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Archive for the 'cult' Category

Casey attempts to sell Groups posts to Google, members protest en masse

If he was any more blatantly deceitful, we’d have to call him Zuckerberg! Step right up trusting travelers, and watch how Casey Fenton attempts to sell all your old (and current, and future) Groups posts for profit!

And if not for cash, then surely for the added marketing value (worth real money, and lots of it), to allow Google and every other web site and search engine to add what you thought you were sharing with only fellow CS-members, to their fully public, permanent record that is the global internet.

All the personal trip and traveler feedback you thought you were sharing only with other CS members? Sorry, surprise, now everything you posted on CS is part of the public record, forever. And, perfectly searchable.

I realize Casey’s announcement(s) have mostly to do with Groups posts, but isn’t he trying to put into place the exact same kind of exposure and sale of all your information, including your profile? Your profile picture? Isn’t he playing the exact same kind of despicable game that Zuckerberg plays?

Make no mistake about what Casey is attempting to do, exactly like Zuckerberg/Facebook – blatantly deceive you, to gain your trust and persuade you to add to his mountainous pile of traveler feedback, then once he has your trust (and your posts and personal information) he sells everyone’s posted information to enrich himself, personally.

This has been his goal since the inception of the entire CS project, he just didn’t have any buyers yet. Until now. Until Facebook became the story to copy. Until he invested considerable effort in building the largest list of users he could accumulate, to ensure the biggest pay-day he could arrange for himself.

I’ve noticed that despite several fundamental issues which members have complained about for literally years, that are never even acknowledged… in all this time, the most visible efforts seen from the inner circle and their hiring decisions, seemed to always be about PR (public relations), suppressing the publication of complaints, outright denial of reality, and spreading the gospel. To grow the list of users. To fatten the calf before the slaughter.

In classic Cult-of-Casey style, he sells you out without a warning or your consent, but when the backlash proves substantial and it turns out that people don’t want any part of what Casey’s selling, he tries to spin his scheme as something that he only intended in the best of ways, something to help you!

I don’t know which kind of people I despise more strongly – users, or liars. Let alone a career scam-artist highly skilled in both exploiting and lying to people. But the recent investors want the maximum return on their investment, so just as others have predicted… let the sale (of information you donated in good faith) begin!
Fresh email from HQ, just received, sent to all CS “members.” Stare into the face of pure exploitation and bald-faced lies:

“We’ve heard you: Change to plans regarding groups”
Dear CouchSurfers,

Last week, we sent an email in which we announced our plan to make CS groups available to search. We made this decision because the team had received member complaints that some newer members of the site didn’t seem to be joining for the right reasons. We thought that allowing people to see more of what CS is about before they join might help address this problem.

The members disagreed! We’ve heard from hundreds of people who are very opposed to this approach. I’m very sorry to have caused so much distress. It’s clear that this is something that members care deeply about, and I respect the need to approach it differently.

We have made two major changes to our plan:

Group posts created in the past will not be available to search. The only posts that will be visible to search engines will be those created after February 15, 2012. This will protect the privacy of any members who no longer use the site and may not be aware of the changes.

All members will have the option to keep all of their posts hidden from search and from non-members. Just as we currently allow you to keep your profile hidden from anyone who is not logged in, we are now building another privacy option that will allow you to easily specify that your group posts should not be visible to search engines or people who are not logged in. This privacy option will apply to all of your posts, both past and future.

These two factors combined mean that the only posts that will be visible to search will be those made in the future by people who choose not to make their participation in groups private.

I sincerely hope that this approach will protect the privacy needs of all CouchSurfing members while also giving people who are considering joining CS an accurate impression of who we are – a community, not a place to find a free place to crash.

If you still have concerns about this, I invite you to email me at and share your thoughts. The team makes all of its decisions with the intention of making CS better for its members. It seems that this time the change we wanted to make would actually have made it worse, and for that I’m sincerely sorry. I’m glad that you responded with your concerns: your reactions helped us see various sides of the issue that we had not considered. I know that CS groups are considered to be a safe and comfortable place to express yourself fully, and I would never want that to change.

Thank you for your patience and for your passion,

Casey Fenton
Co-Founder, CouchSurfing International

describe in three words

It’s A Scam!


Verification Team Leader resignation

It’s been a while since I’ve done any posting on OCS, but I stumbled across this post from the previous Verification Team Leader which provides invaluable information from the inside. It’s a long and painful read, but here’s what caught my attention the most:

  1. The Verification Team Leader himself admits that verification is a financial scam. There have been a lot of articles about this on OCS already.
  2. The sexual atmosphere at the collective has become even more out of touch with the real world and what Brian describes is absolutely cult behavior.
  3. Brian has only been volunteering for a year and he already writes: “And from what I read and gather, that’s fine by the LT. Seems that long-term volunteers are a pain in someone’s ass… not that they remember how CS was, but because they state issues, they are seen as trouble makers. I’m now one of them, I suppose.”

Welcome to the world outside of CS Brian!

The original post, now saved for prosperity and googlification:

I am attempting to abide by the guidelines within this group. I share here my letter to Jim and Casey for the reasons why I resigned as the Verification Team Leader, as many Ambs wrote to me off-site and asked for the ‘real reason.’ Here it is.

Dear Jim and Casey:

As you know, I’ve resigned as the Verification Team Leader. I currently remain on as a City Ambassador, NMW, CUQ Team Member, and co-moderator of the CUQ Team, unless you decide that it is not to be. I’ve always realized that this is your site, and the volunteers have very little to do with the direction that CS takes.

When I resigned from the verification team, it was a quickly written message to you. I had logged on, noticed yet another bug within the verification system, and realized that it was time for me to move on. I immediately remembered the bug of July 30 and 31 where everyone who tried to donate did so over and over, so their money was taken several times, many more than ten, but their profile was not updated. That bug immediately cost twelve man hours and we refunded almost $35,000 to members. I did not want to repeat that thankless amount of time working for free, with a ‘thank you’ given as a token gesture.

My thoughts of resigning actually began the week that I spent in San Francisco, at Base Camp. Jim and I spent a couple of weeks back and forth on email, trying to see if a ‘couch’ could be found for me at Base Camp. Mind you, this was not to be just a vacation for me, but Jim and I were going to work together to get me better trained. Back and forth the emails went, and the final note was basically, “We’ll house you somewhere… if you’re willing to sleep on a couch, then we’ll have room.” Not expecting anything else, I truly appreciated the housing accommodation as any true surfer appreciates an offer of accommodation.

The first weekend I was in SF was SF Gay Pride and I stayed with another CS friend. She also had another surfer (I’ll call her, D, as she has a starring role in this saga) for the weekend. We were invited to a CS brunch. Knowing that D was looking for longer-term couches due to a yoga class she was taking in SF, I introduced her to a group from BaseCamp at the brunch. When I mentioned that D was taking classes for Yoga, a couch was immediately offered to her at BC. And for a “week or so.” Mind you I had been emailing back and forth so that we could get some work done, but here was a young, cute lesbian who knew yoga, and she had a couch without any checking. Hmmm, didn’t someone say awhile back that if you’re cute and young……… and I’m sure one LT member would be very welcoming, in his mind.

A small side item… shortly after my visit, Jim, you requested a “friend” link. We were never friendly. We were friendly enough talking about work, etc… but while I visited SF for a week, you never once attempted to get to know me, to become friends.

I’ve coordinated volunteers for years, with many different organizations. Typically, an organization seeks to appreciate, thank and motivate all of it’s volunteers. I’ve never known an organization to house, feed and pay any of it’s volunteers. There’s never been (in my experience) an attempt to make the volunteer jobs of remote volunteers any better in this organization… not so if you’re at base camp. Meetings are held about how to make the dull volunteer’s jobs and lives better. More parties? More travel? More roadtrips? More alcohol and drugs? Perhaps you need more rooms for casual sex or perhaps an orgy room?

There are 100′s, perhaps 1,000′s, of volunteers who put in many hours in support of The CouchSurfing Project. 99% of those receive nothing in return, except perhaps an Ambassador flag. These volunteers work countless hours answering member questions, responding to issues, groups management, event management, locations management, AST/AMT, Ambassadors, spreading the word, and working remotely on Tech issues, and, until recently, assisting members with the Verification Program. Yet, there are a very few special volunteers who CS seem to revolve around.

These ‘core volunteers’ who live at BaseCamp or one of the collectives (mind you many may not have had a profile before becoming a ‘core volunteer’ or their profile had few references, vouches, or perhaps they hadn’t even become verified — profiles that I would be hesitant to surf/host with…) are asked to help make decisions (by voting at BC) and other important issues, but they seem not to be surfers, at all. Most seem very unwelcoming… that another someone is invading their secret society at BaseCamp. More than one person has said of BaseCamp, “they don’t seem like surfers.”

And if you’re tired of living in San Francisco, by all means, go to Costa Rica, or even to Turkey, where we can show even more appreciation to those we’ve already shown appreciation to. While “collectives” are said to be a mechanism of reaching out, most have their doors closed — except to a special few. And by the way, CS will pay you to go ‘home’ to your new house. My understanding is that to even be considered for Turkey, you’ll have had to do at least 3 hard months at BaseCamp or Costa Rica. Wow, things are hard! We’re sorry, let’s let you go to Turkey for awhile.

Many feel that the “volunteers” who live at BaseCamp are spoiled and self-righteous. Many also feel that they do not represent CS well, as many do not seem to be “surfers” at all. Many also realize that nepotism helps you to secure a spot. It’s been stated over and over that “who you know” has no bearing on who is ‘invited’ to live at BaseCamp. I don’t think so. Mrs. Gadget has housing and a position. Jim’s girlfriend has housing and a job. *Please NOTE that I have NOTHING against neither Ms. Gadget nor CaseyAnn personally.* A former house manager was a friend of TTT’s (so it’s been reported).

And not just housing, by the way. We’ll also give you a job! And a title, perhaps. Let’s not worry if you know nothing about Human Resources, Volunteer Coordination, or have no accounting background. Many members and Ambassadors also believe that it helps someone secure BaseCamp status by returning sexual favors. At least you have the rooms/space set up for it.

I’ve never been to a non-profit’s headquarters where there were rooms specifically for sexual encounters. And it comes with anal beads, mind you. Don’t get me wrong… I am a Sex Positive person. but when positions and housing and food and travel are given because of this, then the word volunteer should be changed to another word, meaning the exchange of sex for cash or other tangible items. Do you think the American Red Cross has anal beads anywhere within their headquarters? I realize we are not the same, but still.

So, if you volunteer at BaseCamp, you’ll be rewarded richly. You’ll be housed in one of the most expensive cities in the US, or live in an international location with all the amenities you could never afford yourself volunteering.

The prior verification team leader received an amount for each verification. It makes sense to motivate this person. They are your key to income. Due to poor communication and no technical help, she resigned. I was asked to step in, and I did so. Mind you, I was never told about an “incentive” nor asked if I would like to volunteer at BaseCamp. So be it. The ‘volunteers’ who took the team over, 3 of them, will all be rewarded richly for their ‘hard work and dedication.’ They will be at BaseCamp, even though one is out of the country now so that the US government doesn’t catch on to what’s happening. I doubt the volunteers at BC actually tell Customs they are entering the US to be “paid” in housing and ‘stipends.’ Seems contradictory for a non-profit trying to gain Tax Exempt status to guide ‘volunteers’ on what to say so that the same government doesn’t block their entry into the US.

So, enough about me feeling sorry and not good enough to warrant an inquiry as to whether or not I’d like to be an “appreciated” volunteer and live at BaseCamp. We’ll bring in the store manager and let them stay a good 8 months, but not to worry, no work needs be done.

Many, many times I’ve answered members questions when they request a variance from the verification team, that “what we do for one, we must do for all.” CouchSurfing does not believe this. Let’s highly reward a very few, and the idiots who continue supporting our ‘chosen’ ones, will continue to do so, or leave. Not to worry, there are 1,000′s more who would love to give their time, energy and love to CS as others leave because they are tired of the BS.

Then comes the issue of disrespect to the volunteers who work their ass off to help us protect ourselves. Recently, a highly-respected long term volunteer left a negative reference for an LT member. Hers was the second negative reference. Both centered around inappropriate conduct. Almost immediately, the reference was removed by an LT member. NOT from the volunteer team with the responsibility to handle such issues — the MDST — but by a leadership team member. The member rewrote the reference, and it was put back onto “His” profile. Then, yet another LT member removed it. Mind you, if it were any of the 1,000′s of other volunteers NOT at BaseCamp receiving the reference, we would have had to wait until the MDST completed their review, and rightly so. But, if you “volunteer” at BaseCamp, then references don’t matter, it appears that an LT member can just delete ones they don’t like… regardless of whether it is factual or not. Again, what we do for one, we must do for all — does not apply.

Long-term volunteers are leaving in droves. I do not count myself as a long-term volunteer… I’ve only been volunteering the last year or so. And from what I read and gather, that’s fine by the LT. Seems that long-term volunteers are a pain in someone’s ass… not that they remember how CS was, but because they state issues, they are seen as trouble makers. I’m now one of them, I suppose.

Another issue that was concerning me were bugs with simple fixes. Europeans consistently use commas to separate dollars and cents. However, many transactions were processed incorrectly, due to the comma. A member would attempt to donate 21,50, and 2,150 would be charged. Then it’s up to the member to notice the error, since we did not mail out receipts. I attempted and notified the LT that we should fix this ASAP, but it didn’t take top priority.

Then there’s the issue where members were using other person’s credit cards and the cards were approved. Even though the names did not match. Changing the wording from “Name has been checked” to “Identity Checked” doesn’t quite cut it, in my opinion.

The push to hit up members within their first few hours of joining is an attempt to raise funds, not to make the system safer. Period. It’s for money. Sadly, I believe that the same amount of money could be raised by asking for a donation, simply and plainly… but you seem to not want to ask for funds to keep the service ad-free and running… but calling it ‘verification’ seems to rid you of the guilt in asking for funds.

So, with that, you have my ‘real’ reason for resigning. If you’d rather I not volunteer at all, I’ll understand. I still believe in the spirit and ideals of CouchSurfing and love meeting other surfers and hosts. I do not have to be a volunteer to do that. I will remain on to help other Ambassadors and community members.

I would like to train future ambassadors on how they can best serve the community, our fellow surfers and hosts. I also wish to remain on as a co-coordinator of the CUQs… again, to help my fellow members and ambassadors.

However, I leave that to you. Either way, I’m happy to not have the stress and pressures. I never could fill my predecessors shoes, and 3 replacements will have a difficult time in filling mine. But now that they are all “corporation volunteers” they will fall in line, or lose their ‘core volunteer’ status, not to mention their housing, food and travel expenses.

Casey, this is to you personally. I believe you have great ideas and a great site here. But I also believe that you have advisors who advise you incorrectly. I believe that they only have their best interests at heart. You have an LT member who actively gropes and fondles females… female volunteers, and female guests. Many, many times we lowly members and volunteers have heard of how he places his genitalia on other volunteers’ keyboards. Again, I am not a prude… I’m a sexually positive person and believe sex should be enjoyed — with a consensual partner! He gets away with it, but it will come back to bite you in the ass. He will grope the wrong person, and there will be a price to pay. Please do not be like the Catholic Church and shuffle this person off to a place where women are traditionally treated like material objects… where his gropes will be just as emotionally damaging, but where the objects of his unwanted advances will probably not speak out due to cultural issues. Don’t put a wolf in the chicken coop. You already have one ambassador within walking distance of CS who won’t speak out publicly about the things this person has done to her, and in her home. Is this really the best you can do to coordinate/energize your Ambassador corp?


Couchsurfing The Movie

What do you want to do with your life? What is your mission? This is what Casey and Heather ask you in the marketing video “Couchsurfing The Movie”.

We will choose three Missions and CouchSurfers to star as the subjects in our documentary “Couchsurfing: The Movie” (expenses paid! sic). This journey isn’t just about sightseeing, it’s about traveling with a purpose!

Maybe the idea seems good to the regular couchsurfer, but the status and funding of this project is completely unclear. The website is hosted by Entrip while the project is co-produced and created by Alexandra Liss, also the owner of the websites. In her CS-profile she explains it a little bit herself:

I met Casey Fenton, who recently commissioned me to create the feature length documentary “Couchsurfing: The Movie,”– loving life right now and all the possibilities that this journey will lead to…

In her profile she also mentiones that she is busy with raising sponsorships. It is unclear though what type of expenses and funding are related. Casey mentions in the video that flight-tickets are fully paid, but do people also get some pocket-money? And what if you go hitchhiking? It is also pretty insane to see Couchsurfing Inc. promoting unsustainable forms of traveling such as flying – by the way. And how much community money is actually going into this project?

Let’s see when this project is to start though. First deadline was set for December 15th but now it is January the 15th, according to Still, the site is not ready yet and you cannot signin, upload or for example “Rate Missions and Vote”. (See also the beta-site which is a bit further developed).

The video is great though. It makes you laugh, guaranteed. – the real background!

This blog is mostly run by BW-lovers with a clear agenda (make CS and HC look bad so their “oh-so-moral” alternative looks attractive). For all others, who still have a somewhat open mind and don’t fall so easily for Kasper & Co’s constant propaganda, here a link to our side of the story:

The real background about this “democratic, transparent, legal” (sic) network.

Gods in the Vitrual world ,losers in the real world

Virtual Communities with virtual badges .

It sounds like the game of army which kids play .

“We are the general’s (LT) you are the soldiers(ambassadors) you need to protect the our turf (the world).”

Ambassadors are CouchSurfing members who have applied for a special role within our community. The role of the Ambassadors is to be of service to CouchSurfing members and to be of service to the global community.

These are individuals to whom you wont n give a second glance . Either they are normal noobs or low down losers who have messed up lives.

So what we have is a game of army .Where the kids form virtual hierarchies LT, Global ambassador,Country ambassadors,United Nations , President of the US of A.

The games is still not old as people still love those virtual badges. Though we see the playground fist fights all the time . The supporters of the generals ie the playground bullies ULF and the new kids on the block trent collins (stating those mark his turf).And the other kids who still want to play the game and some calling out “NO FAIR !”

But this game is taken to another level .Where the kids who play General take away the lunch money of the other kids and have fun with it. The bullies show the other kids they cant get their money back and have to still play ball.

Now the kids playing general need to justify to the other kids why they are eating ice cream with the other kids money.The kids on top have to be smarter than the other kids and think fast. So they come up with “we are holding a collective to make the world a better place for you and me “. The other kids buy the story .

The lunch money is gone!! The local communities are poorer with out those funds which could have set up local center all over the world. But as control of turf is essential to the well-being of the gang this will never happen.

Researchers agree that most gangs share certain characteristics. Although there are exceptions, gangs tend to develop along racial and ethnic lines, and are typically 90 percent male . Gang members often display

their membership through distinctive styles of dress ,symbols –their “colors”–and through specific activities and patterns of behavior. In addition, gangs almost universally show strong loyalty to their neighborhood, but the primary attraction of gangs is their ability to respond to needs that are not otherwise being met gang membership gives youth a sense of belonging and becomes a major source of identity for its members. In turn,gang membership affords youth a sense of power and control, and gang activities become an outlet the control of turf is essential to the well-being of the gang, which often will use pressure tactice to control both its territory and members (NDA).

International Casey day

Ever wondered what the ambassadors are upto?

Making the world a better place?


They are busy creating A Casey day oops i mean International Couchsurfing Day

This is the brainchild of DJ AJAM from Manchester, United Kingdom

They first planned to hold it on 2nd March which happened to be Caseys birthday.

But then they realised it would be too cultist.
The LT loves meaning less publicity like the T-mobile advert.
Promitheus(LT?) from Norwich, United Kingdom
That’s a fun idea!
Hopefully there will be some LT communication soon ;)
stay tuned!

Mattthew Brauer
General Manager

Next year we can all plan ahead more and perhaps try to throw really large events in some big cities, or create a publicity stunt for the press, or who knows what else.

Here’s what I recommend: First, we need to quickly get the word out to the Ambs. . Hopefully they are all reading here, but we should cross post to the other Amb groups (global, country, city, and regional groups). Anyone who’s reading this: please post to whatever group you are in (first check that no one else has already done it).

Please tell the Ambs in these groups to consider throwing an event in their area on June 12th. Or, if they are unable to throw an event themselves, try to find a local member who can do it. Then send out an invitation to the event using this modified version of Derek’s text as an introduction:

Does it make an sense ?

YEah Let’s make a big party !

Reading about the petrock fad

It gives people a few moments of absolutely meaningless pleasure in a troubled world – no small accomplishment.

oh well! Another day of the year with some wierd celebration

February 27 International Polar Bear Day
June 30 Superman’s birthday, Meteor Day
December 27 National Fruitcake Day

Did anyone know that gas prices are up 137$ ? :)

Global warming?

Save the children?


Parrallels between CouchSurfing and Scientology

I’ve been reading a (one-sided) article on Scientology. It struck me that there are some similarities between the methods employed by L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, and Casey Fenton, co-founder of CouchSurfing. This might sound a little far fetched. I’d urge you to read the article and consider the suggestion before making up your own mind.

Firstly, I don’t think CouchSurfing is nearly as dangerous / mind controlling / cultish as Scientology. I’m highlighting similarities, not suggesting they are the same.

For example, Jon Atack states that Scientology orders followers to “disconnect” from “Suppressive Persons”. Disconnect means to break all contact with a person. “Suppressive Persons” are anyone critical of Scientology or L Ron Hubbard. It seems like there is a similar practice going on at collectives. Members who speak publicly about CouchSurfing seem to go quiet very quickly.

Other similarities might include:

  • Very long working hours
  • Closely confined working conditions
  • Limited contact with the outside world
  • Attacking of anyone critical of the organisation or its “leader”

This ties into Thomas’s earlier post “Is the Couchsurfing collective a cult?”.

From Atack’s article, I then read about Deprogramming and Exit Counselling. It struck me that perhaps we could learn from these techniques in dealing with current CS “volunteers”. Just to be clear, I’m not proposing that we start kidnapping people!

I think it would be useful to learn from the practice of Exit Counselling. I think it would also be useful to learn about how to approach cult members to discuss their situation. I think these techniques could help greatly in dealing with core CouchSurfing “volunteers”.

This might sound like crazy talk. It seems logical to me, but I’d welcome any comments / criticism / feedback. I will do my best to ignore inflammatory comments or trolling.

Trust circles, reputation and the perception of trust.

Studying trust and perceived trust I came across this excerpt in the brainstorm group

the only reason i am waiting, is because i see certain things which these people are planning to do half done technically and i know how easily they can be undone by people who know how to buck the system…and we do know of people who are VERY GOOD at bucking the system

i hate cloak and dagger myself, and to be fair, the information has been liberally shared with all the people who were there in the meet over a phone call, so i do not really think it is only being given to a few privileged members….

but i do understand that some information on a forum like brainstorm might defeat the purpose…i myself am cagey about spelling out some of the stuff i would be involved in (when they are of the sensitive nature) on this forum as i know who are the people watching this group…

A couple of keywords caught my attention “Cloak and dagger” “Bucking the system”

What does bucking the system mean? And how does Cloak and dagger come into the couchsurfing equation.

Cloak and dagger is a term sometimes used to refer to situations involving espionage, mystery, or even assassination. The
phrase dates from the early 19th century.
cloak-and-dagger cloak-and-dagger – conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods; “clandestine intelligence operations”; “cloak-and-dagger activities behind enemy lines”; “hole-and-corner intrigue”; “secret missions”; “a secret agent”; “secret sales of arms”; “surreptitious mobilization of troops”; “an undercover investigation”; “underground resistance”
Some of reference I found about “Bucking the system“. So I am not sure what cryptic message where hidden in those words.

Bucking the system: Andrew Wilkie and the difficult task of the whistleblower

Buck the System, Cosby Tells Teachers — nytimes
I want you to realize who you are and stop these people from grading you until they grade the system,” he said. ”How can you teach if you have no books? The system ties their legs and says, ‘Run.’ It ties their arms and says, ‘Defend yourself.’ ”

The post was very interesting because of the trust matrices involved and a the different in the perception of trust on a global scale.

Effect of Culture, Medium, and Task on Trust Perception Qiping Zhang

Most of hypotheses were confirmed except that the interaction effect of culture and media on trust perception.
The results of higher level of trust perceived by Americans than by Chinese actually contradicted with our hypothesis.
The theory of nationality trust and social distance provide a possible explanation. In our study, AA pairs seemed more willing to treat each other as a temporary in-group member instead of a “real stranger”, while CC pairs seemed treating the partner as an out-group relationship due to lack of longterm relationship.

The ambassador system is placed on the two factors perceived trust and reputation .It is perceived and not real trust as you can see the scales fluctuating so wildly. People going from best friend to no friend to being deleted from the friends list. A trust metric is a technique for predicting how much a certain user can be trusted by the other users of the community.

But by the above interactions you can see the perception of trust.

A recent definition of trust has been put forth by Grandison and Sloman [Grandison and Sloman, 2000] who define trust as – the firm belief in the competence of an entity to act dependably, securely, and reliably within a specified context.

Related to trust is the concept of reputation. Abdul-Rehman and Hailes define reputation as an expectation about an individual’s behavior based on information about or observations of its past behavior

The cloak-and-daggercloak-and-dagger – conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods; “clandestine intelligence operations“; “cloak-and-dagger activities behind enemy lines“; “hole-and-corner intrigue”; “secret missions”; “a secret agent”; “secret sales of arms”; “surreptitious mobilization of troops”; “an undercover investigation”; “underground resistance

Got me thinking on trying to see if Kerckhoff’s Principle can be applied to member safety and perceived trust.

The following article relate to cryptography and they have been used before by kasper to highlight security concerns. In the code. I feel these laws are universal and can be used to highlight global social networking trust perceptions as related to global member security.

Kerckhoff’s Principle states.
“a cryptosystem should be secure even if everything about the system, except the key, is public knowledge”

The team moves on trust and this perceived trust fluctuates wildly as shown above. The weakest link needs to be located to gain trust.

Social engineering reloaded
Kevin Mitnick,in his book The Art of Deception, goes further to explain that people inherently want to be helpful and therefore are easily duped. They assume a level of trust in order to avoid conflict.

“anyone who thinks that security products alone offer true security is settling for the illusion of security.”

Risky business: Keeping security a secret —
If you depend on a secret for your security, what do you do when the secret is discovered? If it is easy to change, like a cryptographic key, you do so. If it’s hard to change, like a cryptographic system or an operating system, you’re stuck. You will be vulnerable until you invest the time and money to design another system.

How to use cryptography in computer security –
Myth 3: Secrecy is important for security.
The prevalence of this myth may be attributed to the historical confusion between keeping your data secret and keeping your security algorithms themselves secret. On the contrary, the only worthwhile insurance of security comes from having your algorithm published and well analyzed by as many cryptographers as possible. The principle that security should not rely on algorithms being secret has been well-established for over a century, and various pithy restatements of it are often cited:
“Security should reside only in the key” (Kerckhoff), “The enemy knows the system” (Shannon), and “Anyone can design a cryptosystem which he himself cannot break” (Schneier).’_principle

At this juncture, we need to move forward in one of two directions. One path that has been advocated by a number of researchers is to work toward increasing public trust in risk management. While it is much too soon to express either optimism or pessimism about the likely success of this strategy, it is a significantly challenging problem that at the moment appears to have no easy answers.

Now what we need to find out is, does it help making the system public knowledge .Or does it help having a system which is continuously leaking information due to the perception of trust.

Would a system be more secure with the system being public knowledge (only the system not the cases)?

Ulf Kleinings emails telling people to quit couchsurfing !!

This is the letter Ulf sent a lot of people with the veiled threats to leave couchsurfing .

In a recent post he writes:

I had actually even tried to “talk” to them in personal CS mails – but that went so utterly wrong that after the replies I got from them I simply knew that I could not talk to them. …That was not what I had become after the pirate’s “raid”. And since they made it clear that they intended to keep up their fights in this very group.

You decide if the content of the email was about “talking”

Any chance to stop our waltz now???



I really didn’t wanna write this mail. Because I’m almost sure that you don’t want to read this from me anyways (or at least not any more…).
But I might do you wrong on this and perhaps you’d actually like to know what my “anti-campaign” is motivated by – or where I am coming from.

So this is AN OFFER in case you’re actually interested.

If you are not – just don’t read it.
I will not go public (in the groups or elsewhere) ranting about how you not used that try of mine for a dialogue and to clear up each others positions here.

In other words: don’t feel obliged to even read any further but just completely ignore this if you’re already too pissed off by me or what I’ve posted recently – I will not use that against you in any way!

I also must warn you that it will be quite sharply accusing and even a bit angry at times.

And I realize of course that in every management and/or communication seminar in this world you’ll always be told that such a rough tone is probably not the best
way to start a dialog.

Well – then this first step will have to wait just a tiny little bit longer.

For this is not gonna be a psychologically well and cleverly phrased luring you into anything

but instead I will simply be honest and blunt about what I think about your campaign! And since a lot of that angers me personally big time – this here (logically!) has to be a bit angry at times.

So here’s what increasingly annoyed me to the point where I needed to “shoot back” – to have some kind of outlet for my own anger…

It all starts with your (alleged and/or true) motivation(s) that you name for what’s driving you…

Some of you – namely Kasper and Anu – are very honest about how personal anger and disappointments (caused by what you view as betrayals) have been one big
motivation for you:

I do honestly not simply brush this away!
To tell you the truth – I actually have much more sympathy for such motivations than for what the others allege is driving them!

And yet while I do believe you that you feel this way -that

doesn’t necessarily mean that such feelings (and thus your motivations for your campaigning) are really based on actual events but only on what YOU REMEMBER has happened. Only that doesn’t necessarily have to be the facts…

AND by that I do NOT want to say that Kasper and Anu are lying. They might just be remembering things differently than others do.

And the fact that there is more than one person remembering events in the past
exactly the same does not prove anything! It’s in fact usually the quite the opposite! Here’s what usually happens:

one person remembers an event strongly but unfortunately also (at least in parts) wrong. Another person doesn’t remember it that well any more and thus (unconsciously) just follows the first one’s memories, adopts them as his own and thus re-strengthens the
first one in his conviction that things have happened the way he says they have.

There have even been experiments about that in which 2 groups of people were to witness a certain event and then the members of group A had to testify separately what they had seen whereas the members of group B were given time to discuss what they then testified
together. And – guess what! – group B’s one common testimony is usually further away from the truth than some single testimonies from some group A members.

And the other (even more important) difference is that most of group A members (even those whose testimonies were really close to the truth) don’t say they are 100% sure they remember everything correctly – whereas almost all of group B’s member say they are!!!

And that is why I don’t even believe you when you say

you have very good reasons for your fury because Casey and the others betrayed you. I mean, for example, even Kasper once told me that Casey had perhaps never
explicitly guaranteed him that CS will go open-source -

but he says that Casey has (to Kasper’s conviction: intentionally!) let him go on believing that this would happen.

But others have told me that Kasper believed what he wanted to believe and that Casey might have been a tad too diplomatic at this point but has in fact never held out the prospect of making the CS code open-source any time soon.

Which is – of course – just one example. In essence I just mean to say that simply because some of you remember things in a way that shows them as events anyone would feel betrayed or disappointed or annoyed by this doesn’t mean that these things have actually happened this way!

The other motivation(s) anger me even more!

First of all I must admit that I don’t quite believe you (any more – see below) -
but even if I did then this wouldn’t change anything.
Or at least not for the better.

I’m talking of course about those of you who claim that your motivations have nothing to do with personal grudges or anger – let alone hatred – in any way but are purely altruistic.

For you simply want to protect other members from being exploited and sucked out or
in any other way mistreated (betrayed of their donation money or whatever) by the LT.

Your repeated tries to picture yourself as the guiding shepherds who only wanna warn all us blinded sheep about the dangers those bad wolves mean to us.

And – of course – what infuriates me so much about that attitude is (as always) this very overbearingly patronizing.

I doesn’t make a difference if members suggest more and more bans and regulations or TTT
thinks about new censorship tools – or you keep on warning us and “fighting for us” against what endangers us!

All these approaches only show how some members think that
a) the other members need that protection and
b) need it from them! If that is not atad arrogant – then what is?
I on the other hand do of course believe that we “others” are mature and smart enough to care for ourselves.

We don’t need that help – no matter how well you mean it. Actually that constant well-meaning is what sickens me most!

We don’t need to be protected from guys who offer in CS groups to serve a gang of female members for a dinner with nothing but their ties on.

Nor to be protected from being led astray by a

CS members who ask for a little amount to crash his (super equipped) place.

Nor to be protected from posters who may be a bit offensive at times – or

And likewise we can see for ourselves when “our leaders” betray us and when they waste our donated money

what consequences we have to draw from this!

We don’t need you for this and certainly not your ongoing rantings and postings- and now even stronger methods to “open our eyes”. We can care for ourselves – don’t you get this???

But as I’ve said above I even doubt that warning us is really still your main goal. From all you published lately one can’t help but conclude that you’re in fact up to ruin the LT’s reputation – no matter what the costs!

You are not protecting anyone anymore but only desperately trying to rally as many as possible against the people who you now very obviously hate so much!

And this is why the “issues fade”!

I’ve stated in the past where
I disagree with you on the actual issues (e.g. democracy) – and where
I’m on your side (e.g. censorship).
If that could make you feel better I’d have no problems repeating where I
agree with you (even publicly – even if that means that I’m then publicly criticizing the LT!!!).

But my recent posts “against you” were not only NOT really against you personally (of course!) but actually not even against your issues or concerns or points of
criticism either -

but only about your “way” of forcing them on “everybody”.

I do not doubt that you’re convinced (or should I say: still successfully fooling yourself into believing)that your causes are noble.

But how can you – after such a long time – still pretend you’re doing all this
in the name of,
let’s just say: “many” others, when you never get any support from them?
Only 90 people taking that survey!
Even if you don’t view this as 90 out of 325,000
but go with Donna and say 90 out of 1,000 -that’s still less than 1 %!!!

And how many people do post and read on OCS?

And don’t try to fool yourself or anybody else by telling that it’s just (still) too
few people who even know about that little website of yours -
you’ve banged your drums loud and long enough;-)

And if you (eventually) do accept the fact that you are apparently not speaking for the silent masses – then you simply change your chain of arguments by saying that even “only 90 members” have rights and should get some respect and (especially when at least some of them
have volunteered quite a remarkable bit of time and efforts to CS…) some appreciation, too…

But then how can you simply keep ignoring the point that I’ve constantly been trying to make: that giving to those 90 what they want (the financial reports, the answers to all your questions) takes time

which then can not be spent on whatever those other 324.910 members would perhaps prefer to get from the same people who’ll have to take the time to please you 20 or 90 members?

What makes you think that your wishes are more important or of higher value or for what reason ever to be prioritized.

Who is to decide that anyways?
I don’t know what the LT or tech team or other current powers base their decisions on -

but one thing seems very clear to me:

I’d personally rather spend my time on volunteering for something which (I’d believe) as
many surfers as possible will benefit from than on something that (I’d believe) only 90 people are really interested in.

And would even consider that a wise and selfless decision.

Actually what I myself would probably do is spending my volunteering time on what

I’d like to do best – and that would certainly not be to give in to any claims made by the same 20 (or 90 or whatever) people who’s thrown so much mud at me.

Which gets me to the next point – the one that infuriates me most:

your constant and most of the time very unfounded and simply false presumptions,
insinuations and accusations.

And how you use any cheap rhetoric trick to turn whatever you can find into something that’s allegedly supporting your points
- when of course a closer look almost always reveals that it is in fact not!

This email as well as all my recent counter-posts were and are – as I said above -
motivated mainly by my anger about this.

What an irony- you do your thing out of anger about the LT and
I do mine out of anger about you guys! (And you can’t really complain about this when you claim that same right for you!!!)

But reading some of the most recent posts (especially in Anu’s goodbye thread) it looks like you now won’t stop at nothing anymore.

You declare everyone who’s not with you (i.e. basically everybody…) silent
accomplice of a criminal band who uses “your money” to commit crimes!!!

You try set the Thai authorities at us/them/the CSC.

Legal actions against CS are taken in New Hampshire!

And please – spare me the bullshit (and save some dignity for yourself) by not even trying to claim that this is not against CS but only against CS’s LT and
thus even for the benefit of CS for it’s the LT who means the real thread for CS.

You know as well as I do that if taking them down will eventually mean taking CS down.

At least for the time being…
Sure, that would prove your points – for in a democratic and transparent community the downfall of the leaders does not mean the community’s downfall,

But to provoke CS’s end only to prove that you were right – how incredibly sick is that?
And how could you then still pretend that you only wanted to help CS as a community???

This is as retarded as – let’s say – shooting soldiers before they go to Iraq to prevent them from being shot there!

And if it wasn’t you who sent the formal query to the Royal Thai Government and who placed the thoroughly documented formal query about possible Unlawful Charitable Solicitations before the Attorney General of New Hampshire – then why does it sound like you’re all too eager to see what this will lead to?

Ok. That’s why I’m so furious about your campaign and so angrily trying to oppose you!
But now I’d like to take a look on how you think this will go on.

Here’s your current situation as I see it:
You can’t get what you want from the LT
since you cannot force them to give in to you.

You could keep on trying to irritate them so long and so much until they eventually decide to give in to you to stop all that fuss you’re making.

But so far that hasn’t been successful at all – at the contrary:

you claim more communication from the LT – but your constant ranting and mudslinging has only stopped them from even reading the posts in certain groups any more.

That might not be professional but it’s surely very understandable to me!

I think I would do likewise!!

And so instead of getting the LT to respond to any of your matters (how could they if they don’t even read it anymore!!!) -

you’ve actually set more and more”regular” members against you, who were often
initially even with you on some issues (and would still – apart from all the fights over policies and
politics -

like to get to know you in person to have a beer or two or just a good time in any other way…).

So now you have the LT against you (even on very personal levels),

hardly anyone any more behind you and all this in a online community who’s future, as
you are so sure, is so heavily threatened and where donated money is wasted on crap and the security of the members’ data so endangered…

I know, I know… If your standard reply to that is still (after all I’ve written up to hear) that awkward questions and criticism must not be so easily be to be silenced – then there’s obviously nothing to stop your incredibly unrealistic vanity!

I mean:
Why do you guys think it’s up to you to change CS? Seriously:
Why do you even care at all whether CS is a community where such things are suppressed? Where there is now transparency, no democracy and no criticism tolerated,
… Why does all that concern you?
You can’t stop that – and that’s mainly because practically nobody agrees with you on hardly any of those accusations and concerns and views (any more) -
and thus nobody supports you in this but is only increasingly annoyed by your furious rantings.
And if that all is the case (and how can you still disagree that it is?!?) -

then why don’t you leave that doomed community with it’s rotten leadership and
it’s blindly following members behind? If it’s (in your opinion) that bad – why not spending your expertise and precious time and all for a hospitality exchange network which (in your opinion) is worth it?
Do you really feel all your efforts and motives are appreciated here?

Certainly not by the “powers” but obviously neither by the members – except for the same very, very few people again and again!
Is it perhaps just the money you donated?
I’m sure we could give you that money back!
If it’s the time you spent at the CSC’s -
we could figure out how much you got for that in return (accommodation, food, …) and
then -
should we agree that your work was more worth than that -
could perhaps even pay you some money for your work there…

And then you can go somewhere else and make all the things you’ve learned here (in such a hard way!)count.
By that I mean: make sure that none of those many, many mistakes that (in your opinion) have happened and are still happening on CS will be repeated there.

Think of all the advantages you’d have!

You can plan for a community of several hundreds of thousands of members right from the start.
You can think about all the features and ways of communications and extras and
security issues and possible if not probable future server problems and ways to generate funds

but also at the same time financial reports regularly and how to install some kind of democracy and transparency ALL FROM THE START – before even the 1st member will have joined!

You’ve been part of so many things on CS and (as you’ve posted more than enough) have witnessed so many things that went wrong (in your opinion) -

so you can avoid them on your hospitality network right from the start.

And you’ve met each other!

Technical gurus, law experts, visionary minds, devoted day-by-day
workers! All in that little group of 20 (or 90 or so)!!!

And then -
when you’ve finished all the programming in a few months then you’ll post heavily about that on CS. And -
NO! – they won’t stop you from this!!!
And then if your own network turns out to be really so much better -

since it’s without any of what you’ve criticized about CS – then surely all the CS members
will change over to your network in no time! Granted -by that time that will be a few hundreds of thousands profiles who’d have to be transferred then, with a few hundreds of thousands of friend links and all.
But behind that are a few hundreds of thousands people who can do the job – one profile per person.

And those people then will not even have to be convinced of the general idea of hospitality exchange networks anymore!

And there you’d have achieved your goal! Free all those poor CS’ers from their mean leaders – not by getting rid of the leaders or by changing their old community

but by giving them a new one where everything will be so much better.

Mainly because it’ll be without them dreadful leaders!

Why do you still invest time in posting in the CS groups or your OCS site -

instead of putting all your time and efforts in coding that Casey free vision???

Btw: Should you ever come to Cologne then the first beers are on me;-)
(Only wanna make sure that I’m good friends with the leaders of that new community, too, right from the start;-D)

Maat et jot! / Take care!