There’s a lot of information one can put into their Couchsurfing Profile. After accidentally deleting part of my profile information, I spent a lot of time putting it together again in the last weeks. The last data field in the “description” part, however, made me think a lot more than the others. It is titled “Your opinion please”, so here is what I think …
Couchsurfing is awesome, there is no denying it. Still I think there are flaws in the system itself. The biggest flaw in my opinion is to be found in the vouching system. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely a good way to express your trust in somebody if you can give them a vouch.
But at the same time, it is way too easy to give somebody a vouch. And there is no way to take it back.
You may ask, why is this bad?
I have a lot of references (nearly 70), and only few of them I got from people who really know me. Usually, I’d get a reference from somebody whom I hosted or hosted me. Of course, these are the most important references. But then again, I have some references from people who only met me for a couple of minutes or hours, at some meeting, or who took part in one of my cemetery tours. Do these people really know me or have good reason to think I’m a good couchsurfer? I don’t think so. Still, I get references, and even vouches from people who barely know me and whom I would not recognize if I met them today.
And about the “taking back” part: my opinion about somebody can change. Especially if you only met them a couple of times for short timespans, and never spent much time with them in one go, it can be easy to be deceived. And it already happened that I vouched for somebody, and by now I’d LOVE to take that vouch back, because I found out something rather nasty about them.