The Bugs and App Issues

Technology

As every one of us knows, the build of Couchsurfing™ was atrocious and not up to scratch to modern standards, even if it were a free service. Given that the platform was not free and included advertisements, this is really not acceptable. Even recently, there have been numerous reports of completely broken behavior from the website and the apps, and as far as anyone remembers, the platform was annoyingly slow and buggy.

Core flows in the platform were completely broken, for example: hosts would get messages from surfers visiting different continents, the platform forgetting who surfed with you, push notifications were delayed, often by several hours1. This often meant that connecting with a host once you arrived at a city could be difficult if you had not arranged for another form of messaging. It was standard practice to ask for someone's WhatsApp number as soon as you joined a hangout because otherwise people might forget to refresh their messages and they would never be delivered. The hosting costs would go up because people would continuously fetch new updates because push notifications didn't work!

Hangouts were broken not only in regards to notifications, but also in their core logic, by showing you hangouts from completely unrelated locations. Sure, it made for a fun chat the first time Couchsurfing™ paired you up with a group of beach-walkers at Venice Beach while you were hitchhiking in Tbilisi! But over time, it got really annoying: having random people ask to join from the other side of the world, or getting a notification from someone who then completely disappeared the next moment. Hangouts were not saved, so if you met someone but forgot to ask for their username or contact details, they could be lost forever.

There were a plethora of other bugs and quirks in the website and mobile apps, even the advertisements didn't work properly and took up a disproportionate amount of space (not by showing large ads, but by having a lot of padding).

Many of us put up with the bugs and broken features since the community was so important for us and Couchsurfing™ was the platform for these great experiences. But now that Couchsurfing™ has turned its back to their loyal community completely, it's time to raise our standards and build something that's less buggy and up to today's modern standards.

Our group includes developers with experience in architecting modern, production grade systems. Read our solutions page to learn about the architecture we've started to design and the core technical guidelines that we will use when building this new and exciting platform for the community.

1: There's probably not much value in linking to the numerous examples on the Couchsurfing™ forums, as people are locked out of their accounts.

Our plan to fix it: Building it right

Have some thoughts or ideas on how we could make this even better?

Couchers.org is a community project, built by folks like you for the benefit of the global couch-surfing community. If you would like to be a part of this great new project, or leave your feedback on our ideas, click the button below and fill out the short form.

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