future stats and studies

asturian and galician gaita. CS means couchsurfing

recently CS changed their search algorithm. almost instantly i went from a couple of requests a day (1 to 3) to zero. in fact, now we (me and T) get less than 5 a week the two of us combined. this we can only explain by the changes in the algorithm. but what this means is that i can’t generate enough data to be statistically significant, therefore, i’ve concluded my studies on requests and stays. what remains is data analysis of the past (which is already a huge dataset).

this is also a reflection on the current state of CS. the quality of its members is decaying at inverse proportion with the number of members. we now live in a much nicer place and we get more people creeped out than we did in the previous two (yes, that includes the dog-shit-everywhere squat). with this change in algorithms, it’s interesting to see what will happen.

previously, there was a positive feedback effect on being a good host or guest: you’d get listed above and with it, you’d get more requests and/or more hosts. this meant that everywhere you’d find nodes of CS where you have few, very passionate and active members, with an enormous quantity of references and experience.

with the current algorithm, as far as i could investigate, they leveled the field for everyone. i agree with the idea behind it: allowing everyone to be able to host and surf as easily as everyone else. but my guess is that this will bring the average stay quality down, just by exposing guests to everyone, rather than “professional” hosts like top hosts usually are. they replaced a meritocracy with a democracy.

i expect to be slowly (and naturally) marginalized as time moves forward with this algorithm, since lisbon now has over 2000 people registered, making me a 1/2000 voter in a 2000 population, irregardless of the fact that i’m among the top 50 hosters in the world right now (in 2000000+ people, i was the 14th most experienced, considering data from today). my contribution to this community will slowly be eroded as time goes by. i have ambiguous feelings towards this that haven’t matured yet so i don’t really know how i feel about this. i guess it’s good to kick out the bittered hosts, since all hosts bitter up at some point after too many guests (any good data on this?).

i also noticed a bias towards people that choose to make their personal information public. people that show off everything about themselves to the world (including google), will get listed over other people. this is an interesting tweak that probably offsets some of the effect i described above. CS has always capitalized on ego and self promotion, so maybe this shift will upset some users, but actually make the website more usable. we’ll see. but for now, no more experiments on request rate and so on.