I’d like to collect ideas on how References should look.

I’m working on a first iteration of this feature.

Test it!

You can test giving a reference on a trustroots dev server. Sign in as admin1 with password123. Find a random user and try to give them a reference.

The dev server currently doesn’t send emails, so you won’t be able to create a new account and you won’t receive email notifications about a new reference.


It will be possible to say whether we met, were hosted or were a guest and whether we could recommend (being a guest|hosting|meeting) that person (yes|no|i don’t know).
When we say we would not recommend, we can report the person to moderators.
The other person doesn’t see our reference until she gives a reference back (or a certain time passes). We want to prevent negative tit-for-tat references. So people could feel more comfortable being honest.

Ideas and feedback

  • Help us figure out how the references can be displayed.
  • Test giving the reference and provide a feedback.
  • Share your ideas and general feedback.


So it’s basically the same principle like on CS?
I hope you don’t collect feedback like CS does? For me it’s weird that CS collects feedback with every single reference. So they create a secret profile about each member.

Maybe it would make sense to offer the “report” function, even when the reference is positive. So people can write positive reference but still report the person. Maybe some people feel more comfortable like this…But of course there should be no duty to report (only the option).


Thank you @wind for your feedback!

We don’t collect private feedback in references now. What future holds is up to a discussion.

A private feedback is collected next to messages: Do you find messages from this person to be polite, respectful and in the spirit of Trustroots?

The possible futures of references include:

  • selecting 3 tribes the other member belongs to
  • freetext reference (less emphasis on them)

When it comes to reporting another member, there is already a small button under a person’s profile overview and in messages (there is a bug with small screens though.) Having said that, @wind has a valid point. Let’s run the references and see what people actually need. The fix will be easy.

We’ll try to make the references available on a development server soon. It will be more fun to try it than just write about it.


You can test the current experimental version of references at (in progress).

You can sign in as admin1 (or admin2 or admin3) and password123. Find some user on a map and try to give them a reference.
(The references aren’t displayed yet, though.)

A feedback is very welcome.

I don’t think it’s currently possible to create an account on the dev server, because email notifications don’t get sent. For the same reason you’ll also not receive email notifications about a received reference.

ping @wind @guaka


Email from is working now. Would be great if you can test it and report back.

You can sign up and leave some (ideally not just positive) references to - me


as mentioned in the comment in the original blog post:
"For the references:
– I don’t get the “met in person” option, would be better put as “met travelling”, ” met on the road” , … Hosts and guests meet each other most of the time so a more clear differentiation would be helpful
– only text-references if negative and only to moderators is IMHO not transparent enough. What about a slider from 1 to 10 on how much you agreed, or some way to leave neutral feedback? There are some people that I don’t like because of their behaviour but others might find that OK. Personal feedback with a message is very important. Or maybe like one section “what I liked:” and one “what I disliked:”.
I would prefer to be on a hosting platform where people take time to give feedback, where giving feedback is part of the experience, also as a reflection for everybody themselves.

Finally: Giving feedback shouldn’t be a matter of seconds. Else it is always positive and nobody has balls to give neutral or negative feedback. Also I think not every feedback that is negative should be reported that’s why I like that reporting to mods is optional. Maybe it could be more prominent, colorwise or sth.
Of actually separate from feedback.
Feedback is to the host/user directly.
Reporting is to a moderating instance.
The UNIX way of thinking would be to separate them from each other :D"


I like this attempt to do something different from the old CS reference system. It was really problematic and it was useless for trust! I’d rather say it also gave a false sense of security.

I tried the instance and I liked the yes/no approach to recommendations. I’m not sure we can put trust on a scale (slider) because every traveller has her/his way to translate an experience into a number. For example, I might consider “7” as a very good grade while you could be very disappointed by it. So, at the end, yes/no is more fair, clear and simple in my opinion.


One person gave some insight to their point of view about references that I would like to share:

Georges via

I wonted : a review type feature
… but …
I realized it has to be something very different from couchsurfing: some people met me just to have a positive review … they were not genuinely interested in connecting and having a human interaction with me. It has to be different from collecting “friends” like in facebook. I feel I am not a person, but a number for the ego of the people collecting “friends” or “positve reviews”.
Trust is probably incompatible with scores, judgement, looking for praise or fear of reprimand.
Now I realize that I love the absence of review/scores.


But Similarly there are an equivalent number or even more number of people which find references as a reliable indicator of safety and trust before to know someone.

To satisfy both sides there was this idea to allow people to disable showing references in their profile.