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Tag Archive for 'OpenCouchSurfing'

Dictatorship 0 – Pirates 1

Pirate flag by pioforskyOur Alaska mirror blog has ruffled some feathers. Somebody changed the CouchSurfing blog feed. Instead of the whole post being included in the feed, now only the excerpt is included. So anyone reading the blog in a feed reader has been highly inconvenienced.

I’ll bet some clever bod thought this would stop our mirror blog. Wrong! It’ll take more than a little inconvenience to keep us pirates down. I’m pleased to report, that after a brief outage, the mirror blog is now back in full working order, with full post text.

So if you want to read the blog in your feed reader, subscribe to our feed instead, and get the comments!

We have won the battle, but I suspect this will not be the end of the war. As a Sun Tzu disciple, I have studied the enemy closely. I have anticipated their next seven moves. Fear not, their incompetence will not stand in the way of democracy and freedom. The pirates wil overcome their foolish attempts to quell free speech. Vive la revolucion!

Money talks – creating funds

People ask, how can they support OpenCouchSurfing? Likewise, I often meet people who support the ideals, but also want to support CouchSurfing. They might have paid for verification. They don’t totally agree with the way CouchSurfing is run, but they want to support the organisation anyway.

My idea is to offer people a way to support CouchSurfing financially, while also supporting the ideals of OpenCouchSurfing. That’s the basic premise.

I think it could work as follows. We create one or more funds or trusts. These funds are clearly constituted. They exist to support the work of CouchSurfing, within certain conditions. Rather like the government supports universities in the UK, but the money comes with requirements. The universities must behave in a certain way to be eligible for the cash.

A simple example might be server costs. We could create a fund to pay for CouchSurfing’s server costs. So long as CouchSurfing International Inc submits invoices for these costs, the fund would reimburse the expenses. This is just a simple example.

The underlying concept is to give members a way to financially support CouchSurfing, while still upholding the principles of OpenCouchSurfing.

We could also provide a mechanism for members to display and verify their donations. For example, images which could be inserted into the user’s profile, showing how much that user has donated. This might help to spread the message amongst members. In effect, we would be creating an alternative to the CouchSurfing verification system.

This is very much an idea right now. It needs considerable research and discussion before being implemented. Please share your thoughts at this early stage. Can you see merit in the concept? Would you be willing to donate money through such a framework? All feedback will be appreciated.

A call for disclosure

I would like to warmly invite anyone who has copies of any of the CS mailing lists, or has access to any of the “closed” groups to publish these copies here, on this site.

I feel that it’s time we started to take direct action to open up these channels of communication. I’m not suggesting we publish the information on this blog, I don’t think it’s the correct vehicle. I’ve started a discussion on how we might publish this information on the Google Groups mailing list. Please join the conversation.

What is OpenCouchSurfing

There seems to be some confusion around what exactly this thing called OpenCouchSurfing is. I thought now would be a good time to remind people of what OpenCS is and what it is not.

Let’s start with what it is:

  • It is a label, a title, a word, a term
  • It is a web site, a blog, a mailing list, a wiki
  • It is a loosely (dis)organised campaign
  • It is related to CouchSurfing and hospitality networks
  • It is a movement, a meme, an idea of loosely shared values

Now what it is not:

  • It is not an organisation, it has no offices, no officers, no constitution
  • It has no members, there is no list of “OpenCSers”
  • It is not “official”, nobody can speak on behalf of it, nobody can say they represent it

OpenCouchSurfing cannot agree or disagree with statements. It’s simply a means to communicate. As one can’t say “I am not E=MC2“, so one cannot really say “I am or am not OpenCS”. OpenCS is an idea, a campaign, at the very most, a petition.

Of course, all of this is simply my own opinion, because OpenCS cannot express an opinion or describe itself. So I speak on my own behalf, not in any official capacity on behalf of OpenCS. :)

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? ;-)

Jim Stone on the CouchSurfing Wiki

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

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

So What?

When discussing the reasons behind OpenCouchSurfing with people, I’m regularly faced with the reply “So what?” I’d like to use this blog post and this wiki page to compile some answers to that response.

Personally, the campaign for a more open and accountable CouchSurfing organisation makes perfect sense. But to many members, it seems irrelevant. I think if we can find ways to relate the message to the average CouchSurfer, we’ll be able to take the campaign to the next level.

I warmly invite you to share your suggestions here or on the wiki.

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.


Steady Stream of Petition Signatures

I subscribe to the OpenCS comments feed and I’m pleasantly surprised by the slow by steady stream of new supporters on the petition. Today Jonas Riise Hamre added their support. So the list continues to grow.

Can CouchSurfing International Inc ignore this movement forever?

CouchSurfing NDA Lessons

Reading recent posts on this blog I realise that a number of people signed the CouchSurfing NDA under the impression “it was going to be fixed”.

I think there’s an important lesson for volunteers to learn here. Don’t sign unless you’re happy with what you’re signing.

It’s impossible to say how things could have happened if people had made different choices, that’s not my purpose here. I’m looking forward, both to new CouchSurfing volunteers and to other NDAs. If you’re not happy with the terms, don’t sign them. A verbal agreement to change the terms later simply doesn’t cut it.

I held off signing the NDA on the basis that it would interfere with future businesses I might be involved in. Now, I’m glad I made that choice, because it seems clear that CouchSurfing (Casey) have no intention of producing an NDA I would be willing to sign.