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 'Uncategorized' Category

Tougher registration settings

I receive an email every time somebody registers on this site. Most of the registrations I see are nonsense. So today I’ve tightened up the registration options, changed the math question to a CAPTCHA and required users to activate their accounts by clicking a link sent to them by email. Hopefully that will reduce the rogue registrations somewhat.

Interestingly, I haven’t see any spam from the nonsense accounts. They might be used in case a privilege escalation security issue is found in WordPress, so best to remove / block them I think. If anyone has any trouble registering, please post a comment here (you can do that without registering) and myself or another admin will create an account for you.

If you want to revert the changes I have made or have any other feedback, please let me know.

“CouchSurfing chief says his goal is to go public” El Pais(España) Google Translation

CouchSurfing chief says his goal is to go public (Google Translation from

Daniel Hoffer announces he will not let annoying advertising does the same thing, but seven years earlier version and solidarity. CouchSurfing connects travelers seeking shelter in the world, even in Antarctica, with people willing to cede free. The site was created in San Francisco by Casey Fenton in 2003. Since then he has collected three million Internet users in 230 countries and borrowed couches and beds in 60,000 cities.

Around the World in 30 sofas

Private investors have pumped 5.5 million euros in the company

CouchSurfing is also a symbol of Internet collaborative Wikipedia-style: a non-profit or volunteer to write code to translate the content, is in 31 languages, which also receives donations. In 2009, for example, got $ 1.1 million (780,000 euros).

We no longer accept. CouchSurfing has changed its legal status “nonprofit” to business. It has also achieved $ 7.6 million (5.4 million) from private investors. Including Pierre Omidyar, eBay creative philanthropist, and Matt Cohler, Facebook and LinkedIn ex.

The changes have led to recriminations between the community of CouchSurfers, 28 years on average, they have managed to spend the night over his face in a strange house 3.6 million times in this time. They fear the free couch to go to hell, but rather that the database service is sold to third parties.

Daniel Hoffer, CEO of the company since January, denied in a telephone interview that the site will change their “social mission”. The problem, he argues, is that the Government of New Hampshire have been denied the status of “temporary” NGOs. “What we have asked from the beginning, since 2003.” The legal battle with including appeals, has taken seven years. “We lost. The U.S. government has tightened the conditions for non-profit company, they seek money as” jokes Hoffer.

The situation, he says, has left them broke. “Not only have we paid big bucks for lawyers, also a million dollars to the State of New Hampshire, and so we come to for funding.”

It also supports the manager of 33 years, “it is difficult to find engineers to work with us because we do not pay well.” The Bachelor of Business Administration believes that it can properly run the site “to volunteer, because people work two hours a week and no more may be required.”

His goal now is to “improve service”. For example, an “application for mobile phone,” AirBNB like that puts travelers in touch with home in apartments and private homes, and has achieved some eighty million euros of funding having grown 800% in 2010 .

Hoffer CouchSurfing does not give figures, the index 1700 Alexa ranks as the most visited Internet. “We have a lot of traffic and a lot of expenses on servers and bandwidth,” he says.

If the first step is to improve the supply, the second is “to grow. A road that will lead to the goal: go public.” As no investor money without releasing the vacuum to a return on investment, before advertising on the page added.

It will not be today or tomorrow. “We are still discussing what business model adopted for CouchSurfing. We do not want annoying ads and in any case, you must please the community. In addition, most services will remain free so that people can continue traveling around the world” , defends Hoffer.

¿Split the money among the volunteers who have written code, which have translated the site into other languages ​​or between landlords? “We are three million people in 230 countries. It would be difficult to share the money among all, if we did. The reality, however, is that we are not profitable.”

The $ 7.6 million (5.5 million) obtained from serve investors, he says, to hire the best engineers, “so that eventually the money will be returned to the community in the form of improvements.” Hoffer believes that when people understand the way the site will include undertaking “and accept”.

The site no longer accepts donations, volunteers and partners continue to be welcome. “Our social mission has not changed, although we now have company,” Hoffer insists, adding: “Part of the money paid as taxes on New Hampshire will be for a charitable initiative. Each project is eligible for $ 30,000 (21,000 euros).” It is the cultural exchange fund CouchSurfing.

CS Doin it for the Love not the Money Y’all (Yea right!)

CS is a weird old beast, especially the brainstorms. For me now, its like watching a war on the news. One that’s miles away. In a place that you know, a place where you’ve been, a place where you’ve lived. You know the faces of the people lying wounded and you feel sorry for them. Still engaged in a pointless battle, of truth over lies, that they can’t win. Especially now, but not for the reasons that most people think. Briefly they deserted, to engage in a battle they could easily win, simply by being involved and what did they do? Gave up and went back into their nuclear winter, as if everything would be ‘ok’ ‘one day’ or that it was even possible for CS to get anywhere near how you would like it to be. It can’t. CS has changed and it ain’t going backwards.

Far from it, I actually think CS is going forward in many ways for the first time in a long time and it’s not moving slowly. CSI has had an upgrade. Not one that any of us like, but i think for the vast majority of CSers who are fairly or really shallow it is a great thing. CS can become even cooler, with them and throw off the nomadic, dumpster diving traveller types, that bring it down or are just too deep or conscious, for them. CS is now a primetime show, it has some serious people involved, who know what they are doing and look like they are giving good advice. The only problem is is the direction that advice is taking them in. From what I see, they are headed for the mainstream and the boys are going to make money. Isn’t that what everyone said they would do, although New Hampshire law and even the bylaws of the incorporated company stated, that they couldn’t. Well they have and we now know how much we can rely on those laws.

A public owned entity has been transformed into a private owned entity,which is IMO was an illegal move, upon which shares have been issued and distributed between private individuals, in complete secrecy. I would say at a minimum the VC investors have taken 10%, valuing CSI at, US$76M. Where dose this value come from? The only assets CSI have is the concept in a functioning form with history, the code and the database. I doubt the code is worth anything near this, the history and brand recognition have worth as dose the database. You have been sold out. The only decisions you have to take is; are you going to appeal or take any other legal action, which i would support or not and are you going to continue to involve yourself in Casey’s get rich scheme?

It’s still a great ‘network/community of people’. People are people and i like most of em. You don’t even need an working account, its just a community of people who like to get of the couch and go somewhere, do something, meet someone, see something, eat something, learn something, hear something and dance. I don’t see CSers as an extension of CS, I see CS as an extension of CSers.

If the people in brainstorming who know the deal and give a shit, really want to put a dent in CSI they would turn their backs on cs and cs forums. Maintaining a post, nailed to the mast about why the ship is abandoned and where you can now be found

BW still has some minor bugs, which were working on. Yes members are joining everyday, yes there is more hosting everyday, yes it needs a kick up the rear, yes you guys are needed to give it that kick and for more of us developers to pipe up and offer to contribute. Either to a thorougher debugging session of the current in-house code(PHP, JS, HTML, CSS) or the rebuilding the whole site on the Drupal framework(Drupal, PHP, JS, HTML, CSS). BW is great because it works without leaders, but that is also its weakness, because many people don’t have the time or are unable to do the planning of the project, defining objectives, making sure the objectives have been met. Were working on that. If you really want to show that you are serious about non profit, openness, accountability, etc, etc, you will spend less time on a site that has proven that it is none of these things and now that it is a private limited liability corporation, never will be and more time on a site that is already all of those things

If your happy with having no option but to get used for your hosting and guesting needs, then keep on feeding CS your energies, so that Casey can become a bigger millionaire, than he now already is, even with just a 10% share or 5% or even 2.5%. Its your call!

I actually think these investors may be in it more for the social benefit than the money, but they will make money, lots of it. I think it will actually be good for CSI to have someone who knows what they are doing and can teach them how to do it. Even better for cs i don’t think they(the holy family), will learn and will get pushed aside as the ‘best thing for the corporations mission’, to get more members and so more share value, a bigger ego and longer holidays. Growing CS is all the investors need to do to make money! The original invested US$7.6M is probably already worth US$8M, so a estimated US$400k profit in a matter of weeks, not bad! The best thing they could do would be to ask for no money from the members, 10¢US verification, make everything else free or cheap, have great code cool features, even funding offline events, even implementing a fairly good safety policy and even host insurance. Member insurance i’m sure wouldn’t be a bad side line. You got to think outside the box a little to see the full picture on this one. But one things for sure, CS ain’t going to be anything like what you knew it to be. Casey has been taken off the drugs and wheeled out on the PR team, giving everyone ‘insperation’, god help them!. Yea man, I s.., I see, I see, a couch. Cool! I see someone spamming many people in a cold place. I see someone making promises they will never keep. I see a group of people who for half a decade won’t communicate with a community who are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to them. I see a community with gold fever, ‘I say there’s gold in them there couches!’.

Each and every one of us is responsible for the future. We collectively decide what happens, we co-create a large percentage of the reality around us. Both through our words, but also and importantly through our actions. Decide today right now what future you want and act upon it. Are you going to see to it that at least one non-profit hospex site functions well and correctly, that the developers know what the community wants and make suitable plans to achieve objectives and acts upon them, that the project has sufficient developers to meet its needs, rallying round to find them, if needed. We have the technology, we have the resources, we have the mental acuity and i think after the years of making noise about it, we have a duty to get this done.

“In my opinion the only way out is a Faebook/Google Sofa application with a fair business model that will be eventually bought one day by a big company.” I wasn’t so far off the mark, only just a few weeks back

You know how you deal with trolls? Well you can do the same with websites and shitty organisations. ;)

Focus you love and insperation on BW and not your hate and frustration on CS!

A group of brainstormers were recently spotted taking a dip in the hot-tub. Really this is my idea of people still trying to effect anything on CS. Give it up guys, put up a trust foreclosure notice on the group, pack up and leave. There is only one game that i see being played now and thats ‘grab some shares if you can’. Thats a game that ‘most’ you are even further behind on.
Brainstormers taking a break in the hot-tub.


This is where your money goes

Seems that Cyril is really working on getting more members….

Airbed & Breakfast Evolution

Airbed & Breakfast is a kind of commercial variant of Couchsurfing that has been around for over two years now, and which has been valued at $1 billion. They just had a massive safety-issue and therefore “will be implementing a $50,000 Airbnb Guarantee, protecting the property of hosts from damage by Airbnb guests who book reservations through our website.”

Last month, the home of a San Francisco host named EJ was tragically vandalized by a guest. The damage was so bad that her life was turned upside down.

According to Wikipedia, in June 2011, a user who had rented her house for a week came back to find it trashed and missing a great amount of money and valuables. And Airbnb’s policy of not letting users know until the last minute who they’re renting to was criticized as a contributor to the incident. The company recently responded to it with a blog-post and newsletter.

With regards to EJ, we let her down, and for that we are very sorry. We should have responded faster, communicated more sensitively, and taken more decisive action to make sure she felt safe and secure. But we weren’t prepared for the crisis and we dropped the ball.

Changes will also be made on their website in terms of trust-levels.

Our updated user profiles chronicle their public history on Airbnb, giving you more insight than ever about a potential host or guest. Along with standard social information, you’ll also see if a user has verified their phone number, connected to their Facebook account, and whether the majority of their reviews are positive or negative. And as always, you can read their reviews and references.

253 users deleted

I was doing some admin on the site. I deleted 253 users who had never written a post or comment. I assumed they were all spam. I have a list of their emails just to be on the safe side. As a result of a recent upgrade to WordPress 3.2, one user was unable to login with the error “ERROR: Invalid registration status.” If you see that error, or have any other problems logging in, please contact me or one of the other admins.

I’m planning to switch the site over to twentyeleven, the latest WordPress default theme. It supports mobile devices and has all sorts of accessibility stuff built in, so I think it’ll serve us to move over. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments here. If anyone strongly objects in the next 48 hours, I’ll consult the mailing list before taking any action.

Making a better community site

Isn’t this, what all this boils down to?

Isn’t this what has already been done or at least had a good stab at?: BeWelcome, Tripping. So everything has been done.

I don’t think the issue is that is shit and CSI is incompetent, its that the bulk of the hospex community only really use People like popular and in hospex it is better to use a network that has more people on it. I’m at the end of a 3 week trip round Taiwan, i had to sign up on CS again, because both BW and T only have one member here, CS has 6000+. The BW member hadn’t loged in for two years and didn’t reply and i don;t think i contacted the tripping member. The CS account was deleted BTW, some how they worked out it was me. Leaving two members with positive references from a deleted account. One who i was their first guest and the other who i was their second guest, both very happy to know and host me. That pissed be off for a while, but when surrounded by so many beautiful, wonderful people, with a medium sweet hot milk tea, ordered in perfect international sign language, with lots of laughing and bowing and shear delight, WTF is CS to me anyway?

Great question. As i’ve said many times, to me CS is the community, with a big side order of Cow Shit International. We all know that. We all also know that Casey ain’t gona let anyone play with his toys. It has also been said many times, go get some of your own toys. And we have, BW, T and even Servas. So the solution is already there. The only problem is, is that people aren’t coming across from CS. Maybe it the designs, but i think its simpler than that. Sheeple(sheep like people. follow the herd).

I thought that could be got round by creating something from within. But the community is like any large or small group of surfers. To move a group, even across the street, you need to get part of the group to start moving, and the other notice and move to be with the others, if the lead members move too fast, they’ll generally find themselves having to wait or even go back for the others.

I think that we need to think about how we can get more drift going from CS to the others, maybe we just moved too fast. We can’t do much online on CS.O, but offline i think has a lot of potential, through traveling interaction and local meets there is lots of scope to attract more members across. I think that it probably comes down to a marketing pitch, essentially. That how most people think these days: Why should I? Whats in it for me? So if were serious about hospex, we should be able to offer advantage and sing it from the roof tops. If we want to shift the hospex focus more on to the alternatives, then we need to offer some big carrots. Tripping had a nice one with its competition for the round the world tickets, but is just empty promotion really. I know the person who won it and how they won it and that makes me even more cynical to the idea of this form of promotion. The carrots need to be in advantage of moving, feature and function benefits, safety, help, discounts even, but not a one off firework show.

There are a huge range of additional directions that a global, mobile and talented hospex community can go in, which can add value in many ways. Like not just assuming that someone only wants to stay for 2 nights and move on. I was toying with the idea of staying here in Taiwan for 3, 6, 12 months or more, why limit a hospex site to short term. I feel like a host to all visitors to london and feel like a guest where ever i go. Flat sharing, home swaps, home and pet sitting, camping. Shower surfing, would have been great a few days ago when i was host’s sofa was on the terrace above his bar, with only a cold tap to wash with. Structured language exchange. Suitcase hosting. Someone has been hosting my case for three weeks while i cut loose with just a rucksack. All these things could probably be arranged through CS messaging, but if they were thought about and catered for and promoted they, with other carrots, could be able to start the drift away from CS, as well as, attracting fresh hospex members .

I would have liked to have expanded on some of these points more, but i have a flight to catch in 7 hours and won’t have internet in the sky, sadly. Some of you, most of you are probably grateful for this fact. But i hope this stimulates some productive discussions and even action, to make some big improvements in a tolerant, open, expressive, positive, hospitable community.

Love and Peace from Taipai to one and all that comes from it.

Making the world a better place?

‘Making the world a better place’

This was not the primary reason i and many others, signed up to cs, but it was an indicator to me and many others as to the atmosphere of the site, network and organisation. I think that it was right to remove this mission, as CSI consistently made the world a much worse place, for many of its members. It has also failed to multiply any of its members efforts to make the world a better place and actively prevented many from doing so. Even doing anything to make CS a better place, let alone anything in the real world, has proved to be beyond the abilities of casey fenton, dan hoffer, jim stone and mat bauer.

Making the world a better place for me is what i live for, its how i was brought up, in my culture, religion, family and community. Its natural or at least intelligent, to want to do so, it is how our species have got as far ahead as they have. We naturally look out for others, attending to the old, the young and disadvantaged. I see it everywhere i go. It is natural for our species!

If CS can make the world a better place, it will be that it has brought together like minded people, who actively care about their fellow humans and other species and the world we all share.

For me personally, the triviality of the politics of CS and to an extent the general hospex scene is pathetic, juvenile and a blockage to achieving anything productive. I was twice deleted for trying to achieve positive and productive initiatives, wasted countless hours, days, weeks even on the general mess that CSI has created for itself, as well as donating 25 bucks, to a ‘charitable’ cause and i’m not the only one that has done the same, with no result.

Ok this is a complicated thread and i’ll try and steer it closer to the centre. OK. Most of the, comments from people who are aware of the reality of CS are angry and negative, which in my view is a natural reaction, when you have been cheated, lied to, abused, defrauded, etc. BUT. Big but here. But, these negative emotions and states are fundamentally non-productive on the whole and do nothing towards the aspirations of the writer, the community or the greater world. If they prompted or forced change then they would be positive, but this is not often the case in CS, the reverse is often true, in that they have made the shy leadership hide even more and be even less unproductive.

Since my first deletion, i have had a lot of space away from that anger and negativity, which really made my world a better place. I allowed a global amb, who knew me personally, to initiate a process to get my account back. I won’t go into this story, because its looong and negative. But during this time i had a lot of time to think. The result of this thinking and having my account restored, with additional lifetime, censorship and restricted movement and association terms(designed to make a person angry imo), was to setup a site where the community could talk, associate and organise community projects, in a positive space. has been up for around 8 months. I put a 3 month personal limit on the amount of time i would actively spend on the site. This project, i would say currently, has failed. The reasons are numerous and varied, but the most common ones are, lack of interest in CS ‘anymore’, fear of negative reprisals, personal dislike of me, because of lack of understanding of my style of dealing with problems and most common of all, amongst the masses is, ignorance, disbelief or simple apathy ‘I’m alright Jack’. I don’t want to dwell on negative things and really the failure of CSC was very positive for me, as i discovered that given a clear opportunity to do more in one year than CSI has done in total and make CS many times better, that few people had the courage to stand up an be counted and even fewer to actually do anything when they did join. This made the situation very clear and i learnt a great deal from it and from the whole CS experience in general.

I don’t see this as a specific CS problem, it is far more general than that. Which is why this thread is here. The problems in CS are a mini version of problems in the wider world. Most people in this world don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. This is at the heart of most of the problems around the world and at the root of what leads many people to to say and do negative things as a reaction. This is quite natural in most modern societies, because it is how we are brought up(educated/conditioned), but it is unnatural to the human animal, by default.

If the people, who pay more than just lip service to the idea of making a better world, actively made it better or at least have the desire to do so, collaborating in an organised way to multiply the results, conversations like this would not be needed.

Now this is the interesting part, well for me anyway, because its complicated.

First off. Creating anything where one party forces/coerces another to do something, that they would not normally do, by whatever means, is bad. I am a big believer autonomy and where persuasion is needed, in carrot, not stick or tricks. Further in my mind any sustained group that gather around a philosophy, is a cult. This is a very big part of why I chose not to put up a big vision on CSC, which is one of its biggest criticisms. The other big part was because, i didn’t want to impose my thoughts onto our community. The hope was that collective community conversation would mould the site however we choose. I was ready, able and willing to provide resources that would reduce the system based problems and facilitate a successful project.

So whats the answer to that? The philosophy of no philosophy? That dose not work either, because it requires people to think for themselves, doomed. The answer in my mind is to have a minimal non intrusive base set of terms and rights and use technology, to resolve system based problems. Rules are needed when the system can’t deal with an event. In my mind rules are the symptom of poor/lazy system design. So the aim would be to create a site that is generally designed to protect members, giving them the freedoms of real world interaction as well as methods for self defence protection.

This is simpleish on a single small site, but when looking at a more complex situation, such as the wider hospex community or even the make the world a better place community, there are many details that will never come together under a single project. This for me is part of the beauty of the world. It is too detailed to ever fit everything into one mould

What is needed imo, is a loose organisation that acts as a conduit between disparate organisations, communities and individuals, that allow them to communicate, function and achieve objectives together, whilst maintaining their autonomy.

I have a couple of domains that i have registered to build one or more networks, when i have the time and money, hopefully later in the year. These sites are more general than CS or even CSC, but not as wide ranging as i would want, because being too general/simple, requires a lot of work, to then be attractive to numbers of people large enough to create a functioning community. A more general network would aim to attract a smaller number of diverse players/networks/groups. I have seen the need for such a network for many years in the charity/npo space. In my mind the best way to create such a network is to start from grass roots, create something of value that will naturally attract like minded organisations/communities/individuals.

Making the world a better place sounds like hard work to many people and immediately cop out. ‘Shit man, you mean, i have to actually do something, na, i’ll pass thanks. Let me know when you have a plan where i don’t actually have to get of the sofa’. I’ll leave it to another text to break down the folly of this thinking, maybe even a whole book, but the rewards of this type of project will always be immeasurably bigger than the positive effort used to achieve them.

To get a project going would require a base set of professional individuals, who can bring design, technical, legal and financial skills and knowledge. One of each is enough to start, although the more the better. Location, age, colour, sex and sexuality, nationality, religion and size are irrelevant. Knowledge and a little intelligence is all that is required. Doing it properly from the start, with a clean slate, is for me, the key to the success of such a or any, project.

If any of you reading this has a beating heart and a determination to make this while world a better place, for everyone or even if just for yourself, your children, then i implore you to email me

I have a lot of time, energy and resources to work on such a project, if any of you also have the courage to act and not just get angry. I am not about getting angry or about being passive. Another way is possible. Though the change first needs to happen within you.



Why People-Powered Projects Are Ruled by Tyrants

Any of this sound familiar?

…the paradox is that they’re often more authoritarian, even autocratic, than the most tightly controlled for-profit firms. The volunteer model makes them almost feudal in structure: an enormous mass of unpaid serfs, kept in line by a small group of paid manager-nobles, in turn serving at the pleasure of the kingly founder, whose authority is more or less absolute. After all, when you create a dominant website but eschew the vast wealth that could come with it, conventional checks on your power no longer apply. You have no shareholders or paying customers to mollify. Competitors don’t bother challenging you, since how can they beat a market leader when that leader is unbound by market forces?

…Assange, similarly, has said that he alone makes the final call about what WikiLeaks will post. To this list of digital sovereigns we might someday add two young barons: CouchSurfing’s Casey Fenton and 4chan’s Christopher Poole.

Put the whip down! and, step back from the dead horse!

Love and Peace to all.

Guys, Girls, pets and stuffed animals, I think we can leave the holy family to win. WTF they have won, escapes me(money maybe(Ohh goddie(Fools))), but i know personally that whilst the battle has already been won countless times, the cult like, closed minds of the ‘organisation’ would only be opened by a FBI assault team, in the desert, on a lonely farm somewhere. Namisain. The amount of time and energy that has been wasted on trying to get them to stop being such babies, could have moved a small mountain or educated a kingdom.

Seriously, i’m tired of trying to make couch surfing better and i see a world that can be made much better, in many ways, easily. Dose any one want to get back to making the world a better place? Or how about even just making your life a better place?

Towards the end of last year, is stopped helping others and focused on helping myself. I started this year with a mission to make 2011 a good year. In january i had the opportunity of a good job in Thailand and then a telecoms consulting contract in southern Africa. I was in need of good work and a holiday. By not, just sitting around bitching and getting of the sofa and doing something, i’m now writing this by the sound of the pool hoover, bobbing around, in front of me and the pool bar staff asking if i’m unjani.

As well as getting the good work, money and holiday that i needed, it has been beautiful to learn the social basics of an African language, understand how, through language and culture they view the world differently and also how they view the world the same. It is also interesting to see the issues here that are different and the same. Learning a new language, meeting new people, making new friends, doing good business, helping a developing people with what i do best engineering technological and business strategies and solutions, has made me feel so alive, i want to feel like this all the time!

In two weeks, i have done more for more people, that i have done in two years within couchsurfing. Within 2 days we built, within 2 hours i built the first proxy, well it was actually about 30 minutes, but i like the 2 theme), in two seconds we can decide to make meaningful actions, collectivly. I see that the hasn’t done much, through lack of support, which is a surprise. If the cs org is so fucked up and is supported by a community who wouldn’t give a dam if the first development team had been murdered, then i don’t see what there is left to be interested in on this network any more? It dose nothing other that contain members, like an old bucket. It is the members that create the community and make it alive!

I say we get out of cs on mass, keep your account but set it to coffee only, use BW, Tripping and Servas, support the alternatives.

The horse is dead guys!!!!!! (<< an thats from someone who normally never uses exclamation marks)

Love and Peace