Frequently asked questions

Using the site: profile

What should I write on my profile?
Your profile represents your identity on BeWelcome. So it is worth to spend some time to fill it out properly. This is not mandatory but a complete profile will highly increase your chances of hosting or being hosted.

The most difficult part is probably to fill out the section “About me” as it is sometimes hard to write about oneself. Do not worry, most people feel that difficulty! The purpose is not to tell everything about yourself. Just try to give some personal information that will help other members to get a first impression of you. You could, for example, try to answer these questions:

  • Where and how do you live? Where are you from?
  • What are you doing in your life?
  • What do you like? What do you dislike?
  • Where and how have you been traveling?
  • What is very important for you? What is not important at all?

These are just some ideas for your inspiration. You can always change your profile summary later on.

In the other sections, just try to be as precise as possible - especially in the “Accommodation” section if you plan to host people. In this section you should include any information that could help a potential guest in figuring out what to expect when staying at your place.

Finally, adding some pictures is a great way of telling something about yourself. It is especially important to upload a profile picture. Try to make your profile picture a good representation of yourself. You can add additional pictures to your gallery.

For more information, please read our wiki page about setting up a good profile.

How can I change my profile?
You can edit your profile in My account > Edit my profile. You can change every entry and decide what you want to hide or set visible.
How can I change my user name?
In general, we highly prefer that our members have a user name which remains stable over the time. That is why we do not offer the possibility to change your user name yourself. However, if you have a good reason for a user name change, we can change it manually for you. In this case, please contact us, state your reasons for the change and the new user name you would like to have.

Please note that user names have to follow the following regulations: The maximum length for user names is 20 characters. They have to start with a letter, they have to end with either a letter or a number. In between the following characters my be used: . _ -

How can I change my e-mail address or physical address?
To change your e-mail address, please go to My account > Edit my profile and then choose the "Contact Information" tab. There you can enter a new e-mail address. Click on "Save Profile" to save the changes. Please note that this e-mail address is the one we use to send you messages and notifications, so please make sure that you enter a correct address an that your e-mail provider and your e-mail safety settings accept e-mails from BeWelcome.

To change your location, click on Update my location on the same page (next to your address). Then, just enter the new address and click on "Save Location".

How can I hide/unhide my name or physical address?
Go to My account > Edit my profile. There you can choose the visibility settings for your personal information (mostly in the "Contact Information" tab). Choose your visibility settings and click on "Save Profile" to save the changes. If the changes are not visible straight away, please use the 'refresh button' of your browser.
How can I change my password?
You can change your password in My account > My preferences.
How can I upload, change or delete my profile picture?
To upload or change your profile picture please go to My account > Edit my profile. You can only upload one picture there and if you upload another one, it will replace the former profile picture.

Currently, the only way to delete your profile picture is to replace it with another one.

Although your profile can only contain one profile picture, you can upload as many pictures as you want into the Gallery. The gallery is displayed on your profile too (at the bottom right).

Who owns pictures that I upload to BeWelcome?
The owner of any picture that you upload on BeWelcome does not change through the upload. So, if you are the (only) owner, you remain the (only) owner. You do, however, give permission to BeWelcome to use and display this picture on the BeWelcome website. BeWelcome cannot use it for other purposes - like promotion material or newspaper articles - unless you explicitly give your consent to that use (if such a possibility arises, we will ask you).

Please note: If you upload pictures which you do not own, you must have the legal right to copy, distribute and display these pictures. Pictures provided to you by others, or made available through websites, magazines, books and other sources, may be protected by copyright and should not be uploaded, or otherwise copied, distributed or displayed on BeWelcome without the consent of the copyright owner or as otherwise permitted by law.

What is the purpose of comments, and how do I submit a comment about another member?
The purpose of the comment system is to let the community know what kind of experiences others have had with a member. Sharing one's experience helps other members assess whether they want to meet this person and if he or she is trustworthy.

It is important that members watch out for each other and keep the BeWelcome community safe. We therefore ask members to always write honest, factual comments about their experiences.

However, when reading comments, please bear in mind that for various reasons many find it more difficult to write honest comments about a not-so-good experience than to write flattering comments about a good experience. Comments may therefore not always tell the whole story, or never be written at all.

When writing comments for another member, ask yourself what information would have been useful for you or could be useful for others when deciding to interact with that person. If you need help with writing factual, honest comments, please contact us or send an e-mail to safety [at] bewelcome [dot] org. For additional information about your safety on BeWelcome, please also read our "Safety FAQ".

To leave a comment about another member, go to the profile of that member. On the left side of the profile page there is a link called "Add Comment". Click on that link, fill out the form and click on "Submit form" to publish your comment. Thank you for using this feature and helping other BeWelcome members make informed decisions!

Can comments be edited?
You can edit comments if for example you met somebody at a party first, but are their guest a couple of months later. We have decided to make negative comments unchangeable so they are very authentic and people trust in them. This is a matter of security in order to prevent recipients of negative comments to put pressure on the sender to get this comment changed. If you have some good reason for a negative comment to be changed or deleted you can contact us.
Are there any rules or guidelines I should consider when writing a comment?
Yes, please read our Profile Comment Guidelines before writing comments.
Can I write a comment on myself?
No, it is not possible to post a comment on your own profile.
How can I add friends to my profile?
BeWelcome does not offer a general friends list on profiles. However, there is a tool to link your profile with family members and close friends (see below).

The idea of the section "Family and close friends" on profiles is to show other members who you live with or who are your best friends. This section is sometimes misunderstood and used as a general friends list. Please use this section only for relationships which are relevant for other members in the context of hosting.

How can I add a family member or close friend to my profile?
To add someone as family member or close friend, go to that person's profile. In the left sidebar below the profile picture you will find an "Add as family or close friend" link. Click on that link and fill out the form on the next page. Once you click on the button "Add as family member or close friend" there, the other person receives a request to approve this relation. As soon as he/she has done so, you will see the profile picture and your description about that person in your profile above the "Latest comments" section.
What are groups and how do they work?
Groups are a feature on BeWelcome which allows you to get in touch with other members and discuss specific topics with them. Every group has a topic (e.g. “Cooking”) or is related to a specific location (e.g. “Berlin”). You can search for groups, join groups and create new groups here: Community > Groups. We recommend that you join the group which is related to your location to stay up-to-date about BeWelcome activities in your area. Additionally, please feel free to join any group you are interested in.

To join a group, just go to the respective group page and click on the “Join group” button there. On the next page you can enter your motivation for joining the group in the text field provided. You can also decide if you would like to get e-mail notifications from posts in this group or not. Please click on “Let me in” to finalize your application for group membership. In case the group is a public group you will be a member directly after this step. If the group is “moderated” your membership application first has to be confirmed by the group administrator.

Once you have joined a group, you can post new messages there, see all the discussions which took place so far, and change your member settings. To access your member settings, please click on the respective menu item of the group menu (below the group title).

If you start a new thread in a group the default visibility of that post is “group only” (i.e. only group members can see your post). Depending on the group settings, you might also be able to choose a higher visibility, e.g. “members only” (all BeWelcome members can see the post) or “world” (the post can be found by search engines throughout the internet). If you post in an existing thread in a group, the default visibility of your post follows the thread visibility (i.e. visibility of the first post in this thread). Depending on the group settings, you can change the setting for your own post individually.

The default language for group posts is English. You can also choose to post in another language, in which case you should explicitly choose the respective language in the drop down menu below the input field. You can also translate your own posts into different languages. For this, first post it in one language and then click on “Translate”, chose another language, translate your message into that language and save your changes.

On group pages you will also sometimes find a section called “Related groups”. This means that there are other groups which have a connection to this group - maybe a similar topic or some geographical connection. For example, city groups (e.g. Paris) are usually related to the respective country groups (e.g. France). As a group member you can add such relations too. Please use the feature responsibly and if in doubt, contact the group administrator(s).

A group administrator is the person who can administrate the general group settings (e.g. default value for visibility of group posts) and group description. This is also the person who decides about letting new members in if the group is “moderated”. If you start a new group, you will automatically become administrator of this group. Please note that group administrators are not the “owner” of a group and while they have a few limited moderation tools it is not their “job” to moderate the discussions which are taking place in the group.

If you find a post in a group which you feel is violating the BeWelcome Forum and Group Forum Charter you can report the respective post by clicking on the “Report to moderator” link in the bottom right corner of that post. This report does not go to the administrator of the group but to the “Forum Moderators”, a small team of selected volunteers which can edit or delete post according to the rules.

To leave a group you are a member of, just go to the respective group page and click on the “Leave this group” button.

I have seen that some people have a profile in different languages. How does this work?
Every member can make several versions of his/her profile in different languages. To do so, go to your profile. In the top right corner of the page, there is a section called "Profile Translations". Click on "Add language" and chose the language you want to translate your profile to.

This takes you to your "Edit my profile" page, filled with information in your first language. Just translate the texts there and click on "Save Profile" at the bottom of the page.

From now on, you can see and edit your profile in different languages. Whenever you are on your profile or your "Edit my profile" page you can switch between your profile languages by clicking one of the available languages in the top right corner.

How can I leave BeWelcome? How to delete my profile?
You can either leave BeWelcome completely or set your profile to "inactive" (to hide your profile temporarily).

For both options you need to log in to the website and then go to My account > Edit my profile. After that you can either choose "Delete profile" or "Set inactive" from the left side bar.

In case you want to leave BeWelcome completely, choose "Delete profile", fill in the comment box to let us know the reasons why you are leaving BeWelcome (optional) and click on the "Delete profile" button.

To deactivate your profile temporarily, choose "Set inactive", read the information on that page carefully and click on the "Set inactive" button. For more information on this option, please read our FAQ "Can I hide my profile temporarily?".

Can I hide my profile temporarily?
Yes! To temporarily hide your profile please log in to the website and then go to My account > Edit my profile and choose “Set inactive” from the left side bar.

Setting your profile to “inactive” means that your membership remains intact but your profile content will be hidden (instead, a highlighted text box will be displayed on your profile telling other members that you are inactive), you will no longer be found through the member search, and other members can no longer contact you. Additionally, you will not receive e-mail notifications from the website anymore. For further details, please read the regulations about “silent membership” in our Terms of Use.

This allows you to keep your membership during time periods where you are not available for a while.

Please note that you can unhide your profile anytime but once you reactivate the profile, another deactivation is not possible for two weeks.