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Currently Available

First off please excuse this if there is a forum topic already on this. I did a couple of searches and didn't find a current topic.

With that said, is it just me? I am currently riding around the perimeter of the US and I am now 135 days into my trip. I have only spent about 9 nights with Warm Showers hosts and every one of them have been great. I want to know if anyone else is frustrated by this one thing.

I can't tell you how many times I am sitting on the side of the rode looking for someplace to stay for the night. I look for hosts and I have to spend so much time looking through profiles just to find out that the person is NOT available because of ________ . Why is it so hard to mark your own profile as Unavailable if you are actually unavailable? The majority of time I look for a host I find at least one that although they show up on the phone app and the status is Available only to find out that they are not. I don't mean that they are out for the night and can't host that day, I mean they are on their own tour or somewhere else completely.

Is there a way we can report hosts who really are not available to host?

P.S. before anyone wants to scold me for same day request. I understand that could be an issue for many. I am not on any definitive schedule and I don't know how far I may make it each day. So for me I think it is better to ask the day of when I know that I will be there vs. a day or two out and not show up and have to cancel. Please try to keep the replies relevant to people keeping the their status's current.

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Common concern

Scott,

I just traveled down the California Coast and heard this concern from many. We are trying to make adjustments to the site that will filter out people who have poor response rates.

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Reminders

Updating status could be a constant reminder topic on a newsletter when WS delivers one.

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i understand where you are coming from

As an active host, I do make it a very high priority to block out those times that I am truly not available.
I even felt guilty for forgetting to change my status before I entered the hospital, but it was off season
and I did not get any requests while I was in, but did the day after I got out.
But I have noticed many riders and hosts while I have snooped around the website that do a very poor job
of communicating their actual status. For example people who I have just hosted and when I go to leave
feedback for them, note that they have still have themselves listed as available even though I know they are just a day down the road
and many from home. , I do try to give them a gentle reminder to update their profile
It is frustrating that is this day when communication is so easy to do, that folks do not have the courtesy to do it.

to change their status
okay back to work Pedal safe
Kevin

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Guilty

Yes, sometimes I have to tell people I can't host because I am out of town or busy doing something else. The simple fact is that hosting for Warm Showers is a very small part of my life and updating my profile every time I go away for a weekend is a very low priority. If I remember to do it, I will, if not... too bad.

I do agree with you though that people who are away for an extended time - on their own tour, for instance - should definitely put themselves as unavailable!

WS Member WS Member's picture
I can not agree more!

I do see both sides on this, but I only update my profile if I am truly gone for a longer period of time.

When I plan my tours, I start with a general inquiry (several) months in advance for general status and then confirm shortly before getting closer, with the confirmation I received earlier.

Although I am not opposed to instant inquiries, due to my own schedule, the shaky (=moody) consent of my husband and the never ending other "guest" flogging in at any time, unfortunately I may not be available to host for several weeks at a time. In those cases I don't want to update my profile and a simple "sorry, I can't right now" needs to suffice.
Of course, I am sad when this happens to me on the road, but I do understand that nothing is perfect all the time. Guess we all can still benefit from the tiny bit of improvement that we can work on for ourselves ;)

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Profile

I can live with not changing status for "....I may not be available to host for several weeks at a time." If people like you answer an inquiry with .... "sorry, I can't right now". My big issue is that people take time to update their profile and actually write in the profile that they are unavailable to host for XXXX amount of time because they are away for XXXX reason. If a host can take the time to update their profile then they can easily change the status to unavailable. I truly get aggravated having to take time to read profiles just to see if they are available. It waists my time and frustrates me when I am trying to find a place to stay for the night.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Warmshowers is currently

Warmshowers is currently taking in 80-100 new members each day. As long as those members are all signed up as available to host unless they intervene to change the setting we are going to continue having non-hosts clogging the map and list searches of WS members on tour (in fact members who do the bare minimum to sign up to WS will not only be available to host but also pushed to the top of list searches).

Have a look at London now - those hosts who have not marked their location and are put at 0km from the city centre now extend beyond the first page (ie > 50) . Of that first page of 50, 32 hosts mention only their planned trips on their profile and nothing about hosting - why are we making it so hard for guests to find hosts and for genuine hosts to be found?

Good luck getting anyone from WS to explain this counterproductive policy, all I've had is evasion or silence.
eg:
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/131361
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/133054

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hosting status

Overall information of many profiles and this is not limited to Warmshowers is lacking. I wish there was a way to have a bare minimum be forced to be filled out before an account could become active. I was surfing another hospitality exchange to find a place to stay and made an inquiry to a profile with minimum info in more out of curiosity than actually wanting to stay with this host. I pointed out to him that his profile was barely there and did ask about staying for a night. He did respond with " i have no interest in hosting" I wanted to write back then why did you even sign up? his is just clutter to wade through.
If there was a way to sort by filled out profile / activity level and not just nearness to city it would help.
Also forced educating new people who sign up by taking them thru some minimum steps while they become a member would help
Okay off my soap box.

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Lack of informative profiles

Lack of informative profiles is not limited to WS but the difference is that the other hospex sites don't sign up people as available to host by default and thus stats on host availability have tended to reflect a far more realistic figure of around 20-30% of total membership

As I have mentioned before it would work better if list searches were sorted by length of time as members (as they used to be), last login time or even randomly. By sorting by distance from city centre and by giving those who sign up with the bare minimum in their profile hosting status and 0km from city centre as location we are just pushing non hosts to the top of list searches.

Having a bare minimum amount of info in the profile as a requirement won't improve the situation much when new members are still marked as available by default (ie - they will still tend to jump through the minimum amount of hoops required, and thus we will end up with tons of non-hosts with slightly more complete profiles, but non-hosts all the same).

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Lack of (profile) info = No hosting

I love WS and had only great experiences so far.
When I signed up and was "new" to the site, I put some pride into my initial profile so the (first) hosts can make an informed decision if they would like to welcome me into their home.

So: If a new member, who has never before hosted anyone, does not provide sufficient detail about him/herself either in their profile or the introduction email, then, at that point, it is most likely that I am not willing to host.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Lack of (profile) info = No hosting

I can understand; However, I don't think that is the same thing as keeping the host status current or not. I feel that if a host is not going to be available for an extended amount of time that they change the status to unavailable so that riders don't have to weed through a bunch of people who can't host. It makes it worst when you read a profile and they took the time to put in the profile, that they are unavailable, but still don't change the status.

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Agreed, I do the same with

Agreed, I do the same with the requests I receive. 20 minutes filling out your profile or 5 mins writing a request of something more than a generic single sentence isn't much to ask to have a stranger invite you into their home but I don't see how this ameliorates the problem that we have signed up and marked as available to host tens of thousands of members who had no intention of hosting nor the fact that we are apparently going to continue with this practice. How long before the task of finding a genuine host in a populated area is something akin to finding a needle in a haystack?