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Hidden CS features: stealthing members

There is a hidden feature in CS, about what few people know.

No official documentation, except this page:

When a member get “stealthed” he can’t be found with the CouchSearch but just trough friend links or group links.

If he writes a message, it goes nowehere and it’s never received by its recipient.
Sometimes all his outgoing messages are completely removed.

If someone writes him a message, he doesn’t receive it.

Seems a “nice” way to deactivate an user without deleting it.
Of course the user is not notified at all of the decision taken about him.
It’s always the “polite” American culture, like in facebook, notifying a friend add but not a friend removal.

It doesn’t seem a very transparent feature of CS.
It’s a quite funny feature too, once there were two guys (a guest and a host), both logged in CouchSurfing on two different computers in the host’s house and one was able to find the other’s profile but not vice-versa. :) )

Overall, seems that there is not a clear process of who, how and for what should be stealthed.
I doubt it is ruled by “CS safety team” by personal evaluations, prone to prejudices and nepotism.

And, in my opinion, not a good service to the CS community, “hiding” members.

Did anyone know something more about it?

A good day!


7 Responses to “Hidden CS features: stealthing members”

  • It happens automatically, I believe, when a user is sending a lot of messages in a short time. Once it happened to a friend of mine who was new to the network/ system.

    When I found out I was not receiving his e-mails I got really upset actually, and started e-mailing some people to fix this. I thought at first it was a bug. Then I learned he was blocked. After sending quite some e-mails he finally got unstealthed and now he is a very active member in CS community in Istanbul.

    I already wrote some people (mainly admins) back then (two years ago) that if they want to keep this ‘feature’, they should let people make aware of it… It is pretty ridiculous that you are not even notified of this. It is also just another example of the lack of transparency to the users and the network as a whole.

    Thanks for bringing this up!

  • When I first came across this “feature” it got me quite upset. Even a friend of Casey, a guy who created a small infomercial-type video about CS was stealthed after he sent out many messages that were “marked as spam”.

    Jim used to spend many hours unstealthing people. This became slightly better after the code became easier to understood so he was able to make the process easier for himself.

    But well, when we started this website the stealthing was only one of the minor worries.

  • I found some profiles deleted randomly

    Thomas♥ ♥Gosewinkel♥(why?)
    fiona Zhou((why?)
    Maged(he is deserve it)

    but, this one still there, she have posted a lot ads for her apt
    Su Meng

    my concern is, do we have a delete profile process regard member’s profile ?
    this time are them(the above three guys) turn
    next is your turn or my turn ?

    my suggestion for delete profile process is
    First step
    warning(from internal email or ambassdor or both)
    the member make clarification, if failed, then go

    second step
    and dispute team kick in

    third step
    resume profile to normal status or delete file

    What is yours opinion?

  • There are a lot more of deleted member’s profiles.
    It deserves a new post about this, not just here where we talk about stealthing.

    You advice as a second step stealthing.
    But stealthing is ALTERNATIVE to deletion. A stealthed member can’t write/receive messages/CouchRequests to/from other members.
    He can just write in the Groups.

    As far as we know, there isn’t any controlled stealthing or deletion process. All is in the powerful fingers of the MDST (Member Disputes and Safety Team).
    You are right, next time is your or my turn. For whatever reason, even something you didn’t think was harmful at all. Or any simple mistake. And you won’t be notified before. Furthermore you won’t be granted any possibility to give your version of the facts or, even if you dare to write them back, you won’t be listened at all.

    I’d probably open two new topics here on this blog, one about if stealthing and deleting profiles is overall good or bad, the other about how a “controlled process” of limiting deviant members should/could be and how it is now.

  • Just in the last days the CS Wiki page at was blanked out.
    No page history, nothing. Just a blank page.

    So, here is the original content, retrieved from Google cache:

    From the CouchSurfing Wiki, an informal workspace which anyone can edit.

    There needs to be more information about stealthing members. We need to develop a way to deal with this.

    * Information to “spammers”, check freeloaders
    * Improve the coding
    * A log on a user’s profile, for admins

    Apparently there is almost nothing about stealth on Only one thread, that’s only available from Google’ cache.
    Problems with the current system

    * It is unclear who is stealthed
    * Users who are stealthed are unaware of this
    * There are no statistics on stealthed users
    * There is no information available at all

    Information needed

    * How many users are stealthed?
    * What is the average spam coming in?
    * How many ordinary users are stealthed?

    Possible solutions

    * Information page on how Stealthing operates
    * Automatic e-mail send to user when stealthed
    * A possibility to object against that decision

  • It is interesting who things disappear after being posted here…

    Just signed up at…unfortunately it seems a bit empty (& very HC-like…?)…

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