sitarane’s Blog


Servas-BeWelcome update

written by sitarane - 2010/09/30 10:51

Monday there was a meeting between the Servas-to-BeWelcome project members. It involved two members of the BW board of directors (including me), one BW coder and three Servas coordinators (including the president of Servas International).

The topic was the general roadmap for the project. A draft had been submitted a few days earlier by one Servas coordinator and we were going to discuss it and take it to a complete state. Most of the items of the roadmap were pretty trivial and were quickly agreed upon. However we ran into a disagreement on one point. The draft included the option of outsourcing some of the programming to a commercial company.

This illustrates very well the difficulties for two independant organizations to join forces in a common goal. In particular when, like in our case, it is two philantropic organizations with very similar mindsets and an emphasis on democracy. You'd think it would go very smoothly... Think again :) . But the cool thing about democratic organization is that they always find a good consensus. And we draw much satisfaction from that democratic process.

Historically, BeWelcome is a volunteer project. It is written in many places on the website that nobody is getting paid for anything. Servas has no such history and finds it pretty normal to hire external help if they don't have the volunteer ressources to reach their goals. None of those two approaches is "bad", but they are a bit incompatible.

The main issue comes from the fact that BeWelcome lacks the skilled programmers necessary to carry out this project. So something needs to be done.

So, what compromise? Well, we decided that we would hire help for documenting the existing code (which is not programming in any way), that is a difficult and boring task that volunteers are reluctant to pick up. And possibly to design mockups of the final product (which code will be separated from the BeWelcome software). The actual coding would still be done by volunteers.

And, to make it possible, we will organize a "coding week-end" where new-coming programmers will be invited as well as old-timers to kickstart the production of code in a friendly and relaxed setting. Nobody gets paid, but expenses will be covered.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for later news.



Sounds great

written by millstonecoop - 8 years ago (i)
Would this coding weekend be a physical or virtual event? Or both? Is there any ballpark timeline for this particular type of event?

written by kiwiflave - 8 years ago (i)
Am not per se against paying external professionals for a specific task. But we should avoid paying BV members as this would undermine other volunteers work. Apart from that, if Servas has the resources - go ahead! :)

written by philipp - 8 years ago (i)
I can't see where paying for documentation is any different from paying for coding?

written by seraph - 8 years ago (i)
I'm happy that BeWelcome project is still alive, and also more happy, that it will not change it's start idea.

I had longer being-away period with BeWelcome, but I hope to go back and became active volounteer.

resultate importante

written by omerozkan - 8 years ago (i)
looking forward for some concrete results

About paying

written by peregri - 8 years ago (i)
Reopening the subject of paying for coding:
Base on the experience of been involve in different non-profit organisations; When a organisation starts to manage money, and the members are related to it, everything move to Wrong, some time is slow process, some times is faster... But something that i saw and it works for some people, is to provide expenses (accommodation, food, and some times tourism or community interaction) while the are volunteering. That model could be use to host in different places coders who would like to spend a number of hours coding in exchange of the basic needs. One of the well known examples is wwoof.

Sorry, i forgot to add.

written by peregri - 8 years ago (i)
I happily will provide Food, Room, some Social Integration/Interaction and Side Seen Local Tourism to any coder (or may be any other volunteer) who decide to spend a reasonable numbers of hours on the BW project while staying At Home.
Location: Inland of East coast, Queensland, Australia.

open source?

written by sibelius - 8 years ago (i)
Is this meaning that bewelcome will close/hide it's sourcecode? Unfortunately I have no experience with coding in php, but I can imagine to learn it...

open source!

written by matthias - 8 years ago (i)
The source code for BeWelcome will stay free and open of course, currently hosted on

But there is currently also an evaluation if it's possible to port it to Drupal.

written by Joesla - 8 years ago (i)
when the idea meets the circumstances upon which it should be altered in order to move on, it might be reasonable to question the circumstances yet to keep the idea solid, rather then to compromise the idea...
Is building technical links between BW and Servas that important? Are there no other ways to do it but to somewhat undermine the basic prinsiples of BW?

written by giuliano176 - 7 years ago (i)
is there any update on the Servas-BW joint project?

written by Hastobe_Katt - 7 years ago (i)
I don't have an issue with a not for profit buying in professional services. After all there are some services you have to buy in - you can't for example audit your own accounts. As trustee of a charity (non hospex related) my concern has always been to obtain value for money - i.e. that resources are used wisely and sensibly and costs are kept to minimum. This may mean some things can be done more cheaply (and more efficiently) in house but it also means recognising when external expertise is needed and not creating artificial barriers which prevent the charity fulfilling its objectives by not progressing things like coding updates to the website, fixing security issues, getting e-carts up and running etc because we 'can't do it ourselves'.

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