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Bamberg Unconference April 2013 Meeting Minutes

Impressions from the Unconference



The comment system and verification system were on the agenda again. Since both topics were already discussed in the forum and at the last unconference and the results have been sent to the Safety Team to get some feedback what they think about the suggestions, the discussions were cut short.

Discussion about the comment system (Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin):

  • Problem: Nearly no-one leaves negative comments
  • Suggestions to make this easier:
    • Checkbox if you would host/surf with them again
    • Checkbox If you would like to see them again
    • Split the comment field in two fields for pros and cons
    • Remove the labels good/neutral/bad
    • Give members the option to demand a "red light" to indicate criminal activity

sitatara who arrived after that discussion will take the new suggestions to the Safety Team.

Discussion about verification (Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti)

  • We want to keep verification.
  • The tool tip when you hover over the verification icon should display "see who verified this member" instead of "verified by another member" or "verified by a BeWelcome verifier".
  • Make members aware what "verified" means.
  • Maybe include a profile picture "verification".

sitatara will take the new suggestions to the Safety Team.

Calendar on profiles

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti

The participants would like to have a calendar showing when they are available as hosts (connected to a host search for specific dates). Ideally, in the future, the calendar should automatically update availability when a request for a certain date is accepted, edited, or cancelled. It should also be visible how up-to-date the calendar ist (date of last change) - this was controversial though.

Since a calendar is already planned for implementation in welen the discussion was rather short.

Activities tool

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti

The participants wanted to discuss a tool for events on BeWelcome. Since a simple version is currently in development in Rox (and a more refined one will be implemented in Welen), shevek presented the work in progress.

For a future tool, the following suggestions were collected:

  • You can subscribe to notifications about events.
  • Creator makes events local or global.
    • Local/global notifications are sent out according to this setting.
  • Creator decides range in kilometres where members will get notified.
  • Need for a team to check if events are eligible (to prevent spam notifications)
  • Categories of events where you can opt out/in to single categories, e.g. sports, outdoor, party/bar, events, culture...

New Member BeWelcome Team (NMBW)

Sources: New Member BeWelcome Group, New Member BeWelcome wiki page Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti

Tools for the NMBW Team:

  • There is a moderated group for team members.
    • To join the team, a BeWelcome member can request group membership. Before being admitted to the group, the profile of that member is reviewed and he/she has to provide a template for his/her greeting message.
  • Team members have access to an NMBW page which is accessible from the "Vol" menu.
    • This page lists the newest 100 members whose profile is at least 24 hours old and who have not received a greeting yet. Only confirmed profiles are listed.
    • The list can be sorted by distance to one's own location/by location/by language
    • The list has the following structure:
ProfileDescriptionSend a greeting

Date of signup
Location (and distance)
Spoken languages
First few lines of the profile summary (if available and a "more"-link to the profile
Dropdown with available templates
    • The profile picture and username are clickable.
    • To greet the new member, the NMBW member selects one of his/her templates from the dropdown. This action redirects him/her to a send message page where he/she can edit the template to individualize the message (the username should be included in the greeting automatically) and then send it.
    • Sent greetings should be saved in a separate folder (not mixed with other personal sent messages).
    • Once a greeting is sent, the member that has been greeted is removed from the list.
    • The NMBW page also contains a repository for individual greeting templates (NMBW members can save new templates, edit existing templates and delete outdated templates).

Activating inactive members

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti

Why is this topic relevant?

To make sure that the list of search results shows active members only.

What does "inactive" mean?

There were different views about when a member can be considered inactive. The following criteria were mentioned:

  • A member who has not logged in for 3/6/12 months.
  • A member who has not met any other member in 3 months.
  • A members with an empty profile.
  • A member who does not reply to messages.
  • A members who offer to host on their profile but do not actually do so.
  • A members who have no valid e-mail address.

Brainstorming about how to activate inactive members:

  • Write a frinedly message which makes people curious to log in again - mention new features, groups and the no. of members which have joined since the last login.
  • Send a message to re-confirm the account.
  • Send a message to reconfirm the e-mail address.
  • Send a message which says that the profile is set to inactive and no longer listed in the search.
  • Show members how to be active and give them ideas how to meet other members.


The minimum consensus for the definition of an "inactive" member was:

  • not logged in for 1 year OR
  • no valid e-mail address

We agreed that a message should be sent to all members who haven't logged in for a year. The message

  • should be written in a friendly and positive way which makes people curious to log in again;
  • should include the information that a valid e-mail address is most relevant and that we would therefore like the member to reconfirm the e-mail address by logging in again;
  • should contain 3 buttons: Yes, confirm (leads to login page)/Keep me as inactive (the member remain inactive, but won't receive other reminder for one period)/No, delete profile (leads to delete profile page).

We reviewed an example that beatnickgr showed us and agreed that this should be posted in the BeWelcome communications group as a starting point for fomulating a message to activate inactive members.

What happens to members who do not answer to this e-mail?

They no longer show up in the default search (and maybe have an "inactive" textbox on the profile) but the profile would be kept visible (and searchable in the advanced search).

Follow up

Beatnickgr started a thread in the BeWelcome communications group about this: http://www.bewelcome.org/groups/64/forum/s6370-Login_Reminder

Places page: country names and sorting

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti, Mikael, Smila, coroa, hiavelli

  • Place names should be easy to find. The idea to use official names for each country like "Federal Republic of Germany", "Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan" and "Former Yugolslaw Republic of Mazedonia" instead of e.g. Germany, Jordan and Mazedonia were rejected by most participants, even in cases where the names are politically disputed. However, the preferred name for each language should be displayed (i.e. in English "Mazedonia" but in Greek the "Πρώην Γιουγκοσλαβική Δημοκρατία της Μακεδονίας") as available in the geonames database.
  • In search: Make a heat map of BeWelcome members on area, from country level down to neighborhood level.

Changing usernames

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, scrolli, leoalone, nhtin, sitatara, shevek, lantti, Mikael, Smila, coroa, hiavelli

  • Currently: It's possible to change the username, but you have to ask the Support Team.
  • Option: Establish a change tool for members -> limit changes to once in 3 months.
  • Option2: Allow the member to have a second username and choose to display one of the two. Username changes can be made at any time, but only switching among the two. This would be a quick fix for typos in registration (while waiting for the Support Team to fix it manually) or for people that sometimes are alone and sometimes host or travel as a couple.
  • If you search for an old username, it still needs to find the member.
  • Will be taken care of in Welen.

Profiles for several people

Participants: beatnickgr, sitatara, shevek, Mikael, Smila

Source: http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s5543

  • We agree that such an option would be good but not top priority.
  • Gender option "family" which is searchable should be available.
  • Ideally, a family profile should have an extra field for children.
  • Welen models currently hold options: single, flatmates, couple, family. Also improved contact list where you could tag people as flatmates/family/friend/contact would help on this.

Make location optional

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, Marcell, sitatara, shevek, lantti, Mikael, Smila

Source: http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s6321

  • Good for nomads but this might have negative impact: people willing to use BeWelcome only as a free hotel/partying might go and set their location "unknown".
  • BeWelcome is a hospex site - a bit silly to have users without locations?
  • Still problem for long term nomads remains. Allow them to set status to "nomad" (previous location/address remains in the system but will not be displayed on profile as long as status remains "nomad")
  • Could solution be to introduce different place info for profile: form/origin, home (living now), last logged in/currently traveling -location?

Additional topics that were shortly discussed

  • Future of groups:
    • 3 types of groups: BeWelcome groups (current forum), geolocations, interests
    • Geolocation groups should have a hierarchical structure, e.g. Germany > Bavaria > (Franconia > ) Bamberg
    • Related groups remain in place to connect geolocation and interest groups.
  • Promotion of BeWelcome on other HospEx networks:
    • It's up to each person to do some promotion of BeWelcome on CS in their own way.
    • BeWelcome as a site does not (and should not) actively encourage this in any way.
  • Display of username vs. real name:
    • If somebody chooses NOT to hide their real name, maybe show it everywhere instead of the nickname (forums, private messages etc.)
  • Add addional option for the hosting status:
    • Currently: Yes, Maybe, No
    • Warm Showers has an interesting way to set your status: You select (multiple) checkboxes like x hosting, x offer shower. x offer guided tour etc.
    • In the future we could have similar options or at least something like: Yes, Maybe, No, Traveling/Not hosting for now (or something smarter).
  • We need more active volunteers:
    • To make volunteering easier, the volunteer tools need to be massively improved (task for implementation in Welen).
  • Transparency
    • The members of the Safety Team, Forum Moderation Team, and any other teams which have "superpowers" should be publicly listed and this listing made easily accessible.
    • sitatara - Tue, 16 Apr 13 20:26:27 +0200: Such a list is already publicly available here: http://www.bewelcome.org/wiki/Who_does_what

Future of the community

Participants: LeopoldR, beatnickgr, mattoz, piedera, Marcell, sitatara, shevek, lantti, Mikael, Smila

  • "BeWelcome isn't a booking service."
    • Calendar is a good example of this: In a way it's a good tool but there's a big change it makes things look more like a "booking service" => Don't show calendar publicly, it would work in the background.
  • Make sure there's a short introduction before registering:
    • Prospective member clicks register button
    • Show one page introduction
    • Show "continue tour" and "register" buttons => users can continue tour or register, repeat these two buttons at each step.