Going global with a great idea of developing an alternative to CS, I would have thought the ideas and comments would be coming in thick and fast at this planning stage.
From what I see, to get some input it’s a bit like pulling hens tooth.
Is that observation wrong and if it’s not then are there any ways to get a bit more vitality?
I can see why someone might not want to comment in fear of being criticised, ridiculed or embarrassed, but when likes are few and far between there must be something that can be done to improve things.
If everyone’s happy with what has been put in place, then couchers.org should just go ahead and launch into action, especially while CS has probably just lost a half of its members.
Going global with a great idea of developing an alternative to CS, I would have thought the ideas and comments would be coming in thick and fast at this planning stage.
Definitely! The gears are in motion and the platform is being built, but there is still plenty of feedback we need. The logo, features, and many other aspects of the platform are being discussed. We’ll be doing user testing of the prototypes of the platform in the near future as well. Also, I highly recommend joining one of the weekly online events sometime – there are some conversations that happen more naturally / easily in spoken discussion rather than online.
Overall, considering we don’t have anything tangible and usable to offer for anyone who is not directly involved as volunteer, I think we have a rather invested community going already!
Here’s one option I’d love to see picked up a bit more:
Every member can directly invite others to the forum. For sure there’s word of mouth, but if we ever want to implement invitations on the platform, it would be helpful to already explore it a bit on the forum. So if you enjoy our community conversation, just take a moment and think about who of your friends or couch-surfing contacts you’d love to see joining in here. And send them an invite right from your profile page!
I think patience is in order until our little pandemic is over and we are all starting to grab our backpack again. The daily update mail helps me to have a look in the forum, but that’s about it for now for me.
Like we are saying in art school: do something, then we have something to react to.
I think that a quick win could be to add “Coffee or drink” (or whatever) as an option on the app. Just because we can’t travel too far - or host for that matter - shouldn’t mean that we can’t use the app to find someone in the community to hang out with and catch up, without necessarily putting on a full on event.
I know people in half a dozen countries that I used to write to regularly on CS, but all haven’t logged on to CS for months.
I even suggested that I would like to pay for their memberships, but heard nothing back from CS support.
The only way I would contact my friends was thru messages on CS.
I think they would all like to become members of couchers, but I don’t have a way of asking them.
There must be people who have lost far more contacts than I had, where the promoter badge would have been easily earned, rocketing up the numbers from the three promoter badges already granted.
I think here on this forum, people are sharing their ideas. For the time being the app is being tested so we need to have a bit of patience. I guess why don’t people haven’t logged in yet is because they are probably not planning to travel.
Though to be honest I really have high hoped with Couchers app. I hope it gives CS a run for its money.
In Europe, is likely that by January - which means in about 30 days from now - it will already be possible to travel again. And here, in Europe, the way we perceive traveling is different than what seems to be your (people from Americas, Australia, Oceania and similar) perception of doing it.
I think (and this is just a personal opinion) most people are not really interested in signing up for a forum about how a hospex website should be. They just want something they can use, and don´t really care how it is made or how it works. If people really cared about how things work and how to make them better, they wouldn´t have used CS at all ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Maybe we could have a FB group or something to get the word out and get the attention of people that don´t want to join the forum? IDK, it´s just an idea, not sure if it´s a good one.
I write these notes in reply to your articles requiring comments on possible alternatives:
I have to say something obut myself: active from 2008, mostly as an host, I am one of those that you call “power hosts” having had some thousands guests from CS BW WS and TR trough the years.
So allow me to speak based on experiences:
about Member Safety and Freeloaders and member Accountability
You are right about fact that not exixting local groups some information could be lost, but at same time you cnanot avoid tht in one place with few hosts all would be of the same kind and would not make anything harming the other friends.
I do not like the filtering option unless it is explicit and before one send a request telling “according the addressee settings your request could be not welcome. We accept it, but we cannot promise that will be taken in account” [not answering to such requests is not considered a non reply]
about community standing score
You talk abouit three questions, but the question are too much centered on the person that answer, rather than the object.
About “would you reccommend this person to other members” you cannot ask youst yes/not . probably will be people that would answer no almost everytime if faced to only two options, simply because there is a lot of cases when the answer would be “depends” . I have people that i would recoomend to most people, but at same time would warn centain people. Or people that would definitely recommend as a guest but not as an host, or the other way. I would see better (even if more complex to understand) "to which fraction of members you would recommend to meet this person, to wich fraction you would recommend not to meet [by exclusion to which fraction you would not recomment either option]) .
the second question is again very subjective. If someone did something not good, but let you open the eyes on a problem you had never thought about, so at end did an useful thing you would reply yes. while for most cases the answer would be “don’t know”. And “positively” can have many different meanings, for someone in a noticeable way, for others just even a tiny bit (so would be yes for anyone that did not do anything really negative)
The third one is the worst of all: even for “safe” it is highly subjective, figure for “uncomfortable” A person talking in a certain way could be normal for someone, and render other people unconfortable, and this could also change according who is together.
about The Reference System and Improving the Reference System
Fact that not having to target a 100% good reference ratio, since even just departing a bit fron that value has a big impact.
But you should explain better what happens at the beginning, that is when someone get the first reference. Are you thinking about scoring references at 0.75 and then do some corrections that could lead tho aheve a bigger or lower number ? Good idea, but some drawbacks:
If you give a bigger weight to references from expert people, and from people not from the same territory of the person, assuming that it means that is more adaptable to different cultures, you risk again to bias the choices, with people that for example if an host has a time when it is ready to give the best, since has just cleaned home, has a couple day vacation, it has the best mood to have guest: will choose the one that can give them the higehest score, if otherwise some requests arrive when it is busy and has not had time to clean house probably would prefer the unexperienced guest that in case of bad reference does less “damage” having a lower weight.
And to get “experience points” to become more platable either as a guest or an host would be people that would accept also cases when there is a big risk of not good fit (see the section about verification for an example).
References have also other problems, that no community has until now fixed:
On the result of the reference, expecially on guest part, there are different aspects taken in consideration: the host itself as a person, but also the accommodation (comfort and supplies), the environment (people in the house, neighbors including meowing cats and mosquitoes) and location (if with good transit facilities or not). Some people weight more or less each one each of factors, and usually the prevailing one, but there is people that just sum all and even a problem in one of the item led to give a non positive reference because “bus stop is 700 m far and it was raining”.
Also is possible that someone as a host had a constantly bad accommodation (for example small apartment) or environment (noisy or unfriendly neighbors) or location “good for some, bad for others” (for example one place with parking and storage place where you can park car or store bicycle, but no transit service, or one in the center of the city but with no space even for a monowheel). and these can change with time, if the person move or for other reasons (the stop that was 700 m far, eventually moved at just 300 m far). So you would remain stuck for the ethernity with a bad comment no longer applicable, and for sure not as a guest.
Splitting comment among person/accommodation/environment/location would allow to better know what one has to expect and at same time these different part could be excluded or faded or request of host (as an example the one about the bus stop distance, but also all the ones if one moves to another location) or if reported non actual by a subsequent guest (think about the one that had rearranged the apartment, so guest no longer had its room but had to sleep in the dining room).
The score for the host will be so in part a personal and in part an “accommodation” one.
Say that 50% be for people and 30% for accommodation/location. And the other 20% ?
How to correct for the novices ? Let’s see:
First time guests can have a widely different way to evaluate how is their first host, it all depend on expectations.
If the expectation were low anyone would get a glorious one, if their expectative were high on the other way, perople used to commercial accommodations, is possible that even a small glitch (“no A/C”,“woken by garbage collection in the road”,“had only one bathroom for 4 guests” ) would deserve a suboptimal if not negative reference *real cases). Even worse when someone had the luckyness of a first top experience, the second one even if “normal” would appear probably as bad, so the second one do not get a good one, got one telling good things but negative since the shower drain clogged while they had shower. if the third one is worse than the second but still acceptable, since they have already known that not all hosts are the same, it got a positive reference even if reading the text was clear that was worse than the second one since they complained that its house was very cold and when they complained he said that for 2€ would have given hot water in the bathroom and 10€ a night would have turned on heating.
To avoid this I would add a 20% “hospitality bonus” . Who is hosted (but the same will be for who is the guest) can give 5 10 or 20 points that add to the “references’ score”. with the limit that until the person has not had at least 5 experiences these bonuses are “blank shots” since would not chnge the current score of the host[guest], if average bonus was 12 it remain 12 whatever is the bonus given. Only exception is if even the hos is novice, and has less than 5 references, in this case the newbies’ references will count. But as soon arrive new ones from people with more experience these would be neutralized. However after having had the 6th experience the person will be proposed to review its first 5, in sight of subsequent experiences. If the person does not accept the offer, the scores reain neutralized, else are recomputed according the new experience.
about Improved Verification
The idea could look good, but really it has more drawbacks than advantages.
It is very similar to the one that had BW once, and that eventually was withdrawn.
The reason: This arrangement put novices in an inferiority position since they need to be verified by someone that has the right to accept or not to do the thing, and so could even ask something.
The risk is low if there were regular frequent and accessible meeting, but this require to have a certain number of member willing to do meeting, having time to do meeting. On a region where there are few members (and everywhere at beginning) this is almost impossible. So probably the only other way to improve your score would be the have a guest or getting hosted, but for the reason you wrote (The verification score of the member verifying you is higher) this would favour power-hosts and power-guests, or people that were close to the community founders, leading on one side people seeking first hospitality by power-guests since they can give them an higher score, leaving aside people with lower score, and on the other from novice hosts that would accept also request from power guests even if they have a feeling that would not be the best fit, just for the verification, with sometimes unfair results.
It is the same problem that affected the vouching system of CS, when where people telling “i can vouch you” when vouches were valued and was necessary to have received a minimum number to be able to give them to other people. Were people that gave vouches to people in his city only after having being invited to a party or a dinner for three times by the person to be vouched, but gave them immediately to his guests if …
or people accepted just to get verification that when asked for it say “I have to plan for tomorrow, let’s do tomorrow evening”. thirty minutes later “there is a friend in the city, may I stay out in the evening ? will you be there ? I could be back between 2130 and 0130” meaning the host had to stay home walone waiting for them) and in the next morning “sorry, I am in hurry”.
About registering ID even partially, this could be something scaring even for the person that have to verify: In some places around the world (including where I abitually live) there are regulation that require anyone giving hospitality to register with police or municipality every guest that is not (according places) resident in city/state/continent. This involves some bureaucratic work and sometimes having to pay certain taxes. Laws are differents but for example here if you are not a professional hoster you are not entitled to ask an ID to your guest so you must trust if this person says that it is exempt from registration to police and municipality. So you must assume that your guest told you that was an EU resident and has been here for a timeframe to be exempt by local taxes, since without legal access to its documents you cannot prove it.
On the other way if you get the official ID of the other party, and you publicly declare it, you would not be longer exempt from the obligation of registration, if necessary, since you cannot longer say that you ignored the real state of your guest, so in certain places this kind of verification could be “only for someone”, so being discriminatory.
Well, first of all people just aren´t that interested in contributing, they just want to join something that works, as has been mentioned above, second it´s hard to comment or enter a forum because there´s just too much written text, it takes screen time to go through it all, and making a comment that already has been made is just adding to the number of written words. That´s how I feel when I see the forum. I´m not a likes person, and if I knew how the likes were used I´d be more inclined to go through threads and put likes on what I, well, like. I think threads that drift along are difficult to use as a base in decision making. It would be better with a clear question and only thumb up or down, or a questionnaire. And a forum for people who´d like to chat to make up their mind for the questionnaire. Does this make sense?
I think a large contributing factor is that “forums” seem like they have been on the out for most users over the last 10 years, and they are sort of a vestige for people other than developers or a real strong niche (like IRC previously). Most discussions that existed on forums before, have moved to other communities that appear a lot more anonymously.
Forums are great for discussions and development, but it’s a hard sell for end users that aren’t interested in contributing.
I think it’s very unlikely that people will login to check for new forum posts. I got an email just today about voting for a logo and that got me to remember about couchers! And was super excited to login and contribute. Someone also said forums are pretty ancient what about creating a telegram channel? (Trying to get everyone on telegram )
To be honest there hasn’t been a lot of activity here recently, mainly because we are already so close to product release and the main features have already been hashed out. I think once the beta starts up and people are using the actual app for its intended purpose, we’ll see a lot more people checking regularly to see if their ideas are being considered or if certain bugs are being worked on. That’s our hope!
*Please don’t convert to telegram. Signal
Haha curious to hear why! I had both but it seems there are two camps out there. Telegram vs. signal. People were skeptical of signal because it was being backed by Twitter ceo & Elon musk.
I don’t pay too much attention to what the names are doing, but I do know their involvement with Signal as I’m a big backer.
The main difference is Signal is completely encrypted and completely trustworthy. The code is opensource so it’s able to be inspected. Telegram has had issues in the past and what they do with your info is private to them/secret, but they claim they don’t spy.
*I’m a big privacy person and like to support anything opensource. Hence my being here since the beginning but rarely seen lol I’m hoping this project always goes with people’s best interests, but I’m already a little skeptical when they’re tracking our email clicks now lol
Thanks for that!
You’re skeptical of which project? Who’s tracking email clicks - couchers? Or signal lol
I’ll DM to not hijack thread further if needed
Signal doesn’t track anything.
Couchers are tracking with the emails they send. Many/most do. Anyone using Mailchimp usually. But I’m not a fan of that. You want to know what I’m up to, just ask
Yeah, let’s better not get into telegram vs signal on here (i’m all for telegram btw ). But if anyone sees privacy issues on couchers and wants to discuss them, please don’t hesitate to open a topic on it! It’s critical feedback that will make the app and the entire project better
That’s certainly true for many users! Out of the box, the forum only offers notifications about new posts and messages to your email. We could add a feature to also receive them on telegram. But i’m not sure it’s worth the effort… right now this integration is only available for telegram (out of the known personal chat apps) and i doubt it’s that widely adopted?