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ws member count vs responsiveness

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WS Member WS Member's picture
ws member count vs responsiveness

We have been cycling now for about 3 months on our rtw tour. Our experiences with ws in eastern Europe and Turkey have been mixed. I had contacted some of the more responsive hosts way early to ask route advice, and we stayed with a couple of these people. Great experiences!
But more generally speaking we find that many hosts out here are completely unresponsive. What is the point of having people listed on this website if they have 0 responses to 25 requests, or 1 response to 37 requests like two of the three hosts I just found in Erzurum? I fully understand not everyone can host, but being responsive with either a yes or a no should be a prerequisite.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Same thing here in the States

I Agree!
What is the point of listing hosts that are unresponsive.
I am on tour right now and am in Jackson, WY where there are 11 hosts listed.
There is no camping in this town.
Can't rent a hotel room due to lack of funds.
Spent the last week in Yellowstone and the Tetons with no reception.
At the Library and contacted 4 hosts yesterday with no response.
Came back to the Library today and contacted 2 more....
We will see if they are responsive.

This site needs to make a limit to the # of unrepsponses host can have.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I don't think the problem is

I don't think the problem is having them listed (though its quite probable as with many completely unresponsive hosts that they signed up to use WS on a trip or to have a look later and were automatically listed as available to host, that certainly needs to change) the problem is not being able to filter them in searches. If someone wants to host but sees no reason to respond if they are not interested then good luck to them, at least we have the data now and hopefully one day we can apply useful default filters to searches to find responsive members with a history of logging in. Certainly nobody should be messaging a member with a 0/25 response rate expecting anything other than crickets.

For more discussion on this see this thread:

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
We all absolutely agree!

Certainly everyone agrees with you. That's why we show responsiveness on the profile.

In the coming year, you can expect to see people with poor responsiveness automatically set to "not available". We'll also have the capability to select them email them saying "Why aren't you responsive?"

Note that we already delete annually people who haven't logged in for a year.

-Randy Fay Webmaster

WS Member WS Member's picture
"That's why we show

"That's why we show responsiveness on the profile".

Which is not enough, Randy, if you don´t mind me to say so. We need to filter the results BEFORE we manually open every single profile to be able to see what their responsiveness is, which is something useful in every location, and particularly so in big cities with dozens of potentially available hosts .

Even then, the reply ratio per se, as currently implemented, doesn´t tell us much, since a user with a 100% response ratio may have denied hosting 100% of those times.

I sorely miss other filters as well, such as "Minimum amount of feedback", since it helps alleviate the aforementioned problem: people who do reply, but have little to no feedback at all, are not likely to be very active members, even if their "Reply ratio" would seem to indicate otherwise. And of course, if you have a certain amount of feedback is because you´ve earnt it, so I rather have the opportunity to contact those "most likely" first if I need it, or if I am in a hurry, and take my chances with those who don´t have much or any feedback at all, if I can "afford" to do so. As of now, I have no other way to do it but to manually open dozens of profiles at a time, which is not much "filtering" at all.

And I also believe people should be pruned out automatically by the system if they can´t even commit to a minimum "Reply ratio" percentage (If you can´t even bother to say "No" for an extended period of time, you do not deserve to be part of the community, IMO). And yes, I realize WS would be losing a lot of so called "active" members if that were to be implemented, but we would be left with the ones who are actually ready to participate and help out, thus improving WS reliability as a community in the long run, which IMO, is the proper (only?) way to grow.


WS Member WS Member's picture
Whether people host or not is

Whether people host or not is not the issue. We can always take a hotel or camp. I
had several members help us with route planning and general advice about cycling in their countries while they were not able to host us.
My beef is with listing people that have response rates say below 10%. You are pretty much wasting your time contacting them, either for advice or hospitality. I doubt these members themselves actually use warmshowers, but if they contacted me I would probably decline based on their responsiveness rate.
In my opinion there should be a cut-off percentage (with a minimum amount of contacts so someone wouldn't get booted for missing one message) below which members are contacted and with no response removed from the list.
Still though, the couple of hosts we have met have made us believe this organization is a great resource around the world.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Javier, I agree- a

Javier, I agree- a "responsiveness" filter would be great and save a lot of time, esp. when on the road. I'm not so sure about the "minimum amount of feedback" , though. That would make it hard for Newbies and people off the beaten tracks.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Responsiveness filter is a key objective for the coming year.

This has been requested for years, and is one of our priorities for the coming year. It was #3 in the feature poll, So it will happen, thanks to the generosity of the community in funding work like this.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I wouldn't advocate any

I wouldn't advocate any default filters that left members out of searches. As I have said before I would give preference in list searches to a randomised list of hosts that fall within a fairly permissive set of filters (last login < 1 month + reponse rate > 50% or fewer than 4 requests received) before listing the remaining members probably sorted by last login. This would give new hosts a chance to get requests, prevent one host getting all the requests and getting burnt out and incentivise logging in and responding. Ideally these numbers could be tightened up a bit as the site grows. Even in large cities with >100 hosts this would produce a filtered group of around 15-25 which would make life much easier for prospective guests. As it is we are giving new members a terrible first impression of WS. These are the response rates and last login dates of the first host listed in various cities around the world:

Toronto 0/3 24w
Kuala Lumpur 1/6 5w
Melbourne 1/10 35w
Barcelona 9/54 4w
Cape Town 1/10 35w
Mendoza 0/40 1y13w

Eventually custom filters and the ability to order hosts by response rate/number of references/last login/time as a member could be introduced to further refine searches. Hosts in remote areas would not be adversely affected by this as they would still appear on list searches regardless of their last login or response rate (and members would most likely use the map search anyway).

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Randomizing searches

I definitely agree that some searches give the same old thing as the top result, and that's a problem, especially in places with more hosts. So it will be great to address this. I opened to deal with it.

Unregistered anon_user's picture

I have to disagree.
We have 2 IDs in WS. The second came about when it was modernized a while back. According to the records we have not hosted anyone.

Are you merely trying the email in WS, or the phone or email listed/ I am curious.


WS Member WS Member's picture
reply rate

The reply rate is somewhat dubious as such. We replied to all requests and messages (not a single one turns up as unanswered) but still only have 67% in the profile. Looks like this was due to somebody requesting to stay with us and deleting his profile before we even got a chance to reply ...

It would be nice if one could filter the search results for an area a little more, for example availability and number of guests and if you could add a calendar where people can enter their availabilities and also travelling time when they are looking for host in a certain area.

Furthermore, in the search many profile turn up that haven't even been active in the past two or more years. Give them one chance to update and then kick them out.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I'm sure someone in admin

I'm sure someone in admin could look at the response rate for you. As for inactive members - every January, those who haven't logged in for more than 1 year should be removed automatically after being sent a warning mail.

WS Member WS Member's picture
when I searched in Toronto

when I searched in Toronto recently some of the people listed had not been logged in for 2 years ...

WS Member WS Member's picture
I've seen that once or twice

I've seen that once or twice myself, not sure why it happens. Perhaps members only have to respond to the warning mail and therefore don't have to log in.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Specific example needed, thanks :)

If you give a specific example, I can look. But without that I can't. Thanks. At the end of every calendar year we delete those who haven't logged in during that calendar year. So I just checked and right now, there are users who have not accessed the site since January, 2014, but none before that.

Again, if you give a specific example (PM is better for that) I'll be happy to research it. It's always possible that some presentation on the site is wrong.

-Randy Webmaster

WS Member WS Member's picture
I can't find anyone in

I can't find anyone in Toronto, there used to be someone in my city who was getting close to 3 years without logging in but it looks like they were removed in the last purge. I've seen a couple of others too but I can't remember where, I'm not sure why they aren't removed.

The next time I see one I'll let you know.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
Unanswered Requests Page

Your one unanswered request is shown on your unanswered requests page (anybody can see theirs) at - no admin help is needed.

(I happen to know the history of the user who contacted you and then went away, with the deleted message, so I went into the database and marked that message not to count, so your responsiveness is now 100%.)

The FAQ about responsiveness is at - I assure you we *love* people who care!

Filters on responsiveness are definitely in our future.

(BTW, Your profile says "Isa W. & Rebekka H. (full names not entered since this shows on Google = no go for us!)". I want to clarify to you that your full name does *not* show on google. Only logged-in users can view member profiles.)

-Randy Fay Webmaster

WS Member Piotras's picture

I think it is worthwhile making following distinction:

1. members who don’t response to requests because they are not active members.

2. active members who don’t response to requests .

ad 1. When I see such figures like “0 responses to 20 requests over the past year” and “Active 20 weeks and 4 hours ago” the only thing I can say about the person is that he/she is not an active member. It is irritating but, if not longer than a couple of months, I don’t think it is a sign of a nonchalant attitude to the WS community (as it certainly is if this lack of interest is a year or more long); such passivity probably means that this member has something much more important to think about in his/her daily life than to check WS account or the email address he/she attached to it. (not everyone has privilege to be retired from its active life´s obligations with nothing better to do than to take care of its WS account :-))

I don’t think such passivity gives a reason to such strong reaction like writing a negative feedback. What I would probably do if I had got a request from such member is responding with a question what was the reason that he/she neglected so many requests… and waiting with interest to his/her answer …

ad 2. This is a completely different situation. When you have sent a request to member “X” and never got any response , but checking your message box you see that “X” was active already the next day, what means that “X” with all certainty had to read your request, but still, “X” did not bother to respond to it… No doubts, such disregard justifies a negative feedback, even if it happened to be the only of this kind among ten others , super positive ones.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Negative feedback because a

Negative feedback because a host doesn't respond and subsequently logs in? That seems a little extreme. How long do you wait for a response? What if your request stinks?

References really should be limited to people you have had face to face interactions with. The only time I would give a reference to someone I hadn't met is if a guest arranged accommodation with me and then didn't show without any expanation or apology (and even then I'd wait a good month after messaging them).

WS Member WS Member's picture
Re: Negative response

I had previously had two negative remarks on my file regarding no response. It was my horrible error, I had changed email accounts and forgotten to change my warmshowers account. I emailed those involved and offered my apologies. Their negative remarks, thankfully, no longer appear and I have 100% response listed once again. Just another example of a possible reason. Mind you, if they had texted which is a preference for me (in addition to email) I would have been alerted to the problem that much sooner.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Two separate negative

Two separate negative references for not responding? Wow, that's really rough treatment in my book. Even a neutral reference would be an extreme response. I know there is a problem with response rates but I just don't agree that this is the way to remedy it.

WS Member Piotras's picture
Stinky request

Reply to #20

”Stinky request ”? It looks like a quite new concept… can you give us its interpretation? With some examples, possible from your own experience.

WS Member WS Member's picture
It's the oldest concept in

It's the oldest concept in hospex:
'Hi, I'm coming to your city next week. You seem interesting, can you host me?'
When Couchsurfing was functional I would receive about 1000 requests per year across all hospex sites so I've seen hundreds of these zero effort, cut and paste beauties (usually accompanied by a similarly fascinating profile along the lines of 'I'm easy going an open minded.'). I reply to all of them (with about as much effort) but I know other hosts in high demand areas who see no reason to waste their time - I see no problem with that (even if the request doesn't stink). There is already a consequence - it will be reflected in the host's response rate, and each prospective guest can subsequently evaluate if it's worth their own time making a request. I don't see why any further action is necessary.

You are of course free to do as you see fit but if I received a negative reference from someone I'd never met for the crime of not responding to their request I'd be contacting dispute resolution with a few questions post haste.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I aim for 100% response rate,

I aim for 100% response rate, but I gave up on CS due to loads of one and two liner requests from dubious sources.
I wish there was some (maybe there is and I'm just blind/stupid, and don't use WS as guest yet) feature to sort and search (like show all hosts with minimum 60% reply and atleast one guest/host feedback), could filter out all non responsive members.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Not yet, but apparently it is

Not yet, but apparently it is in the pipeline.

WS Member WS Member's picture
It's a good idea but there

It's a good idea but there are some possible "complications". Let's say someone has received one request over the past 12 months and has responded, giving them a 100% response rate. I now contact them and their response rate immediately drops to 50%, until they respond to my message. So anyone who then searches based on a more than 60% response rate will not come up with this individual's profile, even though they may simply be away for a few days and would otherwise have a perfect response rate.

There should really be a "delay" built in so that a message not replied to will only affect your response rate after a set number of days.


WS Member WS Member's picture
This has been discussed

This has been discussed previously, what I have proposed doesn't filter any member out of results, rather it gives priority to a randomly sorted group who fall within a fairly permissive default set of filters (and yes, those with few requests are taken into consideration) see my post above in this thread for example:

WS Member WS Member's picture
my example of 60% was just a

my example of 60% was just a number out of the hat, for all I care it could be show all that has replied the last two years and has given or received feedback, the point being to get a manual filter to apply, and it would even be better to get a sorting in stead of a result, so the closest to your filter shows on top of the list, then gets less and less close the further you scroll.

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