Should we implement Single-Sign-On?

I am sorry but for me this is completely illogical. You respect a lot the administrators because they give you a way to avoid being blocked by them for your disagreement, by allowing you to hide your Couching profile???

Anyway, I am obviously isolated here and since this is quite important to me, I think it is better that I leave you. In this discussion and on other things I have read on this forum, I don’t find the couch surfing spirit that I was trying to get back. (I respect the fact that you are all well-intentioned, and that ‘couch surfing spirit’ may mean different things to different people. Also, you have been working on this project for more than a year while I only came 2 months ago.) Can an administrator be kind enough to remove my profile from the Couchers site, and this forum? My Couchers profile is linked in my forum profile.

Before leaving, another thing: I don’t know if it is good that everybody on the internet can read these forum discussions from the homepage
without being registered on Couchers. I discovered it this morning, by trying it on a browser and a machine which don’t have my login. (I cannot access forum profiles, a fortiori Couchers profiles, like this without being logged in, however.) In particular, CS is likely not to take your development very kindly if I judge by the way they were censoring any reference to similar platforms when I was still there. Even less since you confront them squarely on Couchers’ main page. Yet you offer them total access to the construction of your platform.


Hi @anon39654854! I’m sure the other admins will be fine with removing you from here and the platform itself, but I just wanted to say you’re not alone in your opinion, you’re just in the minority. I for one welcome your viewpoint and agree with much of what you say. I’ll be sad to see you go.


what is the couchsurfing spirit in your opinion and how is not aligned with it? [probably off-topic question but I’m curious]

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For me it would be sad to see you leave. From my perspective, that’s tge beauty of the “couchsurfing spirit” : getting to know people that have different points of view, exchanging ideas, and learning that even if we do not agree on everything, we can still be friends :slightly_smiling_face:

I do agree 100% with you that the forum shouldn’t be public. See? We do not disagree on everything. I hope you decide to stay.


I also agree with you on this point. I know, profiles are not visible but all messages and profile pictures are open to the whole wide internet. Not my favourite thing in the world.

I have read through this topic because I used to be clearly in favour of a single login. But I have come to agree with most of the arguments that were made for keeping it separate now.

I still find the double login mildly annoying and I’m wondering if there’s a possibility to combine the two but still keep the signed up accounts separate? What I mean with that is, people would still have to explicitly sign up for a forum account (they would need to be logged in to the Couchers main platform to do so) and then the two accounts would be linked to a single login. But there would be no need to have it automatically link to your Couchers profile from your forum profile and there would be no automatic forum account creation for everyone.
Just to get over the double login. But as I said, I only find it mildly annoying and maybe that’s too much effort for a small advantage. I definitely agree with all the points about keeping it more separate than other platforms have done.


Emily and Aleja, thank you for your good words, but I don’t think it will work with me. Let me try and answer couchguy who asked

Too much desire of control, governed by fear. Two examples: this thread (I know, it will confuse some of you), and this one:

where, for me, the issue was unnecessarily raised for hypothetical sexual worries.

I can probably find others, but since I leave… This type of question was also discussed here:

The couch surfing spirit, for me, is not to try and prevent the negative, but to try and encourage the positive.

Of course, these are just discussions and the end result may not be that controlling. But I don’t feel comfortable at the moment. I might come back in a couple of years when you have gone beyond the beta phase.


@anon39654854, I totally get what you’re saying, but this is a meta forum, people are nerding out on some topics, but that doesn’t mean the actual users of the platform will be extreme and “controlling” as you say. It’s up to us old users to bring the CS spirit.

I actually agree with you to some extent, I think couchers should recreate CS without any change, build the community first and fix the problems when they occur not before.

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Well, I didn’t open the topic because I have a strong preference. It won’t affect me much personally, because as a volunteer on the forum I’m not anonymous anyways. But I also didn’t have specific cases in mind. As written, we discussed it in the volunteers team and surprisingly it didn’t receive much support. I also know we had members that were decidedly in favor of anonymous profiles.

Still, following the discussion here I think the best solution would be OAuth2, if it’s technically possible. So members could sign in with their app credentials. Or sign up independently. Their choice, just as @Bellatrix suggested:

@anon39654854, if you want your accounts to be removed, please follow our standard procedures: Send a message to @moderators right on the forum to remove your forum profile. And send a message to, using the email address linked to your app account, to delete your app account. That way there’s a clear request for us.

Though I’d actually take it as another point in favor for keeping forum and app separate. I think feeling comfortable or not discussing here on the forum is one thing. But how’s it connected to using the app? It has an entirely different purpose and usage, as @lucas already pointed out in the first comment.


Hey, I’m with you on finding some things rather controlling! But that’s the purpose of the forum, people discuss different ideas here and try to see what’s better. As far as I understand, none of what you are referring to is decided on, and your opinion can actually help shape the platform. After all, I guess we all overthink and get carried away sometimes :joy: But I feel everyone here wants to recreate the spirit of couchsurfing and is just trying to find the right way.


As for the topic of the discussion, I am for keeping the app and the forum separate because of the reason @lucas mentioned - it’s just two different things. I also don’t see why it’s inconvenient - I just press “community forum” on the app and go straight here.


Exactly. So let me follow you from afar and maybe come back later. @nolo, I will now follow your instructions.

It seems like we’re maybe moving toward some kind of consensus on this issue, but I thought I would just add that the concerns for privacy on the forum don’t have to be about anything particularly nefarious either.

To follow up on the LGBT example. Sometimes people are “out” to only certain people in their lives (some family/friends/coworkers etc. and not others). Someone might mention Couchers at work after being asked something like “What did you do this weekend?” Someone not even part of the conversation might overhear it and decide to look up Couchers because they think it’s a cool concept. Maybe they even join (yay!) and make a profile for the app and the forum too (double yay!). While browsing forum posts they see some of their coworker’s posts and blurt out “I didn’t know you were gay!” I mean it’s probably not the end of the world, but it might be annoying and something folks want to avoid.

And the whole LGBT thing is just one line of examples. There are all kinds of sensitive topics; experiences of sexual harassment being another obvious one. If we want to discuss any of these topics on the forum, it should be possible for people to contribute with some degree of privacy. Otherwise, we are just going to hear from folks who are comfortable telling the whole world about it.

And just to follow up on one more detail. I don’t think asking folks to limit the information in their actual Couchers profile is the answer either. Things like having a profile picture that shows someone’s face and all the rest of it are extremely useful in that context for increasing safety and building trust. I definitely don’t want to discourage people from disclosing things there just so they can share more freely here.


I just wanted to add that I love to see transparency from those who actually hold the power (if you want to call it that) in making decisions for Couchers and to see their motivations clearly laid out.

Transparency from the decision makers. Privacy for the users. A concept that is too often reversed these days.


ok, I’m definitely not ok with the fact that this discussion was the final straw for someone to leave our community, but I just have the capacity right now to answer the original question. I think it should be one log-in bc it’s easy (logging in to the main website was annoying, thank you for removing the log-in code from email). And I think a lot of internet ugliness stems from people hiding behind anonymity. That anonymity won’t protect someone with an honest critique from being banned by a vindictive admin - the vindictive admin will always find a way.
Better that we know who we all are, bc that’s part of building a community, and that we cultivate a power structure and culture such that admins aren’t allowed to default to vindictiveness.


I have never seen a discussion forum / social network with forced disclosure of identity to result in a more transparent culture. Instead, it makes some people afraid to speak up. It’s great that users like @anon39654854 is open with his life, but he also lives in France and probably has an inherent assumption that discussing such things is ok. There are a lot of places in the world where it’s not ok to freely discuss such things, and people who use Couchers will need to discuss such issues especially when discussing safety issues. Speaking of safety, what if a female guest had bad experiences with the site due to creepy male hosts (we all know this is all too common) and want to discuss freely the issues without necessarily tying her identity/profile? Forcing people to link their profiles will actually just means someone make a fake profile just to comment, unless you go check their ID just to allow people to make a profile, in which case I’ll just quit this site.

People will make shitty comments regardless. Trolls are gonna trolls (as I said, they can make fake Couchers profile), and public linking of profile is not a substitute for needing mods.

FWIW, I find that needing to make a different account for forum is quite annoying and counterintuitive. I would really like a way to make it easier to tie the accounts or automatically create one if I don’t mind or want the linking. I just think a forum without basic anonymity is… frankly put, a huge turnoff. My opinion is we should at least provide a way to be anonymous and not link to profiles publicly.

Edit: Just to add. I grew up in Hong Kong (but don’t live there now), and frankly, any kind of words you say can literally end up getting you in jail these days. I think as a global community, this site has a basic responsibility to provide a way for people to anonymously post (as much as reasonable) without forcing people to disclose their identity and full name.


How is this hypothetical? I know this is off topic for the single sign-on topic, but female guests dealing with aggressive male hosts had been an issue almost since day 1. Most hosts are great, but this has been a recurring undercurrent on Couchsurfing and a lot of female guests I host will iterate the same thing.

Not really. As I said, what happens in places like China and now Hong Kong is people who don’t like you would randomly scour through your public social media and screen cap comments they don’t find to be ok (let’s say you commented on Taiwan being a country) and out you on weibo or other Chinese focused social media and start an internet campaign about you. It’s really not that uncommon. Not saying this will happen to Couchers, but I don’t see why we would want to intentionally create an environment where it could happen.


If the Forum has a separate sign-on, then I will simply not use it. Won’t post to it, won’t read it, won’t acknowledge its existence.

That’s fine! I think most people will be the same, the want to surf/host and don’t care that much about the direction of the platform if it’s doing a good job.

(PS you did just make this reply and the sign in is currently separate :grin:)


Having two separate logins for forum and normal user is a bit an inconvenience, but advantages surpass a lot this inconveneince. so better keep them separate.
It helps a lot free speech.


Having just joined the community, I found it confusing that I had to create a login to use the forum when I had just registered for the app. It makes sense to have one, for ease of use.

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