Welcome to our wiki! Read the instructions and get going!

BXL Unconference March 2013 Meeting Minutes

Agenda: see http://piratepad.net/OQ5Fiemiph - unfortunately editing the Pirate Pad hasn't been working since Saturday, 2 March. So the agenda there is not up-to-date at all!

Friday, 1 March 2013

1. Safety and comment system

Participants: guaka, lantti, shevek, sitatara, joined later: gerben, ALEXJANDRO, dima42

Sources: http://www.bewelcome.org/wiki/s3679-New_reference_system, http://www.bewelcome.org/wiki/Verification_Feature_Workpage

  • Trying to define what safety means in the context of hospex
    • protection against thiefery, robbery, bodily harm, violence, sexual harassment and feeling threatened by hosts or guests
  • Safety features should not pretend to protect from all kinds of feeling uncomfortable or not; they should help protect people from serious safety issues as mentioned above.
  • We differentiate personal saftey which we are discussing now from a general abuse of the system (other features and procedures are needed for that and should be discussed separately).

Current situation:

  • Comment system:
    • The current comment system contains all sorts of information which are not safety related.
    • The label "good" can be misleading because it's not a safety label. It's often more an expression of thankfulness than an accurate "rating" of the quality of experience.

Ideas to improve safety features:

  • Give members the options to write a safety note in addition to a comment:
    • Add a separate text field for a safety note.
    • This text will not be published but goes directly to the Safety Team which can act upon it.
  • Give the Safety Team the option to leave safety related notes on a profile which all Saftey Team members can see (but nobody else).
    • Make it clear though that for a public warning people still have to write something into the current comment field.
    • There needs to be a clear and transparent procedure how the Safety Team handles this information and how quickly they will react.
    • After a year the safety notes can be reviewed and analyzed in order to understand what kind of further changes to the safety features are required.
  • Make "Safety" a main menu item on BeWelcome
    • This section should contain safety tips, safety procedures, explanations about "safety" features - what they can do for safety and what they cannot do and how to use them properly to improve one's own safety and the safety of the whole membership.
  • Change labels in the comment system: no consensus on this topic

Open questions (to the Safety Team):

  • Does the Safety Team have enough resources to handle warnings coming in through the safety notes quickly?

We stopped discussing this issue for now. We would like the Safety Team to review the suggestions on the wiki page about the comment system and here and let us know what makes sense to them.

2. Getting to know each other

Participants: guaka, lantti, shevek, sitatara, gerben, ALEXJANDRO, dima42, tuscanhobbit

Since a few people joined during the day we interrupted the discussion to get to know each other a bit more.

3. Decision Making Process

Participants: guaka, lantti, shevek, sitatara, gerben, ALEXJANDRO, dima42, tuscanhobbit

  • It is unclear if the current decision making process produces binding decisions or if the GA/BoD can block decisions made through this process. If yes, it should rather be called "suggestion process". Anyway, it should be clear what happens with the decisions.
  • The current decision making process needs an easy to use voting tool.
  • It also needs a tool to select random members which does not include members which have not been online for many months (the current tool chooses random members irrespective of their last login).
  • Current terminology short term/long term/general vision is misleading and the process to change the scope is not working (everything is short term just because members don't bother to make issues long term or general vision - also because they stop following a long thread after some time.
  • There are many decisions which are taken by teams and especially by the dev team without consulting all members. This is also encouraged by the current draft of the volunteer code of conduct. It should be clear which decisions should be subject to a vote by the members and which ones can and should be taken by the volunteer teams. It should also be made clearer at what point the teams which is affected by a decision is involved in the decision making process.
  • It is unclear which options go into a vote and who formulates the voting options - there are different opinions about what makes sense here - ranging from "everyone should be allowed to add voting options on the voting page" to "the voting options should be formulated by trusted members who are known to be able to formulate all options neutrally".

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Continuing on Decision Making Process

Participants: guaka, lantti, shevek, sitatara, gerben, dima42, tuscanhobbit, claudiaab, thorgal67

  • Reviewing the points discussed yesterday.
  • thorgal67 outlines decision process - how it was intended by the BoD
    • Everything which only affects BeWelcome and not BeVolunteer can be voted on.
    • Every member can start such a process.
    • When a decision is made we need to find someone who implements it. In that sense, decisions are only suggestions.
  • A suggestion is made for a simpler suggestions system
    • Everyone can make a suggestion; everyone can vote on each suggestion: agree/neutral/disagree or add a new solution (which can be voted on similarily)
    • These suggestions are not binding but give the devs a clearer idea what the members want.
    • We reviewed the suggestion system on http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com and we think that would be very useful for BeWelcome.
    • We would like to combine this system with the majority judgement voting procedure.
    • Additionally, we would like to keep inviting random members to vote on suggestions: every month we invite 3 times the members than the number which already voted on the most popular suggestion. They are invited to review all suggestions currently online. Also, every newsletter will include one line asking everyone to vote on the current suggestions.
    • The suggestions system should be implemented on BeWelcome. We do not want to use an external website for decisions concerning BeWelcome.

The group decides to split in smaller working groups: one will make a detailed suggestion for the decision/suggestion system and the other group will finalize the volunteer code of conduct. The suggestion for the decision system will then be discussed again and we will publish our suggestion in the forum and on a wiki page.

The working group about the decision system never got started. A draft was put together by claudiaab and extended by shevek, sitatara, tuscanhobbit

4. Volunteer Code of Conduct

Participants: sitatara, claudiaab, thorgal67, fhina, hat2im

The draft of the Volunteer Code of Conduct was reviewed and edited. All volunteers will be informed about the new version.

5. On Groups and Forums

Participants: sitatara, tuscanhobbit, fhina, shevek, giabag, ALEXJANDRO

  • We reviewed the wiki page On Groups and Forum and agree with all suggestions.
  • As to the group/forum distinction: We would like to see this distinction implemented soon and don't have a preference as to how it is implemented. It should just be a very clear distinctions and the respective mock-ups look great. The only point which needs some more thought is the wording - "Agora" is not generally understood.
  • As to the group structure: We think that a hierarchical structure for location groups is necessary but no hierarchy for interest groups. Additionally, a much improved groups search is needed.
  • We would like to suggest to give this to the design team and devs for implementation.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

6. Discussion about donation campaigns and what the money is used for

Participants: thorgal67, shevek, giabag, tuscanhobbit, lantti, claudiaab, guaka, dima42, sitatara, irisee

  • One question was how donations should be used if there is a surplus that we do not need to cover the costs. It was suggested to change the text on the donation page in the direction that donations cannot only be used for covering the current costs (which is the priority) but if there is a surplus also for any other activities that further the purpose of BeWelcome/BeVolunteer.
  • At the last General Assembly it was decided to have a separate donation campaign to support local events. We disucced if we want financial support for local events at all and said we'd rather not. However, it would be good to help local event organizers by advancing money on loan (without interest) to them.
  • We discussed if it's a good idea to support hackathons financially and this was very controversial.
  • Generally we agreed that we should try to keep all costs as low as possible and avoid financing any volunteer activities. We do not want to corrupt the volunteer's motivation.

7. Finalizing the suggestions for the decision making process and groups and forum

Participants: thorgal67, shevek, giabag, tuscanhobbit, lantti, claudiaab, guaka, dima42, sitatara, irisee The suggestions were reviewed, shortly discussed and finalized. Both decisions will be presented in the forum. To implement the new decision making process we will follow the current decision process. To implement the suggestions for the group and forums we will forward the suggestions to the dev team for implementation. Additional details can be discussed and decided on once the big tasks which seem highly consensual (forum-groups distinction, hierarchy for location groups, good search) are available.

8. Sightseeing

Well, since we are in a beautiful city, we finally had to get out of the house to see it. ;)


You might want to know what happens to the topics discussed at the Unconference afterwards?

  • Safety and comment system: The suggestions made by the community and collected on the respective wiki pages (http://www.bewelcome.org/wiki/s3679-New_reference_system, http://www.bewelcome.org/wiki/Verification_Feature_Workpage) have been forwarded to the Safety Team for review. The Saftey Team was asked to give their opinion on these issues until the end of March. Once they replied to this request, a summary of their feedback will be posted in the respective threads and a further discussion or vote about the changes can take place.
  • Decision making process: The new suggestion was posted in the Bewelcome forum and is open for discussion there: http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s5514
  • Volunteer Code of Conduct: All volunteers will be informed about the new code.
  • On groups and forums: One of the developers at the unconference already agreed to implement a visible forum-groups separation. A better search and a hierarchy for the location groups will take longer to implement but a respective request will be sent to the development team. Further discussions about details and a new name for the general forum can still take place in this thread: On Groups and Forum
  • Donation campaigns: thorgal67, member of the Board of Directors, will take the results of the discussion to the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of BeVolunteer.