I didn't get the chance to comment on the post about member donations (Increasing Warmshowers Income Through Annual Member Donations: https://www.warmshowers.org/node/78970 ) since the donation mechanism has been put in place so I thought I'd continue here with the hope of continuing input from members. I was another member who brought up concerns about the proposed method for soliciting donations, I suggested an alternative and like several others, was quickly dismissed as being against donations altogether. The repeated reliance on this false dichotomy of 'you are with our proposed method of increasing donations or you are against donations altogether' whilst failing to address the substance of alternate proposals certainly gave one the impression that this decision was set in stone before it was even put up for discussion. But as was mentioned on the other thread this is a site with over 60,000 members and you can't please everyone.
Moving beyond this, I was disappointed to discover that members' donation status were to be made public to the WS community on their profiles. Again, there were a number of articulate, well reasoned points against going down this path from people with experience in other hospex sites which were not addressed to my knowledge. I say to my knowledge because it was also revealed that there was a debate running in parallel on the Warmshowers Facebook page which I had no knowledge of or access to as I am not a member - could we in the future confine important discussions to warmshowers.org or at least reproduce them on these pages? I see no reason why I should have to join Facebook to follow a debate about the future direction of this site.
Getting back on topic, I would just like to reiterate my disagreement with the decision to publish information regarding the donor status of WS members and with the the specific method employed on the site to increase donations. The arguments in contra have been well articulated by members such as Jean-François Beaulieu and Christopher Culver in the locked thread, I would like to have a better understanding of how these decisions were reached with specific regard to the concerns and alternatives put forth by such members. Were these arguments taken into consideration? How were they rebutted in favour of the path that was ultimately taken by WS?
WS is the only hospex site that functions for me at the moment and is in many ways an example for others to follow. That does not preclude WS learning from the mistakes that led to the downfall of sites like Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club - many of the expressions of concern on the previous thread were from members who saw first hand how these sites deteriorated. Even putting aside the specifics of the decisions made, the way the discussion was handled has caused myself and clearly a number of other members to feel uneasy. When I wrote about the need to take into consideration the 'cost' to the capital of trust and goodwill that WS has accumulated over its history this is precisely what I was referring to.
I would like to appeal to the Warmshowers board to take the time to directly and concisely address the issues outlined here, on the locked thread, and on Christopher's thread. I know I and many others would consider the time invested doing this a significant gesture in moving forward. Specifically pertaining to this thread, concerning the decisions taken regarding the site strategy for increasing donations and the use of donor badges, and keeping in mind that being against a certain model of fundraising does not equal being against fundraising altogether and that almost all arguments against donor badges were based on concerns about the negative consequences for the community as a whole and not the requests of individuals wanting to opt out:
1) Were the concerns and alternatives put forward by WS members spoken about by the board?
2) If so, on what basis was this input rejected in favour of the decisions that were ultimately taken by the WS board (ie: what were the counter arguments in favour of badges and the more intrusive annual membership model of fundraising?)
3) Were the operations of other volunteer run non-profit hospex sites such as BeWelcome investigated and taken into consideration by the board before these decisions were reached?
4) If so, on what basis were these alternatives rejected in favour of the decisions that were ultimately taken by the WS board?
5) Is there a way of directly contacting board members outside of the WS messaging system?
6) Who has administrative powers to lock or delete threads and ban members?
I would welcome any further input from the board or the WS community and hope an open discussion can continue on this forum for the benefit of all.