Encourage people to fill in their profiles

When I scroll through the Map, it seems to me that the vast majority of profiles for users in the beta do not have a lot of info on them. I was thinking on how to nudge people to have more info on their profiles. Some ideas I had were:

  • Show a progress bar that slowly fills if the profile is filled in more.
  • Compliment the user for filling in their profile. Maybe a “You look great!” pop-up thing when you upload a profile picture?
  • Ask more specific questions. I am personally very bad at answering the ‘tell me something about yourself’ question, so I would be more motivated if I get to answer more specific questions.
  • Show a pop-up urging you to filll in more stuff on your profile if your profile is empty
  • Immediately redirect users to the profile edit page and urge them to fill things in on first login
  • Filter out/give lower search rank to users with minimal profiles when searching, and notify users with minimal profiles of this fact

Do you have more ideas or opinions about these suggestions?


That’s a great idea IMO, what about this variation: you don’t have pictures, you can only search for profiles that don’t have pictures either.

Explain to the user why certain information is needed and how it will improve their host or surf quality.


Yeah I’ve been thinking about this too. Really important at the start for profiles to appear active. For a start, we’re going to send out emails to people from next week if they haven’t filled out a bit of their profile and uploaded a picture, and a reminder (if they haven’t already) will become part of the normal sign-up flow.

A lot of these suggestions are great and we’re going to try a few of these strategies.

I think for the time being it might even be a good idea to not show those profiles on the map, and then later as our search functionality improves, we can filter them out by default but people will have the option to show them. But I think in general our appraoch should be more about encouraging people to fill profiles out.


Yes, I also think encouraging is better than sanctioning. One direction I’d find helpful is also looking beyond the profile and thinking about what we consider valuable contribution to the platform in general. And how we could make these visible on the profile.

For example I think the overview section is a rather generic concept right now. We could probably design that to make it look more like a presentation card that users would like to own and look good. And with space for some more creative information? Like “My favourite place” with the option to link to a city/place entry (that users could have contributed themselves).

It may be helpful for us to build a tool that would easily lets couchers transfer data from couchsurfing to their profile. Ideally the tool would take download data from couchsurfing and automatically fill the relevant data fields. This would decrease a lot of the friction that comes with completing profiles on a new account. I’m sure many of us have profile completion fatigue :smile:. At least I do. So a tool that reduces this friction as much as possible would not only be useful but could become key in gaining more users from the couchsurfing platform. Just a thought

Spot on, Elom. I just had a friend who’s been a long-time host and couchsurfing participant tell me the exact same thing, he just wanted to copy-paste his profile and not deal with it. I know trustroots has already figured out how to do it, maybe they’ll be willing to share.

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Maybe it’s a good idea to add more questions? “Who I am” and “Current mission” are kinda puzzling, and the favourite story one makes me go “how should I choose? and that’ll be a wall of text!” Not saying they shouldn’t be there, but maybe we all can brainstorm some other interesting prompts? “Fun fact about me”, “The craziest thing I’ve done”, “My favourite places” - these are just the first things that came to mind.

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I do not know about others but I am starting to get irritated by the opening page.

First: it never remembers me (Macintosh OS X in Chrome).

When I log in, I get that Dashboard page. It tells me that I should upload a profile picture, but I did that. And this thing that I should fill in my “Who I am” section. I did that too but maybe there is a minimum number of words?

Do you need to enter your password every time? I do see the “log in” button every time, but if I press it, it doesn’t ask for any data, just opens the dashboard

Yes, the login button every time when accessing couchers.org
It remembers me now, but maybe not when it has been longer than a few days?

Then it shows this advisory:

But I have done that!

Here on forum it shows my picture but on the main site there is not much that indicates that one is in.

Also, it was non-intuitive for me to navigate from this forum back to the main site. Now I found that I should click “app” but I would have expected that link under the couch.

(I will get a CS guest this weekend, and I would like to introduce them to this new alternative. I know it is still in beta but I would like it to have a friendlier user interface.)


The forum and the app are two different platforms, maybe that´s why you see different log in options and pic?

I realise that the platforms are separate (I do not quite understand why though).

This is my profile page: https://app.couchers.org/user/pieter

I put a picture there (different from the one here). I did that twice. And I still get that advisory about uploading a picture.

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I see the pic in there =)
The app is beta, it still has some bugs, you should report it with the red button on top right so the guys can fix it =)


It looks like it’s showing up because you haven’t sufficiently filled out your “Who I am” section. We have a minimum character count before it counts as filled, I can’t remember how much exactly but it’s small, but longer than just “cyclist”.

We’ll make it clearer why it’s showing up for people in your case.

Apart from the obvious gripes with dear old CS at the end, there’s another which messed things up all the time - the empty profile. If I invite someone into my house, I do want to know the kind of person he or she is. Blank profiles, or those that provide only meaningless padding (“I like travelling” - Oh, I thought you were doing this to punish yourself!), are no use whatever, and actively harm the whole project, which is about making contact between humans, not signing a register and handing over the keys to a free hotel room.
I suggest a policy of dipping into members’ profiles, sending a reminder if there is nothing in them, following up with a warning, then deleting the spam ones.


FierceKitty, I totally agree with you about empty profiles.
As a CS host I received countess hosting requests from empty or near-empty profiles. I simply ignored them and did not reply…but still it was a time waster. It is damaging to the reputation and functioning of the site and community if there is a significant number of both empty profiles and inactive profile.
For starters I’d want to see all profiles that don’t have a clear face photograph given a reminder and brief time to add one or be deleted. No exceptions! Likewise with profiles that have no info uploaded.
Other info that creates a fuller picture of the person is also essential to me.

I noted in another thread there was a proposal back in May to send out an email to owners of empty profiles requesting they fill in their profiles. Did that happen? Did people respond and fill out their profile? Was there/will there be follow-up action to those profiles still empty?

Out of interest I did a map search for my own country. Only 16 people listed - of those only 4 with photo and info. The remaining 12 profiles had neither a photo nor any info. So, for NZ 75% of the profiles are empty profiles.

Here is another thread where some ideas how to encourage users to fill out their profiles were already discussed:

I personally wouldn’t mind if a minimum completeness would be a requisite to write a couch request. Uploading a photo and writing a few sentences is really not that hard and I think it’s totally ok to lock further functionality of the site behind it.
Other voices in that thread were more of the opinion that encouraging is better than sanctioning.

The reason for that is probably that many people don’t have a reason yet to be active again. Signed up whenever they heard about the site to take a look but didn’t bother finishing their profiles because couchsurfing was not (and for many probably still isn’t) on their mind at the time.
You can’t really count those as active hosts or guests and I don’t think any encouraging or sanctioning measures would reach people who are not trying to actively us the site.


The backend currently has a concept of an “empty” profile: one without a picture or with an empty “about me” section. Those users get sent an extra onboarding email, reminding them to complete their profile. Users who have an empty profile also get a big annoying box on the dashboard, telling them to fill in their profile until they do so.

I don’t see any reason to delete accounts; but we should probably continue to build more incentives to complete your profile, such as a filter for empty accounts, and probably also make the map hide empty users by default.

That might be a good idea. Following on from the paragraph above: I find the idea of “asymmetry” a little uncomfortable: if hosts have to put up some info in order to show up on the map and me found by surfers, then surely surfers ought to put up some info as well to be able to find hosts?


Exactly! So why have them in search results?
Certainly, some may become more active at a later date but I suspect the vast majority of those empty profiles will remain empty for eternity. Be ruthless! Get rid of the clutter…no point in being a hoarder.

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