Talk of the Town: December 10th, 2021

If sustainable not-for-profit hospex is the name, successful community building is the game.

Welcome to issue #8 of Talk of the Town, the biweekly summary of the main points brought up, discussed, and debated in recent Community Forum threads! Check out the previous issue if you missed it!

If you’ve not joined the forum yet, please quickly create an account to contribute and be part of the community. You can play an important role in shaping Couchers.org for everyone.

Forum Digest: November 25th - December 10th, 2021

Lots of interesting discussions took place this past few weeks—we are trying to capture the most important ones here.

In this issue, among others

If you want to contribute to any of the discussions, hop on to one of the topics linked below or start a new discussion on our community forum.

Strategies for community building

What is being discussed:

  • @emily shares her thoughts about how to best build communities.

Ideas and tips:

  • Committing to frequent/regular meetups (whether online or in person).
  • Finding at least one other person you know will definitely come. They don’t even have to be from Couchers. The main thing is that they won’t get bored and give up if no one else comes, and that you enjoy spending time with them.
  • Prepare for potentially a few weeks of disappointment…people are probably waiting to see how the first few events go. Make it seem like a success by taking some photos of yourselves, the place or maybe even some random people who sat next to you!
  • Once you have some people attending, create a messaging group! Any platform people are comfortable using (WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal etc.) And use it! @emily says exchanging news about public transport disruptions or people needing hosts are good ideas to keep the group active.
  • Say yes! To things, all the things.
  • Suss out a new co-host. Then some of the magic can start to happen organically. _“Your only task is to ensure the regular event continues for eternity.” _Moderate and offer support but don’t try to control offshoot groups, events or new community members - they are setting the example for the ones yet to come.

What do you think? Do you have a similar process or another method you swear by? Think it’s all crap and that we should be more focused on the alien revolution? Continue the discussion here

What’s blocking your community from coming over to Couchers?

What is being discussed:

  • We’ve talked about how to start a community, but what if a local community already exists (on another platform for example)? Why has everyone not already come over to the dark side (Couchers)? We have a working platform with lots of features and friendly people.
  • How can we convince people to sign up, be more active, start their community etc.

Ideas:

  • No capacity to create recurring events means extra work and less momentum.
  • Creating a public trip option would join travellers to hosts and other travellers in a more open way (rather than closed off through host requests).
  • Lack of notifications - attendees are not motivated to click ‘join’ on events if they are not afforded any reminders.
  • CS is still free to use in a lot of countries…although maybe not for long.
  • People would rather wait for mobile app (almost there!) or are disengaged by the English-only website (read the next section if this is you!)

Read the full discussion here

App/website translations begin!

  • We now have a dedicated Translations Team Lead (@phaula on the forum), and a budding Translations Team!
  • Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Russian will be up first and we are currently recruiting translators for these languages. If there are other languages you would like to help out with, please let us know and if there’s enough enthusiasm we can get started on those too.
  • Expressions of interest here, and if you have any experience with translating other platforms or with big translations projects please reach out to @phaula!

Other discussions

There are lots of smaller topics this month that need your input, too! Give your opinion on notifications and software changes, or share your top couch-surfing experiences!


Did we miss an important contribution you made to the forum between October 14th and November 11th? Feel free to privately message @marlies on the forum.

Written by Marlies. Published on 2021/12/10

Marlies is a Global Health masters student from Australia, currently living, studying and working in Denmark. She has surfed in Europe, Latin America and Asia and is currently hosting in the reconverted church where she lives in Copenhagen.

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