the Leadership Team) are male caucasian US citizens.
  8. The verification procedure is a blatant scheme for increasing donations. It does not offer any kind of added security, and could be carried out at a fraction of the current fee
  9. What little financial information is available gives cause for suspicion. There are interesting discrepancies between assets and interest gained, and attempts to get this clarified are met with deafening silence
  10. Casey and the other employees of CouchSurfing International inc., as well as the influential volunteers in simply do not respond to any kind of question or criticism at all, while still hammering on CS being a community-thing

91 Responses to “Reasons for not using”

  • @still waiting

    I admit that “ten facts about that might put off aspiring users from signing up in the first place” would have been a better title for my post, but I like the short-hand version just as much. Although you doubtlessly disagree, this in my opinion answers all three of your ‘questions’ to me, so don’t bother trying to provoke a further response because there won’t be any.

  • just trying to understand

    @Neils: “ten facts about that might put off aspiring users from signing up in the first place”

    OK I understand. So there’s a difference between new people signing up and old members continuing to use the site every day, right?

    Remember, I’m don’t hate OCS, I’m just trying to make it better. Continuing to ignore discussion only puts you all in the same position that you complain about receiving from the LT.

  • For the sake of transparency, I think everyone should understand that one of my last comments has been waiting more than a day to be “approved”.

  • @also / irony: Your comment was in the queue for moderation, but I now realise the notification emails were being sent to the wrong address. I’ve updated the address so I will receive notifications, in which case, they should be approved as soon as I’m online. Apologies for the delay on this occasion, as you’ll see the comment is now approved. It was held because it contains a link.

  • Thanks for the detailed explanation Callum! I appreciate the transparency and actually getting an answer to a question. It’s nice to know that not ALL topics raised on this site (aside from the ones that don’t mock everything the LT does) are completely ignored or ridiculed :)

    It’s not that I hate OCS, I’m just trying to make it better.

  • Thanks etc etc: it would help if you would rather use the nickname ability provided by this blog for something else than labeling your content.

    It’s not that I hate you, just want to help with the quality of your contributions ;)

  • I’ll second Anu’s comments. I believe for anyone to be taken seriously as a single person, they need to use a consistent identity. What I mean is, if one person continually posts under different names with no particular theme, it’s unlikely that person will be taken seriously.

    So my recommendation to continually disgusted / irony / etc / etc is to choose a nickname and an email address (whether genuine or not) and stick to using those. This way I believe people will take you more seriously and are more likely to respond to your points.

    I, for one, will respond to points raised in a calm, non inflammatory tone, but will ignore what I consider to be trolling.

  • time to face the music

    ok, this is the nick i’ll stick to as a tribute to the words of tg. i’d love to heed your advice and use a registered account but the one i registered won’t work for whatever reason. i’ve confirmed it, had the password reset 2 or 3 times and tried logging in 4 or 5 times but it never works for some strange reason. so i’m forced to use this even more anonymous way of posting.

    and now back to the issue:

    @Neils: “ten facts about that might put off aspiring users from signing up in the first place”

    what is the difference between someone who is new to CS not using it and one that recognizes the problems yet continues to still carry on being an active member? how is that not hypocritical?

    and now here’s where (even in face of OCS history that tells me otherwise) i’m going to be optimistic. it’s going to be real easy for you to jump all over the first part of this “comment” and disregard the actual issue, but surely OCS is above that, right?

  • @time to face the music: If you tell me the username you registered, I’ll reset the password and email it to you. You should then be able to log in and change it yourself.

    You said:

    what is the difference between someone who is new to CS not using it and one that recognizes the problems yet continues to still carry on being an active member? how is that not hypocritical?

    I think there is a hypocrisy in stating reasons why you would not use CouchSurfing and then continuing to use it yourself. In my view, it’s clearly hypocritical.

    My personal opinion is that CouchSurfing provides a “net beneficial service”. I think overall it does more good than harm. So I prefer to use BeWelcome when I can, but if there aren’t the members, I fall back on CouchSurfing.

  • @the musical guy: Also keep in mind the for some CS has been an active part of life for a couple of years. It’s not easy to leave behind all those connections, regardless that some of them are more on a superficial level.

    As every other social network (at least so far, let’s see what happens when Google gears up with their plan for world domination) CS also is a walled garden and you can’t easily transfer your social capital elsewhere. (in fact I’m not sure I’d even want to “rob” my friends out of CS even if I could, the net benefit still is substantial enough. I’d just prefer not to have them go through with CS volunteering what I had to go through)

  • @the musical guy

    There are 10 good reasons not to smoke, not to drive a car, etc. Of course people won’t necessarily quit something they can find problems with. As Anu pointed out, there are often annoying side-effects when you decide to quit something you dislike (eg. withdrawal effects, not being able to get to your work in time or losing a lot of your online friends).

    However, each and every one of the problems Niels has listed could be fixed and fixing them would improve the site tremendously. And yet, instead of looking at the arguments, you attack Niels for listing them. What do you think CS could improve about it’s financial, legal and organizational model? If you can’t list 10 serious problems, you have your head in the sand.

  • It is sad to see how the ambassadorship program started by the Daniel Hoffer has caused power to go to peoples heads. This virtual power has also separated the ambassadors from the red. I was just reading the Antwerp group and wow I could not believe that people had so much love for a virtual badge .
    Statements like “we ambassadors are having a meeting ” (more like you non ambassadors are nobody and are not invited. Normal people in real life has made petty group due to the virtual bad or Ambassador. Also the bureaucracy of hiding what they discussed. Stalling on posting reports of the meeting.
    People are so scared to lose their badge of “country ambassador” it is really sad to see how power makes people take sides and lose objectivity.
    I came on the antwerp group follow the trail for one of the nominated city ambassadors luca.This guy is so immature they leaves negative references because he is angry?? I really want to know who made this guy a city ambassador .Check the conflict resolution group for more information.

  • Luca Proculo Gentile is a CS City Ambassador for Antwerpen, Belgium!
    This is what this guy wrote on the conflict resoltion group
    “but I just want to leave the reference to her cause I felt really bed, that’s it.”

  • by Valerio Arduino Gentile from London, United Kingdom

    Valerio Arduino Gentile to Ambassador K?
    “I asked you to find the emails that are a proof for me.
    then you told me that you will check the emails and we will talk with the girls with with tree phone connections:”

    Valerio Arduino Gentile
    I don’t know it,my Brother is ambassador I will ask him about, I don’t know this situation don’t looking clear to me I am thinking to write all on the link .I have to say you good bye…

    To very nice points here . A potential abuse is asking an ambassador to find email ? whose :) ?
    Also It is always good to have a brother in power to get information

  • @Daz: Is that you Thomas?

    @The rest
    Let me reply on a couple of comments made here about the discussion on having a “city ambassadors election” in Antwerp.

    1) Nobody of the Belgian ambassadors has a problem with the election itself. What we do have a problem with is that it is organized by members who are not that active in the Belgium group, not active on meetings and basicly not that involved in the Belgium Cs community. The members who are active we meet regularly, they organize meetings, they try to add value to the community. There has never been a post in the Belgium group, the Antwerp group or any other Belgian group where one of the 4 states that they have an issue with the current ambassadors. The whole CS-Belgium ambassadors team became ambassadors and took the “tasks” involved serious because they were basicly already doing all those things. Nobody cares about their badges, but it does give the possibility to send out the greeting messages, approve meeting messages,… Also, non of the people who want to have another city ambassador for Antwerp has ever done any effort to put themselves or others forward as candidate. There hasn’t been a single person who volunteerded to become an Ambassador been rejected (for Belgium).
    Every single belgian ambassador is doing the best they can in their way and how it works best for them. It’s the same that was the proposal for the “representative”(as we started to call the one who was going to be elected). Let the representative decide himself what he wants to do. All great and wonderful, but let’s not forget that the ambassadors also do a couple of tasks like take time to greet new members, (help) organize meetings, react on these accusations telling us we (as CS-Belgium) are not transparant enough, that we only became ambassadors because we are friends of friends (I’ll come back to that),…
    We asked what the election team thinks the city ambassador should do, what is expected from him by the community and things like that. Not in a specific way but in general. If you’re talking about “badges”, why elect a “representative” and give him a fancy name if you can’t describe what you (as a community) expect from it.

    2) Note on transparancy by the CS-Belgium Ambassadors & the meeting of the ambassadors: the meeting minutes of our previous meeting are online already on our wike page (posted 1 day after that meeting somewhere in june/july 2007), the meeting minutes of the last meeting will be online shortly but we’re still working on that report. The reason why we kept it private (although posted on the meeting page so everybody could see that we were going to have a meeting and who was going to be there, so it would have been easy to contact us if you really wanted to join but we did not get any mails like that), is pritty simple. We wanted to meetup with eachother and see what we as a group could do to improve a couple of things, not decide on anything, but work as a filter and propose that. We have also been discussing security issues and alike which is not something I believe should be thrown out into the public domain without a good word about it. Again, the documents about that meeting will be online shortly but with the whole discussion on the Antwerp group and still having a normal job (and hosting), I haven’t had the time to finish it.
    I’ve asked the OCS-people who got together last saturday too (and who decided an election was needed) to create their meeting minutes to tell us what they have been talking about and with which things they had an issue with and which could relate to CS-Belgium (since that is were I can try to make a change). I got the reply that “it was a private meeting” and “I should do my research and check the OCS website”. The offer was there to both put the ideas next to eachother and see how we could improve CS on a small scale already. Show how it should/can be done to the bigger CS-community. I got no descent reply to that. In the Belgium group I believe it’s possible for everybody to post their ideas. No need for an ambassador/representative or whatever you call it. How can you improve something if you only get vague feedback like “read the OCS wiki page”? Anyhow, if somebody can give us some workable constructive ideas on how to make CS-Belgium more open then it is already and work on a way to get the whole community more involved into it, let me know.

    As for Luca and his brother: Luca has been most fair in the whole discussion about his brother, taking things like this out of their context is not fair towards him. I do know Luca in person and we don’t match on a personal level but unlike the people from Antwerp here who are complaining all the time he at least took the effort on trying to organise regular meetings to get the community more involved. In all the discussions which have involved him as a person, the personal attacks he has had to indure for several reasons, he has always acted as a mature person. The fact that the whole discussion on Valerio is done in the private ambassadors group is simply because I still believe (‘like all of you I might hope) in the fact that somebody is not guilty unless proven otherwise. If discussions like that get thrown out into the public without consideration, it would be wrong but that’s a whole other discussion.

    When it comes to Luca, we as a CS-Belgium ambs team, are behind him and a personal attack on him is an attack on all the effort we have been putting into the CS-Belgium community.
    If you believe you can do a better job, create a roadmap of workable things, what you want to accomplish as a group, how to implement that in the current structure,… don’t just throw with concepts about transparancy, openness,…

  • Oh, and about n°7:
    How many of the OCS members mentioned on the wiki page are caucasian?

  • No this is Daz and NOT thomas . And I dont care about the elections .I followed lucas trail and came to the antwerp group . So understand my post is about how people are scared to lose their virtual bagdge .And stops having to sign their names with “country ambassador”.Also I am noticing how many times PMgD has used the word “we”. When you are “country ambassador” you can talk for everyone in belgium i guess.

    PMgD “What we do have a problem with is that it is organized by members who are not that active in the Belgium group”

    “We” are you talking to many people or for your self. Small little gang it seems to be. Where people talk as a group and not as an individual just like the LT used “we”. Who is we ?This is the cause of power .

    PMgD “Luca has been most fair in the whole discussion about his brother, taking things like this out of their context is not fair towards him.”

    Please check the conflict resolution group and refer the the text “Mr Ambassador posted there” And the text i quoted from there.

    PMgD “took the “tasks” involved serious because they were basicly already doing all those things.”
    Stop trying to show that tasks make an ambassador any different . Before the crash anyone who cared used to do those tasks. Not there is a seperation where only a few are allowed into the “private groups” the “cuq”, Useless tasks which anyone can do .

    PMgD “but it does give the possibility to send out the greeting messages, approve meeting messages,”
    This is the power . the extra privileges to seperate a few from the rest. And if cs allowed all people who cared would have done it . Poeple also do this without the badge just for your extra reference.

    PMgD “he at least took the effort on trying to organise regular meetings to get the community more involved. ”

    Who cares does that make him any more important or respected? The respect comes for what you do not do on the site like the petty tit for tat references he posted for a girl.

    PMgD “he has always acted as a mature person”
    There is some really serious problems here.
    this guy wrote on the conflict resoltion group
    “but I just want to leave the reference to her cause I felt really bed, that’s it.”

    Is that mature? Again ambassador supporting ambassadors for no reason.

    PMgD “Valerio is done in the private ambassadors group ”
    Jusged by a few male ambassadors who may or may not understand what the woman went through. And trial by a few who could be biased either ways. And seeing immature ambassadors like luca i can imagine what happens in the private group.

    PMgD “When it comes to Luca, we as a CS-Belgium ambs team, are behind him and a personal attack on him is an attack on all the effort we have been putting into the CS-Belgium community.”

    Is that mature? Again ambassador supporting ambassadors for no reason.

    This is what we call groupism . Groups due to badges not people talking to people but people who wear virtual badges grouping together to defend someone else in their group. This sounds like the army.

    PMgD “If you believe you can do a better job, create a roadmap of workable things, ”
    A better job would be to first stops the groupism . The use of “we” when talking and posting. Try and understand an ambassador is not one important in real life so stop making the difference between we the ambassadors and the rest .

    Just my views NOT cs , ocs , bs ro ks . I dont care about those i care about the spirit and not groupism , virtual power .

  • So luca is mature?
    Well lets see what he says on this single dating site

    kenilchattiero: “I am an Italian boy who lives in Antwerp! – ik ben een italiaan wie in Antwerpen woont !! ”
    25 year old man seeking women, 18-45
    more about me? couchsurfing dor com slash kenilchattiero
    I’m looking for: I am looking for someone who is nice to stay with , I want just to meet new people, I am not looking for a forced date, if it comes, it’s ok, but of corse if we meet each other we will decide what to do. I want just to have fun.
    Connecting Singles BelgiumA 100% free Online Dating service for Belgium singles Belgium dating
    www connectingsingles be

    We are not ordinary immature poster please. All post are with facts and they are open and transparent . not cs,ocs etc.

  • @PMgD. 2 points:

    1) You seem to insist on the fact that OCS is something that has members. It isn’t. EVERYBODY is welcome to post.

    2) (this is @Daz as well). The discussion about the Belgian ambassadors is much better served by a post of its own, than to be carried on in the reply section of something totally unrelated.

  • Its also one of the reason why not to use couch surfing. When you have abusers asking his bother ambassador for information and ambassador K to check someones emails. It is a big security risk

  • @Daz: As mentioned in the my post several times, when I use “we”, I refer to the ambassadors in Belgium, not to the whole community. Indeed I cannot speak for the whole community. “We, the CS Belgium ambassadors” have had our discussions on OCS, security, transparancy. They chose me as a spokesperson just as like Thomas & C° want to have a “representative” for Antwerp. Having one person to state the opinion of a group has nothing to do with groupism. It makes it clear who you can adress to if you have a problem with that group. It is to make discussions easier.

    When I post my 100% personal view on things I mention that too. If you believe that is abuse of power so be it. “We” have organised ourselves to try to add things to the community.

    Doing the tasks is a form of commitment beyond the “surf & host” part. Does that make the ambassadors different? Yes. Does it make us “super people”? No, ofcourse not. Before the crash it was indeed possible for most/all members to do greetings, to do problem solving,… All nice and well BUT some people also abused it with more problems as a result. The bigger a community growns the more people who try to abuse it (on all levels indeed) so some rules need to be set-up. Having some kind of structure does not contradict with being open. Having structure does not mean you have abuse of power. (as you suggest)

    When it comes to most “privileges” we have: did anybody of you just ask already if they could help out with the greetings? I know of one CS-member from Belgium who has been helping out without being an ambassador. He did that for half a year without any “special status” or alike. I haven’t seen a “can I help out” question passing by. If you really believe that dedicating more time on greetings is a “priveledge”, be my guest. If you really believe that it is a priveledge to be available 24/24, 7/7 for stranded couchsurfers/conflicts/…, go ahead. (Yes, I have had calls at 3am during a normal working week because a couchsurfer had a problem).
    Being an ambassador just means you commit on doing those tasks. It does not give me a special status in any way.
    Why do you focus that hard on the ambassadors labels? Do you really believe that has changed what we do for couchsurfing? That it changes the way we interact with people, with other CS-members? Do you really believe yourself that we are “priviledges”? The only influence we have on the community is because we are there for the community. Are we “elected by the community”? No indeed we’re not. Hell, I even didn’t apply to become an ambassador but people asked me because I was already doing what I’m still doing: hosting too much, surfing too much, replying in groups too much and spend too much of my working time replying to people.

    @Bentivogli: I don’t insist on the fact that OCS is something that has members. I DO insist on the fact that it is not fair to compare a blog (where everybody can post) with something that has members.

  • PMgD “Having structure does not mean you have abuse of power. ”
    Means bureaucracy. Groupism where there is spokespersons ? and there is no longer respect to a person to person discussion.People start hiding in private rooms . Making arbitrary decisions in those private rooms .

    PMgD “I know of one CS-member from Belgium who has been helping out without being an ambassador.”

    Again when rules are broken by a few means favoritism? I have seen a lot when some ambassadors are selected . This does not mean you have in your part of the world

    PMgD “If you really believe that dedicating more time on greetings is a “ privilege ”, be my guest.”

    CUQ is a private close secretive group. Why i do not know ?Nothing really secretive out there.
    Are you really inviting us to join? Please ask higher ups like donna before putting across invitations.unless casey has given you sole authority to invite anyone.

    PMgD “Why do you focus that hard on the ambassadors labels? ”
    When male ambassadors group up to make anti woman policies and woman have no say in it. how many woman global ambassadors are there?
    Because i have see people get mad with power and have seen many many examples. People abuse it for a lot of reasons.Seriously you have access to the couchsurfing ambassador private group you! are you testing why the ambassador label should not be questioned?When ttt posts about the 503 in the private group .No ambassador feels they need to share this news with the members? (again groupism)

    Do People in belgium use it to prevent inviting normal members to ambassadors meeting?
    We had a meeting . we cant tell you what we have no privilege for that information some examples
    SO that shows there is sometimes special about the people who can ONLY be invited.

    When I see people saying cs is not a democracy and hence even elections in a country which has democracy cannot take places says a lot about how the badge affects people.

    PMgD “That it changes the way we interact with people, with other CS-members?

    Well for one normal people start showing their power by signing their name as country ambassador . When they meet also they like to stress they are country ambassador. And this is global not really talking of one place.

    PMgD “Do you really believe yourself that we are “ privileges ”?
    What can an ambassador see which a normal member cannot ?Why should the virtual bagde given them that access?I hope you can tell us what priviliges a country ambassador has over a normal member.

    I see you have not talked about luca and his dating site links to his couch surfing profile and also how his brother says he will ask his brother ambassador for information. And who is ambassador K who is asked to find emails. whose emails.

    This shows privacy can be breached anytime knowing the right people.

  • As bentivogli suggested, I think this discussion would be more relevant on a new post, regarding the elections in Antwerp and not on this thread, which is about “Reasons for not using”.

  • pseudo\ random thoughts

    I’m bored so I read down to the last 10 or so posts which contain actual content. Most wont bother and will get fed up with the sniping and infighting and go away. I almost did but like I said I’m bored.

    Since I was unfamiliar with CS as other than a concept that I use amongst friends, I bothered to get Certified. If I was in between jobs I probably wouldn’t have bothered. You only have to certify if you want too and after looking at several different cities, I’d guess that maybe (optimistic)3% of people bothered.

    Someplace above, @DAZ mentioned that they had “hard numbers”, and then later told someone to essentially “do their own search”. This is silly. ‘IF’ I knew of other sites and took the time to do all of the research that would be required to generate the information I might feel they way you do. However, I only know about CS, and you are trying to sway my judgment towards your point of view.


    All I see is someone whining that the way CS is operated isn’t the way THEY would operate a site like CS. My answer to that type of person is START SOMETHING NEW YOURSELF THEN. Don’t reference CS in the name, grow it yourself, fund it yourself. Make it everything you want it to be. If people use it then CS will go away from lack of use. You will be (probably unlikely) HAPPY! You will also not be wasting the oxygen and more importantly the time of thinking people.

    I saw a couple of above posts discuss alternatives to CS. I have two questions on this:

    1. Can you list the sites out someplace and your thoughts on each one and provide a link to that content?
    2. If those other sites are so much “better”, why are you calling yourself OpenCS rather than Open(those so much better sites).

    As for the Openness of any social or other site on the internet. You may want to consider personal rules for internet use. Some of mine are below.

    #1 Anything you post anywhere on the internet can be read by anyone. Don’t post any information you would not stand naked on a Wall Street corner and yell at the top of your lungs.

    #2 See rule 1.

    #3 If unable to follow Rule #2 – Choose to NOT use the internet, crawl back under your bridge, get an unlisted phone number, rent, close your bank accounts and only use cash, walk or bike everywhere. Enjoy your life.

    PS: Adding post numbers to the blog would be handy for looking back to see how ‘true to reality’ presumed quotes are to their actual message.

    PPS: Coincidently this site was linked off of the CS WIKI so SOMEONE must have put it there. That is an open forum if you can string constructive thoughts together.

    Last thing, when making a call out to a footnote with ‘**’ you don’t need to use the paren inline in the message with the *. I re-read it a couple of times looking for the other paren until I realized there was none. Since it is a blog you may think about putting personal comments or asides in between commas or in square brackets [] and inline to the message for easier readability.

    (This post printed on post consumer recycled electrons.)

  • @Daz: if you knew me, you know that I seldomly use the “country ambassadors” title. I did use it in this discussion to make clear that the “CS-Belgium ambs group” has the same point of view on these matters (and other country ambassadors use it in the same way). Are we a group? Yes we are. Are the people who organise the elections a group? Yest they are. Is there a problem with people working together in a group? Isn’t OCS some kind of group too? Or do you promote pure individualism where everybody just does what he/she wants without compromise? (retorical questions)
    If your really doubting if I abuse the title of Country ambassador? Feel free to ask around in Belgium, anywhere where they know me. Probably they don’t even know I’m a country ambassador.

    If you would have been reading my posts descently you should know that we didn’t make any decisions at that ambassadors meeting, that we do publish what has been said on those meetings on our wiki page (

    “CUQ” is a private group because it also includes postings of complains about other members. You value privacy? If somebody accuses you of something you haven’t done, do you really want it to be public right away? Or would you prefer that an indeed selected group of people put the accusations into perspective? I know I prefer the last thing.

    “When male ambassadors group up to make anti woman policies”: I assume you’re talking in general and not about CS-Belgium… Show me the anti woman policies and I’ll make sure the “independent woman group” knows about it and from the people I know in that group there not messing around.

    About the 503. I indeed noticed that they only posted it in the private ambs group. They could have posted it in the public ambs group to. I agree with that.

    I have never objected the idea of an election. I only questioned the purpose and what the exact goal was of having that representative; how they would see everything work;… Never got a descent answer to that.

    About “privileges” of country ambassadors? Pretty simple: none. If you mean having access to groups where we discuss how to handle conflicts between members etc… do remember that it also comes with having to handle those conflicts, change plans last-minute to help other members, be available 24h a day, 7 days a week. If you want those “privileges” you also have to take the tasks and responsability.

    I didn’t talk about Luca’s link to his Cs-profile on that dating site because it is not relevant at all. For job interviews I also refer to my CS-profile for the simple reason that comments can not be deleted by myself. Is it different? I don’t think so. It’s a way to show what other people think of you in an honest way.

    Luca’s brother asked more information on what he’s accused of. Is that wrong? Here in Belgium, if you’re accused of whatever, you have the right to see all the documents related to the accusition so you can prepare your defense. That’s how justice works remember. You’re not guilty unless proven otherwise. It is no breach in privacy unless somebody would make it all public.

  • @Daz & PMgD: Personally I have stopped reading your posts as it seems like you’re ranting at each other. I would, again, recommend you start a new post and take your discussion there. If you register with this blog you are automatically given posting rights. If you have any problems accessing / posting to the blog, please let me know.

  • Okay, I’ll do that after my holiday.

  • pseudo I agree with all your point for the Openness of any social or other site on the internet.Excellent!!

    pseudo That is an open forum
    Are you talking about the cs wiki :) ?

    PMgD Are we a group? Yes we are.

    [Well groups and spokesperson become too bureaucratic like a government.

    Again I post and speak for my self . Hope you are too and not speaking for all the ambassadors here .This is not couchsurfing so please be your self and your thoughts are valued.]

    PMgD If your really doubting if I abuse the title of Country ambassador?

    [No doubts on your personal character.I think I have seen your post so not question about that.I do not need to ask to know about a person a persons posts say a lot.
    And signing "country ambassador " is what is done globally to done for a reason.Also I do have a lot of respect for you and remeber your valuable posts on the brainstorm before the "crash"]

    PMgD Or would you prefer that an indeed selected group of people put the accusations into perspective?
    [I would prefer this too .But with an all men cast I have seen many wrong decisions being made.]

    PMgD assume you’re talking in general and not about CS-Belgium
    [YEs I am talking in general and in particular about a certain Greek admin who made a lot of wrong calls.Also do check the womans groups . Do talk to them and find out.Maybe there is none maybe there is ...]

    PMgD I didn’t talk about Luca’s link to his Cs-profile on that dating site because it is not relevant at al

    [It is very relevant . A guy seeking a date asking people to come to couchsurfing ?Also googling his name you will see he is on all the dating sites possible.And the nude photos linked on his profile on picasa which do show the meetings he held as an ambassador. ]

    PMgD Luca’s brother asked more information on what he’s accused of. Is that wrong?

    [Yes it is called breaching someone privacy by giving private information to a potential abuser.]

    PMgD you have the right to see all the documents related to the accusition

    [A potential abuser have access to the private communication of a victim can manipulate the victim in certain cases. ]

    PMgD It is no breach in privacy unless somebody would make it all public.
    [Maybe you need to check what lucas bother posted on the conflict resolution group .]

  • I’ve created a new blog post where we can continue this lovely chat. About Luca, to be honest I don’t really care that much for him, but I can tell you that what I hear about him sometimes is horrendous. But, because it is all hear-say to me, I don’t want to get too involved in that situation.

  • pseudo\ random thoughts

    ahh Daz so you liked my comment, wonderful, but you haven’t provided the information you claimed to possess above. I’d think the most likely reason for that is that it doesn’t exist and you were just blowing smoke. I love when people make unsubstantiated claims. I now have less respect for you and your objective and am unlikely to bother paying attention to you again. Thank you for helping me decide who really is important.

    (this post printed on electrons dredged from the bottom of the bit bucket)

  • pseudo\ random thoughts haha i called your bluff go cry to the LT that you didnt get the spoon fed information you wanted.
    Respect from noobs like you :) . Dont want it .Psuedo psycho posters are worthless pieces of thrash. :) Do you really think I care and will play your games and give you the information . Think again pal

    (this post printed on electrons dredged from the bottom of the bit bucket of crap )

  • #11 to disencourage further spread of doubtful policies into non-profit hospitality

    Sorry, this might not be totally relevant here but having seen enough of the same on CS, this story about Facebook censoring a search for a protest group sort of rang some bells. FB is a clearly commercial entity but even there the users are protesting against the status quo – now shouldn’t things be better in a non-profit where there are no advertisers to please?

    Quote by someone on the protestors’ side (FB has not commented so far, but it’s thanksgiving):
    “Facebook has the potential to revolutionize how we communicate with each other and organize around issues together in a 21st century democracy. But to succeed, they need the trust of their users. That trust will be undercut if they continue to put the wish lists of corporate advertisers ahead of the privacy interests of their users. It would also be undercut if it turned out our group was intentionally hidden from Facebook users — as opposed to it being an accident.”

    Besides the CS-similarities, in the above I can’t help but be alarmed of FB being quoted as a new force in networked politics. But that’s another story I’d like to further pursue elsewhere with anyone interested :)

  • This ones for the idiot pseudo\ random thoughts

    CouchSurfing Wiki has a problem

    Sorry! This site is experiencing technical difficulties.

    Try waiting a few minutes and reloading.

    (Can’t contact the database server: Can’t connect to local MySQL server through socket ‘/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock’ (2) (localhost))

    Have fun on the wiki which maybe be closed?

  • another hypocrite?

    Hi everyone,

    I want to share my approach of understanding the discussion here. Maybe it helps.

    We have those who say “may i use your 10 reasons not to use cs and put it into my profile?” (OCS)

    And we have those who argue that saying this is like saying “may i use your 10 reasons not to eat chocolate and put write it on the next chocolate bar i eat?” (CS)

    How to defend the former (OCS):
    Well pointed out that it might be similar to examples such as health warnings on cigarette packs (although smoking or eating chocolate are arguably more addictive than using CS) – it represents the status quo where someone experiences a cognitive dissonance between his own behaviour and attitude, if you want to look at it psychologically. If you replace behaviour and attitude with strategy and need, though, it might become a bit clearer: you have a need (physical or psychological) which you try to meet with a strategy. For example, eating chocolate might try to address a lack of amphetamine and using couchsurfing could be a strategy for meeting a need for connection. Unless we are absolutely clear about what our needs behind our own actions are, we start by piloting some strategies and see if they make us feel better. It is totally legitimate, then, to find yourself in a state where you realize that the strategy did not meet all of your needs and try to find out a way to refine it. It then makes a lot of sense to find out who is in exactly the same situation to discuss alternative strategies. Perhaps for the reason that innovation (refinement of strategies) occurs most rapidly through competition, the advocates of OCS have chosen an approach of changing things from outside the organization recruiting supporters from the community of those who use the existing strategies, making them aware of their deficiencies with regards to addressing all needs.

    The latter (CS) is probably understanding OCS as being solely about attacking CS without giving credit to all the positive change it brought about…

  • regarding the facebook post...

    Hey Anu,

    Give me a shout here fanquiry [] yahoo [] co [] uk (I try to
    make it hard for bots here) for further discussing the FB issue!



    Since 2 month I can’t sur on my couchsurfing profile.
    That reply me “Sorry, that username and password combination is not valid.” BUT it is record like this since the beginning. Befor this problem I just had to click on LOGIN without writing anything, and it was OK because already recorded. And know that say that there is a mistake…
    And don’t know what to do, I can’t reply to any couchsurfer and can’t
    write to any one

    Thank’s a lot


  • I can not login or retrieve password. Does anyone have a phone number to contact these guys to get password reset? I could not find phone number or email on the “Contact Us” page.
    Thank oyu.

  • You are correct, rpaul. I just dug through the “contact” menus and forms too, and the only way to contact them directly, is via a submission form. (choose “other” as your problem) There is no email address or telephone number provided.

  • You could also try messaging the founder directly, though I’d be surprised if he responds:

  • If you are a beginner, it’s nice to not have to spend a lot of money in the beginning. I would download two free programs.

  • Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my website thus i came to go back the prefer?.I’m trying to to find issues to improve my website!I assume its good enough to make use of some of your ideas!!

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