Filter out low-quality messages

What if there was a way to set filters for your inbox?

This could be a setting in your preferences to show only “messages over 100 characters” and everything else goes to a catch-all spam box.

Some people might like getting a hundred of these low-quality/low effort messages, so filters you’d have to turn on manually (they wouldn’t be activated by default)

And this could also extend to other areas, like “only receive messages from verified users” or “only hosting requests from [insert gender here]”

From a moderation standpoint, I’m assuming we will want to lighten how much policing/moderation needs to be done by giving the users some tools as a first line of defense.


That makes a lot of sense Nate. I like your angle of giving the user control over the messages and requests they receive. Could be a happy medium.

I do think that Eileen’s point still stands, however, and that people who sign up who then start receiving these kinds of messages could be turned off from using the site. They may not realize the customization of stuff (or the need for it) and then get the impression it’s full of low effort/dating spam people.

@kellyt Personally, I don’t want some dude who wrote “hello beautiful” to me to get a warning that he should make a better effort or check my profile more than he already did (ew). I want him to be warned that It’s not a dating site, or better yet, go back to Tinder where he came from :rofl:

I can’t think of a single other intention that person would have for writing such a message.


Yeah, but how do you effectively filter for a message from a creepy dude that says “hello beautiful”? If it was me, new to the platform and unaware of the character limit, messaging something like… “Hey Emily! How are you? Just wondering if you’d like to attend the event at X tomorrow?” which is under the character limit, but getting a reminder that “Remember, this is not a platform for finding dates” I’d be like ??? pretty confused haha.

Once again, I’m not against a reminder to counter this, we just need to find a better way to either a) better filter for these messages, maybe through text filters like @lucas mentioned or b) have the reminder copy be more appropriate to the type of filter, which is easier imo.


100 char limit was just an arbitrary number :slight_smile: I think realistically, we could find a better one (or filtering by number or types of words). The idea would not be to notify the sender, it just gives the recipient the option of never reading these sorts of messages if they don’t want. It doesn’t get deleted. If they want to check their “spam” (or whatever we call it) folder, that’s fine. A solution like this works pretty well for unwanted emails, and note, senders don’t get a message that their email was marked as “spam” – This would give them the opportunity to defeat the filters, and then you have more problems.

But also I believe people who send out “hey beautiful” are inherently lazy and basically playing a numbers game with the lowest possible amount of effort. Add any more steps which create additional work for them, and they might go back to swiping left & right :stuck_out_tongue:


Yes! thankyou <3

I think it would be better if these messages were automatically blocked (or deleted), I can’t think of why anyone would want to receive these messages. Also not only does it give a bad impression but genuine messages of people with good intentions are then hidden amongst the crap, both because they are harder to find and also being sandwiched between several “hello” messages makes a genuine message also look like someone could just be wanting some. Which then makes me much less likely to give the poor genuine sender a fair chance, also less inclined to meet with the opposite sex in general and feel comfortable staying with hosts = less using of the app.

I think the gender imbalance of active users on couchsurfing reflects this. (although this is not just about the DMs but definitely a contributing factor!)

And haha yes definitely!

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What if there was a minimum character-limit? That would immediately help filter out these low-effort message senders, wouldn’t it? And the expectation, as far as it seems to me, is usually to say something about yourself and your trip in your introduction message when trying to find a host, anyway.

Although I suppose that could easily be bypassed by these same people just making one longer message template and copy-pasting… but I would bet fewer people would put in that effort than the amount who just throw random “Hi’s” around.

And to answer, as a male, I definitely have never been flooded with inane messages. I don’t think I’ve ever received an opening message that wasn’t descriptive and intentional :upside_down_face:


I would be a bit concerned if the senders are unaware what filters the receiver decides to apply. Especially if it’s things like only receive messages from a certain gender, a verified member, or even minimum character limits, it would be better, in my opinion, to let the sender know those filters are in place so they can decide to not spend time crafting a message and then waiting for a reply if they aren’t going to meet the qualifications. That would be extremely unfair and probably lead to the illusion that there is just a really inactive userbase with people never getting responses because they are unaware that their message isn’t even going through in the first place due to secret reasons.

I don’t think you can compare an in-app messaging system to email, as email is a much more open-concept communication system and you can literally be bombarded by spam messages by millions of companies, fake or real, AI, marketing scams, etcetc. And the MO of email is significantly different - a vastly wide range of contents and intentions to emailing - than a dedicated messaging system in an app dedicated to a traveling lifestyle, where forging real connections is the basis of its existence.

I also think it should be very carefully considered what kinds of filters can be set. Setting character minimums is a filter I agree with (so long as the sender is made aware of the minimum), but most other filter types, such as gender and verified member, can end up damaging the community and would go against what I perceive as a fundamental aspect of the couch surfing community - a mind open to new and interesting connections and being there to support each other in our travels and journeys. The community would become too segmented if someone could just decide “I never want to see any messages by a male-identifying person.” I know your message says “only receive HOSTING REQUESTS from [insert gender here]”, but I think it’s really important to emphasize the distinction that, even if blocked from sending a hosting request, one should still be able to send a regular message, so that there is still access to the community in some form, especially in areas with a low user-base and few alternative people on the app to engage with.


It is definitely a huge turn off. Aaaaaand: it´s already happening in Couchers.

I think the fact that people have to send you a request is making it worse, because to reply and find out if I do know this person I have to accept them as friends. I think this is going to snowball on having a lot of people sending random friend requests, and to having random people on your friend list just so you can reply to a message.

Also: the fact that the messages are called “chats” does not help. I’m trying to find out if I know someone and keep getting one line replies. I already have six chatting platforms I need to keep up with, I´m begging you: make this a message inbox instead of a chat section, I cannot (and will not) add another chat feature to my life. I don´t have the time =)

Sorry for the mini rant, I really appreciate all the amazing work you guys are doing, I just wanted to let you know, because the sooner we have tools to avoid this, the easier it will be for everyone =)


If we are talking about low-quality messages, I was receiving tons of them every time I posted an open trip (to be fair, that was India and Turkey). And they weren’t short at all, they were very elaborate usually :joy: If there were an option to hide my profile from men, I guess I’d just use it. But maybe smth else could be done?


Nah, I don’t wanna block all men. I like men. They are funny creatures. But poorly trained ones can be annoying. Some of my best friends happen to be from that kindred, so blocking all of them is not really an option for me, what should we do?


Sorry to hear that it’s happening already!
If you don’t mind, please report any unwanted/inappropriate messages every time it happens. It’s important that we weed out bad actors early on. Please e-mail and include the following information:

  • The username of the person you are reporting (or a link to their profile)
  • What happened/what was inappropriate
  • Where it happened (a private message, a hosting request, etc)

All reports are carefully reviewed and you’ll receive a response from the support team within 24 hours.

Along the same lines we should probably post community guidelines to help educate people about what is appropriate vs not appropriate (since not every user on is a seasoned couch-surfer and some might not know what couch-surfing is all about).

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I think the popularity of host a sister shows there is demand for gender hiding/filtering. I also suspect that many people who start by using that option will turn it off if they have enough good experiences hosting or at events.



God, I don’t mean you and I also don’t like this option very much. I explained the situation and said I don’t know what can be done. You seriously think I should politely explain everyone why I found their message not really appropriate?

This topic is about those messages that are not openly inappropriate and deserve a report, but —>

There were some ideas previously bout what to do, I just brought it up because even when it seems like a minor nuance, it´s a major turn down for woman. They are not doing anything inappropriate technically, but… we know what´s going on. If a send you a random message saying hi, after talking with you over the forum for a year, it makes sense. But a “what´s up!” from a complete stranger, that doesn´t have any specific reason to contact you… it´s weird, and most of the time it´s just someone reaching out to see if they can hit on you. And: women are sick of it. And some men too.

You are saying whom need to be patient and nurturing and teachers? :nauseated_face: We are not your mom. Men need to take into their own hands their education, and stop putting that on women’s shoulders. Expecting that from woman is reinforcing stereotypes we do not want anymore. We do not have de obligation to educate men. If we feel like, we will, but we do not HAVE TO. But men DO have the obligation to know how to behave themselves.

It sounds like mansplaining because IT IS mainsplaning. You are literally telling a woman how she should feel when she receives this kind of messages, and that you know because you received one once (?) It´s ridiculous. The chances that you get this spammy messages, or that you are harassed, or that you are sexually assaulted are enormously lower being a male. So, please, stop explaining woman how they should react to things you do not experience. Thanks.

Again: I dont want to block all men. I would love if there´s a tool that helps educate men on what behavoir is not acceptable on Couchers, other that making women do all the extra work =)


Your patronizing tone leads nowhere either. You just sound rude, and you cannot expect people to chill when you are being patronizing. Chill? #nonoscalmamosnada


Anyone else has a profile on Trustroots?
Whenever I receive a message or request I also get to see this:
Screen Shot 2021-07-03 at 4.59.03 PM

(this was either a copy and paste request or “hi” so that’s why I chose NO).

I have no idea what Trustroots do with those feedbacks later. Maybe when the user gets too many “NO” those users might eventually get a message or email with tips on how to approach other users (read profiles, write personalized messages/requests etc.) or maybe they get blocked? Once again- I have no idea how this works on Trustroots just sharing what I saw :smiley:

Would this YES/NO feedback help educate people on how to write quality messages?

Also, the minimum word count/spam folder was discussed a year ago in July 2020, have you decided whether you like this idea? I think it’s not bad at all. If I was a spammer and knew that my “hi” is too short and goes directly into a spam folder it would motivate me to write a longer message and express myself instead of “testing the waters” or whatever these people are doing.


I have a lot to say about this debate too, and I would love to talk about this topic in the one or both of the online event this week. I think we can probably understand all the angles a bit better if we discuss it live, too!

Thank you for staying civil even though the topic can be really sensitive and triggering :purple_heart:


Let’s stay practical, what automated education is possible on a platform like this one?


@anon14140932, you write really condescending replies and then act like a victim when people defend themselves. If you cannot participate in a forum without escalating it with passive aggression then you are creating a really toxic environment.


I was thinking about this, on one hand it’s exactly what we want to avoid, on the other hand we want to enable people to connect in real life when they are travelling and it’s not easy to distinguish.

A good start, at least, would be having friendly, concise text explaining what messages are appropriate on the screen when you message someone for the first time.

We could also go down the route of confirmation dialogues etc. but there should be a balance, we don’t want to hassle all the time to remind people to be good. (Maybe the first time you send a message? Once a month?)