How can I be sure that other members of BeWelcome are trustworthy? How can I get information about my potential hosts or guests? What is my protection against criminals coming to visit me?
Your safety is very important for us. That is why BeWelcome offers several features to help you make informed decisions about who you think is trustworthy enough to be your host or guest:
- A person’s profile is the most important place to get information about this person on BeWelcome. Essentially, it is a self-presentation and you should always keep this in mind. However, a profile can give you a first impression of that person, how he/she presents him-/herself and what are his/her interests, preferences and quirks.
- A profile may also include comments from other members as well as about other members. If you do not want to rely on self-presentation only, these comments will tell you what experiences other members had with this person. However, when reading comments, please bear in mind that for various reasons many find it more difficult to write honest comments about a not-so-good experience than to write flattering comments about a good experience. Comments may therefore not always tell the whole story, or never be written at all. In addition to the comments written about the member in question, also the comments that this member has left on other profiles might be of interest and reveal some of the member's personality.
- The section "Family and close friends" on the profile shows you who this person lives with or who are his/her best friends. This means that you will probably meet these people too if you are staying with this member. Check out their profiles as well to find out more about them too. This section is sometimes misunderstood and may include members who are not that close. The text will often reveal that. Please use this section only for relationships which are relevant for other members in the context of hosting.
- In cases of serious complaints against a member we might put a warning on that member's profile (or depending on the situation, remove this member from BeWelcome completely) to make sure you are aware of reported serious safety issues with this member.
Please always remember that your safety relies on your own judgment and decisions. BeWelcome is dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about hosting/staying with other members and to support you in critical situations. While we do what we can to help you, we cannot take any responsibility for your personal actions and the final decision and responsibility for your safety is yours. If you are nervous about hosting or meeting someone, don't do it. Always use common sense in protecting yourself and your property.
Each member contributes to keeping our community as safe as possible by reporting abuse quickly in order to prevent it from spreading. If you become aware of a member abusing the services or displaying misconduct, please inform BeWelcome through the contact us form or by e-mail to safety [at] bewelcome [dot] org and write a comment as appropriate to warn others who interact with that person.
For more information, please visit our Safety pages.
What is the purpose of comments, and how do I submit a comment about another member?
The purpose of the comment system is to let the community know what kind of experiences others have had with a member. Sharing one's experience helps other members assess whether they want to meet this person and if he or she is trustworthy.
It is important that members watch out for each other and keep the BeWelcome community safe. We therefore ask members to always write honest, factual comments about their experiences.
However, when reading comments, please bear in mind that for various reasons many find it more difficult to write honest comments about a not-so-good experience than to write flattering comments about a good experience. Comments may therefore not always tell the whole story, or never be written at all.
When writing comments for another member, ask yourself what information would have been useful for you or could be useful for others when deciding to interact with that person. If you need help with writing factual, honest comments, please contact us or send an e-mail to safety [at] bewelcome [dot] org. For additional information about your safety on BeWelcome, please also read our "Safety FAQ".
To leave a comment about another member, go to the profile of that member. On the left side of the profile page there is a link called "Add Comment". Click on that link, fill out the form and click on "Submit form" to publish your comment. Thank you for using this feature and helping other BeWelcome members make informed decisions!
Are there any rules or guidelines I should consider when writing a comment?
Yes, please read our Profile Comment Guidelines before writing comments.
Can comments be edited?
You can edit comments if for example you met somebody at a party first, but are their guest a couple of months later. We have decided to make negative comments unchangeable so they are very authentic and people trust in them. This is a matter of security in order to prevent recipients of negative comments to put pressure on the sender to get this comment changed. If you have some good reason for a negative comment to be changed or deleted you can contact us.
Spam and abuse
I found a profile that does not comply to the rules and the values of the site (e.g. there is a link to a pornographic website). Can you remove this?
Please send an abuse report through the contact us form or by e-mail to safety [at] bewelcome [dot] org and tell us the username of that member. We will contact the concerned member, and tell him/her to change his/her profile (delete that link). Links to pornographic web sites are often entered by a malware program running on the infected person's computer. Whenever that person fills in a form on the internet and there is a field to enter a URL, this program enters the link automatically - so it's not necessarily an abuse from that member. We will, however, keep an eye on them.
Can I stop messages from going to my e-mail account? For me it's enough to read them on the website.
There are different types of messages on BeWelcome with different possible settings regarding the forwarding to your e-mail account:
- Personal Messages: These are private messages from other members, for example requests to stay with you. To make sure that you always get these messages, even without logging on to the website, these messages will always be forwarded to your e-mail account. There is no possibility to opt out from receiving such messages. The idea of BeWelcome is to bring people together in real life and we consider a working e-mail account as one link to you in real life.
- BeWelcome Newsletters: From time to time (usually every three months) we send out a newsletter about developments on BeWelcome and in hospitality exchange. These newsletters will only be sent to your e-mail account, not to your BeWelcome inbox. If you do not want to receive the BeWelcome newsletters, you can change your settings in your personal preferences accordingly: For the setting "I want to receive periodic news about BeWelcome by mail" choose "No" and then click on "Submit form" at the bottom of the page.
- Notifications about local events: Sometimes, local volunteers may send out e-mails to local members about hospitality exchange events in the area. These notifications are not commercial, they are about BeWelcome events in your area or about hospitality exchange subjects. If you do not want to receive these notifications, you can change your settings in your personal preferences accordingly: For the setting "Notifications about local events" choose "No" and then click on "Submit form" at the bottom of the page.
- Notifications from BeWelcome groups: If you are a member of one or more groups on BeWelcome, you might have chosen to receive notifications about new posts in your group(s) when you became a group member. To disable these notifications, go to the respective group page and choose "Member settings" from the sub menu below the group title. There you can choose "No" for the setting "I want to receive e-mail updates from this group". Click on "Update member settings" to save your changes.
- Notifications from the BeWelcome Forum: You might also receive message from the BeWelcome Forum if you have subscribed to forum topics or tags. To review and change your forum subscription settings, please go to your "subscriptions page" and unsubscribe from the topics and tags you no longer want to be notified about (just click on the "Unsubscribe" button).