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Channeling our energy

This site has become very active. There are a lot of people spending time and energy here. I would like to propose that we begin to channel that energy into proactive, positive action.

I think the first step is to identify areas or projects which can make a positive difference to CouchSurfing. A great example is the recent idea to create elected ambassadors. I think that was a great idea, and if it takes off, will make a really big impact on CouchSurfing.

I have more thoughts to share on that, but I will share those in a new post. I’d like to keep the focus of this post simple. What can we do to make a positive difference? Please share your thoughts, as a comment here, or as a whole new post. If you have any trouble creating a post, contact myself, Kasper, Anu or Thomas.

Let the brainstorming roll… :)

24 Responses to “Channeling our energy”

  • It is a good idea to channel that energy into proactive, positive action. I am happy that now, finally, it comes up here more and more. But what about stepping one step back and look on a much wider frame and channel the energy into action that benefit all Hospitality Exchange Networks (HC, BW, Servas, CS, …)? There are several Hospitality Exchange Networks and they all have their own goals and advantages, but also disadvantages… they all attract the same, but also different kinds of person and when one network goes mad, just vote with your feet. I am still happy that there is such a diversity out there and I still belief that all the networks together can change more than one alone. Why are you still so sucked up by the CouchSurfing magic?

  • I suggest we get the discussions better organised and more it to with opensocial this can really take the cause to the next level.

  • Why are you still so sucked up by the CouchSurfing magic?

    Adia is right! Most if not ALL the present social networks are failed causes.None will ever reach their full potential and when they do they have passed their usefulness as the world has moved on to 10.0 :)

  • the problem is with subforums on ning so there can be many categories but no subforums (unless you figure it out ) or get the premium service and modify the code. I think hospitalityexchange would be great to discuss all the networks .But there would need to be an opencouchsurfing one to accomodate all the topics.

  • The only problem at was you had brought in promi as a moderator and i do not know who can see ips on your forum.

    If you can make a category and many sub categories on your forum it might work. but i still feel the forum software needs to be upgraded. :)

  • I don’t if it is a problem that Konstantinos, now a member of the CouchSurfing Leadership team, was open and supported the idea to build HospitalityGuide. I still do not see (and not like) a ‘we’ vs. ‘them’ attitude and the attempts to use it as an ideology, in order to split the parties even more, without really trying to unite them again.

    Daz, I know that you would like see more categories, a updated forum software and many other things. As I said, I am very happy to do all this, but I welcome some action first. There are too many words and too little behind when it comes to concrete actions.

  • sounds like a nice alternative :)

  • Sure adia . Just let me know what you need. I owe hospitalityguide a lot as that was the place which opened my eyes (guaka’s posts on viet)

  • elected people suck ass, it starts the usual bullshit circle that we see now: people with no life outside of cs and who happen to be nice but incompetent losers get elected all over the places due to their lack of outside of cs perspective and alternative.
    quite frankly, a more diverse approach in volunteers and network hubs is what makes social networks sustainable.

  • Why not focus on providing a genuine source of information for all CS users? Make a searchable database (bug tracker style?) of all debates, requested changes and features (eg: all the references, language levels debates, spell checker debates, etc). Make a structured compilation (Wiki style?) of information people are asking for (eg: who’s on the board, where does the money go, who’s responsible for xyz, etc). Linking back to what’s on the CS web site. Sharing what we find out individually from CUQ. Participating in debates on CS by linking to the information compiled here. In other words: do what a real CS brainstorm group plus a real CS Wiki SHOULD be doing. Establish a useable, beneficial service for CS members on the OCS web site, and the weight of criticism expressed here will increase!

  • Personally i am about to turn my attention to global projects that will matter. For that reason i am still very interested in things like ‘Lessons learned from the CS Disaster’ (anyone wanna help put those together??) and especially intercultural communications, which i see as a huge and necessary topic to ‘make a difference’.

    We’ve all seen the loss of potential that results from lack of communications coupled to drive for power.. anyone interested in following through thinking about implications of that, on larger scales? CS is a microcosm of the world, after all.

    Pickwick – your idea is a great one, for those who have the stamina. I think mine for CS, is about gone. I can’t volunteer or i legitimize a system structure i thoroughly disagree with, and there is only so much i can do by pointing to things like flaws in the security systems, without referring to specific cases and naming names. Plus i think it will simply take failure of their systems to allow the LT to understand the implications of what they have set up and how CS is structured. I’m also gonna let go of the ‘Cassandra’ -ness i’ve been holding. Enough of that, creating is more fun!

    For me, criticism of CS has been useful, i’ve learned a lot just engaging in dialogue – but now it’s time to build some of the useful things the world needs. I and others can see a lot of them, and CS is not going to get us there (IMHO!). Meanwhile other plans are well-advanced and need real attention.. so.. except for winding up a few things on CS (debating about that ;) ), i think i’m done :) .

    Always up for interesting discussion/analysis, though!

  • let us know what projects you’re participating in Valerie:) I’ll help in the poly-cultural communication (since my spell check wouldn’t allow intercultural…hmmm)in any way. Keep us posted on whatever interesting projects you find.

  • sheesh, as if integrating the current, working wordpress blog into some freeware cms was any problem.
    adia, its laughable how you continue plugging your content-less sites into about every debate in more or less obvious ways.

  • I agree with Valeri. I won’t support CS in any way while Casey Fenton dominates it. But I am for supporting the hospitality community by:

    1. Warning potential CS volunteers.
    2. Warning general members about safety issues (as Valeri has been doing so diligently).
    3. Warning other hospex networks about the CS management. (I have already warned BW/BV).
    4. Warning potential donors, including charitable foundations that may be solicited to fund CS.
    5. Supporting alternatives to CS.

    The blog as it is now is difficult to extract information from, especially for new visitors, and the wiki is somewhat neglected. Besides taking care of this, and providing a good forum for more organized discussion and working groups, one worthwhile project might be to write an article for a major publication to offset the CS PR which has so much spin it makes me dizzy. I like Valerie’s relatively positive approach of “lessons learned from the CS disaster”.

    I’ve felt an obligation to tell my CS story since I was in a unique position: both present at the time of crash and also later a core developer. Over the course of a year, I’ve told nearly all the stories I have to tell, so, like Valeri, I want to take the lessons I’ve learned and the great connections I’ve made and help create something like what CS could have been, but perhaps on a more global scale.

    I’d like to see OCS continue to be an independent information clearinghouse and possibly even take on additional roles in support of the hospitality community. Projects along these lines might be hosting local elections, having a cultural dos and don’ts database or keeping a database of known, confirmed criminals who have exploited the community.

  • John:
    >>Projects along these lines might be (1)hosting local elections,
    (2)having a cultural dos and don’ts database or
    (3)keeping a database of known, confirmed criminals who have exploited the community.

    Wow, these are really good ideas. I especially like 2 and 3 as they are providing a global service that extends far beyond CS. Local elections.. i’m still dubious regarding the popularity-contest aspect of things, but presumably those interested in that would figure that stuff out.

    I must admit, I’m still quite challenged to figure out the ‘system’ aspects of checks and balances that would truly work. For instance, when someone is up for ambassador, as someone brought up somewhere, allow an ‘open for support or objections on this person’ as a check. But that’s mere wondering :)

    One additional suggestion: how about a history of CS? it could be in the wiki and flagged somehow, to explain about CS, how this site arose, and how it’s not all bitching ;) . Context is good… and since it’s a wiki, you could even invite the LT and others to contribute ‘their’ sides. Would make for some interesting reading!

  • Valeri,

    I agree that there are pitfalls to elections. They would only make sense if there are legitimate reasons for the existence of a local leader or executive.

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, elections for CS ambassadors doesn’t make sense to me, since CS ambassadors represent the CS corporation to local communities and normally such functional roles are not elected but rather appointed.

    More generally speaking, I’d like to see infrastructure support that encourages more local autonomy or self-determination, including, if a community so desires, the election of a local executive independent of any of the hospex networks. It would be up to each local community whether they want to formally organize enough to justify a non-ceremonial executive position, or a ceremonial position, for that matter.

    Indeed, this kind of thing was among my long-term goals as a developer for CS. The first step was the polling system I integrated into the CS group structure. The next step would have been a decentralized communication network which would function both to disseminate information and to support activism. It would have functioned at the group level (which would also be the local level for those groups corresponding to local communities) while also providing global connectivity.

    I was a big proponent of the decentralization aspect of CS 2.0. In nature, complex systems naturally self-organize into interconnected sub-systems (such as organs in a body). The organs (or local communities) have a high degree of internal communication relative to external communication with other organs. A corresponding political model might be the city-states of ancient Greece which had diplomatic and trade relationships between them.

    Who better knows the cultural issues, the proper behavior for a guest in someone’s home, gender issues, safety issues, etc. than the members of a local community? Who better can vouch for one another and develop a local trust network than people who meet one another regularly over a long period? Who is in the best position to organize local meetings and events?

    Communities that developed these areas could then interact with other such communities: establishing mutual trust levels, engaging in joint exchanges or projects, etc.

    This could all grow organically without much central control. The role of CS would have been mostly to provide infrastructure and to set some standards, to be a global nervous system. But that role can now pass to another initiative.

  • By the way, Valeri,

    I want to thank you for you post in the Brainstorm group.

    First, I didn’t realize how much you were involved in the crash recovery and therefore in a position to experience that very special spirit the Community had. Not unlike the support that poured into the US from the rest of the world right after 9/11. (And the squandering of that support was also similar). But I don’t think anyone has captured the feeling so well in words before, and the ensuing slow heartbreak over time. I’m very glad your statement is on the record. You spoke for me as well.

  • I also like the decentralization trend and see it happening in places where the ambassadors are not very active or influential…ie: my area here in DC and in Hamburg, as Midsch has pointed out in another thread. I can say that, at least here, no one knows any of the CS leaders and they don’t care about the politics of the site. A handful of active users organize meet-ups themselves using the city group as a message board…they dont’ even use the ‘meetings’ feature. I’ve met and like most of these people…they’re on the site for the connections and not the popularity contest. Given the nature of the DC area, they’re also natural activists:)
    I’d also support a searchable database of known felons who have a CS profile.

  • @zak0r
    You are welcome to fill it with content… I empathize since quite some time to put there information in a constructive way together. I am happy when it happens there or somewhere else, therefore I am happy to mention the page over and over again. The rest to this topic is stated in my post above…

    @Valeri, Pickwick, matrixpoint, Margaret.
    Make a start, others will follow.

  • I just channeled some energy into translating some stuff on BeWelcome into Dutch.

    It’s interesting to see how people found out about BeWelcome. I think it’s important to keep on non-violently communicating BeWelcome in the CS groups now and then. This can even be in very short blurbs.

  • Relevant to the discussion on decentralization and previous discussions on open source:

    If Richard Branson, Larry Page and Sergey Brinn have their way, Mars will be an “open source planet”.

    “…we see Virgle as a decidedly for-profit venture that will develop most efficiently via decentralized models of effort, authority and reward. If the first economic revolution was agricultural, the second industrial and the third digital, the fourth will be Open Source — the birthing of a planetary civilization whose development is driven by the unbound human imagination.”

    “On Mars, the gardens we plant, the habs we build, the networks we lay, the societal structures we improvise -– all will be radically decentralized, non-hierarchical and, you know, perfect and cool and groundbreaking and innovative in every way…”

    Applications for Mars colonists now being accepted. LT members need not apply, since they are decidedly anti-open-source and anti-decentralization.

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