Caribou Tech Release


The CouchSurfing tech team has just released their third update of the Alaska Collective. Dubbed “Caribou” after the animal and the Alaskan town, this release adds functionality across the site.

Some of the most noticeable changes have been made to the reference system.

Here are the changes you’ll see:

  • Simply Positive, Neutral or Negative!

We know, we know… that time you surfed with those kids in the Philippines during Chinese New Year and ate tarantulas with the village grandmother or when you met your best friend three years ago when you hosted her last minute in Portland qualify as EXTREMELY positive experiences. However, it seems to be the trend that less members distinguish between truly “extreme” and “positive” experiences. Now members will just choose to rate the experience as "positive", "neutral" or "negative". You can pay homage to the extremity of your experience in the body of your reference. All current references will be automatically changed, so "extremely positive" and "extremely negative" references will be changed to "positive" or "negative", respectively.

  • Bringing them together

To help you get a clear picture of both sides of the CouchSurfing experience, you will be able to see the references that two members have left one another, grouped together. Yes, that’s right – you won’t need to scroll through the entire reference list to see the corresponding references a member has left! References you have left others, that don’t correspond to a reference left for you, will still appear at the bottom of your reference list.

  • Stationary updates

Updated references will stay put. They won’t move to the top of the reference list, but the member will receive an email with the reference changes. Now you can keep track of all the changes in your references, but others won’t be able abuse the system by constantly updating references in order to keep them at the top.

  • Identifiable icons

To make it clear under what situations members have met each other, each reference will include icons that show whether a member hosted, surfed or traveled with the other member.

  • How close are they?

When looking at references, there will be a dot to show you how close the members are to each other. Just as in the "How do I know?" section on profiles, you can easily see by the darkness of the dot, the strength of the friendship link. The darker the dot, the closer the friendship.

  • KISS: Keep it short and simple!

We don’t want you to have to read an essay to understand the message a member is trying to get across in a reference. There will be a capped limit to how much you can write in each reference, but don’t worry – it’s capped at 1000 characters so you will still have plenty of typing space!

  • Keeping things private for members

On publicly viewable profiles, references left for others will not be displayed unless you’re logged in. This is to respect the privacy of members whose profiles are not publicly viewable.

Some of the other visible changes include the addition of a safety page under the home tab and the addition of city and country of origin for every meeting member.

For full details, check out the release notes.


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