Localised or International Interest Groups

I agree but I don’t think this is a problem. No matter what platform we design, I’m sure there’ll always be features that we can’t implement or won’t have thought of. I see a lot of value in groups as a general framework for any kind of organisation and discussion, so nothing gets left out just because we don’t have that feature. I think going down the path of categorising all groups will end up being quite prescriptivist, even if we’re able to capture 95% of the groups in other parts of the site.

Because they’re general, groups can also be a source for innovation. If we find a lot of groups being created e.g. roadtrip groups then that’s an indication that we should consider building in that feature.

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Hi Kelly, Here are my thoughts about the groups in Couchsurfing. I was a member for about 12 years and had a lot of luck with the city groups when they were functioning. For example , let’s say Hugh and I wanted to invite people to a barbeque here in Adelaide… a quick post to the Adelaide group and we’d have people interested. For our 25th anniversary, the same thing. It was a brilliant way to connect with flame eaters, a one person band, dancers etc. Likewise when we travelled. We could post to such and such a city group mentioning I do magic and Hugh sings. We’d get nice responses and good sociable times of sharing. (We do a street theater of a bunyip act)
There are a number of chit chat groups on Couchsurfing. I’d like to mention particularly 50+ travellers and Advice for Hosts. About 2 years both were threatened with closure unless they were moderated. A gentleman called Florian, the head of Trust and Safety in Couchsurfing was in charge of this push for moderation of groups. I guess his name has come up before and he could be called upon to verify what happened and why. This came about through a long period of name calling, political posts, baiting, goading, derailing of threads, religious vilification. The groups were finally moderated, but the feelings there kept getting inflamed through repeated religious and political threads. In 50+ Travellers group the moderators changed with the weather, such was the frustration. Those who were strongly politically inclined used to circumvent the moderator and report those they didn’t agree with as “Trump supporters” " misogynist" “religious zealot” etc. to Florian.Very often people were suspended as a result of the secret reporting going on.For example, a Pakistani host was regularly goaded that he was a woman hater as in his household women were separate from men. He was suspended many times . The irony was that he did quite a lot of hosting and his accusors did little or no hosting. But were (and still are) nimble communicators with the Couchsurfing trust and safety team. It would be unfortunate if groups were allowed to evolve in this website along similar ways.
Probably it would be worthwhile if groups were asked from time to time to show how they work to bring about real life meetings and real life hospitality. If it happens that a group evolves to be a political clique of an echo chamber perhaps the usefulness could be questioned .


If we imagine city pages without groups for a moment, could you still accomplish the same thing by just creating an event that shows up on the city page? This is also assuming there would br a discussion board within the event for coordination purposes.

This really was my saving grace when I moved to a new city. I got involved with a CS group (way back in 2007) and it was really one of the reasons I was so active in the community. We would often meet at a cafe and people would bring their guests, or we would have get-together and promote the region. This often brought in people from outlying villages so it was really quite interesting. There were some changes with platform, and the group basically died and they started their own Wiki and such so it was a bit of a shame.

When we knew that we had a lot of guests, we even organised excursions to local places to experience them together sort of like an event. It really was something that made being a foreigner in a city a huge difference and allowed me to create a friend group and integrate with locals.