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Project “Reuniting the Community”

A lot of the stuff BW is based on (money, texts, layout – see above) was taken away from HC and HC volunteers who worked on it for a long time without their permission. We will try to bring this stuff home and reunite the community. Since BW advertises having a “democratic” setup we will happily work together with them using this framework for the best of the community in our reunification efforts. And you can help us! Here’s how Project “Reuniting the Community” works:

Texts and code are copied, not taken away.    And above all, they should be copied if people want to copy them.
Money can’t be taken away from a non-existing organization.
I love the idea of reuniting the Community.

Phase 1: Right now, we are encouraging active HC volunteers to join BeVolunteer as “members”. BV currently has 45 members (see the irony of calling a network run by 45 people “democratic”?), a few of them are absolutely dedicated to HC. You have to jump through a few loops to be accepted by their “Board of directors” as a member, but the fun should be worth it. Basically, you just have to be an “active volunteer”, so just edit around the wiki a bit, join some of the many many discussions in their Forums, or translate a few sentences. Once you are a member, just let us know. We will reimburse you for any “membership fees” you have to pay to BV once the project has succeeded.

There are no membership fees, not even to become a member of the BoD.
Democracy is not a black and white question, but to me it’s a network ran by a single person is the least ideal form (i.e. HC).

Phase 2: We will make sure that HC-friendly people are elected to BV’s “Board of Directors” – the 9 people running the show (kind of interesting model of democracy). They could start making sure that links back to HC are added, and BW as organization stops its aggressive attacks on HC.

People’s profiles (like mine) are deleted for links from HC to BW…

Phase 3: The final step will be to reintegrate BW into HC, a simple “General Assembly” decision will be enough for that. Since both will be based on open-source software then, it won’t be too big of a problem. We might even continue to use their officially registered French NGO as the HC-NGO in France. And all will be good :-)
Sounds like fun? Then help us, or get in touch if you need more info and encouragement!

Great, finally an official organization for Hospitality Club!

See for a 1 page overview of the issues with HC.

21 Responses to “Project “Reuniting the Community””

  • Thanks for the details Kasper. It’s an interesting idea, the clear and open intention to take over control of an organisation.

    I think Veit makes one flawed assumption though. He seems to assume that by having “his” people elected, he will somehow gain control of BeWelcome. Individuals are elected to BeVolunteer positions based on their individual merits. I think it’s unlikely that anyone who stands for election “to serve Veit” will be well received by the membership.

  • I wonder who is these “HC-friendly” people.. I can think of 3 names. If there are any more, they are usually not very talkative in public. Maybe they don’t care enough?

  • I think if Veit honestly wants to restore the credibility of HC, one very important thing should be to get some credible supporters, who are not shy of public discussions.

  • Christopher Culver

    I doubt that the credibility of HC has ever been really threatened, outside of occasional unhappiness about server reliability or web design. Traveling through hospitality networks, most of the people I meet don’t care about leadership issues, and are sometimes aghast that places like exist.

    FWIW, I fully support Veit in his authoritarian model. I just wish that the authoritarian figure here would pay more attention to site design (and no, the material which made it into BW doesn’t look much better).

  • Most people drive cars.

    Most people watch TV.

    Most people eat crap at McDonald’s.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    The basic premise of hospitality exchange is sharing. The potential of these networks can never be realized as long as they are controlled by people who don’t want to share.

  • Christopher Culver

    FWIW, the potential that I saw in Couchsurfing (less so in HC) was limited precisely because of people hooked on leadership issues. The most amazing people I’ve met through the site don’t really care about who is in charge, and bringing up politics is just going to drive them away because politics has little place in a leisure network.

  • There is no such thing like non-political life. Ignoring the fact or trying to “keep politics out” is part of the problem as it is keeping people dumb and preserve top-to-down structures. Or vice versa: If raising awareness and public discussions are considered as disturbing or even “dangerous” it’s a sign for a non-free structure. You may not believe in personal freedom for all, I do.

  • Christopher Culver

    midsch, it is because I believe in personal freedom that I support the current leadership structure. A great deal of the attacks on the leadership team here have been based on people’s dislike of their lifestyles. If CS were to open up precisely to those people here who want to have their say, then the traditional demographic of CS–clued up young people of leisure who want to see the world and have a good time–would quickly find itself unwelcome in their own organization.

  • “leaving politics aside” is in itself already political; a very smart way of keeping discussions controled and preserving status-quo and to control the changes into directions those in control want them to go.

    Apart form that, it is a whole discussion whether user-input or even grass-roots governed communities are more beneficial to users self. A moral argument: I believe it does, as there is nothing in the world more humane than having the power to control ourselves the processes that control us. A pragmatic argument: inclusive systems generate more ideas, higher commitment, better features, more common identity, more space for individual entrepreneurship.

    A great deal of the attacks on the leadership team here have been based on people’s dislike of their lifestyles
    It is how the leadership does things, not how they live their life, which is what is being debated. Instead, it is their style of work, their style of keeping things under their control.

  • Christopher Culver

    Robino, in that case, why the use of terms like “Burning Man buddies” in a pejorative sense, or the slurs against Casey’s sexual life?

  • Christopher for you again: there is no such thing like _THE_ openCS. The diversity is wanted here and missed at CS. Although I admit there have been a lot of unnecessary posts and comments here with really stupid arguments and sometimes very personal attacks, you still can’t make things that easy. But: while lifestyle or sexual life at first is a private matter and not related to a job/title/responsibility it still could interfere. Simple example: the catholic church won’t make a gay activist their next pope.

    Furthermore if a private life or not-cs-job-related life eats up your time and power, you’re maybe not qualified to do the cs-job (anymore). BTW: would be nice to define/describe jobs before hiring people and introduce some kind of controlling (not persons – tasks & jobs!).

    >because I believe in personal freedom that
    >I support the current leadership structure

    Sorry, but this is simply a paradox. Even if you think, it’s a wise personal free choice to give away power to someone else, it’s still giving up personal freedom. More worse in CS as you’ve no possibility to control, change or regain power.

  • Christopher Culver: “I believe in personal freedom”

    You also believe in hosting. And generosity. And hospitality. As long as it’s someone else giving it to you.

    If you can say the above, and at the same time:

    “I fully support Veit in his authoritarian model”

    then you’re not doing much for my confidence in your logic.

    For me, you’re just a small autistic, passive-aggressive leech with a big attitude. Pardon me for being frank, but this is actually quite kind compared to what I could say, because I’ve heard SO much about you since you first beeped on my radar.

    As far as ridiculing Casey’s sex life goes: anyone who calls women ‘chicks’ doesn’t need a satire to be ridiculed; a documentary suffices. Do you want me to go into his recreational chemical habits as well? Given the existing facts, you have absolutely NO IDEA how incredibly kind all the people are who feel betrayed by Casey & Friends. Considering the dirt they COULD dish out, considering how they could have UTTERLY ridiculed him after the so-called “crash”, which was an incompetent brat causing a major melt-down. The whole CS v2 and Montreal Collective was incredibly keen on allowing Casey to save face, whilst rebuilding CS as a community-based organisation. How did he thank everybody? The brat has absolutely no idea how lucky he is not to have been completely extinguished, by people who have everything he doesn’t.

    One of his major problems, however, are his apologists, with you as good example. Who needs enemies, with friends like you? If it wasn’t for his apologist attack poodle followers, Casey might actually cut a much better figure.

  • Christopher Culver

    “You also believe in hosting. And generosity. And hospitality. As long as it’s someone else giving it to you.”

    Says the guy who hosts suspiciously little. Keep trying to downplay the fact that you like to talk big about community but strictly limit your guests to a tiny minority of requests, to the point where a fairly boring student with an uncomfortable apartment in a little-touristed city could manage to host many times more than you.

    “As far as ridiculing Casey’s sex life goes: anyone who calls women ‘chicks’ doesn’t need a satire to be ridiculed”

    I could name a great many CS members with adoring fans and dozens of positive references here who have spoken such words.

    “Do you want me to go into his recreational chemical habits as well?”

    Again, a large amount, even the majority in my experience, of the active CS membership uses drugs, to the point where I sometimes feel quite out of the loop since I don’t.

    For someone obsessed with community, Norbert, you seem insistent on creating rules of behaviour on CS that would exclude those very members who are nearly universally considered remarkable people and models for us all. But since you apparently missed out on all the possibilities that some of the young people of the world are now experience, I suppose you prefer that the only people left on CS would be those validating your own life choices.

    I realize that, as someone who has chosen a life in academia and who has to return to a certain place for exams, I’m missing incredible things while the CS core is endlessly mobile, discovering new opportunities (and making a huge amount of money and friends) and experiencing an unprecendented feeling of togetherness. But at least I acknowledge the weakness of my own position in this instead of claiming that they are all wrong and I, with my humdrum life, am right.

  • Christopher: “Says the guy who hosts suspiciously little.”

    Glad you agree that this is personal. Justifies me to say:

    How on earth do YOU know how much I host? How do YOU know how many friends are staying with me, outside of Couchsurfing? For weeks and months at a time? Have you even counted my CS references alone, giving an indication of the minimum of my hosting on CS? And taken into account that I am one of those people you ‘admire’, a man of leisure, chosing not to be tied into a 9 to 5 job, spending a lot of his time elsewhere, on average at least one week a month? Someone who maintains an appartment with two double guest bedrooms, plus couches, in the centre of a major European city? Who emails every charity he belongs to with an accommodation offer when they have an event here? Who has a fair stock of fair wine to offer to guests? The irony of the whole thing, Christopher, is that the whole time I am almost perfectly that perfect host that you are trying to put up as a model, but you couldn’t be further away from being the model guest anybody would want. I’ve been perfectly aware of that all the time we’ve had our squabbles, and I, and all of my friends, have had SUCH a good laugh about it!

    You, Christopher Culver, are not worthy to tie the shoe laces of my house keeper, who takes great pride in being part of my Couchsurfing, and other hospitality, making my guests as comfortable as possible. She just looked at your ‘contributions’ and gagged. I totally respect her judgment.

    You know NOTHING about me. I know EVERYTHING about you that needs to be known. Yikes! You are as fake as fake can be. Don’t try to piddle against my leg. It’s you who’s smelling badly.

  • Pickwick: +1
    Christopher Culver: Über-Pwned

  • pickwick, sorry mate but you got it wrong here.
    you are certainly on spot with his culverness, but miss the most important point:
    you present reasoning and logical trains of thoughts to him. its fruitless and a waste of time, he will always win because he a member of team jesus where reason and sanity are not a valid denomination and victory defaults with fairy tale nutters.

  • Zakor: I don’t take his Christianity that seriously. For me it just seems like another meal ticket to worm his way into Orthodox homes.

  • isnt that the point of religion? to weasel yourself into some reasoning that benefits you?

  • Transforming it directly into bed & breakfast just seems such a pure art form. That way it’s almost like a credit card.

  • Children, children! Hush!

    First of all: I understood this thread to be about Hospitalityclub, not about Couchsurfing.

    Second of all: his unpleasant personality and lack of logic aside, I find myself not altogether disagreeing with Christopher. Personally, I couldn’t be bothered with the question which leadership structure is better. I would prefer some sort of democracy, but I am sympathetic to the many observations that have been made here and in CS on the cons of such a system.

    However, I DO want communication about such issues to be clear; if HC or CS is to be a dictatorship, I’d like Veit and Casey to be frank about it, and not cover everything with an icky sauce of idealism and togetherness which is just a plain lie.

    I also want the rules of the game to be clear. If users cannot influence policies they don’t like (other than by leaving), the very least they are entitled to is to be absolutely clear what can be expected of the people in charge.

  • Yes, Niels, I know: Respeck!

    I also don’t find myself not altogether disagreeing with him that it’s nicer to live a life of leisure than to have a dreary job to go to every day. That doesn’t mean I glorify those who manage the former by leeching off the latter.

    In the same way, there’s a difference between coming to terms with political realities, and focussing on the importnat issues, as opposed to expressing admiration for a regime that blatantly disregards the law, and deceives the community.

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