"Preferred gender" option for hosting

I want it! I would probably use it off and on. I am also advocating for women who have never used CS, don’t think it will ever be safe, and do not even want to participate in a forum where there are men. We’ve chatted about this a bit but the concept we are trying to address is “survivorship bias,” wherein the women who have put up with/survived/tolerate the weird stuff men do and say on online platforms are the only ones with a voice. Just because they don’t want to speak up for themselves doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find a way for them to participate, I guess.



I actually didn’t mean that.

What I want to say - it’s good to know the reasons exactly so there are other options to deal with it, and hiding the profile is for emergencies. I can imagine situations where it can be needed, but I don’t think it should be used to state your preferences or because you don’t know how to choose a good host.


Yeah, it surprised me too, until I saw the way some men interacted with female posters here on our forums, and how much it turned some women off from voicing their ideas. It doesn’t bother me as much, but not all women feel comfortable sharing their ideas on the internet :smiley: Luckily we are doing better I think providing a safe space for people of all backgrounds to engage, but every now and then there’s hostility that probably wouldn’t exist if users could hide their content from specific groups altogether.

I see two big problems in this discussion: one is that what you are writing would force anyone to put its gender as NB since it is the one that gives you more opportunities, the second that limiting is discriminatory.
so you can put it but put no simit on source-destinatiin, so anyone must be able, regardeless of declared personal geneder, to choose any possible option for preferred gender.

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I agree with that, and I also agree with the need to provide a sheltered environment for people who need it. So far, the “same gender only” vs. “any gender” option seems the only one that balances out safety and non-discrimination against men.

I think a user like @ghost_host could choose “any gender” and explain on their profile why they prefer to host women, and this way it would be super-clear that he doesn’t mean it in a predatory way, and would help more women surfers feel safe enough to ask to be hosted.

I’m sorry you feel that way, but the unfortunate reality is that Couchsurfing has been overwhelmed by actual creepy straight men who have made the experience impossible to enjoy for women. Something needs to be done to remedy that, and if it means that well-meaning men have to use words to explain themselves because of a safety feature (for another couple of decades), well, that’s not a big favor to ask. Yes, #notallmen are creeps, but #allwomen have had experiences with creepy men.


Actually even I find it disconcerting

Everyone in here has good points and is correct in some way.


I´m a bit worried for the fact that we are going to need this measures in the first place. I´d prefer more resources put into curing the disease, than into treating the symptoms. Aka: a simple way every creep is kicked out fast, and making sure we have none in our community (at least none that remains after they have acted creepy once). If we can assure this, then all this filters would became somewhat obsolete.

IDK, a place that offers so many filters gives me the vibe of “we cannot keep the creeps out, the best we can offer is that you isolate yourself from them”. Shouldn´t we be focusing more on this (keeping the creeps out) than on that (keeping them and providing ways of filtering them out)? How do we build strong healthy communities, and have educated members so this stops being an issue?
(yeah, I am aware that this is going to take time because it´s a deep rooted social issue, but if we don´t put this as a first priority from the start, what kind of people are going to be the foundation of the community? Do we want creeps among them? I don´t think so)


I would do the simple thing, sex: woman or man (would facilitate algorithm to filter, hide, show, by sex) and gender should be aside as an open text field (with no filter), used to write your gender, just informative. Easy.

In the text field aside the gender, you can type the unicorn, or type whatever your gender is. Couchers is a platform for host, so anybody who try to hangout with opposite sex, would find the algorithms that we need to work in and evict to try to date. The references are important and read my proposal too.

My proposal is create a balancing algorithm:

Woman and man will be able to host same sex or any sex (two options, easy). BUT if you choose any sex the algorithm will work: the algorithm should balance the quantity of women or men the host accepts according with a number X… and count from zero every time the user change their option, so evict trying to hack the control (always there will be people trying to take advantage of any platform in someway)…

So, if you are John Doe and want to accept “any sex”, % or counting difference should matter. (The second option (counter) will be better to create the algorithm than % for easy coding I guess)…

Example: if the difference is 3 (my number X) women hosted against 0 men, the next person that John Doe is able to accept will be a man. Period… if He accept 1 man, the counter will be 3-1 (able to host another woman), he will host later another woman counter will be 4-1. So if he tries to host and accept a request from a woman, he wont be able until he host a man again. In my example the counter difference is of 3.

The algorithm should be able to let this man, accept more men than women. So the counter could be women 5-15 men for example… and in a city full of men, the platform will be working.

The same would be for women, with the algorithm inverted. Take account that this is for who choose to host Both Sex. If user wants to hack the counter changing the option of host every 3 women, would be able to change this option after 1 year. Easy.

The gender field text would be just informative, so for example, John Doe is “man” (sex) that is “unicorn”(gender), is not comfortable accepting “straight” (gender) guys, will be able to decide to reject or accept a request. and obviously would be able to accept more than 3 man “unicorn” if he wants. Make sense? If John Doe is “man” (sex) and “unicorn”(gender), wont be able to accept more women than men with more than 3 count of difference. If he want to host women, he has to balance his counter.

The users doesnt need to see this counter, it is just a hidden thing,

Take into account that man or women being unicorn, or whatever gender is but straight, would be able to use the app for dating in any option. But I think that in this matter, doesn’t matter. Unicorns are not predators. Well, I don’t know.

Click on Like if you like my proposal.

Banning people from hosting, not because of anything that happened, but just because they haven’t hosted enough people of one gender, without even telling them why?

Plain “no” from me.


My proposal is not banning anyone, is for avoiding any predator to host just woman… or woman, just men. if not enough people to host, is because there is not visitors in the city… read my proposal again, and let me know what part of the proposal was not understood.

" without even telling them why?" if I undestood your question, the answer is that a pop-up will say, “you need to balance your surfer by the politicals of the community”.

I hosted and host mostly guys, just because my Siberian city seems to be not the most popular destination for solo females. You are basically saying I shouldn’t be able to host anyone then

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In that way the algorithm needs to include statistics of how many men vs women are visiting X city… easy to update the algorithm and modify my X number of 3 per a variable %, easy.

How about a way to just report weird or creepy messages from anyone. Maybe you could have button for flagging dating/flitering/non hospex values messages. Many people especially men I think don’t really realize just how many weird messages women get. This one women just showed me her inbox and like 15 guys had messaged her in the past few days. They were all really short and said something like “wanna meet for a drink?” …just weird vibes…as a guy I don’t really get that type of thing. When someone gets a message like that they could flag it.
I had suggested to have a “bouncer” on duty to review messages for 12 hour shifts…that could instantly just suspend profiles for weird or creepy things. A dedicated safety person would review later. Maybe this could be something. I think that in general too many filters can bring people apart but at the same time there are plenty weird things going on that can draw people away(generally women) from a site…


I dont think ““wanna meet for a drink?” is a creepy thing. Are you gonna report a sentence like that as creepy? I’m think is excessive. It is an obvious invitation to met the woman to hangout. The other part who decide to go or not. That happen in instagram or the actual hangouts of Couchsurfing. What it has to be fixed is the algorithm to prevent this dating behaviour that is the focus of other apps. Not this one. So if the algorithm is improved, the ““wanna meet for a drink?” would be read as a new experience to share experiences of hosting and surfing in our community.

The approach we generally have taken for these problems is to provide information to users and let them make their own decisions. We make people accountable for their actions rather than restrict their actions. If someone is being creepy then we need to find a way to lower their community standing score so that is signalled to the rest of the community, then people can make their own decisions based on their own tolerances by setting filters.

I think you’re right in that it’s hard to distinguish between what’s acceptable or reportable for this example, and puts a lot of onus on the person receiving the message. But maybe we could use a statistic like “what proportion of first messages that this person sends are responded to”. If it is low, then the person is likely spamming. If we find that spamming/dating messages of these kinds are being a big problem, then we could do something like lower community standing.


The asking for a drink thing can come off in a creepy way when it is like 15 guys asking and no girls …it really comes off in context. Just asking to have a drink generally isn’t creepy in and of itself

Having a percent of messages responded to might be a good idea

Since this is not Tinder, it actually is. An invitation to hang out in a couch surfing way sounds differently.

Maybe, when you press the flag, there could be a list of reasons for flagging, and one of them could be “not in the spirit of Couchers”. And if a person gets flagged for that a lot, they can receive a message saying what they are doing wrong.

Do you mean to say people will not be banned for any kind of behavior, only their community standing score will be lowered? If yes, I don’t think it is a good approach. As @Aleja said earlier in this topic:

Not saying people should be banned for “wanna meet for a drink”, but I think there are a lot of cases where there should be harsher measures than just lowering their score.


As for this, I was shocked by the idea, to be honest.

First of all, I find gruesome the thought of algoritmising the search. It’s a platform to find likeminded people and new friends all over the world, and I definitely do not want an algorithm to decide whether I can or can’t meet (host) someone based on my gender.

Secondly, I believe it will just make it harder to use the platform without achieving the safety purpose. The problem is not people hosting the opposite gender, the problem is creepy people, and we should target them.


No, people will be warned, suspended, or banned in cases where it is shown they have a clear detrimental effect on other users depending on the severity and repeated actions. The support team is drawing out rules for this. But this is mostly for when we have clear-cut cases.

What I meant is that on these fuzzier problems, we shouldn’t be restricting user actions to solve the problem. Creepyness can be very subjective, so we can try to get many users’ subjective experience of that person, or their actions around that person, to work out what’s going on.

For example, as you’ve said it’s not inherently a problem for a man to only host women, only if they’re being creepy. If those women are rating that man low because he’s being a bit creepy, but not in an explicit or reportable way, that’s when we want community standing to kick in and be a useful metric.


been asked by opposite sex quite a number of times to meet up for drinks or a café on CS, people who message me and say they want to hang out instead of needing a couch (CS does have that “Can meet” option instead of just hosting), was never anything creepy about it, and it never occured to me that people were doing similar things to hookup on CS till i started reading about hangouts here