Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The end of CouchSurfing?

As you know, your kooky Autumn has started to engage in a new endeavour -- CouchSurfing. I detail all of it in a recent entry In the Shit. In that entry, I tell of the lovely Diana coming to stay with us and how I inadvertently invited some dude and his pals to come and stay with us, arriving at 3 in the morning. Thankfully, he won't be coming to stay with us.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I go to the CouchSurfing website cos I was trying to find some accommodation in Paris for our holiday (more about that another time). When I click my link, I get this:
    Dear CouchSurfers,

    Two days ago CouchSurfing experienced what could be described as the perfect storm. The database administrators we hired made two critical mistakes. First, we had a major, avoidable hard drive crash. Secondly, the incremental back-ups weren't executed in the correct manner, and twelve of our most important data files didn't survive.

    I have been working non-stop trying to repair the data, but as difficult as it is for me to say, it has become clear that certain essential pieces are not recoverable. This crash happened at a particularly vulnerable time, in a transition between two back-up methods. If the crash had happened a week ago, or next week, we would have had a different outcome.

    It is with a heavy heart that I face the truth of this situation. CouchSurfing as we knew it doesn't exist anymore. We've had an amazing two and a half years.

    Members write "CouchSurfing has changed my life" and I know what they mean, it has certainly changed mine and I am eternally grateful.

    My vision transformed. CouchSurfing was born out of a dream I had to meet the most interesting people in world and experience their cultures, and it grew into a living, thriving family of almost a hundred thousand. This community has blossomed in beautiful ways I hadn't even anticipated. It was no longer about what I got to experience, but rather, what genuine, heartfelt good this community can offer the world. We have all opened not only our homes, but also our hearts, our lives. In sharing important moments, deep and meaningful connections have crossed oceans, continents and cultures. I saw in CS, in you, the power to change not only they way we travel, but change the world itself. Thank you, CouchSurfers. You have shown me more than I could have even known. Your generosity and spirit is a gift to humanity.

    I have devoted the last three years of my life to CouchSurfing. I have literally poured every cent I have into the site. I've sacrificed my health, my time, and my own ability to travel and meet people. In many ways I've put my life and wanderlust on hold to build this network. I'm not complaining; it's been a fantastic ride. As devastating as it is to consider, it looks like the ride is over.

    Life is continuously changing, evolving, dying and being reborn. After a fire, the earth is replenished; after a storm, the air is cleared. It feels to me like this loss of CouchSurfing is how it's meant to be. This crash is like a sign from the universe. Too many random factors aligned to make it as damaging as it is, and though I've tried everything I can and engaged the best and brightest database managers, there's just no way to get it back. In many respects it's heartbreaking, but at the same time, what we've built together is not dead, it lives on in each of us. It lives in the connections we've fostered and the culture we've created. I want us all to take this CouchSurfing spirit and continue the mission out in the world. We've all experienced this common vision and the potential it has to transform the way people relate to each other. Now it is time for all of us to not bury the dream, but rather nurture it's growth in our own ways, in new explorations and ventures. We all own a piece of the CouchSurfing flame, it's up to us to keep the fire going and light the world. So let's do it, let's light the world! What will you do with your flame?

    Goodnight, CouchSurfing. May our flames burn bright.

    I love you,
I was shocked. No more CouchSurfing? Plus, I was deeply troubled. I was contacting our dear Diana through the site. I had no information from her: no email address, phone number, nothing. Thankfully, with my wits about me, I googled her name, found her myspace page and made contact with her. So at least we're still on. Jokingly, I wondered if it wasn't my husband fault, so I wouldn't have to accommodate anymore strangers in our home.

But, and I blame my husband for this, some thing was niggling at me. The whole database crashed? Nothing was left? Nothing at all? I wasn't, until I met Boy, a conspiracy theorist. I'm not saying that I am now, nor am I saying that he is. But he's taught me, with him being Dr Hardcore Scientist, to question everything. And it does seem a bit weird that everything went. It seems kinda planned. It was a very big endeavour that just a few people were trying to hold up. It apparently took a lot of time and money to keep it going and mean twats like me weren't exactly helping with the costs. I think Casey just decided to give up. He was tired. You can read it in the letter. Man, am I a cynical so-and-so, or what?

But now it appears that CouchSurfing is coming back, "bigger and better than ever," I would think much to my husband's chagrin. A chance to bring people we don't know into our home? He's dancing on tables. I was partly doing a jig when I heard of CouchSurfing's apparent demise. I could see myself hosting 1 or 2 groups of people a year, at the most. In the three week I was on, I was contacted three times! Now that it's back, I'm going to have to work out my excuses for not hosting people...
    Sorry, I've got tonsillitis...
    My grandmother's died again...
    I currently in mourning the state of English football...
    I'm getting my tonsils installed...
    My dog's got a dyslexia... and a cold...
    Sorry, I'm not accommodating foreigners at this time...
There's one from my list of things to tell you about done. What would you like me to write about now? Tell me in the comments.


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