The OpenCouchSurfing Campaign

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Callum

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May 6, 2007, 8:53:51 AM5/6/07
to CS Collective New Zealand
G'day,

Some of you may be interested in joining the OpenCouchSurfing
Campaign.
http://www.opencouchsurfing.org/

Our mission is to:

Participate in creating a Better and More Open CouchSurfing
Organisation, one Freedom at a time.

We believe in the spirit of CouchSurfing, of creating a better world
through understanding. We believe this purpose is best served by a
truly Open Organisation, one that is representative of the
CouchSurfing community as a whole. We believe information should flow
freely through an Open Organisation.

We have realized that this Freedom will not come from within the
Couchsurfing core itself.

We believe in being able to help Couchsurfing by opening the
organisation from the outside.

Cheers,


Callum.

J. Mattthew Brauer

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May 6, 2007, 4:49:04 PM5/6/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com
This is a really well thought out plan that I support. I think it's an
excellent way to effect positive change for CouchSurfing.

Personally, I disagree with some of your goals, such as the open source
campaign and the looser NDA campaign. I agree with others, such as the
transparency campaign and some form of a member bill of rights.

Details aside, bringing clarity to these issues is important and I am
especially impressed by your defining your "modus operandi" as "respect" and
"pro-solution".

-ttt

Kasper Souren

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May 7, 2007, 4:54:26 AM5/7/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com
On 5/7/07, J. Mattthew Brauer <jmat...@gmail.com> wrote:
> This is a really well thought out plan that I support. I think it's an
> excellent way to effect positive change for CouchSurfing.

Thank you for your support to this effort.

> Personally, I disagree with some of your goals, such as the open source
> campaign and the looser NDA campaign. I agree with others, such as the
> transparency campaign and some form of a member bill of rights.

The open source campaign comes secondary to the NDA campaign.
I can understand your reasons for not agreeing with the open source
campaign, but I don't know (and thus neither understand) your reasoning
for disagreeing with the looser NDA campaign. These are the two main
concerns with the current NDA.
* As developers we want to be free to work for other organizations or
companies, even though they are more or less related.
* We don't want CouchSurfing Inc. to "own" our ideas, our creations.

Since you're involved in the creation of the new NDA your disagreement
with this campaign worries me, and I would really like to know your
reasons for it.

bye,
Kasper

J. Mattthew Brauer

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May 7, 2007, 6:07:27 AM5/7/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com
After researching the NDA issues, I've actually argued for a stricter NDA.
Keep in mind that I will be expected to sign the new NDA and to operate
under the same restrictions as developers.

> * As developers we want to be free to work for other organizations or
> companies, even though they are more or less related.

I support a reasonable non-compete clause. The non-compete clause will
apply only to other travel related social networks and will last for one
year. It's good for CS to require a commitment from volunteers. They have
to make the choice to work for CS over competitors, and if they make that
commitment, they are likely to be dedicated and motivated. It's also safest
for CS to ask that volunteers don't immediately go work for competitors with
the knowledge they've gained from CS.

My view of competing organizations is that they are healthy for CS - they
force it to adapt. And if they are better than CS, then more power to them.
But I don't think CS should help them. I think it's better for the
community to consolidate around one website.

Personally, I have no interest in working for a competing site, so this
clause doesn't bother me at all.

> * We don't want CouchSurfing Inc. to "own" our ideas, our creations.

What is owned by CS is actually owned by the community. I see volunteer
contributions as gifts to the CS community. Again it comes down to my
feeling the it's in the best interest of current and potential surfers to
choose one website and one community. I think CS should be that website and
that community. Therefore I support the CS community owning volunteer ideas
and creations. I think there is value and knowledge to be gained by
volunteering, and that is the reward for gifting inventions to the
community.

Personally, I'm happy to give my ideas to CS because I want it to succeed
and because it can do more good with my ideas than I can myself.

I don't think wikipedia is the right model for CS at this time. I see CS as
still very fragile in in the middle of a big transition. The internal
structure is still very uncertain. When CS is internally stable, when it's
a US federal non-profit with a proper board of directors and when it's the
clear forerunner amongst hospitality exchange websites, then would be the
time to consider open source or sharing our volunteers with competing sites.

I take Burning Man as a good example. It's a private, for-profit company,
with closed finances, and completely top-down decision making. But they do
wonderful things. They have very dedicated internal support, cohesion, and
vision. They also have strong community support. Many people volunteer for
BM because they like what BM and its management team are doing for the
world. For me that's the best model for CS to follow at this time.

-ttt

Kasper Souren

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May 7, 2007, 6:35:11 AM5/7/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com, cs-dev...@googlegroups.com
On 5/7/07, J. Mattthew Brauer <jmat...@gmail.com> wrote:
> After researching the NDA issues, I've actually argued for a stricter NDA.
> Keep in mind that I will be expected to sign the new NDA and to operate
> under the same restrictions as developers.

That comes as a big surprise to me.

> > * As developers we want to be free to work for other organizations or
> > companies, even though they are more or less related.

> I support a reasonable non-compete clause. The non-compete clause will
> apply only to other travel related social networks and will last for one
> year. It's good for CS to require a commitment from volunteers. They have
> to make the choice to work for CS over competitors, and if they make that
> commitment, they are likely to be dedicated and motivated. It's also safest
> for CS to ask that volunteers don't immediately go work for competitors with
> the knowledge they've gained from CS.

Many people *are* volunteering for both HC and CS.
This clause seems totally ridiculous to me and I'm sure that many
people will do the same as I will do: demand that the NDA I signed
in August will be declared void and quit working for CS.

> My view of competing organizations is that they are healthy for CS - they
> force it to adapt. And if they are better than CS, then more power to them.
> But I don't think CS should help them. I think it's better for the
> community to consolidate around one website.

There is a difference between CS helping them and a person working
for CS helping them.

> Personally, I have no interest in working for a competing site, so this
> clause doesn't bother me at all.

I have no interest in working for a "competing" site as long as I
can fully support whatever happens in CS. Paradoxically that includes
cooperation with other sites.

> What is owned by CS is actually owned by the community. I see volunteer
> contributions as gifts to the CS community. Again it comes down to my
> feeling the it's in the best interest of current and potential surfers to
> choose one website and one community. I think CS should be that website and
> that community. Therefore I support the CS community owning volunteer ideas
> and creations. I think there is value and knowledge to be gained by
> volunteering, and that is the reward for gifting inventions to the
> community.

But currently the community doesn't have *any* control.

> I don't think wikipedia is the right model for CS at this time. I see CS as
> still very fragile in in the middle of a big transition. The internal
> structure is still very uncertain. When CS is internally stable, when it's
> a US federal non-profit with a proper board of directors and when it's the
> clear forerunner amongst hospitality exchange websites, then would be the
> time to consider open source or sharing our volunteers with competing sites.

This very fragility is a reason for me to not be 100% against a non-
compete clause.

> I take Burning Man as a good example. It's a private, for-profit company,
> with closed finances, and completely top-down decision making. But they do
> wonderful things. They have very dedicated internal support, cohesion, and
> vision. They also have strong community support. Many people volunteer for
> BM because they like what BM and its management team are doing for the
> world. For me that's the best model for CS to follow at this time.

BM is a very real-world phenomenon.
CouchSurfing is very virtual. Many people volunteer for CS because
they like people they met through CouchSurfing -- they can't even know
*what* the CS management team is doing since it's all secret!

byebye,
Kasper

Morgan Tocker

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May 7, 2007, 6:55:00 AM5/7/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com, cs-dev...@googlegroups.com
> Personally, I'm happy to give my ideas to CS because I want it to succeed
> and because it can do more good with my ideas than I can myself.

Software is not like bread; you divide it one thousand times, and
you're still left with the original intact. Why can't we both have
rights?

Anu

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May 7, 2007, 6:55:38 AM5/7/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com
I think CS should be that website and
that community.  Therefore I support the CS community owning volunteer ideas
and creations.  

This is concerning - means that effectively I'm not free to use any  code, or even the underlying ideas and intermediate designs for something else I might get into later. This is not a personal concern for me _right now_ but makes me thinks twice before initiating a any kind of larger project on the site.

Isn't there any intermediate between open source and "CS owns your soul" ?

Thinking of e.g. google labs like model whereby you are not expected to do "bugs only" 100% of your time but 20% can be used to whatsoever you consider fascinating yourself - if we had this model in the thoughts of some of the developers early on the Nelson collective (enabling people to get a bit more out of volunteering than blindly following orders from behind the closed doors) apparently also these contributions would then be owned by CS.

If this is the case, I strongly urge my fellow developers to shed some light into possibilities of API-driven "external" development...

I take Burning Man as a good example.  It's a private, for-profit company,
with closed finances, and completely top-down decision making.  But they do
wonderful things.  They have very dedicated internal support, cohesion, and
vision.  They also have strong community support.  Many people volunteer for
BM because they like what BM and its management team are doing for the
world.  For me that's the best model for CS to follow at this time.

Whatever happend to the "upside down" model endorsed during and after the Montreal collective? It can't just be shrugged of as "adhocracy doesn't work" - the biggest reason for apparent "tried it, didn't work" view are the communication problems and lack of transparency, which to this day have not been resolved.

Anu

thomas....@gmail.com

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May 7, 2007, 7:27:12 AM5/7/07
to CS Collective New Zealand
Mattthew, this all seems terribly inconsistent:

* You support Open Couchsurfing by signing the petition.
Quote: "I support that campaign to help CouchSurfing become more open.
However, "more open" could be interpreted in many ways. I disagree
with some of the suggestions in the wiki such as open source code, but
I agree with some of the others such as transparency."
* You effectively helps to censor word of it getting out. It's a
good idea, but the average Couchsurfer shouldn't know about it? (See
the community voice group.)
* Even stranger, you disagree with one of the main action points
of Open Couchsurfing: the NDA.

So where do you stand? If you're serious about wanting a more Open
Couchsurfing, please help us with the the things you agree with
instead of turning around and making matters worse (eg NDA) or
decreasing Transparancy (not wanting to publish news about this).

Don't be frightened, Couchsurfing can become so much better and
stronger because of this.

> > From: Kasper Souren <kasper.sou...@gmail.com>
> > Reply-To: <csc...@googlegroups.com>
> > Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 15:54:26 +0700
> > To: <csc...@googlegroups.com>
> > Subject: Re: The OpenCouchSurfing Campaign
>

Callum

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May 7, 2007, 10:37:27 AM5/7/07
to CS Collective New Zealand
Hey ttt,

I have a strongly differing view.

I absolutely oppose any non-compete clauses in the NDA.

I truly believe in the CS mission, to develop inter-cultural
understanding. The key is I believe in the mission over the
organisation. I believe that if another organisation is achieving the
mission better than we are, we ought to support them.

It's a bit like believing in democracy over a single political party.
I believe in developing inter-cultural understanding, I don't believe
that CouchSurfing International Inc is the only way to achieve that.

Hence, I think any type of non-compete clause would be outrageous and
completely contrary to the mission. I agree that CS is in a fragile
state. We need to get that sorted and move forward. But ultimately, if
we don't do it fast enough, and somebody else takes over, great, the
mission is more important than any single organisation.

I like the comparison to Burning Man. If CouchSurfing were running as
well as Burning Man I wouldn't be part of this campaign. I'd be
enjoying using the services as a customer, not as a member. I'd be
happy with that. But ultimately, you're a customer of Burning Man and
a member of CouchSurfing. There's a subtle but significant difference
in my view.

These are interesting times... :)

Cheers,


Callum.

> > From: Kasper Souren <kasper.sou...@gmail.com>
> > Reply-To: <csc...@googlegroups.com>
> > Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 15:54:26 +0700
> > To: <csc...@googlegroups.com>
> > Subject: Re: The OpenCouchSurfing Campaign
>

J. Mattthew Brauer

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May 7, 2007, 9:04:15 PM5/7/07
to csc...@googlegroups.com
Thomas, we lived together at the Collective. We have some insight into each
other's personality. We ate at the same dinner table. I think we respect
each other, even though our opinions differ.

Given that intimacy, I'm offended that you accuse me of "censoring"
information. Censorship mean the intentional suppression of information on
behalf of a regime because that regime deems the information a threat to its
survival. That is simply not the case here.

I explained my exact reasoning to you in the Community Voice group for why I
think it's not appropriate to post a homepage news article about
OpenCouchSurfing.org. Nowhere in my explanation did I say information about
OCS is a threat that must be suppressed. Unless you think my reasoning was
a lie, it's unfair for you to accuse me of censorship.

To answer your question: where do I stand?

* I support the right of all members to safety, privacy, civil liberties,
and the right to be a part of the discussion of how to run CS.
* I support a leadership team that is transparent about how it works, what
it's up to, and that provides that all members can influence its decisions.

That is why I signed the petition to help make CS more open. Where we
disagree is here:

* I support CS owning and using proprietary source-code.
* I support an NDA that gives CS ownership of volunteer contributions and
that asks volunteers not to work for competing organizations.

-ttt

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