I’m a big supporter of groups, use them extensively, and co-moderate two.
Groups fell off the radar for many people because they do not exist in either app—only via a web browser. I primarily use a computer, thus, I participate.
A lot of old-timers lament the fact they are not available in the apps.
When I was new to CS, I studied the two international groups “advice for surfers” and “advice for hosts.” They were literally like a university course that helped me understand how things work.
There was also a public group in which Ambassadors answered questions from members. You could tell from reading the responses that there was a lot of accumulated experience, wisdom, and tips being shared. CS removed that group recently, much to my dismay.
In the international category, there are interest groups to help travelers around a single topic. Examples are vegan, hitchhikers, motorcyclists, ride shares, women travelers, 50+ travelers, LGBT, cooking and language exchanges, etc. I think it’s brilliant.
On the local side, I co-mod my city’s last minute/ emergency group (which is how I know the issue of unwanted sexual advances crosses all lines). A group may appear inactive, when in reality it’s not. People who need to escape a bad host never post publicly. Instead, they reach out to a mod privately. I’ve rescued many or referred them to other local hosts I knew.
The other group I co-mod is for local events. Why a group? As an event organizer on CS, you can only invite your friends. A much wider/larger group of locals subscribe to the group so that they can get event notifications. A lot of communal dinners came together this way.
This double system, event posts plus a group listing all of them blasted out to all subscribers, helped us build an active, engaged community.
There are also local groups for people who hike, play sports, etc.
So, with all due respects, I don’t see any downside to groups of all stripes, flavors, and geographic scope.
This is an interesting observation. Some groups are in fact discussion topics, and some revolve solely around geography (but even then, there are sub groups — people in a city/area/ region who play chess, like to go dancing, or do yoga).
International/generic groups can be extremely insightful, as mentioned above. Some of my favorite non-local groups have had the best interaction. Off of the top of my head, topic examples include how to write a good request, how to handle a bad experience (host or surfer), artist and musician discussions, or even religion when traveling. And recipe exchanges!
They are all organic, community builders. People come together and self align.
CS’s main weakness is that it does not delete groups that become inactive.
@kellyt, I would respectfully and strongly ask you to reconsider.