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Archive for the 'CouchSurfing Wiki' Category

Jim sets an good example

“For an good example check out the guide for Birmingham.” (sic!) Jim is still happily keeping up with the volunteer coordination (for 2000 US$/month). Unfortunately, doing this, he is encouraging volunteers to break copyright law. The text at the article on the CouchSurfing wiki about Birmingham looks a bit too similar to the article at Wikitravel.

My original intentions for the CS Guide were to make it into an alternative of Wikitravel, not a lower-quality spin-off. But if this is the direction chosen for the CS Guide I suggest using a Creative Commons ShareAlike Attribution license for the entire wiki (or at least for the Guide) instead waiting for legal action.

Jim Stone on the CouchSurfing Wiki

I just found this gem of a quote from Jim Stone on Wikis:

The Wiki is meant for EVERYONE to edit and not a place where permission is needed. I loved this kind of info and was glad to see more discussion about what needs to be understood by more people and then actually seeing it going somewhere. The Wiki is the end-all destination but it certainly is a step in the right direction.

Why I don’t take part in the survey …

There is this fancy survey, where we can choose some questions, which will be presented to the Leadership Circle. Maybe they even answer to it. I don’t count on it. And I don’t want even think about it, but as this posting shows: I failt. But:

  • Why limit the number of questions at all?
  • A leadership circle of 13 people plus 3 paid employees plus tons of volunteers should be able to answer 10times so many questions.
  • Some of the answers should have been published anyway (yes, without being asked).
  • While the most of the Leadership Circle plays “dead man”, Jim gets paid to spent time for complaining about not having time, blocking people from the wiki and developing the cs-haters conspiracy theory. I guess, simply answering questions would need less time.
  • Statistics? wouldn’t be the first time someone lies about numbers at cs (funny enough: Mikky says so). So even if there is a reaction it would be easy to call it a minority issue. (In my opinion some of the questions really are, but that’s not a reason not to answer them.)

It’s not a matter of choosing the right questions or limiting them to a smaller number. Or presenting them from a Survey. Again it’s a matter of the Leadersship Circle’s will to communicate with the users and if they want to make their work transparent (or at least visible).

To me the survey is completely ridiculous.

Volunteer coordinator handling a serious privacy issue – or not?

bentivogli found out about a serious privacy issue in the CouchSurfing system. He reported it on August 10th. Apparently anyone on the internet can see who is interested in who on CS. And password resets. Here’s an (anonymized) excerpt:

* D did interesting_user to D (20070816070640)
* P did interesting_user to I (20070816070517)
* G did interesting_user to G (20070816070453)
* S did interesting_user to E (20070816070117)
* c did interesting_user to c (20070816070104)
* B did password reset to B (20070816065925)
* M did interesting_user to T (20070816065628)
* M did interesting_user to L (20070816065410)
* T did interesting_user to COUCHSURFING SYSTEM (20070816065307)

(Note that people find themselves very interesting.)

The CouchSurfing volunteer coordinator (2000 US$/month), who should be able to fix this in 10 minutes, respond on August 15th:

Basically, I’d need to do what you should have done and go post it myself in the bug tracker. That’s not really efficient for anyone. Also, since only one other person has bothered on discussing this it’s not likely to be changed. I’d suggest to wait and see if anyone else supports this idea and go from there. I don’t personally see a problem with it, myself.

I’m sure that the CS VC doesn’t see a problem, since he can read the messages of all CouchSurfers, so he’s not very used to people fathoming their privacy. But I’m sure his attitude will lead to herds of new volunteers posting stuff in the bug tracker, or removing spam on the CouchSurfing wiki. Yay for efficiency for anyone!

Open = Anti?

I really appreciate Jim Stone‘s frankness. But frankly, I wonder who is keeping up with the negativity here, by twisting words and ideas.

That’s probably true. Did you do this for everyone that is not very active (or simply inactive) on this Wiki or only people associated with As an aside, I have to say I’m a bit shocked to see you consider it your right to make that decision all by yourself without any type of communication. Maybe you don’t see the problem with such arbitrary actions, but I surely do. –Tgoorden 12:48, 7 August 2007 (EDT)
Yes, the conflict of interest regarding your active affiliation with an anti-CS website was taken into consideration but was not the full reason as I stated already. Thanks for your opinion. –RedCouchGuy 13:35, 7 August 2007 (EDT)

I still think that the CouchSurfing Leadership Team knows the difference between the concepts open and anti.  But it worries me that they mix them up so easily. I think that everyone involved in OpenCS is doing this because they love CouchSurfing as a community. (Its members, the activity of meeting, hosting and staying with them.) I am involved in OpenCS because I cannot accept a Leadership that bullies its (former and current) volunteers around like this, not as a (former) volunteer, nor as a member.

More CouchSurfing Censorship

Not content with blocking Kasper from the Wiki for a week, Jim Stone has now made the block indefinite. Furthermore, he has removed sysop (admin) rights from myself, Phauly, Tgoorden, and Calum (not me, another one!).

It seems that Jim wants to keep all the power for himself. No longer will he be sharing his Wiki admin rights with us mere CouchSurfing Corporation Customers, no, no, no. He’s a paid member of staff now, he’s special… :)

It’s a little ironic, I was thinking about unblocking Kasper from the Wiki, but I decided it would be better to try and talk it out with Jim. With hindsight, perhaps that was a mistake. Jim apparently ain’t one for talking.

Some “facts” about the CouchSurfing Wiki

  • 22:10, 11 August 2006 Guaka founded the CouchSurfing Wiki
  • There have been a total of 1,873,399 page views, and 24,441 page edits since the wiki was setup. That comes to 5.37 average edits per page, and 76.65 views per edit.
  • Guaka made 5032 edits
  • Guaka got paid 0 US$ (and spent 999 US$ on a now broken laptop, and almost 1000 US$ on transport to and from Collectives)
  • a dozen of them were related to moving content to another website where it is more at its place
  • 18:01, 3 August 2007 RedCouchGuy (Talk | contribs) (blocked “User:Guaka” with an expiry time of infinite: blanking 20+ pages and replacing them with links to another website – spam)
  • Up to today RedCouchGuy made 218 edits
  • RedCouchGuy gets 2000 US$ per month for doing this

The CouchSurfing Censorship Plot Thickens

I learned today that Jim Stone blocked Kasper’s account 4 weeks after Kasper moved the pages in question. As I suspected, without warning, discussion or otherwise. In typical CouchSurfing Corporation Style.  Glad to see Jim is settling into his new job, getting the hang of how CouchSurfing runs things. He’ll fit right in.

CouchSurfing Censors Strike Again

Kasper (long standing CouchSurfing volunteer, founder of the CouchSurfing Wiki, ex CouchSurfing Tech Team Leader) was recently blocked from the CouchSurfing Wiki. Jim Stone (newly hired CouchSurfing staff member) explained the reasons on this group post.

Jim says that Kasper blanked a bunch of pages, then posted links to another web site. In other words, Kasper moved content from one Wiki to another. Kasper explained that he felt the content was more appropriate on the other Wiki.

In typical CouchSurfing fashion, there was no discussion, no explanation, no consultation, Jim simply blocked Kasper’s account. Gotta love dictatorships huh?! :)

Blocked on a wiki I set up

Four weeks ago I moved a lot of stuff that totally doesn’t belong on the CS wiki anymore to the OpenCouchSurfing Wiki. Today Jim Stone, CS Volunteer Coordinator and one of the two new fresh employees, found out about it. And…

06:32 (Block log) (diff; hist) . . RedCouchGuy (Talk | contribs) (blocked “User:Guaka” with an expiry time of 1 week: blanking 20+ pages and replacing them with links to another website – spam

Way to go, old pal. That’s coordinating your volunteers, and a great step forwards on the way to the Culture of Appreciation!