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What features are most important to our community? (2015 Membership Poll)

We'd love to have your opinion about what features are most important to our community. Please choose the ones that are most important and then drag them into the priority order you think is best. Obviously we can't do everything, so your opinion counts!

The poll is at the bottom - unfortunately you can't understand the poll if you don't read through the feature descriptions, so please take just a few minutes to read through these. When you're doing the poll, select the features that are most important to you and then drag them up or down to rank their importance.

(The official discussion of features is in the leadership forum.

  • Responsiveness: We need to be able to use responsiveness to prod members, disable their hosting status, or remove accounts. See Move responsiveness into user object, views, tokens (Estimate: 16 hours)
  • Visual redesign of site, mobile-friendly: Website design preferences and standards change over time, and ours is already getting dated. Unfortunately the world is changing around us and although the site was designed for a web browser on a computer, more and more people are using a variety of mobile devices, which don't work well with the current design. Probably the most important reason for a redesign is to make it mobile-friendly, so it's easily viewed on a smaller device. (Estimate: 120 hours)
  • Drupal 7 Upgrade Survey and Estimate: To know where we are with a Drupal upgrade and what it may cost, we'll need to prepare a number of user stories to determine what the features are, then review our custom code to see what is going to be required. (Estimate: 80 hours).
  • Add info like wifi, birthyear/age, and facebook page to user profile. Our user profile data hasn't been updated in a few years, and several additions have been repeatedly requested. The idea of birth year is just to be able to display age or approximate age. See [misc other items to user profile] (Estimate: 25 hours)(https://github.com/warmshowers/Warmshowers.org/issues/206)
  • Add filtering to map and text search: When searching for a host, many guests want to be able to limit what they see in map or text search based on responsiveness, last login, max number of guests possible, etc. (Estimate: 60 hours)
  • Traveler profile improvements: Our current profile is based on the original spreadsheet download from before 2005! Most of the items on the profile tell about a host, but provide little prompting about what a host might want to know about a guest. A host probably wants to know about the guest's current trip, perhaps previous trips, style of travel, etc. See Traveler profile with formalized hosting request (Estimate: 40 hours)
  • Simplified hosting request: Currently hosting requests are just a free-form private message, and there are lots of problems with them (ambiguity, inadequate information, etc.). If we made a specific "hosting request" then 1) guests could standardize some of their repetitive information, 2) the date would be explicit, 3) hosts could explicitly offer, 4) guests could explicitly accept the offer. (Note that a personal message component would always be required, and only one host could be contacted at a time, as at present). This would open the door to lots of important followups, including tracking how many hosting "events" happen, prompting both parties for feedback, preventing collisions on hosting dates, and showing both guests and hosts what they have arranged. (Estimate: 80 hours)
  • Traveler Location tracking: Many hosts want to know where their guests are right now, and many travelers want to be able to find and contact other travelers going their way or who are nearby. This option would require a new map page, improvements to the profile page, HTML5 geolocation options (so that the location could easily be updated using the site) and updates to the mobile apps to let them report traveler location. (All features would be opt-in only, of course). (Estimate: 80 hours)
  • Scale back the auto-available feature: A couple of years ago we implemented a feature that required people to say when they'd be back when setting themselves "not available". And... it automatically makes them available again on that date now. This seems to have the unintended consequence of quite a number of members marked "available" who actually aren't. A simple approach to improve this is to remove the automatic changing to "available", but leave the email in place. See issue (Estimate: 10 hours; also requires translation)
  • Add message access in-app for apps: Add message access to at least the Android app and possibly the IOS app. (Android estimate: 120 hours)
  • Android app visual redesign: The Android app has a dated visual appearance and a bit of an odd UI. See issue with mockups. (Estimate: 120 hours)
  • Text Search Improvements: Currently one text box lets you search for fullname, username, email, town/city, but it's a bit of a mess and can be much improved. 1) Separate boxes for user and location name search, 2) Best-effort matching when people provide a state/province/country (which currently just fails).
  • Double-blind feedback: We have a system problem where negative or neutral feedback sometimes provokes retaliatory feedback, leading to conflict and problems. It's critical for all members to feel "safe" leaving feedback, so this is an important problem. In double-blind feedback, new feedback is not actually published visibly until the other party has given feedback or a particular time period has passed. Both are notified when the other leaves feedback, but they don't see it right away. This encourages reasonable, non-retaliatory feedback. This feature will require significant community education. (Estimate: 30 hours)
  • Required-by-2016 Site Security Upgrade: The version of Drupal on which Warmshowers.org is built will cease to be maintained from a security perspective in early 2016. It also depends on an obsolete version of the PHP language (PHP 5.3) which is hardly supported now and will be completely abandoned in 2017. To resolve this we have to upgrade the site to Drupal 7. Unfortunately, the Drupal project chooses to break APIs freely when doing major releases, so this is a major job, and has not yet been fully estimated. It will almost certainly require a minimum of 400 hours of work. Warmshowers.org is currently running a secure version of Drupal on a server maintained properly with security patches. We just want to make sure we can still say that next year. See issue. (Note that this is not included in the poll, as it's non-negotiable, we just have to figure out how to get it done.)

Results of the 2015 poll:

Feature Poll Results

Comments

Mobile app

A mobile app for Windows Phone users would be much appreciated.

Windows App - wtg!

I second that - there is an ever growing windows Mobile user base out there.

We have Windows Phone...

We already have a Windows Phone app, https://www.warmshowers.org/mobile -

But I'm not familiar with the different types of phones so maybe that one doesn't work for you? I think Kurt would consider updating the app if it doesn't work for you, especially if he knew the demand was there.

On 'Dubble-blind Feedback'

Would not this feature in the end lead up to the fact that replies in which ever way could voluntarily be filtered out, i.e. if you are good guest/host, & do not want that to be seen, then you could theoretically dismiss any reference that would lead to an idea of you being 'such & so'?

Personally what I find great about the WS-site, is that I would not judge a person on their references alone - in fact I never look at them -, I simply let myself in on each new person that I happen to meet.

Hi there! I couldn't fit

Hi there!

I couldn't fit these in:

Double-blind feedback add >
Simplified hosting request add >

Thanks for this amazing site!

ildi

Responsiveness on direct reply

Hi,

the one thing on top of my personal priority list of "nice to have on WS" is that you find a way for the direct (mail-to-mail) reply to also count on the responsiveness. I always reply when people write me, but since some of it happens outside the WS site, my responsiveness is only 67% and that is sad.

Secondly is homepage layout: most people go here to find a host. Turn the homepage into a super simple, search oriented interface - and put gadgets like latest review and WS news down in the bottom somewhere. Get inspired by www.airbnb.com - they know what people want on their site. :)

Thanks for a great site.

/Morten

responsiveness

I completely agree with the Morton. I think my responsiveness rating is higher than that--but really it should be 100% because I have responded to every message or email I have ever received, usually within minutes or at the most hours.

Responsiveness is critical to an organization like this. I am a board member of another organization in which the lack of responsiveness is, I think, the most serious issue faced.

Mail-to-mail is completely counted

If you use email to reply to an message notification, that goes through the site and is counted in your responsiveness. If you use phone or text, it's not. Or if somebody gives you a direct email address, then of course the site can't figure out that you've replied.

I think one of the things we should do is instead of saying a percent, we should say "Great", "Middling", "Horrible", and "None". That way wonderful people who care about their responsiveness wouldn't see annoying statistics.

Please see the [My Responsiveness is Wrong](https://www.warmshowers.org/faq#t22n83921) FAQ, which explains how to fix your responsiveness too...

Drupal survey

Would this not be a non-negotiable item as well--necessary for the upgrade?

Yes, it's also a

Yes, it's also a non-negotiable. Just trying to make sure that everybody understands what's going on. Thanks!

Security upgrade

You store a great deal of personal data on travelers and hosts. A breach could seriously harm the great work you have done.

The reason the security

The reason the security upgrade not included is that it's just got to happen, regardless of the choices in this poll. It's our highest priority item (but also HUGE).

Note that the site is already secure, and running on a secure server. This work is proactive, to make sure we don't get into a place we don't want to be in a year.

Good Job, Warmshowers Workers!!

You folks are doing a simply stellar job of communicating with your users on this potential upgrade. Clearly, whatever the outcome of this survey, it will mean SO much work for you!!! But the outcome will be an even better community service than the wonderful one it already is. Kudos, hugs, and many thanks to all involved!!

Not that techy

As a user of the site, I can vote for things I know I would improve my experience. However, I am not techy enough to judge whether a Drupal 7 upgrade survey etc. is needed. From my point of view, that is behind the scenes. I leave that assessment to your good judgement. Keep up the fantastic work!

I can't figure this out.

I can't figure this out. There are 12 items to consider. I don't understand what "add" means, but if I click on "add" after one of the items, it seems to randomly pick some other item and show it with an (X) after it. It says 5 choices remaining. So I only am supposed to consider 6 of the 12? And what does the (X) mean? Does that mean I'm voting for it? What if I don't like the idea?

In the email you sent, it says to "drag and drop" the features that are most important to me. Drag and drop where?

It also says "Add a comment." when I click on that, nothing happens.

Hmm. Bottom line for me is that the Warm Showers has worked fine for me the way it is.

Now that I've written this, what do I do? I clicked on "Input format." I have no idea what that's about. Now I'll try clicking on "Save." Will that send this to someone, or does it just "save" it on my page?

Sorry - it's not easy. You're

Sorry - it's not easy. You're adding things from the left column and putting them into the right column, where you can rank them by dragging them higher or lower. It's definitely not perfect, but we appreciate your feedback!

Traveler Location Tracking

I thought about this one for a long time. I can see where it could be beneficial if there is time pressure on the arrival of a guest, or the location of a breakdown or rescue, but it should totally be at the discretion of the traveler...otherwise it is just creepy. The traveler should be able to turn it on and off at will.

Good survey, folks. Thanks to the WS staff for all you do to make this such a great resource for bicyclists.

The traveler should be able

The traveler should be able to opt in or out of tracking. I'd be very uncomfortable knowing someone could track me.

voting

Hi, please follow up on listed changes, thank=you for your consistent work

Fantastic service

I have been so amazed by the hospitality of people who have hosted me. I don't know if improving the Android app and making one for iPhones is a better use of resources than just making the website more mobile friendly. Either way, that is a good use of resources. (The security issue is a must, but I don't know about specifics.

repllies

the two of us get the same messages. if we both don't reply it counts as a non-response. also, if a traveler sends us a message after visiting, if we both don't respond it counts as a non-response. a fix is appreciated.

Availability

As both a host and guest, I believe the most valuable feature would be to delete "hosts" that have a low response rate. Example: in the past two years, I have contacted every so called host in Key West, Florida. Only one "host" had the courtesy to respond. No point in having a map showing "hosts" if the response rate is 0%. Thanks.

Reason for "responsiveness" improvement

Exactly - that's what we'll be able to do when we implement the feature about making the responsiveness more usable. We'll at least make unresponsive hosts "not available", or long-term delete them. We already delete members each year who haven't logged in for the previous year (after contacting them several times).

Guests & hosts

I would also like to have a way to ensure that guests rate their hosts. I was very excited to host twice in two years and to begin to have a rating so that other travelers would feel comfortable contacting us. They left no feedback even after I contacted them and asked for feedback. I feel much more comfortable contacting a host when I see comments from their guests. Traveling solo, I'm unlikely to contact a host who has no feedback information.

Feedback

Thanks for this comment. We have hosted many, many more cyclists than ever post feedback. It makes us look like we may not want to host. Is there a way to gently remind guests that they have not left feedback? Feedback is especially important for those who are just starting out and really would like to have feedback with their profile.

Only if responsiveness is accurate

I agree with you, but only if responsiveness is tied to preferred notice and there's a way to record responses "outside of the system." My preferred response is usually set at two days. If you get a hold of me 24 hours in advance and I don't respond I don't think that should negatively affect me. Also, if you send me a message on warmshowers.org which has your phone number in it I typically just call you instead of responding through the site. There should be a way to record that so it reflects in responsiveness.

Keep high request areas in mind

I agree that hosts should reply, and that it's frustrating when they don't. But I also know that responding to all requests in some places can be overwhelming.

I've now lived in two very high request areas--LA, at the south end of the incredibly heavily traveled ACA Pacific Coast route, and in Miami Beach, only one block off the ACA East Coast route. I often receive 2-3 requests in a single week, sometimes multiple requests in a day, and I average about one request per week year-round. EVERY ONE of my guests in Miami Beach has been headed to the hamlet of Key West, Florida. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a host there, rather than in a bigger city like Miami where there are more hosts to absorb all the requests! If I lived in Key West, I'd want to make my home available to travelers, but I'd be overwhelmed by requests, and probably wouldn't respond all the time. Sometimes I feel this way anyway, with only one request per week on average.

So, I'd be careful about deleting hosts who don't always respond. It's easy and, as another user notes, exciting to respond and host twice in two years. It's a totally different thing to get requests constantly. I'm all for marking folks who never respond as inactive or unavailable, but those with low response rates, like some of the folks in Key West--well, I understand why they don't always reply.

Rather than deleting these low responders, I'd just encourage travelers to use response rates to make informed messaging decisions. If a host's response rate is low, there may be a reason--and you have the information you need to decide whether that host is worth sending a message to or not.

couchsurfing integration

i can only speak for myself but i'd like very much NOT to integrate w/couchsurfing. i like the... purity, for lack of a better word, of an all-cycling community. couch surfing is another "game" altogether and distinctly different from the warmshowers mission. frankly, we'd be tempted to leave the group if it came under the same umbrella.

that said, if all you're lkg for is a link in your profile, that'd be ok. just don't want to water down the group here w/the ginormous backpacker population.

ymmv, of course.
best,
s

Weeding out non-active members

After while, members no longer use the site and their email address rot. But, they still show up in the map. I'd suggest pinging them after a specified amount of time passes between logins, say one year. If they respond to one by logging in, they stay active. If not, mark them inactive and after some time delete them.
Path is may be under "user responsiveness" but that isn't clear.

some filtering is not desired

Hi - As hosts, we want people of all ages to come stay. My wife and I are nearing 60 and 70 years of age. If only geezers like us choose to stay with me, it will become a much less interesting experience for us.

yes !

Moreover, adding lots of infos will get warmshowers.org to become a "facebook-like" website, like couchsurfing has become. Do we really want this ?

AGREE! Keep filtering to a minimum!

I really agree with Steve Reiter! Others may see things differently, but one of my favorite parts of warmshowers is how it does NOT segregate by age or by other demographic criteria. In my opinion this helps make it much less "clique-y" than other sites, like couchsurfing. Let's keep in that way!

Note that this is not to say that other safety/comfort related issues might not have a place on profiles, like gay friendly or not, as mentioned above--there is a slippery slope/"where do you draw the line" issue here. But in general, I'd advocate for keeping demographic/personal characteristic info to a minimum, and let a simple and shared love/appreciation of cycle touring unite warmshowers users.

I agree!!!

I agree so much! If you are part of a community like WS, you should be open to meet all kinds of people, not only people your age, sex, religion and so on!

Not tech savvy

I can see that mobile app improvement would help. We do not use them, yet but we've heard several complaints on the road that it doesn't work well.
We've never had a bad guest, but I'm wondering how I would report a bad guest, if we did. On the other hand, we've had some different hosts. One locked us out of the house from 9PM to 5:30 AM so we had to use their backyard for toilet facilities. We were on their back porch, so nicely out of the rainy weather. They also wanted us to leave by 6:30AM. It is their home, their prerogative, but it would be good to know this before we got there. We had no problem leaving by 6:30AM, but as a host, I know that many of our guests sleep in.

Member Profiles

It would be helpful for me and my partner to know if hosts are gay friendly. We always ask prospective hosts, but this potentially leads to awkward situations.

Responsiveness

Hi. I voted for responsiveness integration but only if you rework how responsiveness is calculated. Mine is currently shown as 33%, but this is misleading to potential guests. There are two scenarios where I believe responsiveness is not a good indicator.

The first scenario is when people leave me their contact information (phone or email) in their Warm Showers message. If I respond directly by phone, email, or text without responding through the site no data is collected.

The second scenario is that people contact me after my preferred notice period is up. My preferred notice is 48 hours but I frequently get 24 hour or even same day notice. I believe it is unfair for the site to penalize me (by reducing my perceived desirability as a host) because I don't respond immediately, even though I've made it clear that I need a certain amount of advance notice. Many people have preferred notices longer than 48 hours and I would expect them to experience the same issue.

My opinion...

This website is great; also new design and possibilities.
But I would just advice to keep it simple !
WS is not a social network;
I don't care about reading how cool is the person I contact, knowing what is his favorite movie, or the most amaaaziing thing he done or whatever...
I don't want to feel like in a "host supermarket" searching for the great one to meet.
(That's exactly what I feel with the Couchsurfing and the reason why I don't use it anymore)
I know that many people now travel with their connected technologies allways searching for the new app, the geolocation, weather forecast...
But not so far before, the traveler's hosting list was just a sheet of paper with adresses and phone number
and for of bicycle traveler, it's enough I think.

Cheers

thomas

Yup.

Agree. Totally, completely agree.

I've not used the site as a

I've not used the site as a bike traveler and have hosted only a few riders, but am satisfied with the site as it is. I'm not into the new electronic wizardry/gadgets nor do I depend on them for participating in Warmshowers. As far as I'm concerned, if a rider can e-mail and/or call me to arrange a bed for the night, that's all that's needed. I won't like if if Couchsurfing or any other social networking things are incorporated. We're bicyclists!

Don's comment

I agree: keep it simple, keep it for cyclists.

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