The same conclusion has been arrived at a few times: the site and its underlying technologies need to be rebuilt. And attempts to rebuild it have been initiated more than once. Which is part of the current problem: we’re managing a system that is a complex web of multiple sites in various states of repair, that need to talk to one another. It relies upon very old versions of software and other outdated technologies, its database design is no longer cogent nor intended to handle the number of Couchsurfers who use the site. It’s time to rebuild it. Really, this time.
I joined Couchsurfing in late 2012, when another rebuild project was in its early stages. It wasn’t completed for a variety of reasons, but provided a good learning experience for those of us who had the opportunity to watch the process unfold.
How it will be better
Believe me, we feel your pain when you ask for seemingly simple, more modern and useful features, like improved search and more accurate geospatial & place data. We also recognize that the world has changed and evolved substantially since Couchsurfing was conceived of and built. Trust and transparency have radically evolved since the early days of the “Vouch” and the “Friending” network that exists inside of Couchsurfing. Standard interface conventions have changed substantially, too. And, perhaps most importantly, the community’s growth has created a need for a system that rewards positive community behavior and activity and automatically limits the privileges of members who, for whatever reasons, aren’t sufficiently invested in Couchsurfing.
And Finally, the current site and back (back end?) was not designed or built to render properly on mobile devices, which can be problematic for travelers.