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Brainstorm group is frozen

The “Brainstorm” group is famous for being a place to discuss new features and policies on . It is now frozen. You can’t post or reply (but it is still readable).


Until the 2006 crash, Brainstorm was a place where the users and the admins could discuss about new features and on how to implement them. Following the crash, all admins stopped replying.

The group keeped the Brainstorming action but a growing ressentment at the silence from the admins lead to many reactionary threads. The ideas matured there never found their way up to the top of the pyramid. The unmoderated group grew more and more filled with aggressivity.

In late 2008, an active moderator was appointed (the founder of the group never actually posted). It sanitized the atmosphere a bit.

Then it goes rather fast. According to the system clock:

3 June 2009 – 3:17 pm, user “Julien” posts a topic about stopping all brainstorming because it was wasted energy, and renaming the group “The revolutionary faction of CouchSurfing”.

3 June 2009 – 4:57 pm, user “Marcus Elder“, the founder of the group, post a topic on what kind of group he meant “Brainstorm” to be.

6 June 2009 – 11:30 am, user “valeri“, the active moderator, resigns from her function

About the same time (but it must have been later), user “Marcus Elder“, the founder of the group, post a topic saying that the group is frozen.

It is now impossible to post or to reply to the Brainstorm group.

Context: this happens one week before the “Vienna calling” event that is meant to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the registration of the domain name “”. A thread started by user “Julien” on 4 June 2009 – 6:57 pm was collecting questions from the group that he was going to ask the founders of the website if he got the chance, as he is going to the Vienna calling event.

My personal comment: Something evil this way comes.

17 Responses to “Brainstorm group is frozen”

  • f*** that. sounds unreal.

  • Let’s not turn this into a conspiracy: even though I don’t know Marcus personally, I have a hard time believing that he withdrew general posting permission because the ‘leadership’ asked him to.

    I’d sooner believe he did so out of frustration what ‘his’ group had become. And I cannot really blame him: since about 2,5 months, the tone of posting has become incredibly aggressive.

    Let’s hope that this temporary freeze causes all malicious forces on the group to loose interest, so that the others can resume brainstorming after that. God knows CS needs it. Badly.

  • Niels is right. There has been no LT involvement, and Marcus and Valeri were tired of the continuous trolling from a bunch of people.
    I believe that a short pause should be of benefit for the group, and the fact that Marcus did not post much in it doesn’t mean he was not moderating it.

  • Can anyone blame Marcus for shutting down Brainstorming? It’s pretty clear that the group hasn’t been useful for a good three years, being taken over by forces who constantly dump rubbish on the Leadership Team and demand they completely change their lives to placate some vocal but completely unrepresentative members of the community.

    Then there’s the recent issue of Tim. He seems obsessed with CS, but he doesn’t seem to have actually used it beyond a couple of local meetings in Barcelona. His posting so far has been a predictable cycle: empty promises of action, and then when people hold him to those, he claims that he has already dedicated too much time to the site and has to take a break. With his neurotic posting and his allusion to homelessness, I suspect he’s got some mental issues and will simply drain any productive spirit from CS fora, so again, no wonder Marcus shut it down for a bit.

  • There is absolutely no excuse for shutting down Brainstorming. If individual members were causing problems, action should have been taken against them individually, rather than shutting down the entire group without warning and taking away everyone’s right to free speech.

    And contrary to what Flavio says above, Marcus has shown no interest in moderating the group for at least a year. He took no action during any of the previous problems requiring moderation : everything was left to Valerie – making this precipitate shutdown even more indefensible.

  • I like Marcus. I don’t care if he shut Brainstorm down; he is the founder and can do as he likes. I support him.

    “No Surprises”, who is too wimpy to post his real name, can say that Marcus was justified in doing so because of posts being ‘critical’ in nature. I think those types of negative posts will simply pop up elsewhere: amb public, indep women, etc…you can stamp out the expression, but not the motivation to improve CS.

    Criticism is creative and useful if recognized as such…it’s actually the most positive form of love and expression. The main gripe I have of CS is that the leadership, who are always promoting yay-hugs-smiley-face positivity, refuse to see criticism in a positive light: which it *always* is.

    People who don’t care and who don’t give a shit and who parasitize CS don’t post anything or only post hooray for us lazy-thinking…they are users who want easy access and quick popularity. Beware BIG-HUG sunshine thoughts; people who are invested and care post criticism…because it involves risk to themselves.

  • In my eyes Brainstorm has been dead for a long time.

    I rather spend my time with people and less time online-chatting about stuff I can’t change anyway.

  • though i think brainstorming was one of the most interesting groups, it would to me have been wasted time to post there, since the closing of couchsurfing. in this group many people have developed ideas even better than my own (though my ideas are already quite good ;) and it seems as if even those ideas haven’t lead to any changes in cs.

  • gee Roy…I always assumed there were people on the other end of the computer screen:) What am I? an imaginary friend? (I’m just joshing with you…)

    Brainstorm is indeed the most interesting group on CS and not dead at all. a lot of great ideas were proposed there…some of which I think have had true effect. Norbert’s work alone I think put a little spring in the leadership’s step:)

    btw I think the group will reopen in a week or so…I think it was closed temporarily to shake off some of the incessant posters.

  • I have been informed the delay will be sometime between a few days and a month. I guess we have to wait for our self-appointed ruler to deign to grant us access again.
    Just not good enough.

  • So what?

    Markus Elder has not given a clear reason why he has frozen the group.
    Because he don’t want to lose other valuable members? ??
    Because some people have a lot of anger in them? ??

    There were times with much more emotion, trolling, agressive posts, personal fights!

    With this behaviour the group probably loses even more members.

    So, easy solution if someone still wants to pretend to brainstorm: create a new “brainstorm”-group!


    The group was obsolet since it was clear that nothing will change within the cs cult.
    There were a lot of posts about this topic on opencouchsurfing about two years ago.
    The brainstormgroup was from then a nice critainment-show. But it was indeed asleep since pickwick stopped to post regularly!

    What happend now doesn’t matter that much.

  • MK is it exactly with forum users like you who fail to understand the reason why somethings had to be done.

    Flamers and trolls . ??? <<< yes ??? is what is not respectful or productive to brainstorming and one of the reasons why the brainstorm group became a favourite for trolls and flamers
    1. The trolls and flames had a captive audience to listen to their crap
    2. The top down moderations (mod cannt really moderate or stream line conversations ) and the stupid comparision between flaming and free speech.

    yes MK you dumb flamer anyone reading your post knows you are a flamer

    you talk about a group and then call it obsolate
    you name and target a particular user

    this is why cs needs a forum where these posts are nipped in the bud and if a useless troll posts like your continues cs should have a policy of 1) kicking you out of the group
    2) Banning you from the whole network.

  • great article! thank you cs god

    …and it’s true: I’m much nicer in real life than online:)
    I wonder why the behavior erodes in online discussions…the anonymity I guess, and the general gang-rule? It seems like an insult-to-ego-feeding frenzy gets started, takes on a life of its own, and is difficult to stop. Hopefully Brainstorm can reboot in a more polite productive form (for a while, at least:)

  • Still frozen, with no sign of ever unfreezing I don’t think we’ll ever see it again.

  • I’d hope not. It would be good if they shut down Redefined as well. And I saw that not as someone looking to squash dissent, just as a member who thinks it would be better if the Groups structure was updated to actually match the role everyday users have in Couchsurfing: none at all.

  • Jean-Baptiste P.

    @No surprises

    I agree that it would be better to update the Groups structure to remove the misleading appearance that the LT accepts and processes inputs from everyday users.

    I have seen so many new comers, who are of course oblivious to the Couch Wars behind the scenes, post suggestions in good faith on the Groups. These folks are just Couch Surfers who have used the site, surfed and hosted, met some friends and had a few beers. They have no reason to pore over all the dissident Groups and the myriad Web sites like this one to learn the full history of how Gollum got the Ring, and all the evil things He has done with it…

    The ordinary Couch Surfers who post in the Groups are now abused from both sides. The LT ignores any organized public input, and the Trolls and Orcs come out and bury good suggestions under stinking mounds of ad hominem invective and intemperate rhetoric.

    Still, in my opinion, there will be democratic ways to make Couch Surfing change for the better. The LT will eventually find that Web 2.0 is a sword that cuts both ways. Unfortunately, I don’t imagine that this blog and the other sites like it will play much of a role in the overthrow of Sauron.

    All that glisters is not gold. The Rangers are still out there, though…


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