References Should Be Mandatory

Writing a reference should be a must. People sometimes don’t write references. The ones account who don’t write reference must be blocked for a while or can’t make a new request until completing the reference etc… OR who writes references should be encouraged to motivate others to write references too.


I think this is an interesting idea; but at the same time, writing a good complete reference takes quite a bit of time. Maybe we can “force” or at least strongly encourage people to write a certain minimal reference with the numerical/rating part, but not necessarily the public/writing part.


in addition to that maybe we can add some questions like :

would you stay with them again?
why did you give this answer?
Is their place as it was described?
Did you guys went out together?
Was there any other person at home other than the ones described in the profile.
Some questions at least will fix the problem then we can also create a reference box to add personal words…


I think blocking new requests until they complete their previous reference is a good idea. Not sure if it’s hard to do from the dev end though?


Agree here. Make leaving a reference something quick & easy with some yes/no answers, while allowing (or rewarding) more thoughtful reviews too.


this might be tricky if you’re travelling and hopping from one destination to the other. IMHO some flexibility is needed


Hi, Emily here, new member joining the conversation!

Some people don’t write references because they don’t have anything good to say, or even anything to say at all. I’ve hosted people who literally appeared on my doorstep at midnight and left with me at 6.30 a.m., so our entire interaction was basically “here’s the bathroom, good night”.

There are also all those who had a less-than-positive experience but who didn’t think it warranted a negative reference - you know, nothing wrong with the other person, you just didn’t click? So no, I don’t think it’s possible to make references obligatory.

Maybe we could imagine something like strong encouragements to write a reference - a message on each platform given, for example? (email, text, messenger, social media, whatever?) Many people on CS forgot, or just didn’t log in again to CS so didn’t see the reminder - their trip was over, so that was that as far as they were concerned. Messages through different platforms reminding people to leave references could be helpful for many, but that would assume having the necessary information at signup.


Very important!, do keep different travel styles in mind. On bike trips I’d sometimes have to look for hosts in five or six different cities a week. Imagine how that went along with CS’ introduction of a message limit …

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Still, I like the idea of the preventing you from requesting someone else’s couch if you haven’t reviewed the last one. If you have time to make ew requests, you should have time to answer a few short questions about the last experience.

If not preventing you, Emily’s idea of reminding you the next time you log in would help, or while you’re browsing around the site. I guess a reminder to their email/other platform might be nice, but people do tend to turn those notifications off at some point or another, too.

Thanks for the good ideas all around!


come at mid-night, leave early is still an experience. Even writing this information will give idea to some people. I have hosted many people in Liverpool like that. Because there are cheap flights from Liverpool to Eastern Europe and Turkey so people who work in different cities in the UK come to Liverpool after work to fly at weird hours. So I have hosted them and I don’t even know their names. But I do remember they have had great references so I wanted to help them.

If they write on my profile that I have accepted to host them even for a short notice and short period will give an idea to another travelers whom are searching this type of host.

So reference should be a must doesn’t matter for a short stop or 3 days stay.

Another thing is for the travelers who are on the go, sorry but if someone has time to travel they must have time to write a few words to keep this community sustainable and reliable. I respect that they are travelling now but this is not a free hotel booking. Everyone would have their own reasons not to write references, I’m sure all are good reasons but this platform is providing free guide, free accommodation, sometimes free food etc… Writing a nice (doesn’t mean positive) detailed reference is the only thing we pay.

In my opinion, we should be very strict about writing reference, no excuses or no flexibility on this matter.


… within, say, a week (i.e. you’ve got seven days to review the encounter, only afterwards you can’t send new requests until you do). Personally I prefer having a bit of time to reflect on what I’m going to write. Right after I left my host or my guest departed from my place feelings are still fresh; it’s either 100% or nothing, all positive or unmoderated disgust. A couple of hours or days later I’m much more in a position to write a differentiated review.

(For instance, once I stayed with a bloke in a well-known central European capital. He had two other guests at the same time, all four of us got along well and spent some beautiful days in the city together. He lived on the outskirts, we really only went to the place in the evening, sharing a drink and sleeping.
Two years later a friend messaged me; he was on the road, passing through the city and saw I had a contact there. Would I recommend him as a host, maybe introduce them to each other by message? And of course I did. That friend I met in person two weeks later and I asked about his stay … it was cool, he said. Nice bloke … but what a landfill he lived in! And indeed, to my great embarrassment, I then remembered the place had been a dirty mess, with the single exception of the guest room. The kitchen an impenetrable heap of unwashed pans and plates, stale food and rotten cups all around, etc… I had remembered the nice days but not the place we had returned to at night.

Here the problem was my memory to begin with; then secondly CS’ black-and-white reference culture. But even if I had resolved to leave a nuanced review I’d never have come up with one until a few days later.)

Another point, sometimes the journey is indeed so that I cannot leave a review right away. I’d leave a host, cycle the entire day without mobile internet, camp that night for lack of a host and then try finding one last-minute in the next city at some district library or hipster café or McDonald’s with free wifi … sure I’d have the minute to write a review, sure I wont’ have the ease or attention at that specific point.

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I’ll write briefly please do ask me to elaborate if something is not clear:

  • I think NOTHING should be mandatory.
  • We could at the beginning put the prompt to the references a little bit more often
  • This discussion us very low priority

I don’t think this is a low priority discussion at all. A large part of our safety/accountability plan relies on the broad use of references. It’s incredibly important for this platform that it’s done right.


I completely agree with you that we should get references right! I just think we don’t have to get into a long discussion about it before the platform is actually up and running :see_no_evil: I think this is low priority because we can always change back and forth between mandatory reviewing and not even after we go public…I personally think that we should leave that up to the user, if a user doesn’t want to write a review they shouldn’t have to.
For me this is part of a broader topic, the clash is for me between safety and user friendly and I think both are very important but safety shouldn’t hurt user friendly, if I don’t want to be safe I shouldn’t be forced to, do you understand what I mean? Maybe we can have a badge or something saying “this user left 10/15 reviews” so we “punish” people who don’t leave reviews? I still think this is an import discussion don’t get me wrong, just a low priority important discussion because I don’t mind for the beginning to have the reviews mandatory… In the long run I think this is a bad idea that will get user friendliness… There are many other ways to ensure safety and I think mandatory ALWAYS results in bad behaviour… I would just copy paste something if I was forced to write a review before sending another request and I didn’t have time for it (that’s another topic - maybe we can score reviews somehow?)

There’s lots of examples going around the forum of self-regulating scores. We need to beware of scoring and meta-scoring each and everything. If in the end nobody understands how the numbers are made they’re substantially less useful anyway.

I’m a bit wary of this, maybe irrationally so. If it were CS developing this feature I’d expect many fuckups in the score because of deleted profiles or mistimed deadlines. Of course that’s just my pessimism.

Fair enough, but you could say this about every discussion here. And we need to start with something! From what I’ve heard the coding volunteers have been at work for quite some time already? So when starting to implement a feature it’s really necessary for them to be able to look up the corresponding thread for input, be it a new idea or just a general survey of views.

I stand by my above idea of blocking or limiting the ability to make a request if a reference hasn’t been written for a period of time, e.g. seven days. I absolutely don’t see how this affects user-friendliness too much, since at that point you can still just write a reference and go ahead. I feel seven days would be a good watershed to allow some flexibility, to allow some reflection on what to write if needs be and to get over trip difficulties that might stop you from writing for a moment. Anything beyond a week probably is just procrastination, which is the exact thing we’d like to stop.

Make sure in the beginning that we recognise problems; users being blocked unfairly because of implementation or systematic issues. Maybe start with a messaging limit instead of a full blockage till it runs smoothly.

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Hi @frleon sure we can discuss this! I love discussions no matter how low priority they are! :slight_smile:

I completely agree! We could make a nice blog explaining everything we did and publish it what do you think?

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About the limitations and blocking I’m completely against that :see_no_evil: if someone doesn’t want to write a review they shouldn’t have to IMHO if you wanna talk about that sometime we could have a chat I think it’s an interesting topic! I think it’s a big topic in general and maybe we could open a new topic for it? But I would love to just discuss this on a call with you as well I think that was I can explain myself and understand you best :hugs: I get a notification when you click on the link and we can talk :slight_smile:

I was replying to something else and I thought of this. Not sure if it’s a good idea or a terrible one, but I thought I’d share.

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I would like to be able to see how often a guest or a host did not get a reference.

Then that speaks a bit for itself.