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General Assembly 2009

Location and Date

The General Assembly 2009 took place in Grimbergen (near Brussels, Belgium) on 11th - 12th July, 2009.

Suggestions for the agenda

(Some of the discussion took place in the forum, some in the wiki.)

Signup team meeting

Discussion of tools wishlist and procedures. Possibly extended discussion with all members regarding mandatory addresses on sign up. Demorganna 07:33, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Safety team meeting

Discussion of procedures of dealing with abuse reports. Agreeing on these procedures. Demorganna 07:33, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

How to get BW energized

Brainstorming on how to improve effectiveness and efficiency of what we do and how to motivate members and volunteers. Demorganna 07:33, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

My main interest. I'm already working on a scheme. I will publish it before for interested participants to review --Sitarane

slimming diet for Bevolunteer

Check the http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s671-Slimming-diet-for-BeWelcome---abolishing-double-forum,-blogs,-wiki/#post3803 BW forum for discussions on kiwiflave's proposal for a "slimming diet" for BeVolunteer. The following 5 points are part of it.

Abolish BV forum

Abolish the BV forum, only keeping the BW one. It is difficult to follow discussions on both forums +BV forum hasn't been used a lot during the last year. With the group functions (hopefully soon to come) also team internal discussions should be perfectly possible here. Using the wiki to archive the discussions we had and a task force to filter out all the ideas - put them on a mind map and visible on BW. Kiwiflave 17:51, 28 April 2009 (UTC) good idea Jeanyves 20:16, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Abolish BV blog

Abolish the BV Blog page www.bevolunteer.org/blog - it's dead and we have a blog feature inside BW (which needs to be improved, of course) Kiwiflave 17:51, 28 April 2009 (UTC) good idea Jeanyves 20:16, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Rename BV wiki

Rename BeVolunteer wiki into BeWelcome Wiki and integrate it into the website. Use it as our library and archive Kiwiflave 17:51, 28 April 2009 (UTC) good idea Jeanyves 20:17, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Adapt statutes

Adapt the statutes and structures (i.e. election process) to a registered BeWelcome organization where all members (users) automatically have a voice and can be elected to a BeWelcome council for example after one year of active participation. This could be prepared during the next term of BoD (but still discussed and agreed on at the GA) Kiwiflave 17:51, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

I dislike the "automatically have a voice", but I agree we could start a change in this direction (more possibility for "usual member" to contribute) this will avoid the saying "Bevolunteer elite" Jeanyves 20:24, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

One euro fee

The yearly expenses will be divided among those users with one year antiquity. They must pay or will be expulsed. enriqueguillen

This can be a discussion. I dislike the expulsed, but it might make sense, lets discuss it Jeanyves 20:18, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Administrative workload and costs need to be carefully evaluated before moving a the direction of a general fee, this might be tricky user|philipplange 22:37, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Rights and duties. If BW belongs to the users, they must pay and they will have rights (voting for example) If BW belongs to the volunteers, BV members must pay. enriqueguillen

I change the proposal. The yearly expenses will be paid by BV members by a yearly fee sistem. Paying the fee is a must for BV members. A requisite for voting and proposing issues to the assembly will be to have the fee up to date. Being accepted as a new BV member includes to pay the fee. Let's see how it works. enriqueguillen

This could be an option (there exists an adapted list of fees to be paid by different countries), although I would rather opt for other sources of income such as afiliate programmes (amazon) as the 1 euro is really not much and won't pay the costs. Apart from that I am for reducing our expenditures through finding free server space (sponsors....?). Kiwiflave 10:07, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

No, actually it will be around a 100 euros yearly fee. Think of 20 volunteers paying... 2.000 euros a year... we can keep the donations anyway, adding them to our budget. Hmmm... noooo... and what if we keep BW as a dream? Our dream so we pay for it. Somehow I dislike the publicity. Let's take amazon as an example for the shake of the discussion. What if someone finds that amazon is paying badly their workers? I think that we prostitute ourselves enough in our ordinary jobs (at least I do) so please do not prostitute the dreams too... As for changing the server for a cheaper one, the condition is reliability. Right now we trust on Jean Yves (of course) when he says that our server is serious and safe. A new server must complay with these requisites. enriqueguillen

I am not convinced that it is a good idea to let the most active volunteers and bw members pay in addition to the time they spend on bw. user|philipplange 22:37, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

I can t provide a way out of our financial situation either but fees for BV or BW Membership is an absolute NO-GO area for me Fabzgy 09:30, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I am excited and looking forward the treasury report. I think that this report will show that 2-3 of the most very active volunteers are covering the server expenses. This is an absolutely no go and an scandal if you let me say it. enriqueguillen


We need to know who is actually working in what. How many active volunteers we have. How many tasks we can assure to serve the users. Reorganize the whole volunteers teams if necessary to make sure that we give a minimum service to the users. enriqueguillen

Right now we are somewhat between team and task structures. I think in our volunteer area we should provide a list of all active people (and what they do), also a little icon on their profile. Kiwiflave 10:08, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

OK,team or task, I don't mind it. The problem is, who makes the list and keeps it up to date? who puts the icon up and down when the volunteer is inactive? or back to activity? Simplify... we simply need to know how is active and who is not and who is doing every task and how many tasks we can assure. enriqueguillen

Making it clearer what BW is (and isn't)

There's apparently confusion as to what BW is and what it's not, or perhaps more what BW is about and what the values of BW are. It would be great to clarify things more (note: this is NOT a discussion about what our values are, it's a discussion about how to get them across better) so we wouldn't get discussions like: http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s684-What-it-would-take-for-me-to-be-active-in-BW , http://bevolunteer.org/wiki/Community_decisionmaking_guidelines#Possible_.22core_values.22 , http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s683-Free-accommodation---free-loading , http://www.bewelcome.org/forums/s696-BeWelcome---tu-comunidad-de-viaje-sostenible (which is a positive discussion but is still stemming from the same problem). Summing it up: BW does not have a clear identity and that leads to people asking "why should I join? What do I get here that I don't get in other places?". Fake51 12:24, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Yup, and: Making it more explicit what BW wants to give, how it wants to be helpful to the individual member, and what is our motivation to work on this. Maybe we all have some idea about these points, but this is not enough: We need to put a sufficient explanation in a prominent place, in an attractive language. Focus should not be formal or theoretic concepts, but a personal message: "We want to help you to do XY. We started this project becasue we think Z. We think that members' opinions are important for this project: We listen to your feedback, and we are always thinking about new ways to have our members participate in decisions.." etc. -- Lemon-head 21:51, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Inactive members procedure

I believe it is crucial to keep both BeWelcome (and even more BeVolunteer) away from too many inactive members. For BV there should be a mechanism that membership only goes for one year, after which members have to declare if they want to remain in BV or not. If they don't react to (an official email, let's say), their membership should expire. It's better to have 10 active and voting members than 60 mostly inactive and non-voting ones. Same goes for BeWelcome. Maybe we should make our "inactive members routine" more strict to ensure that we don't have 50%+ members who did not login for the last 6 months? Kiwiflave 08:12, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Again: Licences

BV Wiki is CC-BY-SA, Rox-Code is GPL, but trac-Content is without a visible licence (CC-BY-SA has been discussed and agreed on?), BW Wiki Content is without a licence (came up here, rest of BW content without a licence, ...

Most easiest way would be to agree on a general licence for common/public content anywhere (suggestion: CC-BY-SA). (Exceptions: private stuff on profiles, user pics - not the gallerys! -, BW terms, ?). Midsch 10:27, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

BW Wiki

Discussion/Decision about the BW Wiki: Should the existing but outdated (and buggy) Wiki be advertised and filled or better replaced by something better before? (See also kiwiflave's proposal to integrate the BV Wiki into BW above!) Midsch 10:27, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Agenda Draft

Check out a draft of the Detailed agenda General Assembly 2009

Minutes General Assembly 2009

Obligatory points on the agenda

Election of the board of directors


enriqueguillen (Quique)
I am pro democracy and against adhocracy. I am pro active members and not pro as much members as possible. I am pro solving the finances right now. I am more pro cultural exchange than sharing houses. I am pro taking decission and acting than long discussions for the very pleasure of discussing. If elected, I will do my job. As I don't know what my job in the bod will be, this is like this: 1.If president, I will encourage everyone to express their ideas and bring them to a decission procedure. I will be neutral and moderate the talks and give instructions to the secretary for a voting issue in the right time if needed. Call for the next GA and as many extra assemblies as needed. Keep en eye on the job of the teams. Call for bod meetings. Along with what the BV statutes demand from me. 2.If secretary, do the paperwork 3.If treasurer, keep the counts clear and up to date. 4.If vocal, speak.

(Note: quique canceled his candidacy during the GA Skype chat)

Florian (kiwiflave)
Although I won't have a lot of time I think that what the project currently needs is someone who helps with communication and coordination. I know BeWelcome very well and believe that I could contribute to its success as a board member. However, it would be great to have some more people volunteering for the BoD so we could distribute work and join efforts. Particularly someone from France would be good, as BV is registered there...

Hey Florian, welcome! I was starting to feel lonely... you are right, we need more people here, and if there are no frenchs available first we need to do is changing to the bank account for an internet bank account. enriqueguillen

Maria (demorganna)
Working for BoD would mean mainly two things for me:

  1. Structure and organization. I believe in free contribution and creativity and I don't want to limit people's potential by rigid rules, however I hate seeing how much of members' and volunteers' energy has been lost due to lack of drive and coordination. BoD needs to become the coordination body for BeVolunteer.
  2. BeWelcome needs better marketing. We need to spread the word! I hope to work on this together with Florian.

Gilbert (jilrev)
I joined BW for its democratic structure and I'd like to work that way in a team. I would like to help to promote BW and for the accounting.

Thomas (tgoorden)
BeWelcome and BeVolunteer seem ready for quite a transformation the coming year. There are some interesting challenges of which mainly the simplification process and the financial strategy interest me. I know that being a treasurer really wasn't the best position for me to be in, but I do believe that a different role would allow me to concentrate more on what I enjoy. I would like to say however that my candidacy is strongly linked to a restructuring of BeVolunteer as will be discussed during the GA. So in a way voting for me is voting for a restructuring of BV.

Jean-yves (jeanyves)
Bewelcome has had several major improvments in the last period, most of them where technical.

I want BW to keep its major quality transparecy and international collective. BeVolunteer is a french organisation, but this is only administrative it is very important for me to make it and internation organisation.

I would like to see other improvments for the organisation:

  • fresh blood, we must very careful to have new people joining volunteers team
  • too much european, I think we should think about it and try to involve people from Asia, Africa and America
  • promotion : while keeping the idea that first motivation to join BeWelcome and to use its services should not be th eeconomic one (save money), we must do more promotion, we are not well known. I think that we should try to do some show/presentation to the many OpenSource event which occurs in the world
  • Experiments: untill now, BeWelcome has been very good at it, but this also result in sometime going in too much directions at the same time.
  • Leadership: while I like this idea that there is no single person ruling BeWelcome, I strongly feel that we have a lack here: We must find ways to have people with more commitments for some area. Because of this I believe that coordinators role are to be strenghten. It is a difficult task, to keep the motivation of people who are volunteers and not create frustation for them.
  • Finances : we didn't really work on it in the last period. BW doesn't need a lot of money, but it would be very good to solve the problem: how will you pay the bill for the next two monthes. I also think that part of the finances should be used for promotion (printed posters, registrating to other organisations ...)
  • Working with other similar organisation : BeWelcome is not unique in the world of hospitality, we should, in my opinion, pay attention to organisation like Servas, Tejo. They partly share similar goals and have democratic structure. I think that someday, BeWelcome (who's purpose according to BV Statutes is to promote hospitality with a not commercial attitude) should become a plateform providing features for such organisations. This will result in increasing the brainstorm but also in attracting -hmm- very intersting and experimentated people
  • Verification system: this is a very important issue, we have an available tool, we must promote it and increase its efficiency. A question is how to increase the number of approved volunteers

Too summarize, I see BeWelcome still as a challenge, but I find it fun and rewarding to face these dificulties. On human point of view, volunteering in BeWelcome is definitively an amazing experience

Approving the budget

  • Approving the 2008-2009 accounts
  • Approving the 2009-2010 budget

A report about this budget can be found here

Approving the internal rules

Events accompanying the GA

Open Hospex Party

Cost for accommodation and food


Just type four ~ then your name and the exact date of your registration will appear. Please also tell us when you will join us so we can provide (vegetarian) food at cost price.

I will be present

Claudiaab 20:19, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Thorgal67 16:06, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Duesseldorf 08:42, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Demorganna 08:24, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Fake51 14:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC) (arriving with Maria on the 11th)

Hkroger 15:37, 26 May 2009 (UTC) (I hope to make it)

Tgoorden 19:40, 4 June 2009 (UTC) (normally for the entire thing)

Jeanyves 20:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Jilrev 20:17, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


Mahouni 20:42, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't know yet

Ieva 21:12, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

We'll be with you online

  • user|philipplange 10:36, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Lupochen 10:19, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Kiwiflave 09:42, 21 June 2009 (UTC) (Can't come to Brussels but will try to organize a parallel meeting in Berlin on Saturday for those who can't make it either).
  • --Globetrotter tt 10:40, 5 July 2009 (UTC) (will go to Berlin instead)

Sorry, can't make it

  • Pietshah 16:39, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
  • user|polarfox 17:48, 18th of May 2009 (UTC)
  • enriqueguillen
  • Maplefanta 03:33, 30 June 2009 (UTC) (On another continent)
  • Fabzgy 16:31, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Guaka 16:14, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • DayDreamer1969 10:30, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Zaubii 08:20, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Crumbking 08:20, 11 July 2009 (UTC) (will try to be online)
  • neo82 16:47, 11 July 2009 (UTC) (voted)

Documents the BoD has to prepare...