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Archive for the 'Volunteer coordinator' Category – 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.

What do the LT actually do?

We used to get the excuse “Casey is too busy”. Now we get the excuse “The LT is too busy“. This begs the question, too busy doing what?

CouchSurfing now has 4 full time, paid members of staff. That’s a 300% increase in professional resources within the organisation. What exactly are all these professionals doing?

Here’s a few things they’re not doing which they could be doing.

  • Publishing finances, up to the minute (it’s really not hard)
  • Getting 501(c)(3) status (again, really not hard)
  • Publishing LT meeting minutes (extremely easy)
  • Getting a new NDA sorted (seriously, it doesn’t take 15 months)

Perhaps they’re too busy partying, having threesomes, burning da man, banning people from the wiki, spreading the verification disease, etc. Who knows eh? ;-)

“Run the show how you think you must…”

I might have used other words, and I definitely don’t have the skill to do (or bluff?) this sort of stuff, but I’m not unhappy to see that Pickwick is seriously kicking some butt:

It’s getting heart breaking in here. And cold. Icy cold. All the ‘open source’ and ‘charity’ debate left me disagreeing, but unhurt. This Thai project does me in.

First the cold, demanding, uppity language itself. Then what looks like a “suck ‘em dry & spit ‘em out” attitude of present and future ‘Volunteer Coordination’. Then the cynicism luring generous, well meaning people to commit crimes and risk jail for lying to immigration police in a post 9/11 world.…

Shame on you. Shame on those who do it. Shame on those who sit close by and watch in silent complicity. It’s time to hold Casey & Friends accountable, if not to members, then at least to the law.

The Royal Thai Government have received a formal query about the immigration requirements for the project. They know you are coming, so you better cut out the criminal part of your plan.

The charity question needs a decision. Casey opened his mouth in 2003, and he now either sings, or shuts it again. No more smoke screens. Run the show how you think you must, but run it well, and stop lying. A thoroughly documented formal query about possible Unlawful Charitable Solicitations will be placed before the Attorney General of New Hampshire “practically tomorrow”. My advice: hurry and be there first, with a genuine charity.

Jim Stone on Refunds

In this thread on member verifications, Jim had some interesting things to say about refunding verification money. However, the last three posts have now been removed by an “administrator”. Here’s what they said (I have the full HTML of the page saved if anyone would like a copy).


found a member recently who sent the money but when i verified her, she had her profile already deleted, guess we should refund her the money.



We only refund when asked to do so.



 would you (“we”?) qualify this as fair, serious and professional behaviour?

i would call it a second class behaviour

+ it doesn´t fit to all the wannabee speech…

“we” might wanna reconsider this



As far as I know this person has not asked for a refund. It’s not up to us to decide that they suddenly want their money back unless they ask for it. What do you not get about that?

I don’t appreciate your tone here, Mikky. If you have a problem with me please try to learn to be respectful of your other teammates and take this out of this group where we can deal with this privately.



well i asked a simple question if CS will follow a professional well will spirit of fair trade

you gave a simple answer

easy as that

i don´t think that your privat appreciations are a topic here.
feel free to email me and i would gladly inform you what RESPECT is all about.


The Next CS Collective

Read it first on OpenCouchSurfing: The Next CouchSurfing Collective will be in… Thailand!

CS is “accepting applications for a small number of specific positions, including a full-time House Manger whose airfare to Thailand will be paid by CouchSurfing.”

I hope the Leadership Team is aware of the very strict laws in Thailand.

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.


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