Create more specific search filters

So, I was thinking about what kind of things I’d like to filter for when I’m searching for a host. Some of these may already be included in your plans, but let’s collect ideas here for anything else we might think of.

  • Community standing (above certain threshold)
  • What kind of people they host (be able to multiple select in various categories gender/race/LGBT friendly/420 friendly etc)
  • Last login (today, in the last one week, last month, last year)
  • Reply rate (above a certain threshold)
  • Number of references
  • Is verified
  • Join date or years/months of experience
  • Is available (not already accepted guests for those dates or otherwise blocked them on their calendar)

This may seem like a lot, but a major problem with CS is that the search filters aren’t specific enough to help you guarantee a response/couch. By adding comprehensive filters, I think you cold narrow down who precisely would be willing to host you and increase your chances of being accepted by a lot. This would in turn build credibility among new members, who often complain they didn’t get any replies or everyone said no.

An example search could be like, I want a host who has higher than 75% community standing score, who hosts men and women, is not 420 friendly, has a 100% reply rate, has at least 10 references, and logged in this month. It may mean I only get one or two people in the results, but at least I’ve got a clearer idea of what my options are.

Thoughts?

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This is something that really frustrated me on CS! A few specific comments:

  • I think a lot of people find the “reply rate” to be a very frustrating metric on a lot of platforms (I’ve heard that the way these are computed tends to be pretty spotty); so I think for that to be useful, the way it’s calculated needs to be well defined, or the UI needs to show which requests count as “replied” and which as “not replied”. I feel (also biased as a statistician :P) that a median response time would be better, or some kind of two-number summary, e.g. “responds to most queries within two days, but one in five queries take longer than 2 weeks” (though we need to make it not so confusing and statistical, ideas?).
  • I strongly think that it’s important to not make the number of references (again) become the main metric. I think that causes the super-host effect which is detrimental to most users’ experiences on the platform. Instead we should steer people towards using the other metrics (e.g. the community standing score).

I’d also like some kind of recommendation system that could try to match you up a bit (or then find someone with opposite interests but whom you could get along with well), so you could have a great time.

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Ooo, I didn’t think of that, and I think you’re probably right. Never mind, I rescind my comment about references.

Huh, I never experienced that, and even working a few jobs and being generally busy I always managed to keep my reply rate at 100% over the years. I always always wanted that as a search metric because so many hosts decide to just stop answering requests, though if we automatically do not show those kind of inactive people in the search, I guess it would even out. Couldn’t tell you how CS did it, but I suspect the reply rate was calculated based on wether or not you replied to a request before the day they requested had passed. If you do it that way, it’d be pretty straightforward, no?

Side note, having something like "Usually responds in <1 day, <3 days, <a week, <month) would be fine for searching that metric. And it would be EXCELLENT to have, I agree!

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What if I request for tonight and you have three hours left to reply? :slight_smile:

But yeah, I don’t think it’s technically very difficult to solve, but I feel it’s important for people to understand why they have the score they have, and how to improve it!

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Well for me it happened a lot and I never had a problem. I got email notifications and always replied to people immediately, which imho should be basic courtesy on a platform like CS. It wasn’t that hard to click “yes” “no” “maybe” once you get a request.

I understand I’m probably in the minority though :slight_smile:

New search filter idea:

  • Last minute host enabled
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Ahaha, I was just going to comment on that. I think for some people it’s OK to respond very quickly, and other don’t like it. But I could imagine a situation where someone often works late nights but still likes to host last-minute when they don’t work late nights. So replying quickly and last-minute hosting don’t always go hand in hand!

I think this also ties in with other problems CS had: that their notification system didn’t work properly, which made replying quickly quite tricky.

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Oh dear lord, don’t get me started. Ruined a couple months of my life. :woman_facepalming:

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I’d also like some kind of recommendation system that could try to match you up a bit (or then find someone with opposite interests but whom you could get along with well), so you could have a great time.

Just wanna say that I definitely would like to see this feature! :slight_smile:

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I had a high 90% response rate in London initially, but I was exhausted from having so many terrible low effort requests, I stopped replying to those ones and my rate must be very low now!

I don’t think it will be possible to avoid low effort people entirely, so we should consider what should be done, if anything. (Button to flag a request as low effort which sends them a message to the guide? Minimum word count?)

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One of the problems with the internet (hah) is that it’s really easy to flood platforms with low-effort stuff. I see this e.g. on GitHub all the time: low-effort “trolls” will drop a line or two into an issue that you then feel you have to go write an elaborate reply to, justifying your way of doing things. I think the solution is to give users an even lower-effort way to dismiss obviously low-effort content.

How do you think we could build a feature into the app? How could you reply to low-effort request in a way that wasn’t off-putting but rather encouraged the requester to change the way they use the platform and attempt to write higher-effort requests?

An obvious “Flag as low effort” button that doesn’t require any typing would be great. You could even have it directly in push notifications, too.

What exactly it does needs to be carefully thought through so it encourages the sender to try again with a better idea of what the platform is about.

Maybe link to a guide, enable a minimum (or optional) word count, add some example questions that should be answered in the request (why are you going to Paris? Why do you think you will get along well with host?)

Was the “No” button on CS too much of a hassle? @lucas - I’m confused why responding “no” to those requests got so exhausting? You weren’t forced to write anything… I quite enjoyed pressing no over and over to people who didn’t put in any effort.

Again, sad that there were so many low effort people out there, but that’s what you get when you push for quantity over quality like CS did.

A bit of hand-holding can go a long way in encouraging people to use the platform in a constructive way. Someone might be tempted to send a lot of people requests in the hope that at least one accepts: if they then get back a flood of responses of the “sorry, I see you put no effort into this request, so I also put no effort into considering hosting you” (in nicer wording), might invoke a different response to “sorry, I can’t host you now (for unspecified reasons)”. And I don’t think we need to restrict the “automatic replies” to Yes/No/Low-effort. There’s a bunch of other obvious ones, like Busy or Away.

I’d like to think that people aren’t just “freeloaders” and “low-effort”: there are cases where people are driven into those kinds of behaviours, and there are ways to encourage them to behave in a non-freeloader or non-low-effort way. (Of course there will always be those people that are truly freeloaders and low-effort). I just think there are a lot of people somewhere in the middle: they’ll behave well if encourage to do so, and they’ll be a great addition to the community, but if driven to a state where they feel like the only way to get hosted is to spam a lot of people in the hopes that one may have pity on them, then they might just do that in some cases!

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You’re right, it’s because when I responded to low effort posts I always had a very nice template which linked to the guide and suggested they go to some events. So I felt bad clicking ‘no’ with no further explanation (though I guess leaving it blank is worse, really!)

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A search filter I greatly enjoyed when it was still available: Friends of friends! It could run on mutual interactions alone, no need to set up a specialised friends system. When I got some common acquaintances with a possible host I could always just ask them directly whether they’d recommend them.

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Oh man! Thank you for mentioning that. I miss “friends of friends” too!

This was indeed great! Thought you could see a friend circle on the profile at old site as well? This will improve safety as well!

Would love to filter search results on interests, like if somebody likes yoga, vegetarian, running, alternative music etc. Lot’s of times it’s easier to connect with members with the same interests.

On the search discussion, I’ll say whenever I did a search while looking for a host; I basically filtered age and last online. I’ve had so many instances of visiting a place where all the hosts say they don’t plan ahead and don’t allow requests more than a couple days ahead of time (which makes it hard to plan ahead)- but when I get either close or actually to a town/city/etc, I had to max out my weekly allowance of requests and I’d be lucky if one person said they could host me. (And I had a full profile, lots of references, hosting experience- everything needed to be an ideal guest).

Thus, I rarely filtered very deep because I couldn’t afford to filter too much. Even when only messaging people on in the last week or month- hardly ever got hosts. (Which is honestly why I kind of gave up and just stuck to hostels). When I switched to using CS to find pen pals around the globe, I would filter by age, last online, and key words (like “reggae music” or anything I could have a cool conversation about).

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There have been months that I wasn’t active on CS because daily life, but I would always react to requests as soon as I was notified. So the ‘last online’ feature can’t be considered 100% reliable.

Perhaps it’d be an idea to notify ‘dormant profiles’ by sending them a friendly reminder, asking them to log in so their profile stays active? I feel we can do without useless profiles clogging up the community.

What I am trying to say is that I think a good notification would definitely help. If only free SMS was available… :grin: