City Pages - Structure

Hi guys!

We’re planning for a heavy emphasis on the local community and this means that there’s going to be city pages. I’d like to run you guys through the concept here and see if y’all have any additional ideas to make it better. Note that the first iteration/build of it might not contain all of the features that’s listed here.

  1. Interest Points
  • The presentation of these might be similar to what’s on Atlas Obscura, where clicking into an Interest Point brings you to a wiki-style page with more information
  • Interest Points may be a range of things that are open for submission, such as Tourist Attractions, cafes, walking trails etc.
  • I’m toying with the idea of upvotes on Interest Points, just so people can “like” what they have enjoyed while traveling or even as a local
  • Within each Interest Point, there could be a comments section where people can comment tips related to the Interest Point, and people can upvote what has been helpful/useful to them (e.g. “The hamburger here was fantastic!!!” or “They only open up to 4pm on Tuesdays”)
  1. City Forum
  • Something like this forum, but localised to each city
  • Generally keep it open to all kinds of topics, e.g. discussion on common interests, the best places to go for the next Couchers community event, etc.
  • We have been discussing the possibility of automatically promoting people who have reached a threshold of community score into moderators, and limiting the time period in which they are moderators (i.e. rotating moderators) so that clique-like situations don’t happen and power isn’t concentrated. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this if you have any ideas!
  1. Events
  • Pretty self-explanatory
  • To keep things tidy, events would have a few broad categories such as road trips, meetups, walking tours, games etc.
  • Filters like free, tips expected etc.
  1. Hangouts
  1. Hosts
  1. Travelers
  • A version of public trips that was on CS. I know some people liked it, I’ve used it personally myself to reach out to travelers who were coming to my city, and offered to bring them around.
  • Let me know if you have thoughts on how to improve this, or think it was working fine for you!
  1. Local Interest Groups
  • Honestly not too sure if this would be useful if we’re going to have a city forum, let me know your thoughts :slight_smile:
  • Could be things like “Board Gamers”, “Football Buddies in Paris” etc.
3 Likes

I think a proven check against concentrating power is separating it. On the forum, we can try out separating raising issues from reviewing them. So when you are moderator, you can flag a post (like any user can), but you can’t review the same posts you flagged. If that works well, it could be a good model for distributing community moderation.

3 Likes

Hey Kelly, is this also a proposed order for how users would view each section? I like the interest points idea, and of course I’m all about forums, but I think people and what they are doing should be at the top. So probably events, hangouts, travelers, hosts would be the top four things I would want to see.

Interest points is a great idea and all but I’m sure there are plenty like me who just want to link up to interesting people first, and points later :smiley:

4 Likes

Agree. FWIW, CS’s implementation of this is surprisingly spot on. The interest spots listed for my town, and the upvotes for them (from both locals and travelers) are accurate and reflects the recommendations I and several other local hosts have made.

Agree: Local intel/ personalization.

Love public trips. I keep reading generalizations that only creeps reach out to travelers, but that is not true. I, plus a lot of local hosts with whom I’ve spoken, scan public trips looking for interesting surfers.

As a result, I met several buskers (who played music in the house — lovely), handy persons (who helped me around the house), and a Japanese restaurant owner (with whom I went on research meals for a new restaurant he was planning).

Fascinating. It allows me as a host to actively seek potentially interesting surfers, rather than just passively waiting to see what requests I receive (usually a flood of people with empty profiles and zero references).

And, for all the pushback I read about public trips enabling creeps to target young women, I have used to it offer hosting to age 50+ travelers of different genders who often struggle to find a host.

Extremely valuable service.

There are a lot of introverted travelers who use HospEx differently, and travelers with a very short timeframe just need to know what the highlights are.

This is not to say thy won’t link up at some point, but it’s not their priority.

On a recent trip, I hit the highlights that were of interest to me alone before opening up my schedule to link up with others.

People are different. In my experience, extroverts and introverts use CS very differently.

2 Likes

I strongly disagree with automatically promoting people, but I do think it’s critical to have active moderators that can be trusted to moderate in an even-handed, thoughtful way, and in accordance with our values and ToS.

In my experience as a founder & moderator of several communities on Reddit, the most successful means of adding moderators is by asking for volunteers, asking them to fill out an application survey via google forms, vetting the applications based upon their application/survey and post/comment history, and then voting on the best applicant among existing moderators.

This works well for larger/active communities, but would be challenging for smaller/less active communities (ie. small city forums). It might make sense to have “at large” moderators that are responsible for several (or dozens) of small/less active city forums. Once a city forum has become active or large enough, you could request applications for a moderator position (or positions).

As for resolving “clique-like situations”, I think adding new moderators and removing inactive moderators on a “regular basis” (what that means is tbd) in conjunction with moderators leaving on their own (too busy, loss of interest, etc), should prove sufficient to prevent cliques. Also giving admins tools to monitor and manage moderators would help too. A few examples:

  • Allow members of the community to report moderators (which would be reviewed by admins)
  • Flag inactive mods (no mod actions taken for x amount of time) for replacement
  • Flag disproportionate/stagnant moderation teams for admin review (for example: the same 2 people are the only mods for years, despite gaining 10000+ new active users in the city forum)
  • Flag strange behavior among the mods (statistically excessive post removal, repeated approval of posts that multiple community members have reported, bot-like activity, etc).
5 Likes