Hosting and Home preferences

yes/no/* is always a big problem when we go to the * .
A common possibility us that third state be “maybe” but someone has mentioned “ask me” , for others could be a “do not say” or “sometimes” that are all different options, and there are also the options “usually” and “rarely” that are close to yes and not, but not so absolute.
“Ask me” for example could appear as something that is private, or that you could have to bargain for it (and i do not say the “washing machine available” where you may have to bargain on how much contribution have to give do do laundry).
Sometimes can be yes or not according the time (such the example of pets when present another person), while “depends” could be the case of the vehicle, where parking can be available or not according the size of vehicle.
There is also the “i do not say” in sense that the person has not set any option, and in this case the option should not be shown.
At this point however one should decide for search how to consider the various options, so every option would correspond to a bit in a set, and on search one would set any option as required, unacceptable, neutral - for example saying that yes or usually are required (if one set more than one option as required it means that at least one must be set), even “no answer” would have its bit so one could set as an acceptable option, ored with required, but also as unacceptable.
For accept according gender i think that only acceptable option would be to have three bits (consider that in the database every field is usually 64 bit, to a minimum of 8, so no more space needed) for “accept m” “accept f” “accept others” . unacceptable a restriction on displaying profile, unless one search explicitely for someone that accept only a certain gender (and the choiche is independent than the one of its status)

And btw, this is exactly why I don’t like the drinking question. People can always ask if bringing wine for dinner is a good idea via messages. Hosts can write “no alcohol” in the House rules. I think this mark is not worth the misunderstanding it might cause.

After all, I’m in Russia. I seriously know people who think we start every breakfast with a glass of vodka! What will they think after seeing even a maybe on my page :joy:

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How about we just omit unspecified options?

We didn’t do this because we thought it would make profiles inconsistent and possibly bare, but I think that’s better than how it is now.


This is probably okay to do with some of the preferences, but definitely not all of them. The preferences accomplish several important things:

  1. They force users to provide necessary information that they might otherwise not do if we just gave them a free text field (like max number of hosts, whether or not they are smokers, whether or not their house is handicap accessible, etc).
  2. It makes it easier for surfers to find a host that matches them/their situation
  3. It helps hosts filter out guests that aren’t a good fit for their space (due to incompatibilities with space, habits, etc)
  4. It provides important information at-a-glance so you don’t waste time (there is no point reading through a profile that is 4 pages long if the person is a smoker and you’re recovering from lung cancer!)

Yeah, but I think omitting some would be great.
My candidates - camping, drinking and parking.

One thing I forgot to bring up earlier is that a bunch of these preferences are worded incorrectly which probably distracts from the feature overall and causes confusion.

There is currently an issue open on GitHub for the following things to be fixed:

  1. “Last minute requests” should be “Accepts last minute requests”

(although we still need to give people a way of defining what “last minute” means since right now it is open to interpretation).

  1. “Accept camping” is grammatically incorrect and unclear. It should be “Tent camping available”
    (so people can share if they have room for someone to set up a tent - which is important to bikers, hikers and people in a pinch)

  2. “Accept children” & “accept pets” is grammatically incorrect and sounds strange. “Can host children” and “Can host guests with pets”

  3. “Accepts drinking” and “accepts smoking” also sounds strange. It should be “Okay with drinking” and “Okay with smoking”

  4. Also, the hashtag symbol # isn’t universally understood as meaning “number”, so it should say “Max number of hosts”.

  5. Under “About my home” it is unclear that “Private / shared space” is referring to the room that the guest will be sleeping in. It should be changed to “Sleeping privacy”. The options for hosts to choose should be changed from “shared” or “private” to “Private space” (e.g. your own bedroom), “Common area” (e.g. living room where you’ll be sleeping alone, but others may enter/exit), and “Shared room” (e.g. air mattress on floor of your bedroom)

The parts in parentheses are just my comments for clarification, but you get the idea.


I’d shorten them instead of elaborating, actually.

What about making it just “camping,” “children”, “pets”, “drinking”, “smoking”, “parking”? And options like ok/not okay (or avaliable/not avaliable). Yes, it’s not grammatically perfect, but understandable and much easier to scan.

Haha it’s totally not.

Maybe, sleeping arrangemets? Or smth else. Idk, sleeping privacy sounds a bit shady to me…


Maybe you misunderstood me, we still offer all the same things as before, but don’t display them on the profile if no option is selected.

In my mind, that’s functionally the same as now, but neater.

If I need to stay with a non smoker, I will just use a search filter (when we add that one :grin:), or browse profiles and if there is nothing specified, ask.


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I just want to add to this discussion that fields like “What I do in my free time” and “Additional information” in the About tab do not show on the profile if they are left empty, but fields like “Local Area Information”, “House Rules”’ and “Additional information” in the Home tab do show on the profile when left empty.

It would be cleaner/clearer if profile fields that are left empty do not show on the profile.


I would also not show the “grew up in”, “occupation” and “education” fields, or even the “fluent languages” field, if they are left blank. What’s the point in cluttering up the profile page if the user doesn’t want to write anything in those fields?


I agree with this in principle, but we should also consider accessibility. A wheelchair user, for example, really needs a host that is accessible, and if we leave that field optional, people won’t bother filling it out and that surfer is going to have a really hard time.

Maybe we need to decide carefully which fields really help accessibility then? I imagine smoking might be important too.


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Actually reading every profile might be feasible while the userbase is so small as it is now, but when I go to a city with hundreds of hosts (somewhen in the future), then I’d like to have a way to pre-filter which profiles are actually worth reading.
I simply don’t have the time to read some hundred profiles while traveling only to see that they are a hardcore indoor smoker somewhere in the last sentence, for example.

A quick calculation: Let’s say reading a profile takes me about 60 seconds on average (including opening/closing - might be even more). On CS, I had to write an average of ca 20 couch requests to find a host on my biking trips. Even with all the possible filters set, I still discarded about 50-70% of the profiles I read. Let’s go with 50%. That means, on average I spent 40 minutes just reading the profiles - every day. Not even including the actual writing of the couch requests.



I read most of the thread here and other similar forum topics, which I feel I just choose one to reply for my idea.

I would like to suggest a way to let the options for the host to choose in between a scale of 0-10, for example :

  1. Accept last minute request (0-unlikely, 10-totally welcome)

  2. Accept Smoking (0-unlikely, 10-totally welcome)

  3. Accommodation (Private room, shared room, living room)

  4. Provide Blanket (0-unlikely, 10-totally)

  5. Ventilation (air condition / fan / none)

  6. With heater (yes / no / ask me)

  7. With refrigerator (yes / no / ask me)

  8. With WiFi (yes / no / ask me)

  9. Public transport (0-within 100m, 10-only at 1km or further)

  10. Parking available (yes / no / ask me)

And similar style for all other options that are applicable.

This will bring very clear sight of the preference of the host and allow a good search from the guest.

With this, the filter can allow those who search for
“more than ( > )7” or “less than (<) 3” in the searching.

Thank you for the team that contribute from the ideas brainstorming until the software implementations! Well done and may all of us a fun and enjoying time being the couches and world sharing community!

With respect,

I feel like you have good intentions, but I think this is not a good idea. It gives me an airbnb feeling, where I always filter and look for places with a pool. And that´s not really couch-surfing spirit lol. I like the idea that all that the host has to do if offer a place to sleep. And introducing all this filters will probably lead to people filtering out to get only the people that offer a private room with bedsheets, air cond , and all the things, leaving the ones that don´t filtered out and creating a super host effect. I think it would create a burden on the hosts and an entitlement on the surfers, and that´s not something I´d like to see.

IDK: I don´t have air conditioning (I dont needed, you have to wear long sleeves in summer in my house lol) and maybe someone that lives in a dorm cannot offer you access to the fridge. And some people do not offer sheets because washing them after one night every 3 times a week feels wasteful and affects the environment. And one of the best local hosts I know doesn´t have public transport within 1 km, but he has a huge house and host 4 to 6 people at a time and drives them to the bus station all the time. Should we allow filtering all this out? I don´t think so. People should read profiles, ask questions, get answers and make educated decisions, instead of filtering because they want the most perks possible.

Again: I think your intentions are good, but in the long run this would have bad consequences.


I agree Aleja. there are some item too much “automatic” nad about the public transport. How would you differentiate between telling “closer stop at 200m” (but there is only one service a day at 0140 AM - I am not cheating) or one at 800 meters with service every 9 minutes between 0515 and 0110 (well, after 2030 every 40 minutes :frowning: ) ?
Also i would use a logaritmic scale ( 1 within 400 m, 2 800, 3 1600 …) and what about frequency (see above)

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about bedding on the other part it is important for people that use to travel light. I have personally more than one time chose the guest offering bedding than the one not offering it. Here hospitaity include bedding and shower.
About fridge: usually i ask guests to tell me before arriving if they need fridge space.
Often fridge is full, so i need to move something else, and anyway it is the place where items are most frequently forgot by guests.


I guess you can always ask about bedding, fridge or anything else if it’s not clear. It can also be figured out on the spot.

Personally, I have a large collection of linens and I put that in my house rules. It’s a good alternative to having to discuss, by being transparent. I’ve had surfers with their own, but many I’ve just offered. It makes no difference to me.

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