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Direct Discussion with Tony Espinoza (CEO)
Posted March 12th, 2013 - 6:38 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 7:38 am from Paris, France
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 7:41 am from Wellington, New Zealand
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 8:20 am from Tainan, Taiwan
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 8:45 am by from Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Permalink)
Thank you for Tony for your intervention.

Thank you for the new feature.

However as a rather active and experienced couchsurfer I would like to ask CS to concentrate more and spend more energy on fixing bugs and issues which are cause of frustration for many users.
You surely already know what these are, you can see by the amount of tickets opened what are the priorities.

I will just briefly list them here:
- Place Pages: need to be given some sense, not just a junk place where people can write anything. Let active or experienced couchsurfers add local info valid for all, and don't let couchrequests be posted there.
- Geographical locations: it's a mess, cities assigned to wrong areas, countries completely disappearing.

More communication with the community and clear info on when changes will occur are vital for the continuation of the existance of this so much loved/hated site.

With your efforts...maybe you can transform CS back into a LOVED site (and get rid of the hated part...)

Posted March 14th, 2013 - 3:40 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 3:45 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 10:02 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
Why do you make all those changes to the website when noone of the long-term users find it useful? (Or maybe someone like it, but I have not met them).
When it is clearly not ambassadors and other people seriously involved in cs you want to make this site useful for (if it is, you should find another way to do it), who is it then you want to use the site?
And personally I do not understand how making money out of something can ever be more important than making a great community. As it is now it is not the community in focus, the community is just a way to try to make business. For money you can build a travelling website, but never a community of happy people.

Posted March 14th, 2013 - 11:33 pm from Vienna, Austria
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 8:40 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
Tony,

it is quite interesting that instead of answering any pressing issues (there are many, as you know, i hope) you opted to introduce new usless feature.

This photo collage looks nice, ok. Any other use except nice picture, which is great to show to investors?

Could you answer any of the questions, which your staff opted not to answer for weeks?

- For instance, why Ambassador Group is now private group?
We used to have two groups: Ambassadors private and Ambassadors public, and then Sam deleted Amb. private saying that we shall nothing to hide from public. So, it seems that we now suppose to hide everything from public. Is it so?

- Have you ever read this thread: https://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=2125&post=14196884? I am wondering is those new Ambassador guidelines are effective already, but your staff opted not to comment. Maybe you can comment?

-I am also quite curious about certain related questions, i.e.: in a light of a recent changes - shall we keep this change in secrecy from the public?

- Shall we assume that all of the information in this group top-secret, confidential and not public, and anyone who will publish it in other sources is under threat of CS membership termination?

- Dr. Freud would have to say much about your "I will also be attending week-lies" :)

Posted March 12th, 2013 - 8:49 am from Kowloon West, China
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 9:02 am from Kowloon West, China
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 9:15 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 9:25 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 9:32 am from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 9:00 am by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
Hi Tony,

Thanks for your message. The photos look like a nice addition. If you're ever traveling through Brisbane (Australia), let me know and hopefully we could meet-up somewhere.

I'm not sure if this is an appropriate place to ask (or answer) questions, but if you can I was hoping you could tell us whether the Ambassador program is going to continue in some form, or whether it will be removed?

Peace,
Temu

Posted March 12th, 2013 - 9:31 am from Dublin, Ireland (Republic of)
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 10:14 am from Karimunjawa, Indonesia
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 11:18 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 1:03 pm from Melbourne, Australia
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Post removed.
Posted March 12th, 2013 - 1:42 pm by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
This post has been removed by the user.

Deleted Post
Posted March 12th, 2013 - 3:15 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 4:07 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 4:18 pm from Tempe, United States
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 4:19 pm from Tempe, United States
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 5:08 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 5:11 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 8:07 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 10:32 pm by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
Hi Tony,

I think at this point new posts will just echo what has already been said. I would like to give an example:

At the time of writing, 6 out of the first 7 posts on my local place page are couch requests.

I would like to ask if this is what CSHQ is aiming for, and if not, what CSHQ is doing to change this, and when.

I have checked my local group posts almost daily for a few years. People ask and receive information and tips, and organise ways to meet and do fun things. For the past few months I have noticed more and more people posting. Mostly they are new members and have empty or near empty profiles. Mostly their posts are couch requests. Most of the girls get a few replies from guys, also new members with little information on their profiles. I see fewer and fewer posts from members who used to answer posts and organise activities.

One of the local ambassadors, who used to organise regular local CS meetings, got sick of the new CS, and deleted his profile himself. He's now active on another hospitality site.

I do hope CSHQ is able to quickly upgrade both the form and function of the CS website, resulting in the community being as strong and useful as it was before.

---

On an entirely separate note, we all know CS received money and now has investors to answer to. Given the large traveller community, is it not obvious to offer an optional travel agent function -- discount flights/trains/buses for CS members? That way CS could fund itself/make profit, while the rest of the CS website could carry on undisturbed, as a free endeavour, without advertising (other than a note about the discount travel on the login/homepage). You must understand the types of people who like the idea of meeting strangers, hosting, and surfing for free. These people all travel, so offering a cheaper way of doing that is pretty much a no-brainer, don't you think? Just don't shove the offer in everyone's faces all the time. No one likes intrusive advertising.

CS is about travelling, meeting, hosting, and staying. Please do not pollute it with advertising and offers. A simple, optional, offer of discount travel for members, would suffice. How about CSTravel.com or CSDiscounts.com?

One thing is for sure -- if positive changes are not made soon, CS will lose many valuable members from places all around the world. Good local volunteers are not easy to come by. Freeloaders are. If everyone is taking and no one is giving, the whole system becomes unsustainable.

Yours sincerely,

David

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 12:24 pm from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 12:30 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 4:17 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 12th, 2013 - 10:47 pm from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 3:14 am from Pompano Beach, United States
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 3:16 am from Pompano Beach, United States
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 5:40 am from Kolkata, India
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 7:00 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 8:46 am by from Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Permalink)
First of all thank you for replying to everybody.
When you come to Prague feel free to contact me and feel free to contact me anytime.
My Skype is Oliver_luni

Changing the way we navigate within the site is important.
I am personally using the extension created by Don, my FRIEND who's profile was deleted.

In future I suggest to keep people like him as near as possible, not to push them away.

From what you wrote above, I read
[HOME] [EXPLORE][SURF][HOST][DISCUSSION]

"Events" SHOULD be surely included

Speaking of which , I would like to add a small note.
Surely what has been lacking on this site lately and what has pushed away many active users is the way you communicate with them and the way the changes have been introduced.

I personally appreciate the NEW and DIFFERENT approach taken by Merci Grace with the introduction and implementation of the new EVENTS platform.
Using the experience of the active Couchsurfers, people who have used this baby long before you even know it existed and much more than any of your programmers... IS THE KEY

Good luck...to all of us!
:)

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 8:53 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 11:15 am by from Melbourne, Australia (Permalink)
Hey Tony,

Thanks for taking some time and I'd love to talk to you on skype/phone. There isnt really anything particular on my mind that hasnt been mentioned yet but it would be nice to get to know you a little bit.

Have a great week and talk to you soon, hopefully!

Josh =)

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 12:28 pm from Pompano Beach, United States
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 12:52 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 2:34 pm from Miami, United States
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 4:22 pm from Saint-Brieuc, France
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 2:31 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 4:44 pm by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
Thanks for your responses Tony. You won't get unanimously positive replies, but I think it is a good idea to engage with us crusty "old timers" and try to mend a few bridges... despite the occasional tensions.

Your comments give me hope. I am happy to suffer the accusation of being a hopeless optimist, which I think is better than the alternative. I desperately hope that there will be some very quick actions taken to slow down member activation (require e-mail confirmation), to introduce community details, and to allow some moderators/ambassadors to moderate place pages.

I understand that the trust problem works two ways that that CS HQ isn't overly keen on empowering CS users at the moment... but I think that a limited re-introduction of moderator powers will ultimately be a lower risk approach than the central command structure that leaves pages without important information or moderation.

Peace,
Temu


Posted March 13th, 2013 - 6:36 pm from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 5:34 pm by from Montgomery, United States (Permalink)
Hello Tony, My name is Rocky Sanguedolce and I am a former CS media representative, volunteer, & ambassador. The CS community is revolting, & i'm going to take this opportunity to tell you why. First, I feel the need to give you some background on my history with CS. I first heard about CS from a newspaper article and I was instantly hooked on the idea. I was hooked on the idea that I could give a little of myself and home to a stranger and help make the world a better place. I love the idea of sharing exceptional kindness to a stranger and then having someone else show that kindness to me when I was in there home country...

How has CS changed since the new management? I never thought one simple question could have so many answers. I would like to start with the first one that pops in to my head. The idea that investors want to capitalize and profit off of the hospitality of others, is counter to everything CS stands for. The core idea of CS is the idea of one person giving to another for free, regardless if it's a couch or there time showing you something that a tourists typically won’t get to see. Monetizing someone else’s hospitality for personal gain is utterly and completely against the core values that CS was founded on. I'm a business owner. I own a bar, a campground & about 30 rental apartments, so I always have space to host people. When I host a CouchSurfer I treat them as a family member. I provide food & drink from my bar. I host people in my camping cabins. I expect nothing in return other than the hope that someone somewhere else will reciprocate my kindness when I'm traveling. The idea that a third party wants to profit off of my hospitality is offensive to me.

The second issue would be disbanding and eliminating the volunteers. Volunteers where the evangelical preachers for CS. They spread the gospel that was CS from couch to couch, from one corner of the globe to the other. The volunteers built the bedrock that CS was founded on & they were dumped like a bad habit. It was and is an insult of great proportions. People who had a genuinely true passion for what they did, work up one day to find there groups disbanded & deleted by management. Can you imagine the 3.5 million volunteers registered with The Salvation Army, or the Big Brothers Big Sisters, half a million people that volunteer at the YMCA, or 3.5 million volunteers registered with The Salvation Army being treated like that. All of those organizations greatest asset was there volunteers who happily and willfully gave their time, free of charge to something that they believed in. What does CS do? Disbands almost all volunteer groups, & hires paid employees to do their job. This was and is bad for so many reasons. I'll just give you an example.

The NewMember Welcome Group was staffed by volunteers who loved to greet and talk to new members. When a new member would sign up one of the volunteers would send out a personalized message and offer to help them if they had any questions. CS corporate did not like this idea they want to produce a constant quality experience that was consistent with each member. The only problem is that almost all of the employees that now make up CS corporate have ZERO CS experience, and almost most all have backgrounds in social media websites like Facebook and others. They simply dont understand that it's the personalization that counts; it's the unique experience and individuality that makes CS great. I would like to use an analogy to illustrate my point. Let’s say, you where to go backpacking in Burma looking for a unique cultural experience and upon arriving at a remote village only to find a Pepsi vending machine. You would be a little disappointed…Yes they can now provide a constant cookie cutter automated template response to new members like they do with Facebook, but in doing so they lose just a little of the magic that makes CS great.
CS corporate should have kept the volunteers and had a paid employees managing the group. CS corporate should have keep the volunteers and simply had them managed by paid employees that way they could have gotten the consistency they were looking for without diluting the quality of the greetings and keeping the volunteers happy.

3rd. Close your eyes for a second and imagine the unholy shit storm of fiery feedback Apple would get if they changed their logo from an apple to a can of tunafish. 99% of the community hates the new logo. CouchSurfing received ballpark 26 million dollars in funding and figured the best thing they could do was break the website and change the logo, and piss off most of the existing community. The new logo is difficult to read on a small screen, it looks cursive (which is being phased out of most schools), and if you have to explain the symbolism of your logo then your logo isnt effective. Add on top of that when long time community members offered suggestions on the logo CS employ Merci Grace can be quoted saying "We're not a democracy and do not want to give the false impression that we are, so we won't be asking for a vote." It's the gaul of a new paid employ telling veteran members of the community that our opinion doesn't matter pretty much sum up the problem community has with CS corporate.

4th. The website....They received 26million dollars in venture capital and intentionally fucked up the website. Was the old website perfect? Nope, not at all, but it was infinitely more user friendly than the current site. The thing that most people are upset about is that the current site feels ANTI user friendly. They traded something that people could use for something hurts. I think that is incomprehensible that they would scrap the old site before the new site was put to a focus group especially when they received such a large sum of money to make the website successful.

I love the idea of CS to the very core of who I am. The very first time I read about CS in the news. I said to my self, I want to be apart of that. I was drawn to the idea of CS like a moth to a flame. I remember the crash. I sold a car and a paintball gun so I could donate about $1k to get the site back up and running. My participation has waxed and waned over the years, but I've always kept my couch open.

I've seen a lot of people come and go. I have been a longtime volunteer for the NMW team and the media response team lead by Cesar. I learned a long time ago to keep my head low, mouth shut and enjoy the site for what it is. I never wanted to be a chief. I was happy doing the grunt work. I've done radio and print interviews for all parts of the world with most major media organizations, building bridges, and spreading the gospel that was CouchSurfing.

I was happy to continue on keeping my head low, and rolling with all the new changes. I dont mind giving you guys the benefit of the doubt, but lately there has been a building perception within the community that CS is becoming worse and worse.

The ambassadors have been CS's greatest asset. We preach the word of Couchsurfing door to door & couch to couch. We the ambassadors advocate for the ideas that CS represent. You and management are doing a wonderful job of completely alienating the very people who made your corporation successful.

When a ambassador says I want to renounce my ambassadorship in response to company policy. It's not a short lived protest. They are not trying to demonstrate to everyone that they quit things. The very essence of the problem is that you would even think of viewing it in that light. Ambassadors resign there ambassadorship in protest the same reason Tibetan monks set them selfs on fire, because it's the ONLY thing that they can do to make a point & you guys just are not getting the point.

I wish only the best for CS. I support Casey and all of CS's new paid employees, but you guys need to step back, look in the mirror and ask you self. Did "I" make CS successful or was it the 100's of ambassadors that for years volunteered with passion that made CS great. If you answered ambassadors then you need to have a little more respect for the people who are resigning because they are doing it out of love for what was once a great idea.

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 5:41 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 7:37 pm from Hannover, Germany
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 7:41 pm from Hannover, Germany
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 6:35 pm by from Paderborn, Germany (Permalink)
+1

Well summed up. It's the stuff everybody is telling in his/her way. Some more offensive, looking for confrontation to show how pi#### off we are - and they'r removed (as Don). Some more defensive (as your picture of the Tibetian monks) - their actions are ignored (I've never read something as "Ambs, please stay Ambs, you're some of the people that are CS"). All the other who complain are only told some marketing blah blah.
So please, Tony: Answer the post of Rocky with a even longer reply. Tell us what the vision of CS is. How you want to stop destroying the community. How you will stop fucking up with all the excited and long-term members. For a community one Rocky or Don is much more valuable than hundred of empty profile. For a useless website it's the other way round - but then tell how you dare to destroy a community built in several years (and a much bigger time it took all members spent to built it up).

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 8:32 pm from Amadora, Portugal
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 4:36 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 9:34 am from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 11:13 am from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 11:30 am from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 10:44 am from Helsinki, Finland
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 8:10 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 4:26 am from New York, United States
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 12:53 pm from Athens, Greece
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Posted March 14th, 2013 - 3:12 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 12:20 am by from Darwin, Australia (Permalink)
Stop treating us like idiots and expecting us to believe your Zero Tolerance safety reasons for deletions & that it can't be reversed. You already reversed several deletions after they promised to remove the offending stuff from their profiles.

Bring back Justin & Dion and quit telling us they were safety risks.

I reported a profile that was spamming my place trolling for women a week ago, in fact I reported his profile several times and nothing was done. So much for "zero" tolerance. it seems to be easy to delete high profile member who gave plenty to the community than a very obvious troll account.

I get your safety team must be SO busy considering the membership is 90% shit the last few months but they seem to have plenty of time for censoring everyone.

If you prioritised member safety over your own precious reputation than your reputation would save itself.

Posted March 15th, 2013 - 5:06 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 5:18 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 7:46 am from Athens, Greece
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 9:02 am from Miami, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 9:13 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 2:15 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 7:38 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 10:48 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 11:36 pm by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
Tony,

I'm sure you are a very busy person, and don't read many posts in place pages from around the world. I know you are well aware the place pages are full of couch request spam, and much of that is from new members with empty profiles. That's not the full story.

Here is one exchange that I think is worth bringing to your attention. This is what we have to put up with in our place pages. If we were tagging the profile and message(s) posted, it would come under 'safety', 'stupidity', 'fake profiles', and 'possible predators'. Unfortunately when reporting posts, profiles, and pictures, we can only select from a limited set of options, and there's no room for us to add a description.

Stupid girl, or male predator? Either way it's dodgy.
https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/threads/sydney-new-south-wales-australia-hi-girls-i-am-25-year-old-european-girl-i-live-in-the-city-of-sydney-in-a-big-room-i-have-a-couch-available-and-plenty

Calls to action:

-- CSHQ really needs to fix up group moderation and flagging, asap.

-- Not allowing posts from profiles that aren't filled in properly.

-- The red text suggesting not to post email addresses and phone numbers is not enough.

-- People trying to get contacted outside of CS without even sending a private message first, is a recipe for disaster.

-- How about a flesh filter? Whether automated or eyeballed, even dating sites (and trade/swap/sale sites) have systems in place to check profiles and photos before they go live.

I don't know why this is taking so long. I'm sure any idea I've expressed has been brought up before, repeatedly, over many months and possibly years, but especially in the last 6 months.

I'm immune to marketing, sales pitches, rainbows, and utopian dreams. We need results, not promises. I think everyone here is glad you are communicating with members, I really, really hope to see concrete results very soon.

Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to the new, new Couchsurfing. One where safety is a priority and spam is mostly prevented, and promptly removed.

Cheers,

Dave

Posted March 15th, 2013 - 11:39 pm by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
The plot thickens...

I just received this direct message
(as I was typing the message above):

-----------------------------------------

Nathan Bernasconi
Sydney
New South Wales
Australia

Hey Dave, don't know if you remember me trying to take the piss out of a bloke named Chris Alam a while back for trying to organise a threesome on CouchSurfing, but Sofia was the fake profile he created during that conversation to pretend he'd succeeded (for which I mocked him further). Warned a few girls off him when 'Sofia' ws posting the Blue Mountains stuff, and one girl actually HAD met him and confirmed he had a girlfriend, but that she felt they were both pretty scary and got out of there (could track down the email if you're keen for details). But yeah, another creepy pervert trawling CSing...

Well said with that last comment btw.

Posted March 15th, 2013 - 11:44 pm by from Darwin, Australia (Permalink)
ZERO TOLERANCE!!!! both those profiles need to be imediately deleted with no warning or chance of reversel right? Isnt that was CSHQ does??????

or wait ...

my bad he didn't bad mouth CS or any of the staff so maybe just a polite email telling him to stop creating duplicate profiles & trolling forums for creepy sex will be enough.

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 5:38 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 5:51 am by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
"Members who receive negative references or are reported to CS by confidential safety report will be removed without notice or appeal."

I'm not sure I understand this correctly. Are you saying that anybody with a negative reference will have their account deleted?

And regarding the safety report, are we to understand that people will be assumed guilty as soon as they are accused, then will have no right of reply, and will be automatically deleted?

Will these rules apply to everybody? If so -- what happens if somebody puts up a negative reference or makes a complaint about the CS HQ staff? Will they be deleted?

This is very confusing.

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 6:01 am by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
Oh, I noticed Tony didn't reply to me.

Something has happened...

- The offending photo has been removed by the person in question, or by CSHQ.

- The offending post has also been removed.

But...

- I note the person's profile is still active and empty (but for a single photo).

- I also note the person's past posts are still visible. Here's a similar post, and look how everyone gives away their personal information! I'm pretty sure at the time the person's profile photo was the close up boob shot.
https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/threads/sydney-new-south-wales-australia-hi-girls-i-live-in-the-sydney-city-with-my-bf-any-friendly-easy-going-girl-needs-couch-i-have-just-dropped-a-love

Dave

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 7:06 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 9:13 am from Miami, United States
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 3:43 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 5:56 am from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 2:07 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 3:44 pm from Saint-Brieuc, France
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 9:04 am from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 12:08 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 12:20 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 5:02 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 8:55 am from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 11:03 am from Miami, United States
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 4:15 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 5:01 pm from Kowloon West, China
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 9:40 pm from Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 10:49 pm from Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 11:11 pm by from Darwin, Australia (Permalink)
Bewelcome survived along side CS for years. By censoring members pointing to a non-profit non-commercial website you are only making more enemies.

CS beat BeWelcome once upon a time without the need to censorship. As you start to censor more watch more and people leave in droves.

Even if I remove it from my profile once you force me to do that nothing will stop me from speaking out against you every where else I possibly can.

focus on the actual problems & bewelcome wouldn't be your problem. you guys are the ones who ruined CS and drove others away.

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 11:45 pm from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 11:58 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 3:35 am from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 5:29 am by from Brisbane, Australia (Permalink)
Sorry -- one other small question, and it's probably not a big deal. You mentioned that you joined CS in 2011, but the profile you're using now says that it was started on 25 April 2012. Do you use two profiles?

Thanks for all your answers, and hope you're having a good w/e. :)

Posted March 17th, 2013 - 1:43 pm from Perth, Australia
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 3:00 pm from Vienna, Austria
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 5:15 pm from Kowloon West, China
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Posted March 17th, 2013 - 5:17 pm from Vienna, Austria
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 4:30 am from New York, United States
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 10:11 am by from Melbourne, Australia (Permalink)
Hey boys and girls,

Don was wondering if Tony's email address is working as he hasn't gotten a response from him. In case there is some problem with his mailbox below is a copy of the email that was sent to Tony. As Tony reads this post it might be good to make it available to him here also.

There we go:

"Tony,

Thank you for getting in contact with me and I must admit
I am a little surprised by your email. From what I understand has posted by you on the couchsurfing website, it gives the impression that I have been unwilling to communicate with CSHQ. I do not understand how this conclusion was made as I have always been a very open to discussions with everyone. Colleen, you and I exchanged emails not that long ago when I highlighted some of the safety issues that I saw with the site. I am happy to hear that you have finally taken some of the suggestions I made into consideration and used them to improve safety on the site. It saddens me greatly that the community was not listened to earlier on these matters. The ordeal that the couchsurfer who was raped went through could have perhaps been avoided if the community was listened to. The measures you have now put in place is a small step in the right direction but can do nothing to repair the damage that has already been done. I am sure you are aware of the global statistics on the percentage rapes that go unreported. It makes you wonder how many countless others have suffered due to inadequate safety measures on the couchsurfing site. As I stated in my post, before it was deleted for being "sensationalist and misleading" by Colleen, and in my email to you and Casey Fenton - "When the next case of sexual assault happens I want everyone in CSHQ to take an long hard look in the mirror. In that mirror you are going to see the person who's actions have contributed to this."


What also really confuses is that you are stating that several emails with me prior to my removal were not effective. You, Colleen and I had an email exchange about safety on the site around February 22nd I believe. I also had an email exchange with Rachel, Head of Safety and Security, regarding the case of the girl who was raped a few days later. All emails that were sent to me by couchsurfing staff were responded to and quite promptly. When I was informed by other couchsurfers that my profile was removed I did an extensive search to see if any explanation was sent to me. I also went through my spam folder to ensure that I made a complete check. I have also just done the same check again and I am unable to find any such emails. Please send me screenshots of the emails that were sent including their content, dates/times of mailing, from address and to address that these emails were sent to/from so I can again search for them. There is a possibility that I missed these during my search and I will be happy to look for them again but as I mentioned, it was a very detailed search. One thing I have learned from my parents, which has been re-enforced with this community, is that trust is an extremely important thing. It is not something that you should take for granted. A good way to build trust with people is not to lie to them or about them. Honesty is always the best policy both and people who know me personally and professionally with attest to this. Integrity is not just a word that you use as a Marketing/PR stunt. It actually means something to some people and I happen to be one of those people. When I say I did not receive contact from CSHQ about my profile prior to or since my deletion it is a fact. As I mentioned, I am happy to search my mail box again but you are going to have to provide some proof that these messages were sent. Please make sure to clarify that I have not received any direct communication about my profile or actions from CSHQ prior to and since my removal in your next weekly post and in the ambassador forum where you have made these statements. It will help restore some integrity as right now people are interrupting this as a PR stunt.

I still do not know the exact reason my profile was removed. As someone who has done my best to create a safer community on couchsurfing I am eager to understand the concerns the Safety Team had about me. I made a point of trying to ensure that the community was safe for all users. If you ask anyone who attended the new member welcome meetings that I ran in Berlin they will tell you that a large portion of my discussion with them was about personal safety and how to use the network safely. I have also worked closely with the Safety Team in the past and am well aware of their operational guidelines. I have found, in my dealings with them, that they are very professional and systematic in their approach. The only time I have seen them remove someone so quickly and without warning is when there has been a case of sexual misconduct. I am to gather that there are claims of sexual misconduct with me that has caused me to be removed from the network? The other theory that is floating around at the moment is to do with privacy. There are also a pretty wild theories that I am somehow stealing users data. I am not sure where this idea came from but some people have a great imagination. Speaking of the whole privacy issue are users aware that their data is publicly searchable on google? I put in a few keywords in to google and have a look that the screen shots I was able to capture. I have provided a link below. It paints quite a scary picture of the how someone could use the site to find a innocent victim to rape without even being a member of the site. Like the previous rape case, all they would have to do is call one of these girls, pretend to be a couchsurfer, offer to meet/host them and then take advantage of them sexually.

http://bit.ly/VYsQkB

I am happy to have a chat with you. Mentioning the whole trust, honesty and integrity ideals which I community is built on, I find it much easier to assess someone when you are sitting face to face with them. You can look them in the eye, get a measure of them as a person and know if they are telling the truth or are just giving you some rehearsed marking/PR speech. Let's have that drink in Berlin like we discussed in our previous email exchange. As you have stated quite clearly that there is no possibility of my profile being restored there is no urgency for us to speak and I would much prefer to do so in person.

Regards,

Don Shine"

Don was asking me to post this email here on his behalf since he isn't able to particapte in this group discussion.

Josh =)

Posted March 18th, 2013 - 11:13 am by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
...and on the topic of safety -- A little update on the fake profile trolling for girls in Sydney.

After flagging some posts, the profile, and writing a CUQ to report the member, the fake female profile has been removed, as have a couple of recent posts. I have no idea why, but older posts are still visible when searching for the person's profile name(s).

Then I was informed that the same guy was posting the same nonsense under his main profile. A couple of us have since flagged the post and profile, and I wrote more under the same CUQ. Hopefully this profile and related posts get taken down as well.

Another guy popped up in the Sydney place page today, asking if people wanted to go our on a catamaran. Someone notified me that his profile references say that people are paying for the privilege -- so it's essentially commercial spam. Fagged. Reported. Hope something is done about it.

I'm told this is hapenning in place pages everywhere. Better hire some staff to to take care of looking out for this stuff, and taking checking out things that are flagged and reported.

Dave

Posted March 18th, 2013 - 5:08 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 5:36 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 5:09 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 10:53 pm from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 8:25 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 5:12 am from Pittsburgh, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 9:44 am by from Bamberg, Germany (Permalink)
+100 for Edwin! (Who is next?)

Posted March 15th, 2013 - 9:51 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 10:20 am from Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 2:33 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 2:42 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 1:48 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 2:49 pm from Pittsburgh, United States
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 3:30 pm by from Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Permalink)
Maria
Not that it's important or that I care but I can see Dresden... I use Firefox
https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/places/dresden-sachsen-germany?new_header=true


Posted March 15th, 2013 - 4:04 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted March 15th, 2013 - 5:03 pm by from Bamberg, Germany (Permalink)
Well it certainly does NOT work for Bamberg here!
When I search for Bamberg (2 mio visitors pa and world heritage!) or Bayreuth (1 mio visitors pa
and home of Richard Wagner, also world heritage!) - I end up in little (unknown) Coburg (20,000 visitors)!!

As example, and to make this UNDERSTANDABLE for the average Californian:
You would enter San Francisco or Los Angeles - and get San Diego as result!!
Big deal (big success in programming), right?


But don't bother changing it anymore - I think it is better to invest my time elsewhere, where people REALLY listen...
(@Tony I been to a lot of meetings here recently, people just see, that CS is more and more unusable
- maybe just take GERMANY off the list until you are done playing around?)

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 4:03 pm from London, England
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 12:49 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 2:02 pm from Saint-Brieuc, France
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 9:25 pm by from Tallinn, Estonia (Permalink)
Greetings Tony

I have been fairly active member from 2008 with creating events,hosting,surfing,NMW,promoting cs in everywhere I could.Got couple of time to estonian media: estonian newspapers and magazines.

But lately site changes have been so fast that even for me it is hard to understand how things are working today and what changes are coming tomorrow.At this moment if the new member asks me in some info about the website in CS meeting ,then it is hard to descibe website as new features coming up suddenly, what can change everything.

Couple of things what need instant change or improvements:
* Website usage through mobilephone
* Places page needs at least minimum information box about location what/where/when
* Possibility to add pictures to Places postings
* Better option for surfing and finding hosts
* Better option to see whole county events,as right now it is way too hard to get relavant information.
* Hopefully events/activity new system becomes a bit better.Send out meeting invitation to surfers is still essential need.

Best regards,Tõnis

Posted March 17th, 2013 - 7:18 am from Kolkata, India
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 2:20 pm from Lima, Peru
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Post removed.
Posted March 18th, 2013 - 3:06 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
This post has been removed by the user.

Deleted Post
Posted March 18th, 2013 - 3:10 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 3:20 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
Like some others mentioned, I do not see any good in deleting profiles with negative references, unless they have a lot of them. Some people get fake references from lunatic people, they risk being deleted. Some people are disliked by others. It will be very easy to get rid of someone you do not like or someone you envy, if you can just write them a negative reference and then know they will be deleted. And a very common reason for writing negative references is misunderstandings, different opinions and not getting along very well. That should not be a reason to get your profile deleted. Also it will be very easy to put pressure on someone: "If you don´t do as I want, I will write you a negative reference". And I think someone will be even more careful about writing references (an example: girls being sexual harrased often do not like to write a negative reference) if they know the person will be deleted, or they risk to have a negative reference themself. So when I believe the reference system is an important part of security, I also believe that deleting profiles with (a few)negative references will make the site less safe to use.


Posted March 18th, 2013 - 5:39 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 4:18 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 18th, 2013 - 5:52 pm by from Bamberg, Germany (Permalink)
@Juan...
Well thank you for all your work and brain you put in here!!
But, like barking up the wrong tree - I do see NO CHANGES and I have giving up to believe there will be a change...
(This site is full of contradictions meanwhile, at the bottom you can read "socially responsible" - see what I mean?)