This site was archived on 24 April 2012. No new content can be posted. The mailing list remains online and the site will stay in this archived state for the forseeable future. If you find any technical errors on the site, please contact Callum.

Archive for the 'tech team leader' Category

Couchsurfing Scheduled Downtime Policy

Scheduled downtime policy

  1. * <1 minute: Nothing else is required.
  2. * 1-4 minutes: Requires a “don’t panic” email to key volunteers through the emergency response channel notifying what is going on.
  3. * 5-29 minutes: Requires at least 12 hours notice to the Tech Team, the Communications Team and the emergency response channel.
  4. * 30-59 minutes: Requires at least one week notice to the Leadership Team (LT) & the Communications Team. A 12 hour notice should be given to the Tech Team and emergency response channel.
  5. * 60-240 minutes: Require at least one week notice to the LT for approval. Communicate the same as 30-60 mins.
  6. * >240 minutes: To be avoided at all cost. Break downtime into 240 minute increments separated by at least 1 week.

Ill communication

Diederik wrote:

I have left the couchsurfing system administration team. The main (and almost only) reason is communication, and the bad, or even non-existent version of it.

I am not surprised and not particularly happy with this news. CouchSurfing keeps on growing and growing and it’s not healthy to depend on a stream of new and unexpecting volunteers who are not experienced with the specifics of the technical and social side of the CouchSurfing website and organization with an ever growing number of members.

Diederik, I’m looking forward to finally meet you. If not in Antwerpen this weekend surely somewhere in the Randstad very soon.

Thailand Collective members communicating


CouchSurfing has been mostly offline the past 48 hours – due to a “power outage”. Great, especially now that I tried to organize my goodbye meeting in Trento.

Hint: don’t use MyISAM tables for mission-critical data. And try to get some MySQL support engineers working on it. Oh but wait, one year ago there actually was a MySQL support engineer that joined the Collective with money out of his own pocket and was working for CouchSurfing in his own spare time.

Now, since I am still blocked from the wiki that I founded, can someone please add the following text to

==Trento meeting 11th and 12th January==

Call +39 33 47 18 30 42 (Kasper).


external tools

In Brainstorm Christian announced a page with links to external tools for CouchSurfing members:

  • CouchFinder: “Choose any location on the glob, specify a within-range and click search. This handy tool will show you all couches within your chosen area.”
  • Joined Members: “A little tool that, provided any CS group-id, will list the last recently signed up members in chronological order”.

I wonder how far this approach can be taken though…

Now I’m trying to get the profile export tool somewhere in a public space, so that it can be added.

503 Service Unavailable

I just got back from my travels, so I want to change the couch status on my CouchSurfing profile. Unfortunately I’m getting a lot of…

503 Service Unavailable

No server is available to handle this request.

I hope this will be quickly resolved. Still, funny how this technical issue coincides with CS’s dodgy legal status.

An addition, after some complaints about this blog post, which is, I contend, a bit silly on its own…

The dodgy legal status of CS is related to the financial situation. A 501(c)(3) status means paying less tax, and complete transparency (if a politician in San Francisco can make his Quicken books public, in real-time, why not CS?).

And it’s clear how finances and server issues are related. The time and money Casey spent on partying with Jim on his birthday (and renting a limo) would have been better invested in server hardware and maintenance.

My last post to CS

I agree. I’m also Anu’s #1 fan :)

And I thought I was! :)

Although I have moved on to support the hospitality movement through, where a true democracy exists and no one is making money off the generosity of others, where volunteers are respected and treated with honesty and fairness by other volunteers acting as leaders with the consent of the community, I sometimes check in at CouchSurfing to see what my friends are up to and to check on the community I love and gladly worked for as a full-time volunteer until it was led away from the CS 2.0 vision by the current management.

Not well, I would say.

I feel that trying to influence the power elite of CS is futile through any other than legal means, but I feel compelled to speak up on behalf of Anu.

I worked very closely with her for more than six months. During this time, she demonstrated excellent qualities of self-motivation, leadership, responsible communication, and technical competence. But more impressive was her tireless devotion to the community, always advocating for it, always nurturing it, always defending it (even with anger at times). And above all, most impressive was her direct honesty and integrity.
She was the obvious choice for Tech Team leader, in the minds of Kasper and I, and I believe she had the support of Joe by that time. We were the 4 core volunteer developers who together did the bulk of the technical work on this website during most of the year following the Montreal Collective, where CS 2.0 was launched.

Anu was blacklisted by the CS elite, and passed over as leader of the Tech Team. After many months of devoted work on behalf of the community, the wishes of the Tech Team on this matter were completely ignored, not even consulted.

Anu has been unappreciated and treated with disrespect. This is unconscionable. Myself and other volunteers of the Tech Team were mislead and treated with disrespect.

When I resigned as a volunteer, I had strong suspicions about the motives of the CS elite, but I gave them what benefit of the doubt I could and was willing to support CS as a corporation providing a service to the hospitality community. After what I have seen and what has come to light since, no longer can I support it under the current management.

Casting dispersions on Anu’s integrity is going too far. She deserves an apology.

Calling people who gave heart and soul to this community, but now feel mislead and betrayed by the CS elite, and are angry about it, “CS-haters”, is reprehensible.

This is in the style of the Bush administration, which brands all critics of its policies “unpatriotic“.

Let me out of here. I’m deleting my profile.


The CouchSurfing Corporation

Warning: This post contains sarcasm, read it at your own risk. You have been warned.

CouchSurfing recently announced that they have hired two new staff. As we’ve come to expect, there were no interviews, no positions advertised, no visible application process. Instead, Casey invited two of his close friends to join him in receiving a salary from CouchSurfing.

In other news, Chris Burley said in a recent group post, “I wish you the best with democracy, it is known that it tends to crush minority voices. Besides, the majority rarely knows best.” Wow, that’s an interesting statement. But we all knew CouchSurfing isn’t a democracy, didn’t we? Now we do.

One might suggest Chris is in danger of falling foul of the US Patriot Act if he’s not careful. ;-)

A final goodbye

I have received a “thank you” letter from Chris Burley that effectively closes the NDA discussion and other related matters for me. To be honest I’m quite grateful for it.

It is much better to know that the Couchsurfing admins really don’t want to discuss our issues than to be left with a false glimmer of hope. CouchSurfing has – for good or for bad – decided to show itself as a top-down run community and while I don’t agree with that decision, it is at least clear and final.

There are a few small corrections I would like to make (read the letter first):

  1. OpenCouchSurfing was primarily about a Free and Open CouchSurfing organisation. While OSS (Open Source Software) would certainly have helped in getting there, it was hardly the only proposal that has been made. For me personally, an Open Organisation was a much more important issue for instance.
  2. “We value group consensus above individual ideology” seems a bit weird to me. We had over 90 people signing the petition, including two admins, so its hardly an individual ideology. There were many people that really would have like to see some of our proposals come true, but unfortunately we don’t have the keys to the castle.
  3. As has happened before, Chris makes it sound like it was more about style than about content (“constructive criticism”). I think most people will agree that there has been ample opportunity to engage in friendly debate for the admins, which was never taken up. Most critical (but friendly/constructive) questions have simply been ignored over several months. It should be of no suprise that this angers people in many ways and it is therefor quite unreasonable to expect friendly banter all the time. “We’re working on it” or “we’ll publish something… soon” can hardly be considered constructive debate either.

In conclusion I would like to personally thank everyone who has tried to help us make a positive change within CouchSurfing towards a more Open and Free organisation. I do not feel that this was a wasted effort as getting the admins to make up their minds is an added value by itself. Amongst the relatively few cases of outright hostility, there were plenty of comments that helped us to continue this extremely difficult effort. Thank you for that support.