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Ambassador Guidelines
Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 3:15 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 3:28 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 3:38 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 3:52 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 5:43 am from New York, United States
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 6:02 am by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
I believe it was the over-use of facetious emoticons that was recently used as reason to delete a thread. Which... putting aside the rights and wrongs for a moment... is kinda funny. :) :) :)

I thought you provided some very valuable feedback on the "community details" debate, which sadly were never answered. But I appreciated your work Juan. Thanks for caring so much.

Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 7:30 am from Zurich, Switzerland
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 8:38 am by from San Francisco, United States (Permalink)
@the_juanderer

I'll respond to a couple of your points:


-Regarding the Smiley's in the post I made yesterday, I put those in my response as as a joke, in response to a post that included a lot of smileys. Often times memes are created in the Ambassador group out of things I say, for example the "Newspeak" dictionary ("Excited!") or the Smiley face meme that popped up in this group and the feedback forum. I decided to reference this meme with those smiley faces.

I occasionally use smiley faces when I write , so you're bound to see them in my posts.


-At this time, the College Ambassador program isn't connected to this Ambassador group, and we're currently interviewing and surveying College/University students in hopes that we can get feedback on some ideas. We've done the same thing with other projects, like the Events Beta group. There isn't anything to announce right now, since nothing is decided.


- Many websites change daily, weekly, and bi-weekly. Facebook changes roughly every day, more info is here: http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/04/exclusive-a-behind-the-scenes-look-at-facebook-release-engineering/


- The community team at Couchsurfing has grown a lot over the past few months, with the addition of myself, Martina, and Colleen. We all work together on many different projects, with the Ambassador group being one of them. Colleen's particularly focused on member outreach programs and efforts, and it's great to have her expertise and experience on the team.


- I think everyone can agree that the way we've been trying to receive and respond to feedback is not working. Often times there are too many posts, and not enough time to respond to them individually. That's a shortcoming of our current feedback structure, but we're excited by what we've seen recently with the Beta Group, and we're very interested in doing more with the Beta Group in the future.

Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 8:44 pm from New York, United States
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 9:03 am from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 9:23 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 9:47 am from Perth, Australia
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Post removed.
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Deleted Post - Reason: Duplicate
Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 10:03 am by from San Francisco, United States (Permalink)
The Facebook Developer blog and site supports external developers (companies) that pay Facebook multiple hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Since the Facebook Platform is crucial to many outside parties and their businesses, and any one change could cost a company millions of dollars in a day, it's especially important for them to publicly keep track of and respond to bugs on the platform.

My point about Facebook's update cycles was only that yes, companies update their websites and services all the time. Most of the time Facebook's updates are not announced, and people only know about them because they see them in their usage of Facebook. There are entire 3rd party websites that exist (at least partially) to cover these changes, ex: InsideFacebook.com.

We're currently trying to do a better job of informing the community on what we're working on, and what's coming out, and we're doing that with the Community Updates on the blog. We're blogging once a week, though this week we had a delay because of illness.

We're certainly not perfect and we always want to improve. I don't think we'll have anything soon that resembles the Facebook Platform blog and bug report forum, but we can make progress through blog posts and announcements, as well as the Beta Group tests.

Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 10:20 am from Tainan, Taiwan
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 11:31 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 1:45 pm by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
Thanks Colleen,

I think your post here is valuable for two reasons. The first is that it provides some basic working guidelines to define the Amb program moving forward, which I'm sure will be nuanced over time.

Second, I think it's appropriate and useful to outline the CS expectations and ask Ambs whether they then want to leave the program. I think in the first instance it may have been better to ask Ambs to self-select themselves out of the program... but I can understand why the company might also want to use the threatening option.

As an aside... if you do kick people out, then I suggest some sort of recognition of past contributions. Perhaps a lowered flag?

I honestly feel as though I'm a very HQ-friendly member of the Amb group. I've been around since early 2006 so I do have some nostalgia... but I also understand the need for change, have no problem with companies making a profit, understand that CS has owners and that they are within their rights to control their property, know that I won't always get my way, and my first (and second and third) instinct with all people (including CS HQ) is to assume that they have good intentions.

Having said that, I honestly don't know whether I pass your guidelines, and so I'd value your opinion. I support what I think is the CS mission and I think I pass the five point test. However... after having put in a lot of effort over recent months of unrest, I have decided to suspend my active hosting and helping until the current mess has been worked out.

Also, while I continue to encourage my friends and associates to join CS (my new housemate is nearly ready to take the plunge)... I now also encourage them to join other hospitality clubs at the same time. I don't think that violates your rules, but I'll let you be the judge.

If it is my choice, then I would not give up being an Amb... but since there is also the threatening option I wanted to be as honest as possible so that you could make a fully informed decision about whether to kick me out of the club.

Peace & love,
Temu

Posted February 22nd, 2013 - 3:39 pm from London, England
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Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 5:12 am by from Seattle, United States (Permalink)
I don't post here often these days, but I can't help being reminded of our old Ambassador Shared Values, and Ambassador Code of Conduct. This is what I agreed to when I first became an ambassador, years ago, when CS presented me with opportunities I'd never imagined, to connect with new friends, communities, and travelers from everywhere.

I understand well that things change, and in fact, we've had other iterations of ambassador guidelines in the intervening time. But what strikes me most is the tone of the old guidelines vs the new. Our old guidelines were about being inclusive, tolerant, open, and trying to be the best CSers we can be. These new list of guidelines, which Colleen presents as something she unilaterally wrote & decided on ("I decided to write up a list of guidelines that we will use going forward.") -- which, granted, is quite possibly her job -- reads more like the 10 Commandments. Instead of outlining how ambassadors can work together to develop community, they're about keeping ambassadors from harming the company.

Although they are apparently no longer our guiding principles as ambassadors, I think we will all be happier as humans and as CSers if we try to use these in our daily lives, as well as on this forum. In my opinion, they're much more constructive than the new ones.
Ambassador Shared Values
As community members, hosts, and surfers, Ambassadors strive to:

* Promote unity and connectedness between members
* Promote respect and tolerance for diverse cultures and individuals
* Promote cultural diversity and awareness
* Promote equality, inclusiveness, and friendship
* Promote honesty, integrity and balanced fairness
* Promote the pursuit of excellence
* Promote teamwork
Ambassadors Code of Conduct
Our behavior as members, travelers, guests, hosts, and volunteers is a direct reflection on CouchSurfing and upon its ability to fulfill its vision and mission. It is your responsibility to represent the community well, because you are a representative of all CouchSurfing members. You are the face, voice, eyes and ears of the community. This responsibility means that Ambassadors will be held to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct. Your belief in the mission of enriching experiences that lead to connectedness across cultures should be a guiding force in your behavior.
Ambassadors must agree to uphold the following code of conduct:

1. I will promote CouchSurfing’s stated vision and mission, both of which I confirm that I have read and understand.
2. I will promote the Ambassador Team's vision and mission, both of which I confirm that I have read and understand.
3. I will be of service to members and the global community, within the scope of my available time, and as I have agreed to within the position description that I have read and understood.
4. I will uphold and personally abide by CouchSurfing's Terms of Use and this Code of Conduct.
5. I will be a model guest and host, and maintain positive references by that means.
6. I will treat my leaders, my peers, and all fellow members with equal respect, despite challenges and difficult circumstances.
7. I understand that as an Ambassador, I am still a member of CouchSurfing, and as such am subject to the same Terms of Use as every other member.
8. I will communicate in a calm, reasonable, clear and diplomatic tone. I agree to communicate with the intent of being constructive and of serving the greater mission of unity.
9. I agree that I will use the Public and Private Groups as they are outlined in the guidelines of those unique groups.
10. I understand that if I violate this Code of Conduct or do not perform my duties as agreed, I may be removed from my duties as an Ambassador by the Ambassador Management Team. The AMT is the final authority in regards to decisions regarding conduct.
11. I understand that I have no contractual relationship with the organization. There is no compensation or remuneration of any kind for my participation as an Ambassador. I further agree that this is an 'at will' gesture. This means that I, myself or CouchSurfing may end this participation at any time, for any reason.

Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 5:12 am by from Seattle, United States (Permalink)
Apologies for the messed up formatting; it looked fine in the "advanced" editor.

Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 5:15 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted February 25th, 2013 - 3:15 am from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted February 25th, 2013 - 2:48 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted February 28th, 2013 - 9:44 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted February 26th, 2013 - 7:33 am by from Ljusnarsberg, Sweden (Permalink)
Colleen,

As of now, the only difference between an amb and another member is the flag. We have been striped of any helpful tools to help us help the community.

Wouldn't you complain if you had to do your job without your computer?

How long do you think ambs will exist anyway? All the volunteer groups are being removed, so the ambs looks to be next in line.

Hey! let's brighten things up and have a contest to see when the ambs will suddenly be wiped out without any notice!

Posted March 4th, 2013 - 2:06 am from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 7:27 am from Wellington, New Zealand
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 10:18 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 2:25 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 5:33 pm from London, England
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 5:38 pm by from Chapel Hill, United States (Permalink)
This debate reminds me a lot of this xkcd comic



If you visit the original comic website - http://xkcd.com/1150/ - the alt-text is rather amusing.

The end result is this: unless we are paying for our digital real estate that each of our profiles occupies, we are guests in their house. We are digitally squatting on someone else's server. They are doing what they are doing to recoup their losses incurred by our squatting. If we left, they wouldn't have losses to recoup.

Posted March 4th, 2013 - 8:05 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 8:12 pm by from Paderborn, Germany (Permalink)
The point is: We (used in the meaning of CS members) built the garage. We renovated it. We paid to put our stuff there (donations, verification). We checked whether there is enough money to keep the garage running (checked the annual finance report). If there would have been money needed most CS would have been proud to donate some money if they were asked to do. We brought others to pay too (recommended verification etc.). We spend a lot of time to keep the garage in a good condition.
Now there someone showed up, tears down half of the garage, throwing our stuff on the street (to use the picture of the garage).
Sorry if I missed the point when it stopped being "our" CS, when we were Couchsurfing. Until the god damned b-corp decision noone used the word "they" when talking about CS.

To put it in words: Couchsurfing (I'd like to say "is", but it's to be feared that the right word is "was") not Facebook, neither Airbnb nor Loneyplanet. CS is/was CS.

Posted March 4th, 2013 - 9:29 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 4th, 2013 - 11:32 pm from Perth, Australia
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 7:51 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 9:27 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
Sergio,

I do not know what are you trying to achieve...

So you said
"CS by providing profiles with references and other safety features, provides an important safety layer, that is not as easily available with totally random strangers in the street (but only if safeguards are used)."

Is it not clear for you that this "safety layer" was badly damaged (nearly destroyed) by recent developments? Yes or no?

Also, just for the record - do you receive any kind of advances from "Better World Trough Travel Inc." (previously known as Couchsurfing Inc.) in any form?

Posted March 24th, 2013 - 11:12 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 25th, 2013 - 2:56 am from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 25th, 2013 - 5:16 am from Wellington, New Zealand
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Posted March 25th, 2013 - 6:36 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
COCYTUS,
> Friends ... CS is a community of people with an idea to share cultural exchange ...

Surely it is. I certainly I can understand that some people get annoyed when they see that others trying to make profit out of this altruistic idea & altruistic people.

> CS has remained the constant as people come and go.
Well, have you ever heard about "Hospitality Club" story? :)

Posted March 25th, 2013 - 6:31 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
Sergio, you fail to respond to this question:
"Also, just for the record - do you receive any kind of advances from Couchsurfing Inc. in any form?" and "your silence speaks volumes" :)

- well, you said that "safety layer is still largely intact and unchanged" then why there is a noticeable increase of safety related issues? Unchanged? Are you sure that exposure to google search does not change anything? (like really, are you paid by each post or you are on payroll?:)))
Maybe you will go as far as saying that couchsurfing site "is still largely intact and unchanged" and transition to Places was smooth and seamless?

- "Let me be clear, most (repeated for emphasis MOST) CS users do not have a problem with a CS website" Sergio, could you please mention based on what study/research/poll you came to this conclusion? How mamy cs members particpated in this study? Was this group representative (in sociological meaning of this term)? or you just speak with couple folks? For instance, I do speak with couchsurfers practically everyday and i do totally different impression. First of all, people do have a problem with website - a lot of problems - and they might be not as vocal on cs groups, but they do ask everyday "why there is this stupid changes", and second they do have a problem with cs converting from non-profit to for-profit in secrecy. How efficient this "for profit" company in "building the great site" we already see in the recent transition to Places.

- "The vocal anarchists are very disruptive to the CS community. They add little value."
Who do you think you are do judge those people??? Hey, compare to many of those people - who in fact created CS comminity - your value might be less then zero, as of any troll on payroll. Your position is quite simple: "anything CSHQ is great, if you think otherwise just shutup and leave." and this position has 0 (zero) value.

Posted March 25th, 2013 - 7:48 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 26th, 2013 - 6:53 am from Wellington, New Zealand
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Posted March 26th, 2013 - 7:24 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
COCYTUS,

there is a certain difference between BeWelcome.ORG- open-source non-profit organization, with praise transperency as their main principle and with very limited funds and and Couchsurfing INC. a private for-profit corporation with $23M of investment money, lack of transperency and inefficient, not-quite-professional staff. Simply put it - there is neither need nor funds at BW "to buy votes" unlike at CS Inc. where -as it seems to me- there is both need and funds.

However, I have no problem at all to respond to this question. No, I did not receive any advances from BeWelcome or any other Hospex. That is simple - as you can see.

Posted March 26th, 2013 - 6:24 pm from Wellington, New Zealand
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Posted March 26th, 2013 - 9:44 pm by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
> Casting aspersions on people and their opinions by impugning their integrity and independence is, at best clumsy and immature and at worst rude and offensive.

wow, such high words with so little sense :)
Basically, what happened: I notcied that Serigio tends to approve each and every move/activity of Couchsurfing Inc. ad disapprove each and every rejection/disapproval/disagreemnt with their actions. Even in such cases when CSHQ managed to reconize their fault. One instance is OK, but since it was many - they can lead anyone to certain suspections. So, I did asked my very _straightforward_ question openly. I did not receive any answer. (Lack of answer is answer, too in certain situations:) I had no problem to respond to the same question. I did not accuse anyone oon anything so far, btw.

> It matters not one iota whether people are paid or not, for BeWelcome or not, accepting of B-Corp or not

WOW, "it matter not one iota whether people are paid or not"??? Could you please elaborate on that? Could you please expalin what do you mean?

Posted March 26th, 2013 - 7:11 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
> Why do the anarchists always claim that anyone who suggests that we should all be working together toward creating a great CS community using great CS tools is getting paid?

Sergio,
- are you trying to call me anarchist? :)))
- who is this "anyone" who suggests that we should all be working together toward creating a great CS community using great CS tools is getting paid? Certainly NOT you, because you are working towards creating greater CORPORATION not the comminity.

Btw, honestly speaking - no, I do not beleive you are paid. There is a scientific principle called Hanlon's razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." So, no I do not think you are paid. :)
Of course I cannot be absolutely sure - so I ask very strightforward question to see your reaction. You denied to answer and leave me in the same doubt: is it malice or stupidity or combination of both? :)

Posted March 26th, 2013 - 7:04 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 26th, 2013 - 9:50 pm by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
Sergio,

does it ever came to your mind that your comments against people who dedicated their time, money and efforts to couchsurfing community and who you call various names might be seen as "rude and offensive, and unworthy ofconsideration." Hey, just try to think about it :) Make an effort :)

> It is a bald attempt to silence and discredit
it is certainly impossible to silence you :) and I can not descredit you more than you are doing it by yourself.

I am trying to make you think, and it seems that you are very resentful to that. Once again, try to think beyond the box:)

Posted March 26th, 2013 - 11:06 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 27th, 2013 - 7:56 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
> They [your insinuations] are repeated mostly to distract from your own repeated negative attacks on the laudable goal of CS evolving into the best-in-class hospitality exchange website supporting the most vibrant hospitality exchange community.


That is a serious accusiation, Sergio. I am taken it very seriously. Could you bring any example of my "repeated negative attacks on the laudable goal of CS evolving into the best-in-class hospitality exchange". If you cannot, I am sorry but I will call you a Liar. With the reference to your post (I made a screenshot btw). So, you may either provide a proof or delete your post and aplogize. The choice is yours.


Posted April 2nd, 2013 - 1:36 pm by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
Sergio,

let me kindly remind you about my question, which I raised about a week ago:

Could you please bring any example of my "repeated negative attacks on the laudable goal of CS evolving into the best-in-class hospitality exchange"?


Posted March 5th, 2013 - 8:50 pm by from Paderborn, Germany (Permalink)
I didn't spent only in the beginning. Being and Amb and NMW I always spent time for the community.
To quote you: "We are at a new place and time": Who decided that we have to move to a new place and time? The old system was quite reliable. Millions of positive experiences were created. People got close to each other (a few that close that you already could read about "CS babies" *g*). The technological background had to be improved - no doubt. But why throw away everything? If the old thing wouldn't have worked - okay, let's do something new. But all the stuff we know from the old page (Groups, Events, sticky posts, NMW) proved that it was good, compared to the new stuff (Places, Activities, bullshit, ignorance). I'm sorry, but being a software developer I release stuff when it's done, or at least mostly bug free (as some side effects show up in the daily usage).
Bug looking at the new webpage the only improvement I see is that I don't get once a month a "busy" message. Everthing else has turned to be worse than before.
And it hurts me to see that something many hundred of people spend many ten-thousands hours within many years to improve it, make it big gets destroyed by some people who don't care what they do. Why they didn't create a own, new hospitality site? If they think that the new page is better than the old CS a lot of people would have migrated to this new one.

Posted March 6th, 2013 - 5:29 am from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 6th, 2013 - 9:53 am by from Paderborn, Germany (Permalink)
>Actually I never knew what sticky posts were so I do not miss them.
Sticky posts and such were possibilities for group manager (another thing missing for places) to add some kind of FAQ section to the top of the posting list. There could be postings as "Interesting sights in xx", "What to do in xx" or "No couch requests here, use subgroup xx instead". Now several places are flooded with Couch Requests making it impossible to use the places page in a proper way. And because there are no admins it's harder to remove those posts.

>I have only ever heard that defaulting the homepage to the Places Page was "brilliant". [...]
The problem is that places aren't proper configurated. A places page for my place would have been nice. But in my hometown we are took to the places region of a neighbour country (as we're living close to the border). So everybody is posting in a foreign language there - very helpful for new members, isn't it? My town is put together with some other towns which are almost 2 hours away with public transport. So it's useless to read about "language lessions", "meet for a beer" or couch request. Unfortunately it isn't obvious about which town it is (as we are one place) so I always have to read the full posting and the posters profile to have an idea whether it's interesting for me. In my places page the number of wrong postings (asking to be hosted in US etc.) raised. The idea of places is nice, but the implementation is not. In former times there were two local groups in my place - and each of them posted interesting events to the other one. What about creating a lot more local places (areas with maybe 25km of diameter) to have a "own" place. And then put two circles of surrounding places as "closer region" and "wider region" to get notifications on your places page? Another thing is that I'm interested in two places (as I'm working weekdays in one town, for the weekends with my family in another town). So I'd like have have notifications for both places (or three at all: as the second village is closed to a places border so I have to check two places - one with the most active town 80km away, the other one mainly located in Poland, so I can't understand what's written there). In former times I easily could sign into several local groups and decide which places are interesting for me. Now it's defined by the place I'm living (according to my CS profile).

>I too would have probably preferred to just log in one day and find the whole thing totally revamped.[...]
That's the other thing. There was a group of experiences users, everyone open for discussion, for giving support, to improve. Instead of using them they putted out some banana software (ripens at the customer, as green bananas do).
Let's pick the NMW issue: My idea would have been to keep the old NMW alive. Send the users a message that this tool will change. Develop a better, new tool. Put this into a beta programm (which they start to do now for parts of the homepage) and get feedback for this. Improve it and put it online. Move all greeters to the new tool. Work done.
What happend? They removed NMW without a warning - some users didn't even get a message, they were asking in the NMW group where the tool has moved to. That's the main issue: As in the HQ is working a staff of emplyees. And as I'm German I expect perfect work then. And those bigger or smaller bugs i software development, user management and communication makes me a bit sad.

>But why throw away everything?
Where is the NMW tool? Where are the FAQ sections of big groups? Where is the former community spirit as we had in former times (I started lately to take part in those discussions, I first let things go to see how it's developing)?

>Thank you for your comments.
Thanks for yours, too. At least it was one posting I really appreciate as it's been one that tells the other side. Within all those negative postings it's also nice to read that someone is thinking positive on the new places page. I'd like to read more of them as I usually try to see both sides of the story - and perhaps the bad desissions from HQ (NMW removal, deleting profiles) made me to see CS that negative now.

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 8:49 am from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 8:15 am from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 8:04 pm from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 11:34 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 1:25 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 8:39 am from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 6:30 am from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 7:42 am from Pittsburgh, United States
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 9:15 am by from Paderborn, Germany (Permalink)
According to a request I made by the "Contact us" the line is described in http://www.couchsurfing.org/news/cs-organization/community-safety-and-profile-deletion/

All removals have been done because Justin, Don ... violated one of those points.


Posted March 5th, 2013 - 2:56 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 3:19 pm from Pittsburgh, United States
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 11:59 pm from Perth, Australia
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 5:01 pm from London, England
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Posted March 6th, 2013 - 3:59 am from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted March 6th, 2013 - 11:18 am from London, England
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Posted March 6th, 2013 - 1:12 pm from Tainan, Taiwan
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Posted March 5th, 2013 - 9:46 am from Perth, Australia
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