Many don't answer

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Many don't answer

I crossed Spain last may with my bike. I asked for hospitality on WS in the cities of Santander, Burgos, Leon, Salamanca, Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga.
Many did not answer, few replied that they couldn't accommodate me, only one welcomed me.
It would be better unsubscribe from WS if you can not or do not want to host.

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Hi Enzo.

Hi Enzo.
I had the exact same experience in Barcelona at the end of april ;-(. As long as they replay they are not available for the specific night I think its absolutly ok. But not to answer, even just a few words, is not friendly.
Maybe it's a culture difference. Or the hosts in big cities get to many requests to answer each and everyone. For me it would be normal to answer within one or tow days; but I'm swiss and live in the countryside and have only 10-20 requests per year.
I hope you will have better experiences in the future.
regards Christof

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I think it would be nice if

I think it would be nice if WS Admin would send a year email to everyone and ask them to rejoin otherwise they are automatically removed form the list (or say sent after 1 year of inactivity). It could be as simple as the email having a button to click to automatically renew your membership, nothing else needed. But if you do not click, you are removed. This would reduce the list to those who are more willing to help. Just my thoughts. Best, John

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They Do

They actually do. If you haven't logged in for a year you will get an email reminder. If you then log in you're good to go, if not you'll be removed. It's essentially the same as you suggest.

The issue is a bit more complicated than that. I'd rather see a system based on response to requests, or lack thereof. I've been an active member for a good stretch of time but I did once receive a reminder even though I hosted during that time. My account is set up to have everything forwarded to my email address and I respond directly to the emails without logging in for the most part. So logins are not necessarily a good indicator of who's active or not.

...Michelle

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Purge

We do this annually. Earlier this year, we deleted over 20,000 inactive profiles.

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In the summer i will drive

In the summer i will drive from Belgium to the South of France. In 10 days, ik asked 5 times to host me, only one answered my question. After al we have to book something else. I guess it is not a big effort to answer you can't host.

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From the tenor of your post

From the tenor of your post you seem to believe that "a community for touring cyclists and hosts" is for people who drive.

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"From the tenor of your post

"From the tenor of your post you seem to believe that 'a community for touring cyclists and hosts' is for people who drive."

Non-native speakers of English, unaware of the finer distinctions of motion verbs, often use ‘drive’ for ‘ride a bike’. Just recently there was a discussion here on the forum where a host was confused by this wording in a request from a European guest, but it turned out that the traveler really was going exclusively by bike. Considering that Nick’s profile mentions his fondness for bikes, to accuse him of believing WS is for non-bike travelers is a reach.

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I did not know the motion

I did not know the motion verb issue. Thank you for that.

Your fondness for inflammatory language is less helpful. "Seem to believe" is not even close to an "accusation", and shows where your mind is more than my own. 'Seem' invites other explanations, which you kindly provided. Beyond the contribution, please stop trying to pick fights on this forum.

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Perhaps you should stop

Perhaps you should stop trying to pick fights. The attitude you give off in recent posts is awfully confrontational, as if it is your personal duty to discourage any "misuse" of WS outside the bounds of your strict ideas about the network. It was completely out of order for you to earlier claim that using WS heavily on a trip is unacceptable – you might personally not want to host such travelers, but such comments are awfully insensitive to your fellow hosts, who often go out of their way to ensure that their guest has another host the next night. Your response to poor Nick above could only be read in the light of the suspicion you have already evinced here.

Incidentally, when your complaining is challenged by another member and you reply "That's why WS is such a flexible forum. You can host the criteria you believe strengthens the system and we can host what we believe strengthens the system," the appearance of that rhetoric has historically been the death knell for any hospex community qua tightknit community. Not only is WS “beyond saving” now in terms of your own personal standards, but your posts and those of others here do suggest that the community is rapidly fracturing. From what little Ken has said about the next website update, I suspect this decreasing sense of community is only going to get worse.

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Chris,

Chris,

If anyone has any question about my care and protection for this community, they only have to read my profile. :-)

This community may "fracture". It started very small. 4 years ago, when I signed up, there were just 30,000 members. It was a simple community. Now, we have people signing up to tour on E-bikes, hostels signing up who give touring cyclists "the first night free", and homeless people who are not cyclists who are just wanting to get a shower. So we are growing, and have had growing pains over the last few years because of this. The present technology in the Drupal site can not adequately handle the volume of members today, and that is why we are moving ahead to the upgraded new site. But this is just about the "nuts and bolts".

There is always attrition in any organization. As we shift through the next incarnation of Warmshowers.org, there will certainly be some pushback and difficulty with adjustment. There will also be new things like cool jerseys and stickers, and an upgraded newsletter, that will help attract more interested cyclists and hosts into the community. As protective as I am over this community, I am excited about the changes and looking towards the future of this organization.

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Seems like we disagree on

Seems like we disagree on more than is worth forum time. But thanks for all your views. It is good to hear them.

How 'bout them Mets!

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Look at the response rate

The response rates are displayed in the profile. I would not even write to hosts with low response rates.

But if they also have a cell-phone number listed, I might send a text message to remind them of a request.

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This is common throughout the

This is common throughout the group, New Zealand, Europe, USA, we have had the same problem in all these places. A city like San Diego for example, very few people who are listed bother to answer. When checking the response rate, also look at the last time they were on-line, if they have not logged-in in the last year they are probably not going to reply to your request.

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San Diego

There are a few hosts in San Diego who are readily available, and usually take the brunt of all the others who do not respond.

I think of using warm showers like I think of hitch hiking: it is only a part of my journey, and if I choose to stick out my thumb, that does not mean anybody is going to stop.

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Not a dig at SD

I was not having a dig at San Diego, it was just the last place where we had tried and failed to find a host. After sending several messages and not getting replies we opted for Airbnb where the response rate is much higher (probably because they make money out of it).

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Enzo Ottolini is right

Pretty simple: if you do not host, or you're never available, or you never reply..... either you pay (a fee, 20$, 30$, 50$, whatever to WS), or you can't be a guest as your account will be atuomatically deleted.

It's morally unfair to be the first to ask and the last one to give. Do you know what I mean?!

And this is a place for sharing, not for saving money while not giving a s%$t about others in need.

Giovanni

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Our response

If we received a request on the itinerary Enzo listed, we would reject it, too. Seven hosting requests for a ride across one country is abusive of WS hosting in our opinion. We would answer, and politely, but decline to host. Hosts not answering IS an answer, not to the cyclist who deserves a reply, but to the larger WS community who shows signs of tiring from far too many substandard requests. That should not be interpreted as not wanting to offer hospitality.

We have come to believe that the ready availability of WS hosting has changed the nature of cycle-touring, and not for the better.

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Not answering is also an

Not answering is also an answer, and not always a problem. I am not sure I would answer a request by Enzo. Or I might decline. He has no recommendations as a guest, nor as a host. I can understand that in the case of young people, but Enzo is even older than myself.

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He has been a member for only

He has been a member for only two months and, according to his profile, he has received no requests so he could not have hosted even if he wanted to. I'd hold off the judgement for just a while longer.

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No one is judging the poster.

No one is judging the poster. Replier Pieter only observed that given the information before him, when a request must be dealt with in real time, there were more standard red flags than not. That is an evaluation, not a judgment. I'm sure that poster Enzo, since he took time to come to the forum, will develop into a fine WS member.

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"Seven hosting requests for a

"Seven hosting requests for a ride across one country is abusive of WS hosting in our opinion"

I find that a very peculiar perspective. I see no problem with people using WS for every night of their tour if they are considerate guests and they contribute to the network as hosts when they are home. After all, it is so very common for hospitality exchange hosts to connect their guests with people (either other hospex hosts or ordinary hospitable people) whom they know further down the road, so that the traveler has a support network while in country.

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That's why WS is such a

That's why WS is such a flexible forum. You can host the criteria you believe strengthens the system and we can host what we believe strengthens the system. I disagree with your perspective, but if I called it 'peculiar' it would be a value judgment, and so never occur to me to impose on someone else. There is value in your perspective and experience, and there is value in ours.

The poster stated an opinion that aligns with your own. The problem isn't his opinion. Rather, he supposed that everyone should align with WS as he understands it, or they should stop hosting. Presumptuous for a two-month member with no other visible participation in the community.

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Yes, that also raised my

Yes, that also raised my eyebrows.

But I looked him up: he has written a book about cycling in Israel. http://www.amicidellabicicletta.it/spip/spip.php?article2269
That makes him more interesting for me. I would accept a request for one night.

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That would certainly be a

That would certainly be a cogent prerogative of yours. Perhaps the new member will glean that if he put that kind of information in his profile, hosts would have important, weighty, positive information with which to evaluate the request. Like it did for you!.

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People with no feedback

I find it strange when people say they wont host a member with no feedback as a host or guest. How are you supposed to get that feedback if no one hosts you?

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You host first

You host first. You learn the ethos of cycle-touring from others on the road. So that when it is your turn to request hospitality, the experience with hosts is devoid of the courtesy, respect and administrative problems that often accompany inexperienced tourists who do not understand the contours of cycle touring, and which make it the special activity it is. You may not agree with that, but that doesn't make it strange.

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Some members may very well

Some members may very well wish to host but might be living in an area that sees no bicycle touring traffic. So they'd be excluded from being hosted through no real fault of their own. Of course we all set our own criteria but we wouldn't deny someone based solely on the fact that they have no feedback.

...Michelle

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If someone sought

If someone sought accommodation but hosting had been beyond their reach, they'd only have to say why. We would look to the profile to see what they did to work with their circumstance. Have they tried to assist others who can host in their area, or who can host more often? Have they offered to help with expenses of local hosting, or had those local hosts over for a BBQ? If they are on the road, have they ever stayed over a day with a host, to clean or help with repairs or upkeep that comes with hosting? Are they supporting the WS administrative network?

Any cyclist who shows that they believe WS is more than just a website and that membership encompasses a living community fibre will be received warmly. Instead, in our area the majority of requests, probably the vast majority, are from people on a schedule that prioritizes miles and speed, and who never log in again after their journey is complete.

Over the years we have heard every 'what if' for why people can accept WS hospitality but can do no more. It is our opinion WS is an organization, and cycle-touring is an event, worthy of the higher standard that has always set cycle touring apart from other activities..

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On the subject of feedback

On the subject of feedback and hosting, my son and I did a 2 month tour and he signed up about a month before the ride, me only days. He found WS because of his familiarity with using the internet and research for the ride. Obviously for several posters above we wouldn't have been worthy of anything beyond a NO reply.

For the most part our tour was not on established bike routes and for the first half there were few WS hosts except in the cities. For the first month we got more help from random strangers we would meet in a town than WS hosts. We were green bike tourists and so we only planned a day at a time and possibly that contributed to a lot of non-responses (silence) when we tried (usually first thing in the morning) to find a host for that evening. My son did almost all of the electronic contact work and he of course got the feedback. Now our roles are reversed, I live close to an ACA route, he lives 5 miles away and I have hosted a number of tourists, he got his first contact just this week and they ended up not coming for some unknown reason (they did contact to decline). All but one of our guests did just like we did, contacted us on the day they were looking for lodging. Most of them were anywhere from completely new to having only done a couple long rides.

My comment to anyone is to give the person with little or no feedback a chance. They may turn out to be a freeloader on the WS community or they may find it's a great thing to be involved in. There seems to be no way of flagging bad apples (I had one, there are threads on the "with Visitors" sub-forum) so really, if you are going to be so picky, put it prominently at the top of your profile WILL NOT TAKE NEWBIES. It may have saved us some unnecessary uncertainty. I hope the WS admins will continue to try and weed out inactive members. It's disheartening to see a dozen hosts listed in a city and get NO responses (or very occasionally, days after we were there). We tried to set up a several day ride from Boston to home and had no luck at all on our route down through the northern tier of CT where we would have been the first night.

Just a wild idea but it would be cool if somehow we could request lodging through the WS map. Put down two markers on your route in the area where you would be in the evening and WS would send out a mass request to all active hosts within 5 or 10 (distance specifiable) miles of the line between those points. It would make it easy to request from anyone in the area even if their pin didn't pop up on your map which was a problem we had a couple times until we zoomed way in or were closer than a day's ride away. If you don't want to host on short notice you would have to opt out of that type of search but WS soon would be able to gather the data on people that are active and those that don't really participate in hosting.

Should have posted this below Ken Francis below, clicked the wrong link.

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Eric, thank you for your

Eric, thank you for your heartfelt perspective. Its great, really great, to see an experience that came full circle. You have learned the inordinate power of cycle touring, and are now giving back.

I'd like to comment on one thing in particular that I believe puts it all in good perspective. While there are freeloaders and frauds on WS, none of them are new people seeking accommodation while on a bike trip! If someone avails WS hospitality nightly and are never heard from them again, it is OK, because that is well within WS site purpose. The experience is paid forward somewhere else. At the same time, people with hosting criteria also serve the purpose. No one who comes through our town is turned away; hosts with widely different experience work together. The annoying part of this strength is only when someone else believes that anyone else who does not host in line with their opinions should leave.

The totality of your experience is the poster child that makes the WS concept go. What host grapple with in some places (and, I argue, cause them to tire of responding) is that for every one of 'you' there is someone who come through who test boundaries by anyone's standard: corporate eating contracts while they are on the road (Olive Garden no less!), other corporate or money-making ventures, credit-card hotel travel unless WS can save them money, driving to the edge of town and cycling in, or coming through with little to no gear at all. It goes on and on; I'm sure Ken has heard them all. At some point, the sanctity of bicycle touring loses its critical mass. As long as your experience is the exception and not the rule, it is understandable why a problem with hosts responding develops.

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Why make requests in the

Why make requests in the morning? Why not the evening before?

There is a huge risk that I do not see requests that are made in the morning before it is too late to make a response. When I see it the evening before, there is still time to adjust dinner arrangements and other plans for the next evening, talk about the upcoming guest with family members, etcetera. Sorry, but I find this really weird.

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Pieter, the tenor of this

Pieter, the tenor of this thread seems to be about a lot of short fuses for how other people host. Eric's method is different, but is it 'really weird'? It may be that he has good reason for this, or that it works for him for some reason, that it may have merit you'd not considered before, or that you have given him a new idea that will work better. All four of those possibilities have a positive outcome. 'Really weird' is language that probably does not.

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When people are complaining

When people are complaining about unresponsive hosts, this habit of sending requests in the morning of the same day seems a likely explanation. I am just pointing out that hosts are not like hotels. We often have day jobs, few of us do monitor the site at hourly intervals.

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I'm sure that he reads this

I'm sure that he reads this and learns from your experience, Pieter.

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Actually I was incorrect. In

Actually I was incorrect. In talking to my son here in the last hour, he did do a lot of that contact work in the evening for the next day. I wasn't the one in charge of that, he's better in the contacting possible hosts category. If nothing came through overnight we spent some time the next morning seeing if we could change the distance or a minor route change for the day to try and make something work. Sorry for making it sound like we didn't want to give notice. We did get a host or two with only a couple hours notice, but most were longer notice.

Since I have become a host, all but one of our guests contacted us the day of. I carry a phone and will hear email, text or phone calls so it works for me. YMMV. Since I experienced what it was like, I will do to our guests what I would have liked on the trip. Funny note, the one guest with more than a day's notice was 5 MONTHS planned ahead. They ended up doing some long hard days to keep to their plans. I don't think they were quite familiar enough with miles vs kilometers. :-D

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I have often hosted cyclists

I have often hosted cyclists without references (especially young people), and given them their first recommendation. But this poster had been hosted, yet does not have a single reference. For me, that is a huge red flag. But as I said, I am curious about his experiences in Israel/Palestine, and I would take the risk for one night.

Also, older people generally have better opportunities to host than a young person in student housing. The poster lives in a nice region of Italy.

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I don't see why that should

I don't see why that should be a red flag. I generally don't leave references for my guests, and the reluctance of many (most?) members to use the reference system at all has been a subject of complaint by a few people on this forum. It might be that his former hosts enjoyed his company, but they simply would not have left him a reference unless he expressly asked them for one. Now a negative reference, that would be a red flag.

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Keeping Profiles Active

It is frustrating when hosts are marked as available only to not respond, or respond unavailable. It can be discouraging when entering a large city and seeing several hosts, only to hear back from none, or in your case, one. This is why members need to be responsible, keeping their status active (if they mark unavailable, they will not appear on the map). If you see a host has a low response rate, little to no feedback received and little to no feedback given, I would pretty much consider that an inactive host and not bother to contact them (with any expectations of a response).

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This is why members should

This is why members should not be signed up as available to host by default. What is the rationale behind WS's insistence on this practice?

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Well, I think to respond that

Well, I think to respond that I'm not available is totally ok. I'm not a hotel... (even a hotel can be fully booked).
My expectation to myself is to respond to every request within 24 hours. - But I'm not changing my status on WS every day when I'm basically at home. When I'm out for sports, cinema, dinner with my wife at the requested day I just respond with a big sorry. But as I said, I'm not changing my status every day 2-3 days in advance to my calendar... And WS does not sync automatically.
I just change WS status when I'm unavailable for more than a week.

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That pretty much sums up my

That pretty much sums up my views as well. I'm referring to those who respond as unavailable, not those who don't respond at all. There is no obligation to host everyone. Everyone has their own limits to how much they can host without sacrificing their personal needs. We don't get a massive amount of requests but we do sometimes decline simply because we just don't want to have a stranger in our home at that particular moment. Sometimes we have to rise at 5:00am to go to work the next day or we just hosted other guests 3 days in a row ...etc, etc. There's nothing wrong with that and it's not realistic to change one's status on a daily basis.

This is not directed at anyone specific but more and more I get the feeling that some members treat this site as an entitlement to free accommodations rather than realizing and respecting that everyone is different and some may simply not want to host on that particular day. We never set out on a trip with the expectation of being able to get Warmshowers hosting along the way. Being hosted occasionally is a bonus when it happens. As stated earlier, we're not a network of free cyclist hotels but living breathing human beings who try to help others when we can and don't when we can't.

Nothing personal, but hey! we're just not in the mood today.

It's frustrating to see the number of "dead" memberships on here. But is it possible that maybe those who are the most disappointed are the ones who thought they stumbled upon a treasure trove of free accommodations rather than a community of touring cyclists and supporters?

...Michelle

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two months on the road and not one hosting

We have now been on the road for two months cycling from the north of France to Portugal. We have sent out approximately 20 requests, received 2 replies both negative. I am ok with the negative response. People have other lives, hosts are not hotels. It is the ones who don't respond at all that disappoint me. On previous tours we had nearly 100% response. We are still in touch with most of the people who hosted us.
I don't know how cyclists can predict where they are going to be more than a day in advance. Flat tires, bad hills, getting lost. I think it is worse to ask for hospitality then not show up than it is to ask the same day.
In the present age of smart phones, it is very unlikely that hosts are not receiving a request. We are 10,000 kilometers from home with an old smartphone and only intermittent reception and we still get email.
In my own case I have decided to refuse to host anyone who has less than a 60% response. I don't care if you never host or have no reviews but if you are too lazy to respond I am too busy to host you. If others would adopt this strategy perhaps some of those trying to take advantage of WS could be culled out.

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I wouldn't disagree that

I wouldn't disagree that reply rates are generally dismal on WS these days, but you might have more success if you added a photograph to your profile. Many hosts on hospitality-exchange networks are inclined to just ignore requests from people without a photo. Pretty much any photograph would be psychologically effective, even if it’s just your bike without you in it. It’s the blank space showing no photo at all that is a turnoff for hosts.

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pictures

As per your suggestion I have posted a picture. Personally I think it is terrible but my wife likes it so that ends that debate.

The truly sad thing about this is that we are fine not being hosted. We have camping gear and a credit card, but we really enjoy meeting other cyclists and learning their stories. One woman we stayed with in Holland cycled around South America by herself. Another couple went around the world raising money for a water project. The fellow we stayed with in Rome introduced us to Hash tag running. These are the experiences that make cycling wonderful. Going along the side of a hot dusty road sucking fumes while trucks wiz by you is what you put up with, not what you go for.

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Shawn

Your picture is great! It totally shows who you are and what you two are all about!

You have received feedback, but have not left any. Some prospective hosts may see this and, like not having a photo, might interpret this as you are travelers who take and do not give back. Leaving feedback is an integral part of the community. It also strengthens your profile!

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Yes, Shawn, your picture IS

Yes, Shawn, your picture IS great! And, really helpful for prospective hosts.

But, as Ken observed, eight years' membership and no feedback given. Feedback for your past host or guest is important for them, but it is not the totality of feedback. Your quality feedback, today, helps good WS travelers, tomorrow. Also, feedback consistently given -- or not given -- about others really helps prospective hosts gauge what kind of person YOU are. Lots of people treat profiles as resumes. Feedback is the real measure of what kind of guest you will be or what kind of people that you consider hosting are. Right now, the WS host community is blind regarding the Killams.

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I stand chastised

I never particularly saw the importance of reviewing hosts. Anybody kind enough to put us up, as long as they are not slaughtering babies for breakfast, is a wonderful person. I never considered it as a resume for us. I will amend my ways.

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Shawn, please, if you feel

Shawn, please, if you feel chastised then I failed. We're all here to make this program the best it can be, and to make cycle touring the best experience around. You have helped to strengthen the community! Look forward to having you pass through our way one day.

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you have not failed

Educated would perhaps be a better term than chastised, but if I am going to rag on others for not responding and I have not lived up to the expectations of the community then I deserve to be chastised. That being said it still irks the crap out of me when people don't have the parts to at least acknowledge an email request. I remain chastised not withstanding.

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Well, Shawn, I would feel

Well, Shawn, I would feel neither chastised nor educated if I were you, since these are hardly the "expectations of the community". One must remember that only a tiny, tiny number of people read the WS forum. Among them are some who are particularly obsessed with the feedback system, but actually traveling through WS reveals their position to be very marginal: I myself have stayed with and hosted a large number of WS members, but I have not left feedback for them, nor have they left feedback for me. (Sending a followup "Thank you for hosting me" e-mail is sufficient to convey gratitude.) Furthermore, these members have recounted stories of past hosts stayed with or cyclists hosted, but there was absolutely no sign of that on their profiles, as neither party exchanged feedback.

I daresay that for the vast majority of WS hosts, all that matters is that a traveler has 1-2 references on their profile to show that they are a bona fide cyclist and not completely anonymous, and after that no further involvement with the feedback system is expected, though one is free to continue soliciting feedback if one really wants it.

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