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The intercultural Thai Collective?

The list of participants makes me wonder why the CS Collective is held in Thailand. From affluent developed countries, where almost  everyone speaks English I quickly counted 13 Americans, 2 Australians and further one person each from Belgium, Canada, England and the Netherlands. I hope the two participants from Mexico and India can add some balance. I met a lot of smart people when I was in Thailand, I wonder why none of them are involved in this effort to promote intercultural understanding…

40 Responses to “The intercultural Thai Collective?”

  • having been a critic of cs organization for a long time, being an observer critically when people like kasper went on to work for cs, i can only say this:
    cs collectives are a waste of money, a hypocritical token work excuse to have a party and holiday on the expenses of the so called safety of the site.
    if the collective was about work, there would be a public list of things that are going to get achieved, then you could aniticpate and quantify how much work needs to be done and how many people that will require, giving 50% leeway for potential overruns.
    there is never any accountability, nor real results from these collectives.
    if you hired second world country coders for the kind of money spent on casey+friends sponsored holiday and fuckfest, you would see results.

  • “I met a lot of smart people when I was in Thailand, I wonder why none of them are involved in this effort to promote intercultural understanding…”
    If you read the google group post by Mattthew he said he did not want to let ANY local know of the collective as he was worried about security and getting the valuable laptops stolen.

  • “If you read the google group post by Mattthew he said he did not want to let ANY local know of the collective as he was worried about security and getting the valuable laptops stolen.”

    quite the cultural exchange, lets go to the nice weather, but beware of the brutes who inhabiate teh area.
    this guy should read the mission statement and legal documents he signed. he should have his nose broken for making such a statement and implication.

  • "time to face the music"

    all-knowing daz: please provide mattthew’s exact quote before further dragging his name through your mud. i’m sure thomas is just about to reply suggesting that you consider the context of this mysterious quote you refrain from actually sourcing accurately but i guess i just beat him to it.

  • I was squintly hopeful once over the selection process for this collective, after having been to some where chaos ensued largely due to lack of any control of who could pop in. At times, because the collective addresses were made known to everyone, people dropped in just to check it out, without having a clue of the cited productive purpose of the collective, and were quite happy to eat the donated food and focus on socializing. Some would-have-been productive participants willing to pay their own way and with skills and ideas were turned down while some people got subsidized flights and free upkeep while contributing nothing and not even conscious of the the fact that there WAS CS community beyond the house walls, expecting news or interaction from the collective house.

    Those of us who WERE there for a reason higher than partying with Casey’s pals did get quite frustrated over this, as it also hampered our productivity. This basically made us the party-poopers on site, and the clueless drop-ins the still-faves of the in-crowd (judging from friendships created and Burning Man attendance patterns all around). Fair enough, it’s good to make friends and have fun, but the disregard of productivity and self-appointed action towards helping CS by the now-leaders is quite sickening considering the amount of effort many people went through to be there for the right reasons.

    Daz was quite right in warning me about being far too optimistic over the selection process this time around… the Americanism is even higher, and most of the supposed new team leaders are fairly out of touch with what I regard(ed) as the CS community, ranging from total newbies to Casey’s best pals in assortment. To top it off, San Francisco scene (plus Burning Man, by the looks of things) expert as event & outreach manager really is starting to say quite clearly how Casey’s long-time vision for this network is shaping out to be.
    All the best for Seb though, out of all people on scene I think he deserves to get his “beach” finally as a co-founder of the site, and has quite enough credentials to shape out the new user interface for CS.

    I’ve heard from local viewpoint how the offers for help by the CS Thai community was not asked for or taken when offered – it was only when the collective organizers / leaders has some drop-outs in finding the collective location that they came back begging for local help. So much for intercultural understanding?

  • time to face the crap . I really hope you are gonna call the ocs on their bull shit. OR should i say a few of the ocs you seems to have a vendetta with.

    here is the exact quote . Please keep making bullshit statements like “dragging his name through your mud”

    you are NOT LT .so you are a NOOB :) .Please do keep asking for more quotes .

    From: “J. Mattthew Brauer”
    Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2007 21:40:52 -0700
    Local: Thurs, Oct 4 2007 9:40 am
    Subject: Security guard
    Yes, let’s keep this conversation friendly. We’re all just trying to help
    and learn.

    Keep in mind that our house will have as much as US $10,000 worth of
    computer equipment in it. No matter how safe it is, we have to be cautious
    with that much money at risk. The question is, what is the best way to
    protect ourselves?

    Daniel, you mentioned hiring a Thai national with a reference. What’s sort
    of reference would be trustworthy? Are you talking about a big guy who
    stands by the door? All day and all night?

    It’s easy enough to follow the rule: never leave any computer unattended.
    Just as you would never leave your laptop on a the table of a coffee shop
    while you use the bathroom.

    That rule works as long as we don’t have to fear someone trying to hold us
    up. Is armed robbery a possibility? Also, we’ll all have to sleep at some
    point. How feasible or expensive would a large lock-box be?


  • hey “-ttt”, i have a solution for you, mr “manager”:

    a) use pgp or truecrypt to encrypt stuff
    b) set up a local subversion system to centralize project related data
    c) send it over to a backup daily
    d) insure the computer hardware
    e) get a clue how to come up with a-d all by yourself, sometimes i wonder if such skillset to come up with such solutions were implicit part of being able to manage more than wiping our own ass

  • “Just as you would never leave your laptop on a the table of a coffee shop while you use the bathroom.”
    I am just wondering where exactly does he take the laptop :) ?

  • ttt on the tcsc public group

    “We emailed everyone in Thailand, and selected from the four applicants: Alisara, who lives in Phuket, and Nina, who lives in Bangkok, as our new scouts. They did an excellent job, but their time was limited, so their search radius was small. With one week to go before we moved in, we chose the best lead we had, which was our current house in Kata Beach, Phuket.”

    So they emailed EVERYONE in thailand to be their scouts ;) .Why phuket cuz right now it is only casey AND his buddies

  • In case this is attempt to dispute what I said above: they WERE offered assistance initially by the Thai CSers, but turned it down, having their own foreign scouts to locate housing. Only AFTER those ones dropped out of the task did they ask for assistance from the locals.

    This attitude of keeping to themselves was also present with the Paris collective plans – whereas they were aware and in touch with the locals during winter/spring 2007, because Casey & pals were not in charge of the planning it didn’t happen. Paris IS a hard place to find affordable locations (the somewhat official reason for not having Paris collective), but ever more harder by not giving enough official support for the organizers well in advance to have enough time to find the affordable solutions.

    How about next time it’s time for a collective, outreach for the local help far in advance and take it whenever offered instead of relying on your friends who have no clue of how to organize things locally?

  • @Anu No dispute there . That is just an update from ttt where he admits that naz,jelena and the others failed. Now that they have hidden the google groups woking on tscs.Also they have sent their master scout casey to scout at chang mai.

  • This is also a way to go to thailand on “tourist visas” .Because if they “engage” the thai economy they would need to get a “working visa”

    From: Casey Fenton
    Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 11:52:22 -0700

    Subject: Called Consulate and Immigration Lawyer
    Hi Everyone,
    Yesterday I called the Chicago and NY Thai Consulates to follow up on previous information that I’d heard about all of us just getting tourist visas. I called both and asked them the following question. “Some friends and I want to go to Thailand for a few months as tourists this winter. All year long we volunteer together virtually and send emails related to the non-profit we care about.

    I want to be sure that we are following Thai law so that there are no problems. We really want to come to Thailand and enjoy the beaches and beauty but need to know that working virtually from our laptops won’t be an issue. We would not engage the Thai economy in any way other than being tourists.

    Ok, so, then just to be extra sure that we can be in Thailand on tourist visas I called an immigration lawyer in San Fran. He said that there wouldn’t be a problem either.

  • Uh-huh. Can anyone else say double standards here? On one hand this is a “most serious working collective so far” on the other “we’re just hanging around on the beach” – do they REALLY expect everyone to be fooled by this for much longer?

    A few reasons why this can’t hold:
    * Casey’s total mispresentation about the purpose of their stay in comparison of what’s been used to attract “professional volunteers” on the CS site for the past 3 months: ““Some friends and I want to go to Thailand for a few months as tourists this winter.

    * trouble at Canadian borders (that me & 3 CSCT participants went trough) when mentioning volunteering is a clear indication governments do take any sort of work (paid or not) seriously and you’d better do it right or someone WILL get into trouble eventually.

    * 4 people (that we know of, who knows if there are / will be more, wouldn’t surprise me the least) are in fact getting paid for being there so it’s clearly NOT a holiday for them

    * Thai legalities require foreign workers (“virtual” or not) to register and get proper non-tourist visas (unless Pickwick really can’t read foreign legislation at all)

    Now, Thai laws might not be enforced as harshly as Canadian ones apparently are, and it’s likely you can pay your way out of anything even if you DO get caught (as one can do in India for example). But seriously, how can CS even consider that as a way to go as a wannabe-501c3?

    2 ways to make it right:

    * get the required visas and abide by the local laws (by far the most ethical choice here – expecting people to be serious about their work yet ditching all responsiblity you would have to take as an organization to support them in that is by any standards shameful)

    * don’t pretend you’re working there and just have a party gathering on the beach (and enjoy the raves and full moon parties as only true Burners could). But better not expect community funding for this.

    Sorry for my comment-spamming today, but what I’ve seen Daz posting today made me go “OMFG, they *really* are as crooked as thought in my worst ‘conspiracy theories’” – and keep in mind, I’ve seen quite a bit more than I currently feel like disclosing here.

    Oh, and Daz, I think your posting here did illuminate one more thing: they ARE reading this blog quite actively, unless you told them what you just posted ;) (so in case you’re reading this one oh LT – please have the guts to finally post your comments under your own name, thank you)

  • "time to face the music"

    detective daz: i’m still looking for where you get this info from the post you quoted where he supposedly said “he did not want to let ANY local know of the collective”. i just couldn’t find it in there.

    thanks for the help!

  • Daz: sorry, I missed this bit somewhere along my reading/posting “This is also a way to go to thailand on “tourist visas” .Because if they “engage” the thai economy they would need to get a “working visa”

    So they f’ed up with sending the foreign scouts (who could not have rented out anything on their or CS’s name, that’s what their lawyers advised them) – did I get it right? And only after this realized they DO need the locals’ help after all, and of course without mentioning any of this anywhere. Oh well, what can I say that wouldn’t be quite obvious for anyone not totally blinded by the PR ;)

  • Oh, while we’re around the border issues (just happened to stumble across, and whereas not that related to our case here, might not make you want to mess up at the crossings any time soon)

    Icelandic tourist to US held for two days, shackled, deported — over a ten-year-old visa mistake (courtesy of

    Visa journeys

    Just wondering, how would US immigration react to couchsurfers crossing their borders in the future if the organizational top became known for regularly sidestepping foreign policies and advising their volunteers and members to do the same? (methinks not too well at all, in this post 911 world of ours…)

  • OP: “makes me wonder why the CS Collective is held in Thailand”

    Around NZ time I recall criticism of spending donation money in countries with a comparatively high cost of living.
    So perhaps that’s one reason why they’re holding this one in Thailand.

  • I just saw jim stones post on the
    Location: The CouchSurfing Project >> QUANTITY VS QUALITY….IMPROVING CS THROUGH YOUR SUGGESTION. >> CSC Thailand Public – Questions and Answers group

    Most muck thrown on the still dedicated volunteers mikky mouth,LEIMONDO,and james.Just shows how much respect the existing volunteers have from the paid cs dude JIMmy boi :) .

    I really think people should not have such high hopes (like this is gonna be a vol led collective) .With Jim stone selecting new bies who joined this year .This collective is about having fun and not raising old issues.

  • Thanks again for informing, I have zero time and interest to follow the more obscure CS groups as it’s not my “job” anymore ;) (only what reaches my email, not too much these days)

    Reading Jim there, it’s quite obvious they learned nothing at all since the last time. Now that there’s nobody at the collective who has the experience of volunteering for CS outside the inner circle (LT + friends + bunch of newbies) they have little grasp of what would be needed (like a direct, public ask & answer channel for example – as it is now, it’s one-way broadcasting from the collective, not what I’d call communication) for already existing volunteers outside…

    like James who’s still busting his ass off for the wiki (all the symphaties, been there, done that myself!). Sadly, extrapolating from the past, he’ll be tarred and feathered too before too long, not something I’d hope for anyone. (so the LT folks reading this, if you have ANY decency don’t let that happen to even more of your committed volunteers)

  • Anu just wanted to thank you for getting information out to the community during the csc nz.All cuz you had your finger on the pulse with ears on all the major groups ,the wiki and other places.And what helped is you started when the csc montreal ended so you had a deep understanding on what the member wanted to know .To know what has happening,to share in the brainstorming taking place and to have their voice heard (though more could have been done on the last point).
    Here Jim directs everyone to the contact us .Because 1)It is manned by the LT and their trusted henchmen. 2) Information will only to those who they trust .Other do not need to know their “agenda”.And like the wanderlust newsletter sent out by heather the tradition continues of the misinformation.

  • This is what the american country ambassador says the members should do to get thier voices heard

    by …Mandy Live from Phoenix, United States
    So currently, each of these groups (CUQs, NMW, Verifications, Meeting Messages…) they all have things they would love to have accomplished during this collective. So… we all send those wish lists out.

    This is what the LT says they are doing
    by Mattthew Brauer from San Francisco,
    In my adult life, I’ve never been to an ocean with warm enough water to enter at night time. I enjoyed it very much. John, Andrew, Shelley and I night swam, played night chicken, and night amused each other by pretending to be swallowed by sea-monsters. As in, “Don’t be ridiculous. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as sea-monstahhh! Blrrrbl-blrrb…”

  • Well, that’s exactly what you’re bound to get since the collective blog (AFAIK) will be compiled of the personal blogs of the participants, and there are no real plans to write up to date work blog (just the newsletters)

    Advice to the LT: since you know bunch of people will be reading whatever you write in personal blogs (nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun!), in addition it would be a really good thing to have the work stuff (agendas and accomplishments) also reported as it happens and not just a monthly PR newsletter – otherwise it will be really easy to see you as just a bunch of party people since the party-content will be far more prominent than actual work.

  • “time to face the music” with new photo graphic evidence it does show all the collective members stayed the hell away from the local thai community :) .

    Also the silence from all 20 members of the collective is resolved by those photos.

    Now go stuff it!!

  • Hi Daz, Where do we find these incriminating photos?

    Also where are the CSC Thailand tourists blogs?


  • Umm sorry Kz1 you will need to as Jim Stone

    There are hundreds of groups on CS. I monitor quite a few that are the “working” groups and have a hard enough time keeping up with them. That’s why we set up two official channels to get information.

    1. The Thai FAQ:
    This is a list of frequently asked questions about the CSC in Thailand. If your question isn’t answered there, please use the input box at the bottom to ask your question. This is regularly updated.

    2. “Contact Us”:
    “Contact Us” is where any member can ask any question at all – about the Collective or anything in general – and you’ll get an answer back almost always within a day (and usually within a few hours).

    Using this group in the hopes that someone with all the answers is going to happen upon your question is not the most effective way of getting answers at all, especially when we have two other great resources that are working already. If you’re looking for yet another group to just discuss the CSC amongst yourselves, this is the place. If you really want answers, please use one of the two resources above.



  • Here is a few things at the csc- t last updated Thursday, December 20, 2007 we are so busy!!!

  • Thailand has truly embraced the Collective with good fortune and unexpected help.
    Posted February 26th, 2008 – by Mattthew Brauer from San Francisco, United States
    Location: The CouchSurfing Project >> Thoughts from the General Manager

  • I notice Hillary Murray has joined the Collective in Thailand. Wonder what amazing skills she brings to the Thai collective? Remind me please, what did she DO at the NZ Collective?

  • Casey needs her and so does Jelena !!

    3.97 MB CouchSurfing Collective Thailand – Slideshow

  • Little Green Hobbit from Manchester, United Kingdom (Permalink)
    I’m no expert nor have i been to any of the Collectives to know the ins, outs, what happens and what doesn’t, but as far my limited knowledge goes every Collective is supposed to be focusing on (a) specific topic(s). For example Safety Issue has been one of the Thai Collective’s objectives, while Technical Issues/Programming was one of Rotterdam’s.

    When was it decided that no bugs would be fixed at thailand and ONLY safety?? (deletion of thereads) would be brainstormed. what were the programers doing there ? what was the PR staff slackers doing there?

    Disclosure kaliope- green hobbit is a new flunkee(oops i meant inductee) into the MDST. So this is classic case of defending the clique tooth and nail .Also the 3 parts of the cycle defensive, denial , realisation .

  • ohhhh the hard work in correcting the geotags :)

  • http://www.travelblog dot org/Photos/2034118 dot html

  • Green hobbit ” but as far my limited knowledge goes every Collective is supposed to be focusing on (a) specific topic(s). For example Safety Issue has been one of the Thai Collective’s objectives”

    These are the types of questions being asked by Shonali, the marketing expert of the two part team of Public Relations and Marketing. With thousands of people joining each week, how do we make sure we grow in quality not just quantity? It’s about presenting the right message to help us all realize our dream of creating a better world through the extraordinary connections each and every one of us is making with other CouchSurfers around the world.
    Shonali has been doing detailed research into other social networking websites and the different strategies of those sites and non-profit organizations. For the first time we have a professional strategist focused on promoting this amazing community.
    For more information on the objectives the team will be focusing on during this Collective please visit the Public Relations and Marketing group.

    Interesting spin
    It’s about presenting the right message to help us all realize our dream of creating a better world through

    The Tech Team Supporting You
    The recent problems with the CouchSurfing website prove how beneficial these Collectives are when you have a group of experts in the one place!

    Why is the MDST team member painting an image contrary to what the newsletter say?

    Looking forward, the tech team will be focused on upgrading the infrastructure of the CS website. This will involve designing a system that can reliably deliver the current level of services to our growing community, even when they reach 1 million people! The team will also be supporting the new team supervisors in developing the tools they need for their teams.

    I love spin of running from one exotic location. Caseys modus operandi is to SAY NOTHING. His generals jim stong ,ttt and rachel either speak for him OR he has the low commands MDST members , communication team members who usually know nothing!! But will give their 2 cents. (notice the communication team members posted a thread to a safety issue and it was DELETED by the MDST :) ).

    I started alone and with no furniture, but within one week 9 people showed up and we shopped around till we dropped to get furniture and food supplies and stuff.

  • The team is committed to getting a flow of regular information coming from the Collective and these supervisors will be using their respective groups to communicate the various things they have been doing as the Collective progresses.

    So the collective news letter PROMISED communicate the various things they have been doing as the Collective progresses.But Crystal Murphy paint a different picture.

    Crystal Murphy from Birmingham, United States Thailand has been the most productive collective to date. The team leaders are currently preparing a summary of sorts of exactly what each team accomplished during the collective. Expect to see this very soon :)

  • I could not have dont a better job in summarising all the news letters

    from Thailand Collective Newsletter – Issue #1 CONTENT: basically only introduced the participants, and NO information
    from Thailand Collective Newsletter – Issue #2 CONTENT: basically discussed the move to Pai, departure of Dodie, new arrivals, and introduction to new expert team groups/links, and yet these links really have little content and mostly are conduits to simply make requests for more volunteers. You can’t just ask people to volunteer to … “volunteer”, but you need to provide solid foundation of the cause and the meaning and goals of the volunteer effort.
    from Thailand Collective Newsletter – Issue #3 CONTENT: highlight of NVC, tech team info, newsletters translated (just PR because they don’t contain info on the collective) however … “With only six weeks left at this Collective, all participants are focused …..and we can’t wait to let you know what has been achieved in our update next month!”
    from Thailand Collective Newsletter – Issue #4 CONTENT: NO CONTENT, as promised previously in Issue #3 except more promises of information to come and worse announcing the next collective, … ”We’ll have another edition of the Collective News in early April that highlights the many ways CouchSurfing has changed and improved as a result of the efforts of the expert teams formed at this Collective. …. CouchSurfing Collective isn’t just a one-time special event; it’s our veritable full-time nomadic headquarters.” where is 178?
    December 16th, 2007
    January 12th, 2008
    anuary 21st, 2008
    Nouvelles de Janvier pour la Collectivité en Thailande

    French translation now available
    February 6th, 2008
    Noticias del Colectivo en Thailandia – Edición de enero

    Spanish translation now available
    February 6th, 2008
    February 15th, 2008 where is 185?
    February 18th, 2008
    Buggin’ Out!
    March 20th, 2008
    Our Nomadic Full-Time Headquarters – from Thailand to Alaska

    We want more fabulous volunteers to come join us at our next CouchSurfing Collective in Alaska
    March 21st, 2008



    April 3rd, 2008 – 7:26 am

    I’ve recently been traveling Thailand and ventured along to a few different couchsurfing gatherings in different locations. I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of brainless and dangerous losers in my life. My advise is to give anyone who even mentions couchsurfing an extremely wide berth.

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