What values should we embrace?

It’s been a while guys,

I see you’re doing great! Development is in good hands and interesting topics are raised in the forum. Following your progress is a happy activity, congrats!

Now I want to raise a major issue: you have no identity.

What is the value of Couchers? What is your proposition? Are you only better than CS? Do you think that will be enough to tackle the giant?

How about embracing your identity? Because there is one, just it’s not visible in the branding, or in the name, or in the service right now.

Is anyone familiar with Bumble? It’s basically a Tinder challenger that focuses on empowering women. Only they can decide to start a conversation, and they have 24h to do it, otherwise your match disappears forever. It has 2 lucky outcomes:

  • It dampers the imbalance of men’s intrusive dating behavior
  • It enables focus and deeper conversation in a context where you are not overloaded by offer. See Barry Schwartz.

How is this relevant to the identity issue? Well, I don’t know if it’s because I have been away from the forum for a while, but its now clear to me, among the many good ideas this project has, the main concept is reestablishing balanced hosting relationship. It is a service for people who want to focus on cultural exchange (while not preventing other good stuffs from happening :slight_smile: ). Maybe even ensure safe travel for women. Then after comes the math, the servers, the features… but those are only to help your VALUE PROPOSITION.

When you choose a precise road such as this one, you’ll find a lot of people who disagree. This is when you have a project. If you have an idea that suits everyone, it means you haven’t made any choice yet. It’s a hard step to overcome.

I am no one to define your value proposition. It has to be define collectively or imposed by a kind tyrant who listens to his community! I just wanted to provoke your thoughts.

So, who do you think you are? :slight_smile:

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Overall, I’d want Couchers to stand for a safe and welcoming culture.

With respect to cs I’d say no one here wanted to see them fail. At the same time all dedicated members I know came to the conclusion that they’ve finally run it down beyond repair. So I guess the current pitch is quite adapt.

With regard to other volunteer projects, I love the vibe and style of trustroots! But I think their circles setup is rather directed towards solo travellers with strong lifestyle preferences. I’d want Couchers to stand for one big circle.

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Hey guys! This is what we have at the moment:

This was formulated some time back, with input from the founders and some volunteers. It’s clear at this point, with the way in which Couchers is developing, we not only want to focus on travel and culture exchange, but also provide a platform where communities can flourish.

I love this. I think it really speaks to the soul of the project and I’m genuinely happy to be working with and talking to people here who are so passionate about meeting others and bringing people together!

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This looks great! :yellow_heart:

The only thing I don’t like that much, is Adventurous as a value. Idk… a global network of local communities that are adventurous - sounds like Scouts to me. Maybe active in some other way?

We could also embrace the non-monetary character as a value. A market free community on the internet and irl, whithout opportunities to buy or sell.

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Hi there I’m new here. Thought I’d add my 2 cents on this. It may not be that obvious, but I think a hospex platform being clearly outside of capitalisms grasp and embracing a kind of share/gift economy is one of the core values that makes it so loved by its members. I’m thinking specifically about the golden days of CS, 10 yrs ago or so, before it became a corporation and they started destroying the website and community by removing features. I feel like back in those days many ppl were changed for the better by their experiences through CS, and a big part of that was due to the experience itself (cultural exchange for example), but I think also a larger part was due to the inherent non-transactional nature of their experiences… experiencing something human outside a capitalist framework which i feel is becoming increasing rare in our neoliberal, hyper-capitalistic world.

IMO, if this platform is about being non-transactional, non-monetary, i think it should be a core value. But IDK how it would be written… i.e. Non-transactional, Non-capitalist, non-monetary… or something like that

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I think the widespread notion now is that a platform on the net is by default a marketplace in some way or another. That’s why I suggested to take this up, but not sure either about market-free

Anyways, welcome to the community, @Falx! Great to have you here :slight_smile:

This may be subjective but for me the core value that made CS great could be summed up in one word: frienship.

Why? Because friends are the people you give without expecting nothing in return. Are the ones you collaborate with, share with, go on adventures with, those you trust and feel safe with, those who help you when you need something and those you are always willing to help, and viceversa.

I love and live the hospex interactions by the concept of “friends you haven’t met yet” :slight_smile:

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The buzzword “share economy” comes to mind. Not sure how it can be phrased as a value but the share economy means everything is shared instead of paid for.

First of all, welcome!

I totally agree with this. The concept of “paying it forward” and a free exchange (ideas, culture, accomodation) is central to the platform. I also don’t know how we could say this in 1 word. I think your suggestion of “non-transactional” comes closest. “Free” might also work (free from money, freedom to learn, free-spirited, etc)

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I love this, it really describes de spirit. I do not associate it whit something free, tho, but with somethin non-monetary, I´m not a native speaker, not sure what word I should use, but it would be nice to reflect this concept of it not being free, we all dislike freeloaders, and nothing is free in life, you have to give back somehow, wheter it is to your host with the cultural exchange or to the community by giving back the favors you recieved. I associate the concept of paying it forward not with “free” but with: generosity, kindness and gratitude.

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Maybe we could cultivate a wider understanding of Collaborative, that includes these aspects, like paying it forward, sharing and non-monetary?

I feel Collaboration is a really central value, because the project would offer opportunities for collaborating on so many levels: Hosting and surfing, Organizing events, building Communities, Volunteering, Discussing,…

I actually just read an interview with the project lead of the Debian software. It’s one of the major linux distributions, and they have lots of money in the bank (because all big tech players use the system), but not enough collaborators. Mostly because the onboarding is demanding a lot of prospective volunteers.This issue actually exists in several big open software projects.

I think embracing Collaborative as a central value does already stress that it’s not money at the heart of the project, but people. It could also serve as a reminder to always try to make it as easy and rewarding as possible for everyone to take part and engage with the project.

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I think that the 10 Burning Man Principles are a good place to start.

They cover things like Inclusion, Participation and De-commodification, but also have some great values that could apply to Couchers like:

  • Radical self reliance (like not being a freeloader or super needy)
  • Gifting
  • Civic responsibility/communal effort

I think it’s worthwhile creating an ethos of “ask not what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community” - and if we focus on community rather than a platform to find a free place to stay (but obviously still having that functionality) then we’ll hopefully land in that 2008-2011 CS sweet spot

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“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
I’d like something about happiness to be shown in our core values. I reckon if you can show we are interested in promoting happiness, you will have something people want, and it will for sure differentiate us from some of the other hospitality websites.

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I’m not so convinced Burning Man is such a good model here. It’s like a high energy, concentrated event, lasting 9 days I think? To me it’s very different if you have a temporary set-up or try to build sth that is sustainable in a long run. E.g. all the “radical” ideals certainly won’t work for the latter.

What I like about the principles is framing the foundational discussion not so much with attitudes, but with practical behavior. I came across another Code of Conduct that takes this approach even more straightforward:

They just talk of “Our Standards” and “Our Pledge” and give examples of behavior that contribute to a positive environment, and behavior that is regarded harmful. I find that quite helpful to communicate expectations with focus.

From what I’ve seen so far, we definitely want to reflect this with design and colors :sunny:

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As a reference, BW’s legal mission statement is to promote “hospitality and cultural exchange”

Trustroots on its website has “Trustroots seeks to be a platform for sharing and getting people together. We aim to connect likeminded people together. We encourage trust, adventure and intercultural connections.”

CS back in the day had “making the world a better place one couch at a time”

In this thread I see a lot of anti-capitalist statements and other idealistic ideas,not surprising of course as only people who are very opinionated would take the time to register and post their opinion about a new project. But this sounds a bit like discussions going on in BW / TR in my opinion.

My hope is that couchers would be a bit more inclusive not only of alternative lifestyles and idealistic principles, but also of regular people like CS was back in the day. Most of CS demographics was casual users.

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I like the concept of friendship too. Future friends is what I see other hosts as becoming because that is what our past experiances has taught us that CS is about.

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