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How to create an alternative?
Posted September 24th, 2012 - 2:49 pm by from Jerusalem, Israel (Permalink)
Here is a conflict im dealing with lately while im travelling in the world, recommending people about this community:
Im in a big conflict with these new terms of use. They are aggressive and seemed invasive to my privacy, but i also think in it's principle CS is still a good thing for people. I have very hard time convincing people to go to HC or BW because they are so smaller and seem undeveloped now.
I speak with many people almost every day about these communities and can be a good agent for them, as many people, almost 100% om them like the idea of these sites and are even exited to open an account. I'ts hard for me to recommend CS with their new terms and this new disgusting attitude towards the people that donated their time and money for the site in his early stages. But on the same page i don't know how to recommend the other sites as im already active in this one and they are considerably smaller.
I see there some legal actions being made by people who really care about the democratic or at least voluntary basis of this community, but i still want to ask, as a worried user maybe, how can we make a big alternative to CS that will at least force them to change these new terms?

Hope my case will help create a new dialogue around these issues. if im already repeating stuff that has been written many times before, i will be happy to be directed to a page and this once can be terminated.

Thanks for reading
Mateo

Posted September 24th, 2012 - 10:03 pm from Newcastle upon Tyne, England
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Posted September 25th, 2012 - 7:27 am from Stuttgart, Germany
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Posted September 25th, 2012 - 7:56 am from Stuttgart, Germany
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Posted September 25th, 2012 - 12:30 pm by from Jerusalem, Israel (Permalink)
The most fundamental thing is that people usually join a site from a personal recommendation. Take me for example: im not a neutral in operating websites and it took me some time of struggle to understand CS. for Bewelcome or any other alternative with different website i need somebody that will help me embrace the change and continue to work through there. It's not that CS website is better, it's just that most people are like me and do not swim naturally in the Internet water. for most people to change this system is a pain in the neck, and that's why it's most important for alternative website to have physical agents moving around making the transformation.

And i have some more questions regarding the new terms:
Which other websites have similar terms? Are these terms highly unusual or just the regular invasive "facebook" terms?
Are the terms legal or can i object to them in my profile to cover myself?

Posted September 25th, 2012 - 2:10 pm from Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Posted September 26th, 2012 - 12:59 am from Newcastle upon Tyne, England
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Posted September 26th, 2012 - 7:34 pm from Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Posted September 27th, 2012 - 9:41 am from Stuttgart, Germany
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Posted September 26th, 2012 - 9:04 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
Mateo, you asked:

And i have some more questions regarding the new terms:

Which other websites have similar terms?


Although we have looked, no one has been able to identify any terms any place which are as abusive. CS has claimed that their terms are similar with certain other specific sites. Here on this forum we have specifically shown that to be completely false. The CS Terms are basically unlimited - they give CS right forever to use anything you have posted on CS. They are ridiculously broad. It is assumed that this is partially because they actually still do not know how they will exploit this data, and so want to keep every possible model open - the worst of Google, Facebook, etc, all combined.

Are these terms highly unusual or just the regular invasive "facebook" terms?



The Terms are considerably worse than Facebook & Google on many key points. Comparisons have already been made in this forum.

Are the terms legal or can I object to them in my profile to cover myself?


According to Couchsurfing's responses, the Terms are not legal in the US. Let me explain my logic. They have claimed that several key elements of the Terms have been "misinterpreted" because US law would prevent them from being applied as written. Which simply means that these clauses in the Terms are illegal. However US law can change, and showing you have "approved" of misappropriation of data allows CS a legal defense.



European law may soon change, obliging CS to adhere to European privacy principles. I don't know the situation in Israel.



According to the Terms, your only recourse is to sue CS in California to defend against them misappropriating your personal information.



While objecting on your profile or elsewhere could be an effective way of communicating with other users about the subject, and while it could give you legal ammunition in any court case against CS, and while enough collective actions will force CS to change its policies (as has already happened several times, at least temporarily), CS will undoubtedly not pay any attention to your profile when it uses your information for commercial gain.

David

Posted September 26th, 2012 - 6:58 am by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
@ELLA_MATEO "I have very hard time convincing people to go to HC or BW because they are so smaller and seem undeveloped now."

excuse me?? :) hc has not visibly improved in years, that's no secret. in the case of bewelcome, yes the membership base is what c$ probably has in daily signups at the moment, but it's growing rapidly, also thanks to people recommending it despite its current shortcomings. and believe it or not, i manage to find hosts with it in many places.

as for "undeveloped", what is it you miss most in bewelcome? i might be able to raise priorities for certain issues. ;)

disclosure: i am a bewelcome volunteer. duh.

cheers from seoul, my mongolia friends - the mandarin phrasebook helped me in china a lot! :)

Posted September 26th, 2012 - 9:25 am by from Munich, Germany (Permalink)
I feel pretty much the same. However, I invested so much into this and I do not want to miss out on the opportunities it is giving me. I am torn.......
I talked to so many fellow Cs friends and ambassadors so far and there is no answer. CS became too powerful and they are using the network "WE" built. We are trapped! There is only one way. A lot of fellow couchsurfers need to migrate to another platform and hope that the essence of the community follows!
I will open an account at bewelcome and see what happens.

Best
A

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Posted September 26th, 2012 - 1:59 pm by from Ottawa, Canada (Permalink)
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Posted September 26th, 2012 - 4:30 pm by from Jerusalem, Israel (Permalink)
Yes Andreas, i think you point of view is important, as it will represent many of thr troubles going on in transferring the info from CS to BW (for example).
But there is this other thing, which is the most important one: There are many many more people using this website then the alternatives. this is the most obvious and most fundamental reason why it's hard to start a mass transformation. Its not only making a new stream strong, it's also stopping the current one.
Understand that for most people CS is a company that invented something new. the whole idea is new to many people i meet, and for them they get inside with excitement, and for them now to change to a different website with same purpose and not as attractive interface and population is very hard and almost illogical.
Now to answer you meinhard, i will say that a lot of small things are missing in the interface of bewelcome, but most importantly it's the quantity of the people and the fact that it doesn't bring them anything new but only keeps the good old system. in today's 21st century capitalist mania for the new this is a hard thing to "sell". it is possible though, but i think it need personal and intimate ways. We can discuss it in a more private manner.

Now David what you are saying worries me a lot and makes me want to consider changing my whole mindset regarding CS. Initially i planed to offer my services to the website regarding a new journey im preparing, but now i think ill go more to the direction of erasing, or at least not adding any more content into this website. Thanks for the clarification on the terms.

Posted September 27th, 2012 - 7:51 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
The only thing CS has invented is a sophisticated scheme to make people hooked, to part with their money for a "verification" checkmark, and to work for free for the profit of a couple of crooks. In terms of online hospitality, Hospitality Club was first (only that the HC founder is a blunt crook vs. the CS founder who is a sleek one).

The people who don't care about ethics add little value to a non-profit community. Let them stay at CS and help drag it down.