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Member profiles beng deleted?
Posted March 6th, 2013 - 10:27 pm by from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (Permalink)
I saw in another group about how people who post things in groups that are critical of CS management get their profiles deleted. Does anyone know anything about this?

Posted March 7th, 2013 - 12:10 am by from Brussels, Belgium (Permalink)
Here's what I know. 2 people in Berlin, one in Chicago, and someone in France. It looked like they've been removed for asking questions but CS is claiming this is not the case without indicating what other reason there is.

There's a lot of interesting activity on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit (especially, since QforQ aka Sam Houston is posting there as well).
https://twitter.com/search?q=couchsurfing&src=typd
https://www.facebook.com/events/147008412126669/
http://www.reddit.com/r/couchsurfing/

FB likes, retweets and reddit votes are a good way to bring this censorship (and other issues) to the attention of a wider public.

Posted March 7th, 2013 - 3:28 am by from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (Permalink)
Thanks for the reply. I will check out those links. If they keep up this police-state approach to dissent, there won't be any members left.

Posted March 8th, 2013 - 11:03 am from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 8th, 2013 - 9:18 pm from Bangkok, Thailand
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Posted March 9th, 2013 - 10:29 am from Barcelona, Spain
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Posted March 10th, 2013 - 8:28 pm from Berlin, Germany
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Posted March 11th, 2013 - 1:59 pm by from Melaka, Malaysia (Permalink)
Deleting membrers, flagging their references (my case) or any other way of censorship seems to be a cool protocol to get rid of those who are no aligned with the current CS agenda.

Of course, it´s all done with some justification. They can´t be that obvious. All corporate bullcrap.
And if you keep your Contact Us ticket (Zendesk) too long they will simply close it down.
Tickets can´t be open for too long, mind you!

Cheers,
Jean

Posted March 11th, 2013 - 3:24 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 11th, 2013 - 3:33 pm by from Melaka, Malaysia (Permalink)
Hi, Poisonjjj.

It means that a reference can be marked (flagged) as "non visible" so it doesn´t appear when you read a profile.
For instance, if you check my profile you´ll see that all references I left to others have been flagged and are not visible anymore.
(The reason they give is because I did change all the references, one by one, denouncing the changes in CS and they say someone complained - Funny thing is I contacted all of them 250+ before changing the reference).

They will just do whatever they want to do. That´s about it.

Cheers,
Jean

Posted March 11th, 2013 - 3:35 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 1:11 am by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
So my profile was deleted last night for a half an hour or something.

I contacted them asking for a reason.

This is what I've got: http://img837.imageshack.us/img837/7425/84893909.png

Than I asked for something further: http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/7384/123uxj.png

Its 24 past and I still didn't get a response.

Lets see what they have in store for me in next 6 days.

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 4:26 am by from Melaka, Malaysia (Permalink)
Hi, Milan.

What´s the status of your profile currently?

Cheers,
Jean

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 5:34 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 6:52 am from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 7:38 am by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
Here more recent examples and discussion about:
http://www.bewelcome.org/groups/77/forum/s5686-CS_threatening

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 8:03 am by from Melaka, Malaysia (Permalink)
Hi.

I can´t access that thread even been logged in.
It keeps saying I need to log in.
Reloading the page (cache and stuff) didn´t help.

Cheers,
Jean

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 8:18 am from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 9:28 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
Poison says "@lucas:what's the point in linking here a thread from another website?
i'm glad you are discussing there, but i'm not a member, so i can't have any advantage from that
and many other CS members as well "

Literally hundreds of links to other websites - including many member-only sites like Facebook - have been posted here. And yet this is the first time you complain?

You do realize that CS members are being banned from CS for talking about these subjects on CS? Sounds like a good reason to talk elsewhere to me.

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 9:39 am from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 9:51 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
Excuse me Poison, for not noticing you complaining about Facebook links, but are no longer doing so.

But as I mentioned, there are very good reasons for taking the discussion off CS. One I didn't mention is that CS has promised this forum (and all others) will disappear as soon as they can get around to "improving" the group pages.

Of course joining the non-profit site mentioned is an excellent idea, which you are obviously free to not do.



Posted March 13th, 2013 - 10:03 am from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 10:32 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
"i understand why many people are moving the discussion outside, but this is killing the freedom of speach without even trying to stand for it"

I have to disagree. CS management is attacking freedom of speech. Several valuable members have been excluded for giving feedback on official CS feedback forums, including the Ambassador forums. I personally know outspoken members who are afraid to tell the truth here and elsewhere on CS for fear of reprisal. Members have received threatening emails from CS staff telling them they cannot say what they want about hosting and surfing.

There is no reason to think this forum communicates more information to CS membership than FB, BW, etc, etc.

Freedom of expression is now officially illicit on CS, no matter wht fake excuses they give.

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 10:58 am from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 13th, 2013 - 12:53 pm by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
The main idea of html is the "h" for "hyper", that is, the possibility to write "hypertexts", to go beyond the text and link to other texts (web-sites). Hyperlinks together with the network brought the end of the monopoly on information. That "h" has opened, among others, the doors to revolutions against dictators, has brought big companies to rectify many times, has expanded liberty in general to the common people and also has broken the censorship imposed by the people sitting above. In my opinion if C$ is not more radical expurging us is because they know that the "h" would kill C$, they are trying to keep some appariences of plurality and tolerance. Only the fact that discussion is possible "outside" C$ limits the power of action of C$.

A long discussion inside C$ about the deletion of one member:
https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/threads/berlin-berlin-germany-but-please-do-it-in-real-life-and-give-him-a-hug-from-me-don-just-had-his-profile-deleted-http-www-couchsurfing-org

The dissappeared group "Leaving CS for Bewelcome":
http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=59753

The dissappeared thread about the security issue I mentioned before in the case your profile or that of your host becomes deleted while traveling:
https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/threads/santiago-santiago-metropolitan-region-chile-desde-la-transformacion-a-traicion-de-couchsurfing-en-empresa-con-animo-de-lucro-se-han-sucedido-los-disgustos-uno-de-l

The C$ explanation for the deletion of this thread is that "some member" should have pointed it as off-topic because it is not a place related issue, but a general, and it should be discussed in "our general discussion forums". But do they exist?

This member:
http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/vitez_koja/?utm_campaign=group&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cs
reports to have become this threaten:
http://img837.imageshack.us/img837/7425/84893909.png
(link provided by himself on a C$ group)
"Commercial spam"???
The thread I linked to and you haven't read is about another C$ member who became the same, as, apparently, many others in the last weeks.



Posted March 13th, 2013 - 5:39 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
A lots of interesting topics have been brought here, right now I just have time to answer to one, or else I'll forget it later. :)

Our profiles are getting deleted because of "commercial spam". So, what is the definition of "spam"?
According to Wikipedia, "spam" is:

1) Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately;

On social network spamming:
2) Facebook and Twitter are not immune to messages containing spam links. Most insidiously, spammers hack into accounts and send false links under the guise of a user's trusted contacts such as friends and family.

Obviously, spam is about sending, not displaying. Nobody here is sending his/her profile or putting other users in "fait accompli" situation, like when you sendunwanted message with a commercial. Nobody is forced to read anybody's profile.

What a bunch of bouquets of spermatozoons floating in a large bucket...

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 5:50 pm by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
I have to feel lucky, the 6 threads I opened in 6 cities of 2 continents were deleted simultaneously because "one or several members" had flagged them as "off-topic". This coordination of members in two continents tagging threads simultaneously is an incredible exhibition of empathy in the C$ community...

At least I am not yet a spammer...

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 6:31 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
CS seems to be using very peculiar definitions/interpretations both of the words "commercial", and "spam". These are some answers the CS safety team has given to the question how a link or reference to BeWelcome.org, a non-profit organization which does not sell anything, can be considered "commercial" or "commercial spam":

- Using one platform to connect with members, only to direct these members to a different site is considered commercial use.

- Writing the couch description in a way that makes it seem that members need to contact you through another website and also members can only learn enough about you to make an informed decision about what kind of person you are and whether your accommodations are within their personal thresholds of safety if they go through an external site. This drives members off the Couchsurfing website and that is why it is considered commercial use.

This argumentation completely neglects any kind of definition of what is "commercial" published anywhere, not even in their own terms of use, and that there is never an obligation to host, or otherwise they would have to delete a lot of CS profiles which don't.

One way to get around a misinterpretation of your profile content by CS which would make it fall under this strange definition is to state that you give preference to requests received through BeWelcome rather than that you only host through BeWelcome.

Another creative wording which I have seen used is to instruct members to NOT look at your BeWelcome profile (because that would make Couchsurfing unhappy).

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 6:42 pm by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
The funny thing is that in the profile exists the possibility to link to "your website"!!! That is obviously pointing to an external site to let others know more about you. All profiles which have filled the field "your website" would be doing commercial spam. I remember to have read profiles with a personal description like "visit my website to know more about me". And what about the profiles of people saying to ask their friends for a personal description? Spammers...

Not to mention that the essence of hypertext is the linking to other texts. So the whole web should be commercial spam in opinion of CS. PEOPLE, LET'S CLOSE THE ENTIRE WWW!!

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 7:24 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
In summary, "commercial" is anything which could potentially decrease the value or revenue of CouchSurfing International, Inc.. Another word used by CS to qualify such issues is "safety problem", with the safety of the invested capital and the security of certains people's CS jobs in mind as a result of the critical - sorry: "commercial" - "spam".

Posted March 14th, 2013 - 1:09 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
Obviously, they are very creative in interpretation of "commercial" and "spam". I, for one, don't know what's "commercial" in my profile and as such in many other people's profiles. Is it BW? FlagCounter? FaceBook(kake)? World Map? LastFM? Of course, I'm pretending to be an average Joe here, I know that they don't like me "promoting" BW, but on the other hand I don't like the fact is that I don't know what's "commercial spam" in C$ terms.

Then again, I came up with the following idea, which is quite wierd to me, that is they maybe consider that we are getting money from sites and organizations that we are promoting, which is clearly ridiculous since BW is a non for-profit.
Hmmm... Maybe they are really having problem with having FlagCounter on profile since FlagCounter is actually asking for money? Hehehe... :)

Now, when I think a little bit deeper I actually want to get in an argument with them now. It would be quite nice sadistic conversation. :) I'm about to start to bomb them with messages...

On the other hand, to prove that C$ inc. is led by fascis/nazis is that all of us put Coca~Cola, Snicker, Nestle or Michael Jackson logos and photos and then we all get banned (ie. executed) in classical holocaust manner...
Oh shit! Wait a minute? When I site my favourite bands and movies in a profile, isn't it promotion and "commercial spam" as well? Got to have bomb them with messages. :)

But to be serious, I really think and believe that joining BW is the real protest and act against C$ inc. because everything else proved to be futile, since they don't fucking care about single one voice raised by the people. That's what became problem with this group. People are discussing a lot, but very few DID something.

And, come on, let's get serious, by becoming "for profit" international company, C$ inc. is actually functioning like a factory and it's members are workers that are actually not getting paid for their work. I refuse, resent and detest the possibility for someone not only to make money, but to actually put the price on MY couch, on MY home, on MY bills, on MY soap, on MY soup, on MY beer, on MY feelings, on MY hospitality, on MY good will, on MY moods, on MY memories!!! It is below human to put fucking price tags on everything that I consider to be essentialy human and that, in my opinion, belongs to essence of existence!
I mean, why do they need PERPETUAL LICENCE of my pictures, voice and home??? Sorry, but is that PERPETUAL LICENCE on myself? My personality?

@LUCAS Globally, people, economists and those working in justice system especially, are having big problems with hyper texts because it twists the idea of copyright and you are never really sure when its stealing, borrowing or original. Hahaha...

Its impossible to not adore and have sympathy for the madness that capitalism is. :) Basically, because of hypertext, the world is polarized between those of "anal" & "oral, genital" characters.

@JULIA "changing back your nick to "i'm moving" is gonna piss them off,and you know it, silly rabbit :)"
Of course I do. I've kind of willingly put myself in "homo sacer" position. :)

Write to you later, have to do some "bombings". At least we from Serbia have experience with that... :P

Posted March 14th, 2013 - 5:47 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
Heh... Apparently I was nice enough. :)

http://img837.imageshack.us/img837/4336/123hw.png

Posted March 14th, 2013 - 9:19 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Congrats, Milan, well done.

Unless you want to avoid it, if you post the text rather than an image it becomes searchable in Google. Just avoid posting names or other personal information.

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 12:55 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 2:59 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
Excatly nothing.

I actually added this: "I would definitely be happy to tell you my favourite bands, movies and books, but I don't want to risk to be accused by C$ inc. police of "commercial spam."

I'll actually wait for Monday and see what happens. C$ inc. proved to be very unreliable, saying one thing today, than turning the coin on the other...

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 3:18 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
If they are not happy, you can point out that your couch status is on "no" and you are not coming up in couch search, just like many users of Couchsurfing within the CS staff. There as never been an obligation to host on CS, and if this has changed, they need to announce that officially.

As for the other content, you can refer back to this statement by CS CEO Tony Espinoza

"We have a passionate, involved, and vocal community. We absolutely do not remove member accounts for dissenting opinion. We haven’t, and we won’t.
Couchsurfing is a community of difference, tolerance, and cultural exchange."

http://www.couchsurfing.org/news/cs-organization/member-removal-is-couchsurfing-censoring-the-community-by-removing-outspoken-members/

(although for ambassadors he want to apply different criteria, see http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=2125&post=14262863#post14277207)

Posted March 17th, 2013 - 2:33 am by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
O Ho Ho... This is getting more funny... :)
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/41/123ic.png/
I didn't know they sent me an answer (I posted earlier) so I asked them once again to tell me what's going on, so this is what recieved.
Wonder, what makes them to suddenly start to actually "take care"?
@POLYGLOT Thanks for that, man! Will surely use it in further conversations and arguments with inc.
Later.

Posted March 17th, 2013 - 5:46 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
If after that they are still not happy, you can use the same personal description of yourself in CS as in BW. If you don't want that content to be searchable or usable, you could use an image file for the personal description, but the text would then not appear in search results.

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 9:42 am by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
@POISONJJJ LIBERTEDEPAROLE answered yet to your problem with the link... I can't read the links on Facebook (I think), because I don't have an account there.

The link I wrote is in another site which is similar to Couchsurfing, with some important ethical differences. Among others, no one has problems or delete your profile if you link to another similar site. If you still are not a member there, why not to register, have a try and get a wider view of the world?

You should as well consider that the chiefs of Couchsurfing have arisen a security issue with the deletion of profiles. Imagine you are traveling and your profile or the profile of your host gets deleted. You are under the bridge!! And no, it is absolutely not possible to find an affordable accomodation in many cities without prior booking (Rom, Barcelona...) or in small places there are even no possibility to find accomodation. So for your own security it sounds reasonable to open an alternative profile in another hospitality site.
[Several threads about this issue in the spanish speaking world were banned yesterday by the C$-chief$.]

Posted March 13th, 2013 - 9:47 am by from Berlin, Germany (Permalink)
@Jean I think you have to be member of the group, the visibility of the thread might be "only for group members"...

Posted March 18th, 2013 - 3:49 am by from Albany, United States (Permalink)
Check this out:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/justin-velander-holt/attention-couchsurfers-speak-the-fuck-up/10151266336305933

Posted March 18th, 2013 - 2:52 pm by from Palermo, Italy (Permalink)
BEING DELETED ?
HOW COME I CAN SEE TONS OF CS MEMBERS WITH PROFILES FULL OF '' OFFERS COMMERCIAL '' FOR VOLUNTEERING , TOURISM , NATURE , TAXI SERVICES , RENT , SALE , AND OTHER MONEY MAKE OFFERS ,
AND THEY ARENT DELETED ?

DO I SOUND HYPOCRIT , DO I SOUND LIKE THE POPE OR !?

Posted May 7th, 2013 - 1:36 am by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
http://www.couchsurfing.org/profile.html?id=2WKREWP

This was the profile of one of those "CouchSurfing legends", Kimberly Smith, that has been a member before time started to roll of.

She had like more than 500 hundreds of friends and as twice of references.

Don't know the reason why her profile is deleted.

Posted May 7th, 2013 - 12:56 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted May 7th, 2013 - 5:52 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
Julia, I don't have address of her "fan club", so I'm in kind of helpless situation. Even if I would, I don't have money for stamps.

Maybe I conduct an investigation for you, my fair lady, but she's not living in Belgrade anymore and FB is still uncharted territory for me, and will certainly not join it because of her "CS cause of death".

Posted May 7th, 2013 - 6:31 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted May 8th, 2013 - 1:26 am by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
Thank You, Maha Stalker! Although, the advice is pretty useless, thank You very fucking much.

We have some friends in common that I'm seeing every second day, that is how I've got a hold of information, nobody knows what happened.

Kimberly was a great C$ enthusiast, it is very much unlikely she deleted it, but who the fuck knows...

Posted May 8th, 2013 - 4:17 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted May 8th, 2013 - 6:14 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
:)

I've known Kimberly as we hanged out together, more or less frequently, while she had been living in Belgrade. You can say that I somewhat don't care what happened to her or to her "profile", but I did raise the question since I care to see where and how far this inc. is going and Kimberly certainly was a person that was important to CS community and CS was important to Kimberly. I know her enough to clam this.

I'm aware of the fact that what I wrote in the first post could be interpreted in two different ways, but that wasn't my intention. If you need an apology, here it is.
Did I really have to put it directly "anyone knows what had happened?" for somebody here who possibly knows to tell us.

Come on, don't make up the facts out of nothing and before reading twice.

Posted June 5th, 2013 - 9:58 pm by from Belgrade, Serbia (Permalink)
Kimberly Smith: "fuck man, it just got deleted :'( i was so depressed, couchsurfing is my life. they never told me why :("

This is what Kimberly told me. I found her on BeWelcome, of course. :)

Just as I thought...

On the other hand I'm really happy to see that all of my friends and most of the people I met through CS that are moving there... We are basically using the site of corporation until it becomes completely useless.

Posted June 6th, 2013 - 12:11 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted June 6th, 2013 - 12:25 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Don Shine's profile was reactivated by popular demand. CS eventually came to the conclusion that keeping it deactivated harmed them more than reactivating it.

Posted June 6th, 2013 - 12:37 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted June 6th, 2013 - 1:45 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
All I know is the pressure worked and persudaded them that it was in their interest to make some concession to ease some of the pressure, and they decided to reactivate Don's profile rather than Justin's, for now, probably because Justin has been more aggressive and relentless. With enough pressure, Justin, too, may come back eventually, if he still wants to.

Posted June 6th, 2013 - 2:07 pm from Padova, Italy
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Posted June 7th, 2013 - 1:00 am from Rockchapel, Ireland (Republic of)
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Posted June 7th, 2013 - 1:24 am by from Dijon, France (Permalink)
"I doubt very much that Don would have taken 'legal actions' as he would have had to accept Californian law as jurisdiction for any case against cshq according to the ToU."

However, the ToU is not a legally binding document in some jurisdictions - perhaps not even in California, where its terms could be considered abusive, and therefore legally non-applicable. This is likely part of the reason CS has been revising the document.