Frequently asked questions

Using the site: cool tools

What is the "BeWelcome Forum" and how does it work?
The BeWelcome Forum is a central place for discussions on BeWelcome. It is accessible from the top menu Community > Discussions. There you can find the BeWelcome Forum in the lower section of the page. This is the right place to find discussions which are relevant for the whole BeWelcome community (for example, ideas for improvement of the website, discussions about procedures and practices on BeWelcome, announcement of big international hospitality events). To start a new discussion there, click on the header “BeWelcome Forum” and then on “New topic” at the bottom of the page. For local information and discussions please post in the respective groups – not in the general BeWelcome Forum.

If you start a new thread in the BeWelcome Forum, the default visibility of that post is “members only” (i.e. all BeWelcome members can see the post). You can also choose the visibility “world” (the post can be found by search engines throughout the internet) instead. If you post in an existing thread in the Forum, the default visibility of your post follows the thread visibility (i.e. visibility of the first post in this thread). However, you can change the setting for your own posts individually.

Please note that the Discussions page does not only contain discussions which are posted in the BeWelcome Forum but also discussion from groups you are a member of and even discussions from other groups if their visibility is not limited to group members only. If you do not care for seeing posts from groups you are not a member of, you can click on “Show only posts to my groups”.

The default language for BeWelcome Forum 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 “Edit”, choose another language, translate your message into that language and save your changes.

If you find a post in the BeWelcome Forum 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 goes to the “Forum Moderators”, a small team of selected volunteers which can edit or delete post according to the rules.

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.

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.

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.

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 is a “blog”?
The term "blog" is derived from "web log." A blog is a kind of online diary with entries made in journal style. For more information about blogs in general check out the Wikipedia article on blogs.

In BeWelcome you can use the blog tool to publish stories, ideas, essays, and even as a personal travel journal.

How does the blog tool work?
To start a blog go to Community > Blogs and then click on “Create blog post” in the action menu in the right side bar.

On the next page you can enter a title for your blog post, the text of your post, and tags (i.e. keywords to make it easier for other members to find your blog when they search for specific topics). In the tab “Trips” you can link your blog post with a specific trip of yours (location and date). This way your blog might be found by members who are planning on travelling to the same destination at the same time. Use the tab “Settings” to determine who should be able to see your blog: everybody, friends only or maybe just you (e.g. if you want to use it as a private travel diary).

What are activities and how do they work?
Activities are a feature on BeWelcome which allows you to join and organize gatherings and events for the BeWelcome community. There are all sorts of activities organized by our members, for example weekly meetups, language exchange meetings, pub crawls, hiking days, hospitality exchange camps, picnics, cooking events, movie nights, etc.

To find planned activities, just go to Community > Activities. Below the header “Activities” you will find a submenu which allows you to browse upcoming (tab “Upcoming”) worldwide and planned activities near you (tab “In [your location] and around”).

If an activity sounds interesting to you, just click on the title to read more details. If you would like to join the activity, please register on that page by selecting “Yes, I will attend” or “I might attend” (if you are not sure yet) and saving your choice. You can also add a comment to your registration.

The tab “My activities” will then show all activities that you already registered for. If you want to change any of your registrations for activities, just go that page, click on the respective activity and update your settings there (please note that this is no longer possible once the activity is over).

You have an idea for a BeWelcome activity yourself and would like to organize something? To create an activity yourself, go to Community → Activities and then click on “Create an activity” in the submenu. Fill out the form and click on “Submit” to save the activity. If you would like to promote your activity, feel free to post a link to the activity in the local BeWelcome group. If it is an activity which is interesting for all BeWelcome members worldwide, you may also post a link in the BeWelcome Forum.

Every activity you created will show up under the “My activities” tab where you can also edit and cancel the activities you organize.

Please note that the activities feature is new and will be further developed in the future to include more options and tools to support you most effectively in organizing all sorts of activities for the BeWelcome community. If you would like to give feedback about the tool to the developers, feel free to post in the respective forum thread: Activities have arrived.