This site was archived on 24 April 2012. No new content can be posted. The mailing list remains online and the site will stay in this archived state for the forseeable future. If you find any technical errors on the site, please contact Callum.


CouchSurfing has been mostly offline the past 48 hours – due to a “power outage”. Great, especially now that I tried to organize my goodbye meeting in Trento.

Hint: don’t use MyISAM tables for mission-critical data. And try to get some MySQL support engineers working on it. Oh but wait, one year ago there actually was a MySQL support engineer that joined the Collective with money out of his own pocket and was working for CouchSurfing in his own spare time.

Now, since I am still blocked from the wiki that I founded, can someone please add the following text to

==Trento meeting 11th and 12th January==

Call +39 33 47 18 30 42 (Kasper).


40 Responses to “Ummphhhf”

  • it shows how the, sorry to be so blunt, inept visionaries have learned nothing from their previous fuckup.
    you have to be one of the rare superignorant retards to actually have had a fuckup like the cs “crash that was really a mistake by someone who thinks he is lil jesus” that you would go into reflection and work to ensure that there is sustainability in your system now.
    as we see now, a shitty fucking power outage is too much for the cs system, i wonder when the cs organization will start using its resources to get a quality soft and hardware implementation and not for tropical holidays for otherwise failed individuals.

  • is the site going to shut down for good this time???? :(

  • Kasper, I tried to put the lines to the CSwiki and somehow it worked, but looks like they managed to fuck it up as well. Ugly Mysql-Errors. Pfff. Or it was just because I tried to write the bad word “K****r”?!? So don’t count on the Wiki right now too much.


  • I also tried to post it Kasper but it wouldn’t take. I hope your party works out.

  • Your edit did work midsch. I was just about to add it myself, but then I checked before doing so.

  • Ciao Kasper, Hi Dears,
    I agree with you and I wish you a friendly & pulsating meeting.
    The information is now clearly shining…

  • From what I’ve heared, it was OR the NDA or several interests (sorry bout this, “Belangenverstrengeling”) that caused the engineer to quit. It s a pity, cause I believe that he could have done great things.

    The power-outage is a pity… The CS-Sysadmin team seems to have good backups though, so I guess that it will take no longer than 1 day (/me keeps fingers crossed)

  • You can use MyISAM, the problem is that crash recovery just takes too long on larger tables. With InnoDB, it’s a fixed amount of time (determined by the size of the InnoDB log files).

    @Diederik: Yes, it was NDA:

  • That is the knowledge of the past that I am lacking :) I’m still pro-NDA though, with some parts removed (for instance: the reason that you left ;) )

  • let me just dissect “″

    “Unfortunately when power was restored, an error occurred that
    corrupted some of our database information.”
    its not unfortunate, its NORMAL to have corrupted tables after such a shutdown. its entirely predictable and just normal to happen, thats why you take measures against it.

    “The CouchSurfing technical team worked tirelessly to recover as much data as quickly as they could; including some of the Thailand team persisting by candlelight on the street outside of an internet café after it had closed! They were successful in recovering almost 100 percent of the data, except for a small number of changes to accounts made between 1am and 4am Eastern Standard Time on 9 January.”

    great, instead of having done what SHOULD have been done before, that is get a robust database implementation with BASIC functionality, the money is spent for trips to thailand.

    “On 11 January when we were implementing measures to minimise future downtime in the event of database corruption we found further problems in the database. This required taking the website offline again whilst the technical team worked on identifying the cause of the problem. We then fixed the identified issues and carried out the tasks needed to allow quicker recovery of data in the future.”

    you mean “on janaury 11th, when we were doing something that takes less than a day and should have been done right after the “casey fucks up the database and calls it a crash” event”
    of course there are further problems, the whole thing must be a clusterfuck. if it was a DECENTLY COMPETENT team it would be rather simple: power outage-> oh shit, i am the dbms awakening, i notice some things are corrupt, must have been a power outage, oh see these transactions here did not finish, lets just remove them and restore the database to full integrety automatically, tada, the whole shit is working again without human interaction
    oh shit, this must cost 532432$? no, its freeware, but given the lack of expertise in the cs team, i am pretty sure some expert would need to be hired for about the cost of maybe 2500$ to actually get this set up properly. thailand > working (r)dbms

    “An enormous amount of time and energy has been devoted by our technical team members both at the Collective and remotely as they repaired the site, including work continuing on fixing some minor issues still appearing in sections of the site. It is evident we are in very capable hands with the competent skill level this team has displayed these past few days, and we would like to thank them all for their efforts.”

    how about having capable hands, and not just pretending to have them. its evident that noone at cs has a clue on how to run a site of the complexity of, the site has simply outgrown the ability of the staff, who is not able to reflect this accordingly.

    “So what have we learnt from all of this? Data loss is always a possibility when managing a website and the important thing is to be able to recover data as quickly as possible. After the large data loss in 2006 we implemented a robust back-up system, which enabled us to successfully recover our data in the past few days.”

    i learned nothing from this, it reaffirms what i knew:
    data loss is inevietable when morons are at work. the opposite is true when someone with a clue spends about half a day working a site 10x the complexity of cs. you guys need to get off your high horse pretending how cs is reinventing the wheel, its a tiny website that is badly run, in the bigger scheme of things.

    “Now we have now begun to implement procedures to recover data from our back-up system with minimal downtime, but we have identified the need to develop a procedure that takes into account the data loss to downtime ratio. After the initial outage on 9 January we spent a large amount of time recovering data, however in the future it is likely we will make the decision to get the website back online quicker and accept data loss that affects a very small number of members.”

    cool, you have now begun to develop procedures, amazing! have you proceeded past page 10 in the “how to start using windows me!” booklet that came with it, since thats about how the servers seem to run

    “We would like to thank all CouchSurfing members for their patience and understanding these past few days – we are committed to ensuring we continue to build the capacity of the site and will be working on implementing future improvements to prevent similar amounts of downtime.”

    i am a couchsurfing member and impatient with the ignorance and ineptitude shown by the leadership team of the webpage. it seems the only thing you guys are commited to is having holidays.

  • Your reply is both amusing and highly informative, Zak0r. Considered posting it on brainstorm?

  • When I learned of the scope of the crash of June, 2006, just after arriving at the Montreal Collective, knowing nothing as yet about the technical side of CS, my first thought was: this should never have happened. A legitimate explanation would have to involve “a series of unfortunate events”, some extraordinarily unlikely combination of rare events. The “triple storm” scenario provided by Casey was just that.

    In the year that followed, when it was so obvious to everyone that more reliable server management was needed, I became increasingly aware of Casey’s great reluctance to accept qualified help to deal with this situation. I personally offered my assistance, having some professional experience in this area, but Casey did not even respond (as was often the case). This same thing happened to offers of professional help by others.

    After living through numerous mini-crashes and occasional database corruption and lost emails during the following months I volunteered as a CS developer, I realized that the single most important issue of the CS organization (because it very nearly caused the end of CS, and on an ongoing basis affects the safety of members traveling in foreign countries relying on CS) was not being adequately addressed, and the main reason was Casey.

    In the months leading up to the Rotterdam Collective, I made a case that dealing with the server management issue should be the number one priority, and I believe the agenda was adjusted to reflect that.

    I was glad, but when I read the account provided by zak0r above, it seems that nothing has changed since the crash of 2006, and all the problems trace back to Casey, whether because of his own lack of expertise (he is essentially self-taught, with no professional training or educational degrees that I know of), or because of his unresponsiveness to offers of highly competent free assistance, or his outrageous Non-Disclosure Agreement which drove away many committed or potential technical volunteers, or his decision against making the CS software open source.

    The fact that CS is in this position is entirely because Casey feels a sense of entitlement to control CS, and to receive monetary reward for his work. That would be expected in any typical corporation, which sinks or swims on stupidity or genius of those who risk the investment of time or money in the enterprise. But the philosophical concept of CS is essentially about offering something without a catch, a kind of generous pay forward spirit; the actual success of CS has been built more than anything through the efforts of countless volunteers with just this kind of spirit. Casey has not, in his role in CS, exemplified this spirit.

    The second most important thing in CS, in my opinion, is trust, and Casey has not exemplified that virtue either. He mislead me repeatedly, and mislead those former volunteers I worked with. He now appears to have mislead government officials in New Hampshire concerning the status of the CS corporation. I’m not surprised at all, anymore. Now, I view his “triple storm” explanation of the first crash with serious doubt, especially in light of the documented request for help from MySQL about the accidentally issued “DROP DATABASE” command that was explained away as: “that was a test database”, if I remember right.

    Casey is not a bad person, but having repeatedly put his own self-interest ahead of the well-being of community with such a noble spirit has earned him some negative points in the minds of many. Although I did a one time, I no longer think he is the right person to be leading a community of this type. But I don’t see him ever willingly submitting to the will of the CS community, much less make himself accountable to the Community in any way. (My personal summary of my experience in working with Casey is that he does what he wants, when he wants, and communicates about it when he feels like it.) So, for better or worse CS is and probably will be for the foreseeable future, The Casey Fenton Show. That is why I’ve chosen to support, which, though far from perfect, is like a university in comparison to the CS kindergarten in terms of the way it is run.

    The pat-ourselves-on-the-back-for-the-great-job-we’re-doing tone of the newsletter reflects the spin mentality of the LT which always attempts to put themselves in the best light, thus justifying their claims to power and their questionable decisions.

    Example: the highly questionable use of resources to support Collectives around the globe has to be justified in any way possible, even though only a very tiny percentage of the membership benefits from the exotic locales, and all the work could be done remotely/virtually.

    In one of the official reports that came out about the accomplishments of the NZ collective (which were not that impressive considering the huge expenditure of resources over about 6 months) in their desperation to build a case for the viability of the Collective strategy, the listed my contributions (which were substantial) as having been accomplished at the Collective. My contributions were made entirely remotely and cost CS nothing.

    I know there are many others willing to contribute in this way, to the point where Collectives are definitely unnecessary. The same can be said about paid positions. Collectives are, now, essentially, a way for Casey and his hand-picked guests to enjoy a junket at the expense of well-meaning members who contribute money as way to give something back for the generosity they’ve experienced from voluntary hosts, or to pay for the essential costs of running the website. Casey and his friends are quick to help themselves to that money to enjoy an ongoing work(?)-holiday in one country after another.

    In Thailand, they aren’t even pretending to be there to further the proclaimed mission of intercultural understanding (for example, by interacting with the local community as a priority — the report is that they are in fact avoiding attracting the notice of the locals for fear of having their laptops stolen) but they openly admit that the exotic location is a way of rewarding the “volunteers” who are invited there to work. Isn’t that a contradiction? But the concept of giving without expecting a reward is lost on Casey, the self-appointed self-paid leader of a volunteer-based organization.

  • “The CouchSurfing technical team worked tirelessly to recover as much data as quickly as they could; including some of the Thailand team persisting by candlelight on the street outside of an internet café after it had closed!
    we have weston ,ttt,casey and the girls working hard by candle light

  • girls without names

  • Good catch, Margaret. Not to sound like a bra-burner here but only naming the “boys” gives a certain image that I don’t think goes together with what CS is trying to portray itself as. (whether that’s due to not wanting to disclose identities of various hangers-around with no official status at the collective or slightly demeaning attitudes towards the ones who are actually working there)

    Not that this comes as a big surprise considering the past patterns of female participation at collectives and attitudes towards having females running things less trivial than backlog of the contact us questions and spreadsheet compilations.

  • I too didn’t want to appear snarky with my comment…but I’ve noticed a somewhat American frat-boy atmosphere projected by couchsurfing that I’m certain is unintentional…but unflattering and unsophisticated none-the-less.

    Just fyi to please be aware of this image…and not risk alienating the people who are funding the collective.

  • i did not even catch the macho part, great job margaret.
    it fuels my dislike further, it comes across so 14 year old from a bad rapvideo, having the bitches around!
    even worse might be that this aint far from the truth, the gathering intharweb suparheroez on the beach and anonymous women gathering around them, admiring them doing their great deeds. do any of these people ever reflect critically on their own actions?
    what i also notice is that they CONSTANTLY demand a pat on the back for shit they are supposed to do. its your JOB to fix the server, its not SUPPOSED to break in this way in the first way if you did your job properly, now you want credit for fixing your own fuckup?
    give me a break, couchsurfing has really turned into an employment projects for all those buddies who couldnt get that real job done.

  • This made me think (well, what doesn’t…) as we see here, often it may be harder for guys to catch the macho-vibes – it’s just natural, how the world is built anyway, and nothing we can do about it, right? ;)

    CS leadership composed as it is today, it’s natural they might overlook the frat-boy vibe and how it may be alienating for others – it’s not strictly their fault, just what would happen in any mostly male group I guess. But all the more reason to aim for a more balanced and diverse management structure wherever else there’s still hope for that.

  • “…harder for guys to catch the macho-vibes – it’s just natural, how the world is built anyway…”

    “…just what would happen in any mostly male group I guess.”

    No offense intended but you’re talking SHIT, Anu.

    Some guys and some groups of guys for sure, but all guys and all groups of guts – definitely not!

    If that’s your general opinion of men then you’re obviously hanging out with the wrong guys.

    But then…ALL women are overly emotional. Right?

    I am disappointed in your narrow-minded view of men. Not what I would have expected from you, Anu.


  • Humm, okay you definitely caught me with some over-generalizations here. To my defense, it’s the middle of a working day so not the best time and place to craft well-balanced politically correct comments.

    However, what’s said is said so besides the above, I can only say this: no, I don’t really think ALL men are chauvinistic idiots. But having studied and worked in male-dominant field for quite a few years, often it is still hard to be yourself (“girly”, whatever attributes that signifies to each of you) when overwhelming majority of your co-workers and most times your boss too have those extra bits hanging between their legs – more a line in the sand than the iron curtain, but still it’s there. And that this fact of life on my field often makes it’s easier to comply with the prevailing culture than admit and embrace the fact that you’re different and so risking exclusion from the boys’ club.

    Call me a feminist if you will – strangely enough women these days are scared of being stigmatized and labeled as such.

    Apologies for anyone offended, MOST men in MOST situations are perfectly allright :)

  • Hello!! There was no gender bias. I just was too lazy to type the names of the girls who were not on the tech team .
    John Lubotsky Dodie Butler Pinkfish Casey Fenton Mattthew Brauer Weston Hankins Jelena Mair

  • I’ve always considered this american boy’s club image to be unintended…but there it is. Please just be aware…and thank you for the names.

  • @Anu

    I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but women working in a male-dominant profession typically have it much easier than the men. The women I’ve worked with in past seemed to live in a virtual reality their male coworkers simulated for them. Had they been evaluated solely by their skills and abilities like their male colleagues, I don’t think any of them would’ve survived a week in the job.

    You must think of me as “a chauvinistic idiot” by now, but I’ve seen this happen numerous times over the years. If you’ve missed this, you’re either being naive or living inside the matrix. Take the red pill and open your eyes. Believe me, you don’t want to be included in “the boys’ club.”

  • “I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but women working in a male-dominant profession typically have it much easier than the men.”


  • @dave. Right… So to measure up in the boys’ club in a male-dominated field, what exactly is needed?

    If it’s down to mathematical-analytical abilities needed in the tech field (assuming that’s the one we’re mostly referring to here?), I’d like to know if you consider Finnish educational system fair and balanced in the gender issue, and what percentile you need to score in to qualify.

    Or is it down to qualifications (the pieces of paper they grant you at end of study?) – what’s you measuring stick there?

    Professional life? Multi-national corporation, innovative start-up, walking your own way, being a jetset hippie supported by a well-meaning community?

    Something else less measurable by the real world yardsticks? Interest in gadgets, technology, science, whatever it is that a girl couldn’t possibly be interested in? Building up your own computers?

    You see, boys’ club isn’t somewhere I would necessarily want to be in, and can probably never be fully immersed in, but at the very least I should be able to understand it enough to know to push the right buttons to survive the matrix.

  • @zak0r

    Your brilliant argument thoroughly convinced me I’m wrong.


    You must’ve unintentionally misunderstood my comment. Or perhaps in a true feminist fashion you realized I was right and simply decided to twist my words intentionally. ;)

    I didn’t say that women cannot “measure up” in a male-dominant field, I said they have it easier than men. I’ve seen this first hand in software engineering. Let’s say there’s a job opening, where N men and M women apply for the same position (assume N >> M). If we have a male and a female candidate with equal qualifications, the probability for the female candidate to be hired is considerably higher than for the male. Even if the male would’ve been more qualified for the position, it’s still more likely for the female to land the job. I’ve personally seen this happen on both multi-national corporations and startups, if that makes any difference to you.

    If you’re honest for a moment and think about it, there’s a truly simple explanation for this. When a profession is dominated by men, they are typically the ones making the hiring decision. Men prefer female company for obvious reasons, thus they are more likely to hire a woman. If it turns out the woman’s performance isn’t up to par, it’s less likely that her male supervisors or coworkers confront her about the issues. More likely they continue to carry her through by helping her out whenever possible. While a male employee with a similar performance would’ve been fired without further consideration, the woman merely thinks her coworkers are just being nice. Hence the “virtual reality.” The younger and more attractive you are, the more oblivious you are to the real world. Women seem to have immense difficulties accepting this until they’re older and the matrix starts collapsing around them.

    Of course, it seems you’re a young woman at her prime, with superior “mathematical-analytical” abilities, stellar qualifications, and an undying interest in all geeky things, so reality probably doesn’t yet apply to you. Tell me, do your male coworkers often seek your advice on their tasks, or do they instead offer to help on yours?

  • “Ummphhhf!

    Our site is currently offline as we fix problems that occurred from the power outage at our server hosting site on 9 January 2008.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are working hard to resolve these issues.”

    wow, the beach boys at work i assume. 1990ies database power, yippie.
    one has to wonder when cs goes the hc route, alot of registered users but little to no activity. currently, everything seems to point that it will happen aswell. hc is a failed and now hasbeen project for two reasons: a) website issues due to volunteers being annoyed with veit and b) community issues due to lack of leadership
    oh the similarities, it is almost comical.

  • @dave: I have a strongly differing view. I don’t believe that women are given an easier time in the workplace, technical or otherwise.

    I believe the experience of men and women in the workplace is different, but I don’t accept that you can call one “easier” than the other. They are different. For all the (alleged) advantages you speak of, women are also subjected to substantially more sexual harassment, and so on and so forth. It could be argued back and forth all day.

    I believe they are different, and can’t be called “easier” or “harder”.

  • @dave. Probably further points tonight, just this:

    So in fact it WOULD be necessary for a woman to be 100kg androgyne blob or be 40 years old so that it would be guaranteed your looks don’t lure the guys into unfairly helping you out or god forbid giving you a job?

    Exactly the point I was trying to make somewhere above: women in tech might need to compromise expressing aspects of their personality in order to be taken seriously. Such as looking decent to the rest of the world besides the nerd-army at the workplace whose idea of dressing up is changing your shirt more often than twice a week, and having conversations covering more ground than C++ pointer semantics and excitement over the latest Linux kernel version, with occasional touch upon the latest driving/home theater/whatever gear.

  • Posted by OH DONNA from Chico, United States (Permalink)
    Hello Margaret, Lei, Birgit and others here,

    I would like to let dispel your thoughts about the collective members using donation/ verification money for partying. I can assure you that the money being used at the collective has been for travel, rent, visas, office supplies and meals. Being a participant of 2 collectives and a contracted bookkeeper, I keep a very close eye on where the funds are spent.

    All members attending any collective will party on their own money “if” they party at all. And just because collective members are shown enjoying some beautiful weather on the beach at night time, does not necessarily mean they are partying. Working and living at a collective is very intense and members usually take the weekends to enjoy themselves and unwind. I can tell you from experience that the members I know there do not party like frat boys, and that they are serious hard working volunteers.

    I feel that any insinuation or judgment personally made about what any individual “thinks” feeds a fire of mistrust and in general leads to a lot of gossip. So please before you pass your opinions try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes who is on a serious quest to make CS a better place….or maybe just email someone over there and ask them how they are spending their time. Just remember what happens when assumptions are made before you know the facts.

    Please email me personally with any concerns..

    (funny even Donna has NO news of what is happening at the collective)

    Money is used for travel, (snorlkeling at the beach,walking down the cat walk )
    rent,(at the costliest place ?)
    visas, (for people who do not contribute to couchsurfing ?)
    office supplies (hummm :) )
    and meals.

  • CS Collective Portraits

    me telling you something (is really interesting)

  • 12 days later……


    Surely…they’re just having a laugh!


    Douglas Deleu, Belgium – Douglas has a master in Multimedia & Virtual Reality and has been doing freelance work around the world. He’s an expert in multimedia and has good knowledge of Web 2.0. He’ll be here to bring even more front end technical UI upgrades!
    Whiiiihaaaaaaa PAI IS THE MAX!

    Geen tijd om veel te bloggen. No time for a lot to blogging. Veel te veel werk en veel te veel plezier in Pai. Far too much work and too much fun in Pai.

    In the water hugging the best minds 2 girls me and give me a big kiss on the cheek and proclaim “WELCOME TO THAILAND, BABY!”.

    Niet slecht voor een eerste dag denk ik bij mezelf uitkijkend naar de komede dagen Not bad for a first day I thought to myself looking out into the komede day

  • Today
    Casey Fenton moderator Tech 10/30/07
    MANDIE M Communications 10/30/07
    Shelley Meabon moderator House Manager 10/30/07
    Andy Sanderson Tech 10/30/07
    the rachel Member Disputes & Safety 10/30/07
    Jim Stone moderator Volunteer Coordinator checking in, helping out 10/30/07
    ALL logged into the csc-t public group .
    And none of them shared any information with cs
    There were 2 posts made on the csc-t private group ONLY. Guess they are SCARED of something .

  • by the end of this Collective, most of what we have done here will be invisible to most members.

  • cost of the collective house in phuket

    price 9,300,000 Thai Bath. :)

  • I really like the communication bottleneck on couchsurfing .

    The message on Jan 27th 2008 still blames the power outage at the hosting site !!


    Our site is currently offline as we fix problems that occurred from the power outage at our server hosting site on 9 January 2008.

  • Three cheers of D :)

    Now this is what i call a much more open and clear message .
    Hello CouchSurfer,

    The Tech Team is currently upgrading some database tables. This means that the website will be down for a few minutes. Please check back again soon.

    The CS Tech Team

  • That was not a thing that *I* brought in ;)

    We’re moving some data over databaseservers. Splitting up essential and non-essential stuff basically :)

  • Crashed again!??

    Not even an “Ummphhhf!!!!” this time. Just a generic white “503 Servers Unavailable” page.

    Bring back the Ummphhhf!

    Hope that Thai cafe has re-stocked the candles – hate for them to miss another photo-op.

Comments are currently closed.