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link quality and honest references
Posted July 22nd, 2006 - 11:29 pm by from Barcelona, Spain (Permalink)

i'm sure you've got the message by now that the friends link is too complicated and that we liked the old 'friendship types'

my problem is with the anonymous 'link quality' section:

This section is COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS. Your responses will not be seen by anyone but yourself...Your friends will not know how you appraised the relationship, so please be honest and straightforward.

so then my question is, what's the point of the regular referencing system if not to tell the truth?

maybe for leaving a normal, not anonymous reference it should say something like,

'other couchsurfers take references very seriously and may make decisions depending on what you say, so please be honest and straightforward'

thanks for listening

(& congratulations for cs 2.0 and thanks so much to everyone - i cried when i first read casey's 'what will you do with your little flame?' e-mail)

Posted July 31st, 2006 - 10:52 am by from Dublin, Ireland (Republic of) (Permalink)
I get what you're saying but it's pretty damn scary to post a negative reference for someone. To be honest a guy me and a friend met on CS kept sending her really nasty text messages after she refused to sleep with him and neither or us have left him a negative and unless there's an annonymous option probably never will. The guy hosts a lot so has a good few positives so I guess there's an element of fearing that people will assume the problems with us rather than realising that it's just a warning that the guys a jerk if he doesn't get his own way about sex. So in the end we just didn't leave any kind of reference and neither did he. I don't think there's any sort of feedback system that could really fully work. Everytime any of us couchsurf we're taking chances and for the most part it works out okay. Anonymous references would unfortunately mean people might leave bad references over petty things too though so we can't really win

Posted August 1st, 2006 - 9:17 am by from Calgary, Canada (Permalink)
There's some great info in CouchSurfing References. I like this bit:

"For the sake of all fellow CouchSurfers, do NOT just try to forget about it by not sharing your experience with the community. Leaving a reference is important! It is vital that we, as a community, try to learn from the situation and share it with others so that we can all work together in preventing similar situations from happening."

Clodagh, you write that "it's pretty damn scary to post a negative reference for someone" yet I imagine that it's much more so for someone to walk into a situation that may not only be uncomfortable but unsafe or abusive. I understand that "scary" can be stifling, crippling, whatever, but perhaps leaving a "warning" might suffice instead of a "negative ref" as others may have had a similar experience that they're equally reticent to submit to another's profile. I've found that if I do something once (good or bad), I'm more inclined to repeat it. Or, at least, I'm capable of repeating it. I imagine that it works similarly for others. Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

But until someone convincingly points me in a different direction, I choose to honour my feelings and speak up for myself, sometimes speaking up for those that do/can not. At the risk of having people "assume the problem's" with me, I trust that truth is truth and there's more inherent value to being honest than appearing honest.

Posted August 8th, 2006 - 8:58 pm by from Dublin, Ireland (Republic of) (Permalink)
Thank you to those of you who've been supportive about me testing the waters in here about what you do regards negative feedbacks and bad situations. More of that kind of atmosphere is necessary on here.

Being attacked about it and being pretty much told I'm being selfish are unhelpful. If it was a dangerous situation it'd have been reported but in this case it's just an a**hole guy sending unpleasant messages. Someone who's being childish but not dangerous. If he'd done anything dangerous it wouldn't even be just CS who'd hear about and I'd make damn sure the guy would regret it.

People judging me and trying to guilt people into leaving references really have the wrong attitude.

I'm here posting about the problems I've had in the past on couch surfing, around it being very difficult to leave negative references that people will know who left them. Basicly trying to bring my only negative experience on a couch surfing adventure to the table so we can all look at a way around the problem in the future.

There are a LOT of people who have gone without leaving references for similar reasons when they haven't gotten along with the person and worse. We need to look at how to bring that number down rather than attack them for being honest about the problem at hand.

I do get where you're anger is coming from. it's fear of something worse going unreported.. and I guarantee you it's happened. And keeps happening and will keep happening until we make it as comfortable as possible for people to come forward about dangerous situations.

I have gone through dangerous and abusive situations in my lifetime but luckily never through using CS. It actually took a few years before I came forward and eventually reported them to the authorities. It takes a HUGE amount of confidence and a sense of self righteousness to bring yourself to come forward about that kind of thing and that's exactly what those kind of situations can take away from a person and that's unfortunately why those kind of things go unreported so often.

We need to build a sense within the community that violent and sexually abusive behavior will not be tolerated. Maybe we need to build up a system for what should be done in these situations and once that system is in place have instructions for what to do in a bad situation on the main page. Probably have specific people to whom these problems should be reported cos one to one reporting is a lot less intimidating. I'm even wondering if the friendlinks/references are even a workable solution. They are a necessary part of couchsurfing and a wondeful part but maybe we need something different for dealing with negative situations.

Those who feel they cannot report problems they've had must not be attacked. Attacking people just makes them crawl deeper within themselves. It makes them feel like the problem in a situation where they've been the victim. If someone has the courage to come forward they should recieve wholehearted praise. It's an amazing thing to do. They pave the way for others in the future to make it easier. The victims who aren't yet strong enough to or at least can't within the current system are not to be blamed for the abusive situations others might fall into in the future. Those situations are the fault of the perpatrator and do suggest otherwise is a blow to the already brittle and broken confidence and security of those victems and besides it's pretty ignorant. The reaction has been a pretty worrying one on here. We've got a long way to go before we can realisticly expect people to leave the kind of references necessary to make CS more secure. Retracting the claws would be the best start.

Posted August 1st, 2006 - 11:02 am by from Barcelona, Spain (Permalink)
and what do you imagine that people think of you

please post a reference saying that you didn't feel very comfortable staying at his house, or being in his company and let people judge for themselves

there could be a young woman arranging to meet this guy right now or even arranging to stay alone at his house

it's called moral responsibility

and i'm really angry that the otherwise fantastic people who manage cs have suddenly decided that it isn't very important anymore -

you guys should be encouraging and obliging people as much as you can to be totally honest, for safety reasons apart from anything else, and NOT encouraging the idea to tell the truth in secret - what's happened?

Posted August 1st, 2006 - 4:38 pm by from Denver, United States (Permalink)

was this guy in NY? A friend of mine had a similar experience and didn't post negitive feedback.

That's a good point about annonymous feedback. I've never had a bad experience, so I wasn't even thinking that way.

Posted August 2nd, 2006 - 5:56 am by from Kadikoy, Turkey (Permalink)
But what's the point of this existing, if it is secret... Ok, I get it why you prefer it anomymus, (I disagree but I understand) but what is the use of it if noone can see it.? Perhaps an anonymus "level of trust" could work. Everyone could anonymously put in a box the level of trust on a scale from 1 to 10, after meeting you, (and make it possible to change it as time goes by) and it would all apear in one place (average or sth)

Posted March 28th, 2009 - 2:37 pm by from Brussels, Belgium (Permalink)
Yes, that's a good idea, Mariovic. For example, some kind of warning if someone has a very low level of trust according to the community. And so your flag idea, Heath.

Now how to make the information reliable is another point but worth exploring since I totally agree with you, Clodagh Brennan, the system has to take into account that most poeple don't want to leave a negative reference and that's a fact.

Anybody any idea? I'll be glad to discuss this point with poeple interested.

Heath you say: "If we knew everyone was honnest...".
But I'm sure by crossing in some way (to be discovered) the freinds link information, and the anonimous information, we can get some kind of reliability of the level of trust accourding to the community.

Posted May 16th, 2009 - 3:21 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
I understand you can be scared to leave a negative references, first of all it shows up in red on your profil and so everyone can see it etc...
I suggest something slightly more subtle.
You could leave a 'neutral' reference, saying all the experience you've been trough with that particular CSer, but without being aggressive about it , etc... just a little warning for the others.
I think it's important to use the reference in case of bad experience such as yours, it's what ref. are all about.
Not just about praising someone as being all fabulous, you know.

Posted July 17th, 2009 - 8:51 am by from Brussels, Belgium (Permalink)
I still believe the big majority of poeple will not do so as Clodagh was writing so this isn't the solution yet.

Posted October 9th, 2006 - 3:24 am from Pune, India
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Posted January 2nd, 2007 - 1:36 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
In the situation outlined above, I agree with using a negative reference. I understand how nervy it is for you Clodagh Brennan, and confronting a bully isn't the easiest thing, but bully's survive from using scare tactics. If we all used negative references they'd soon disappear, but if they think they can intimidate people using it, then they obviously will.

With regards to anonymous references, it doesn't follow the rules of natural justice. If we knew everyone on here was honest, then of course we could use Anonymous references etc... but some people can use references maliciously or out of spite (and I'm certainly not saying that of you Clodagh, but it can happen and I'm trying to be objective). A person has a right to know what they're being accused of, and they have a right to defend themselves. We have to uphold that right otherwise the system doesn't work.

Do we run any programs to flag if someone is receiving a high number of "Extremely Negative" references? I'm not a techy, but I'm sure it could be done. A bit of analysis (I can do it if someone gives me the stats), and we can have a point whereby if someone receives "X" amount of "Extremely Negative" references their profile is reviewed and they are investigated. This means one malicious person wouldn't be able to get you booted from the site, but equally so if there are 3 "Extremely Negatives" within a year, then that should surely set alarm bells running. If there's a techy reading these posts, please get in touch?

What do people think of my idea of an automatic flag for people receiving too many bad references?