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This is not sensationalist, sexual abuse has happened.
Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 1:51 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 2:14 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 3:25 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 4:58 am by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
I'm very sorry to hear this... I hope the person in question is coping as best as possible at the moment.

I feel somewhat guilty using this moment to talk about CS at all, but I think it highlights the need for CS users to better understand the nature of the community and the various methods and safeguards available to ensure a better CS experience.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 6:47 am by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
I am so sorry for the victim. This is horrible. :'(

___________________________________________

Feeling bad is a bit useless without actions! So...

Dear CS,

One can never say what would or would have not happened under different circumstances, but I think it's obvious the CS website has changed for the worse, and now new users have little or no guidance, and can't find what they want, when they want. The place pages are all messed up, and full of posts about couches (mostly from new users with empty profiles) , that get answered with contact details outside of CS. Something was bound to go wrong eventually. My local group is full of young girls asking for couches. What did you think was going to happen?

Please don't let this happen again. Or rather... since that is out of your control, please do everything possible so that this is much less likely to happen again. All place pages must have a section at the top of every page that clearly helps people achieve their aims on CS, and the website must *herd* people into posting in the correct places... places, activities, open and private couch requests. How about a big 'I want to...' button on every CS page? It would then show options:
- Post in a group
- Create/join an activity
- Look for a host/guest...
(Looking for a host will lead to options for opn and private requests, and a note to not post couch requests in groups or activities, as well as common safety warnings.)

Posting for couches in groups pretty much circumvents the security system, especially when contact details are posted. Do you realise a bit of code could stop people from posting phone numbers and email addresses? Or at least warn them not to, so that they have to click that they know what they are doing? Also people with empty profiles should not be allowed to post anything anywhere (groups, activities, messages, open couch requests, private couch requests... nowhere), until they have filled out something in their profiles. A simple message could tell them this, and guide them. The current state of affairs is a bloody joke.

People are not going to figure this out for themselves. Make the CS website clearly guide users.

Cheers,

Dave

Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 8:05 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 12:24 pm by from Groningen, Netherlands (Permalink)
I wish all the best for the victim. I hope she will recover quickly. Because it is a very sad thing that has happened to her.

However, due to lack of information some random questions and thoughts pop up. Some of those may sound harsh, but it is my straightforward way of communication:
1. Why did she have her private number on the profile?
2. How did the profile of the suspect/perpetrator look like? Was it a profile with no information and/or no picture?
3. If the suspect/perpetrator had no information on the profile, why did she decide to meet and where?
4. Did somebody force her to be in contact and to meet?
5. Based on what quality information did she decide to meet the person?
6. In what way is CS responsible for somebody’s action or handling? Who is to blame? Why pointing the finger to CS?
7. Are we little children that need to be guided in every single aspect or are we grown up adults who should have the capability to do some thinking before handling and to do some reasonable thinking?
8. Clever sense?
9. Do you trust everybody in real life? Why not? If so, why should it be different within CS?

I have learned that as an adult you are responsible for your own action and handling, based on the information that has been given to you in the circumstances you are in.

In the real world good things and bad things happen. Within CS many good things happens, but sometimes bad things happen. CS is no wonderland, no secret society with only good people and no fairytale where everybody walks hand-in-hand. Being a CS member does not mean everybody has the same quality. It would be naïve to think like that. CS is a world just like the real world because CS is the real world.

Last year September a village bordering the city I live had to deal with their own Project X event that went out of control. It was big news. If at least one participant was a member of CS, does it mean that CS is to blame?

Again and most important, I wish all the best for the victim. I hope she will recover quickly. Because it is a sad thing that has happened to her.

Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 2:55 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 11:33 pm by from Darwin, Australia (Permalink)
we also had an alleged assault case in my town last month the offender has since deleted his profile after recieving his negative. Police were involved

The problem is that the couchsurfing reputation contributes to these problems. I myself have been guilty of gushing what a safe way to travel and how i never felt worried. Now my tune is changed and I worry that the damage done by the push for membership is irreversible. I am not sure how this can be approached to resolve.

I am an experienced host/surfer I can deal with the problem profiles that have become more & more but new surfers & new hosts are easily blinded by the previous reputation. The only thing I use my ambassador flag for is in the hope that if anyone in my city has any problems or questions or worries they can contact me and I can help them out with proper safety precautions.

Whatever my opinion about the current situation of CS I do not want people hurt because of this mess. and yes this is the only reason I continue to hold onto my flag.

Posted February 24th, 2013 - 4:07 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 24th, 2013 - 5:52 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted February 24th, 2013 - 6:22 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 24th, 2013 - 6:37 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted February 24th, 2013 - 8:39 am by from Groningen, Netherlands (Permalink)
For your information:
Last week the CS NMW Team moderators have had a constructive skype call with CS Staff for about one hour. In a nutshell:

They could explain that what lots of couch surfers don’t realize as users is that Couch surfing is actually two websites that are meant to operate like one. Sometimes the new code doesn't work smoothly with the information out of the old code.

The moderators were able to give their opinion and advice about the current sign up process. Four important improvement suggestions have all been regarded as solutions. They will be implemented together with better functionality, but not in short term notice like a week or a month. It will be more a long term process during a few months.

Of course the moderators wished it would be faster. But sometimes what you wish and how reality works are two different things.

The CS NMW Team moderators were satisfied with the skype call. It was straightforward talking.

Meanwhile, the member of the New Member Welcome Team continue sending welcome messages.

Posted February 24th, 2013 - 9:13 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 24th, 2013 - 10:03 am from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted February 24th, 2013 - 10:12 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted February 25th, 2013 - 2:17 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted February 25th, 2013 - 11:06 am from Curitiba, Brazil
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Posted February 25th, 2013 - 11:21 pm from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 26th, 2013 - 3:11 am from Perth, Australia
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Posted February 26th, 2013 - 6:34 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted February 27th, 2013 - 2:26 am from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted February 27th, 2013 - 3:19 am by from Salvador, Brazil (Permalink)
I made two posts on the topic of security in CS, including giving safety tips for OCR.

Clearly, all are adults and are responsible for our safety, but if the CS must constantly improve its security system.

Post 1
https://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=2125&post=14062153


Post 2
https://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=2125&post=14169816.

I have many sisters and women friends and I'm very sad when I see this kind of situation happen.
is obvious that the CS has people with evil goals, it is a representation of our own societies.


Posted February 27th, 2013 - 12:20 pm from Los Angeles, United States
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