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Interview with our volunteers: mountx

written by amnesiac84 - 2016/06/24 21:10

We would like to introduce you to some of our volunteers. Every one of them decided at one point to spend a little bit of time to help BeWelcome, making this the greatest non-profit, volunteer driven hospitality network out there!

Our sixth interview is with mountx who is volunteering in the Forum Moderators Team.

 

Why did you join BeWelcome?

 

Like most people, probably, I joined by accident. I first started hosting back in the mists of time, using a website – really little more than a bulletin board – called Travelhoo. When that disappeared, I found Couchsurfing. When CS began to change, a guest told me about BeWelcome and I thought I would give it a try. I am still a member of CS but prefer it here. Sometimes BW is a bit ‘clunky’ because everything is done by volunteers, but I find this more honest than being slick, commercial and soulless.

 

 

Why did you start volunteering? and in which teams are you active?

I have been part of the team of Forum Moderators since 2013. I was ‘blackmailed’ into it by one of the then moderators, using a combination of guilt (You don’t want to be a freeloader, do you?) flattery (We need YOU) and puppy-dog eyes.


The mod team is not always popular – no-one likes being told to change their post – but, like football referees, they are necessary. The team does its best to ensure that the BW Forum is a welcoming place, where different opinions are tolerated – and that means valuing differences of opinion within the mod team itself. Often decisions are not clear-cut, so they need to be discussed and debated amongst the mods, which produces a real sense of being part of a team.

 

What kind of traveller are you? 

I guess I am mostly a ‘holiday’ traveller, but I do like feeling some connection with the places I visit and trying to understand what it is like to live there. This is also one of the reasons that I host, as hosting brings the people and places to me.

 

How many countries have you visited? What is your favourite country or place?

I grew up in Liverpool (which, as all good scousers will tell you, is a ‘country’ of its own) and I live in Scotland. I tried to count up and I think I have visited 24 countries, though most of them are in Europe. I am not sure that I have a favourite but Andalucia was my first experience of being abroad and still has a special place in my memories.

 

What is your favourite / coolest BeWelcome experience?

Being given a jar of marmite for my birthday, at the BV Assembly in Düsseldorf.

Because marmite is cool, isn’t it?

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Fête du canard

written by amnesiac84 - 2016/06/07 21:18

On the 20th, 21st and 22nd of May, BeWelcome members have gathered in Toulouse to party for the so-called Fête du canard (Duck Fest). You could hear the quack-quacks all the weekend long! Locals and travelers have shared amazing moments around different activities. The local community is waiting for you next year to enjoy again these good times!

More pictures can be found here

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Interview with our volunteers: Jesus82

written by amnesiac84 - 2016/05/31 23:21

We would like to introduce you to some of our volunteers. Every one of them decided at one point to spend a little bit of time to help BeWelcome, making this the greatest non-profit, volunteer driven hospitality network out there!

Our sixth interview is with Jesus82 who is volunteering in the Redesign Team.

 

Why did you join BeWelcome?

I joined one year ago as I was planning a trip to Norway. I started reading about the problems in CS (I had not been very active there for a while so I didn't know what was going on), and I found BW as a good alternative for it.

 

Why did you start volunteering? and in which teams are you active?

I am part of the redesign team, and I joined because I wanted to help to make BW a little bit more cosier. I am expecting that the new redesign we are working on will attract new users, and also make existing users more active.

 

Could you tell us an interesting/nice experience in your volunteering experience?

Well, so far we are in the beginning of the work, I guess the best experience will be when we can see a brand new page.

(edit: the new opening page, which has been the work of mainly Jesus82, is already visible in alpha!)

 

Please give us three "keywords" which describe how is volunteering for your team(s).

I would choose "creative", "challenging" and "I think I have screwed it up with github again".

 

What kind of traveller are you? 

The one that comes with a bottle of whiskey under the arm. No, seriously, when I travel I prefer to take it easy and enjoy the places I visit, even thought that could lead to not to reach all the "postcard photo spots" in the list.

 

How many countries have you visited? What is your favourite country or place?

Around 30. Some of them I am not even sure if I can consider them countries (like Transnistria). My favourite places: Galicia, Plitvice, Lofoten.

 

What is your favourite / coolest BeWelcome experience?

So far I just hosted a pair of girls via BeWelcome. So if they ever read this: they were really cool :)

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No public profiles

written by amnesiac84 - 2016/05/25 19:05

Since this week the option to make your profile public has been disabled. We noticed an influx in fake accounts this year, creating profiles just to show links with or without a cloud of words. We suspect that bots create those accounts to be indexed by search engines and therefore create more credibility and visibility by those engines.

That's why the Board of Directors recently decided it would be good to see if the amount of fake accounts decreases when disabling the option for profile pages to be indexed. This will be in effect at least until the next General Assembly where the members of BeVolunteer are asked to vote on this topic.

Members who have their profiles public can keep their profiles public, as long as they don't change their profile to private. As soon as the status has been changed, it can not be turned back to a public profile.

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Drop in number of members

written by amnesiac84 - 2016/05/20 19:35

Those who closely follow our statistics page might have seen a sudden drop in the number of (new) members. You might wonder how the amount of new daily members can be a negative number: it's the sum of all who've joined and who's membership has been suspended or removed.

Every year BeWelcome sends out an e-mail to all who've not logged in for over a year. These members are asked to login once more to show they're still interested. By not logging in, the status is changed to 'inactive', and those members will not show up in the default search results. They can still be found and are not removed or suspended.

We recently found out that the members who confirmed their e-mail address, but never signed in, were excluded from these yearly login reminders. Totalling almost 2,300 members had a completely empty profile and never logged in, not contacted our support team to help them log in. That's why the BoD recently decided to suspend those profiles, since it's very unlikely any of them would be active at some time. If they want to become active again, they can do so by contacting us.

De facto, it means we have 2,300 profiles less in our member list. Although we are a bit sad to see our number sink, it means that there's a higher change finding real members who've at least logged in and showed interest in our hospitality exchange at one point. Quality above quantity!

We hope we will gain another 2,300 members soon again.
Behind the scenes, many volunteers work hard to enable rich encounters between members. For example, they welcome new members, they answer questions from our members, they make sure the servers and website are working, they remove fake spam accounts, they work on the new website, they translate texts in over 20 different languages and they do a lot more!

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