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28 March 2010

MetaCouch? So this has both a specific and more general component -- what are the specs on using something affiliated with MeFi as an analog to couch surfing? I am specifically looking for a friendly crash spot and maybe a tour companion if my partner and I went to Detroit from April 8-10 (Frozen Four), but I could see this being useful at other times. Terms, of course, negotiable; we are an awesome couple in our early 30s.
Not from Detroit nor a mod, but I think this should be totally in bounds. People call for meetups when they go somewhere, why not accommodations?
posted by l33tpolicywonk 28 March | 15:38
Well, we'd all have something in common!

I think travel is practically worth its own subsite, much like Music or Projects. Particularly if we had a couch-surfing, meetup kind of thing integrated. (Completely voluntary.) I see that it was discussed on MetaTalk a while back but died because mathowie didn't want it to take away from the good questions that go in AskMe.

When I was younger, I went to Quaker school. We used to roadtrip from the East Coast to the Midwest and back every year, and one year my mom got this book which had a list of Quakers who would open their homes to other Quakers or affiliates. They would list their info, ages of kids, pets/smoking/whatever, and you could get in contact.

No idea how well my mom thought it worked, but I actually thought it was really cool. Of course, I was 8ish and shared a bunk with another little girl my age, but I was all "we're going to be best friends" and it gave me a warm fuzzy.
posted by Madamina 28 March | 16:02
I've been a longtime fan of the TravelFilter idea and was as active as I could be on the prototype. Thought it was great. Every now and then there seem to be hints that it's not a totally dead idea, but it is probably a big project so I'm not holding my breath.

I've had a couple MeFites couchsurf with me, but in those cases it was pretty much handled by MeMail and with people I had corresponded with or had met before. More of a direct, personal 'hey, any chance of crashing?' And I've had a couple of wonderful MeFite hosts.

I think it's fine to put the feeler out on this site, since there's no real way to ask for anything other than meetups on MeTa. I would keep expectations in check, since hte userbase here at MeCha is a lot smaller than on the 'Filter, so you won't always find a lot of people living where you want to go, and of course not everybody's set up for, or interested in, houseguests. But I can't see a thing wrong with saying "Hey, I'm gonna be in Detroit, would love to get together, and incidentally I'm looking for somewhere to stay." Caveat user, as always.

posted by Miko 28 March | 17:10
...we could use the Wiki for this, if people wanted to list themselves as open to having guests. Let's see if there's a lot of interest or no.
posted by Miko 28 March | 17:11
I do this on MeFi all the time, but I sort of have a privileged position somewhat. What I usually do is... change my profile location to where I'm going. Look for people near me who I may feel that I know from the site. Drop them an email asking about local setting, food, lodgings, etc. Get a feel for how they might be about having guests somewhat. Basically it seems like there's pretty much two sorts of people: people who will offer you a place to stay and are cool with guests and etc and people who are like "hey there are some nice hotels nearby, look us up for coffee"

My experience is that there are few people who would be overjoyed with guests who would not also offer, though there are many people who would put you up in a jam, no questions asked, or be happy to go get coffee but might not be up to houseguests for various reasons. So, if this approach doesn't work, you might want to look into callign a meetup and then getting a feel from who is around whether there would be people who could put you up, but using MeTa specifically for a place to stay is a little more edge case. That said, couchsurfing is one of the social software things that we have in the social explorer, so you could try that or even start a MeTa thread encouraging more people who are into having guests to get on couchsurfing generally. I wonder if there is a way to have a MeFi/MeCha subgroup there somehow....?
posted by jessamyn 28 March | 20:18
Hmmm, I think that (to me) this is a meetup request that could be OK for MeTa. I guess it would really depend on how you couched it (haha, no pun originally intended), but that it could go either way. If you say "hey, looking for somewhere free to sleep and, if you give us that, we'll let you hang out with us", expect to go down in flames. Also, jessamyn is now forewarned and will be waiting for you ;-)

If you say you are looking for cool things to do and cool people to do them with over a specific time-span and place, I think you'd be OK. Don't blame me if you get perma-banned, though.
posted by dg 29 March | 07:16
Wow, I never knew about that social explorer. Kinda brilliant.

I don't know couchsurfing well enough to know if they have groups. That'd be helpful. I have a long-dormant account there, maybe I can revive it and check.
posted by Miko 29 March | 08:25
Yep, you can create groups on CouchSurfing and you can even post messages within your group.

What about signing up for Couchsurfing, creating a Metafilter/Chat/etc group, and then posting to MeTa about your idea, inviting people to join CS and the group if they want to offer couches?
posted by Miko 29 March | 08:29
Ha! Spoke too soon. There already is one. It needs love!
posted by Miko 29 March | 08:30
Thanks for the link Miko. Maybe I can post a MeTa about it needing love and be a bit of a crypto-spy for Madaminia's couch quest.
posted by jessamyn 29 March | 10:35
I have set the wheels in motion.
posted by jessamyn 29 March | 11:03
Russia eliminates two time zones today. || Spies can't hack