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Problems with hosts in India

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Problems with hosts in India

I would like to know what you intend to do with the major problems with trying to find a host in India.

I have been looking for a host in the passed 2 weeks and all there is are people advertising their business, people saying they only want to host women, or people who are 0% responsive or who haven't been active in well over a year.

What ate you doing about this? 

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There are no easy solutions

There are no easy solutions here. India has been a problematic country for the entire internet hospitality-exchange community, not just Warm Showers. Our idea of hospitality exchange is perhaps not so much in tune with the local culture, and many Indian members have taken offense at the ban against advertising, arguing that hosts in a poor country should be able to make some money off all the rich and privileged foreigners coming through.

It is always best to simply focus on that minority of hosts who are genuinely welcoming and passionate about cycling, and ignore the rest. Also, I strongly encourage you to stay at Sikh gurudwaras as much as possible. Any large gurudwara will let you stay overnight, they will be happy that a foreigner is interested in Sikh culture, and they are a great place to meet nice, genuine Indians who don't want anything more from you than an enjoyable chat. While Sikhism sprung from the Punjab, you can find gurudwaras all over India, even in some of the more unlikelier corners.

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Really Tim? Member of 8

Really Tim? Member of 8 months with 33% response rate on an extended trip but still marked as available to host? You would like to know what WS is doing about finding hosts in India because you happen to be looking for a host in India?

The problem is not exclusive to India, it is site wide, and has been discussed in numerous threads on this forum.

Perhaps you should've addressed the question to yourself first? This is a community that relies primarily on the volunteer efforts of its members. I assume you, for example, reported the profiles advertising their businesses to admin. Another idea would be to mark yourself as unavailable to host so you don't continue to contribute to the problem in your own town. Those two are easy, beyond that if you're interested in the bigger picture there's plenty to read up on:
-"Host" not answering...
https://www.warmshowers.org/content/host-not-answering.../
-Searching for hosts by feedback
https://www.warmshowers.org/comment/8693
-About trustworthy users
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/51458
-unresponsive "hosts"
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/70359
-Lack of Responsiveness
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/71618
-Member growth and retention
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/77729
-Host searching filters
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/97672
-ws member count vs responsiveness
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/99408
-Unresponsiveness
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/112486
-Currently Available
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/120093
-Lack of answers - Creating regional warmshowers mailing lists?
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/120320
-Membership Growth & Active host ratios
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/131361
-Warmshowers, 90% ghosts ?
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/133054
-No response
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/136254
-Lack of response from hosts.
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/159276
-Big cities with many hosts, but none available
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/171093

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Suggestions

Tim.

While I and many many others agree there is a problem with your issues and other issues, most people suggest what might be done specifically, i.e. if they have a low response rate (less than 20%), they are removed from WS after a warning, when they bring the issue to the attention of the Administration. While the Admin may or may not be able to address the issue, at least one possible way to correct is offered, not just complain. However, it should be noted that a significant percentage of the issues are very hard to rectify without creating new issues.

Just a thought and I wish you a wonderful journey on your tour! John

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Inclusivness trumps Utility

The WS is highly "inclusive" : that is, it appears to accept any individual's membership as bona fide, even to the point of accepting individuals who offer nothing to the Whole.  As such, WS is a highly idealistic organisation. (In my opinion, it's far too idealistic.)

As it is, the WS appears to value that (non-judgemental) Inclusivness above any idea of Utility for the Traveller. So in this case, "problematic" members can Register without any comprehension of the WS 's purpose - and even worse : they can remain "on the books" indefinately. 

The problem is not exclusive to India, but very apparent there. 

Of course, a grown up organisation would have Regional Co-ordinators who would "groom" the Membership using their local knowledge, eliminating counter-productive Memberships. At the very least, a " Report Button" on each profile might alert Admins to bogus Members : get enough Reports and - whoosh - you're suspended and OFF the map & list ( at least)...

That'll be The Day ..!

 

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India

My family was in india over Christmas of last year.  I found it to be a fascinating and complex country.  However, I am not sure it is a country I would want to cycle through.  There is some serious dire poverty in India.  They have many more issues facing them than providing a warm shower for a cyclist.  

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Expanded Profiles

Grace,

We are actually not all that inclusive.  When reviewing new members, we may delete several a day.  The reasons include nonsense profiles, under aged members, and inappropriate reasons for joining (living out of a van, riding a motorcycle, or sexually explicit/creepy bio).  We actually have a written policy concerning types of membership who are inappropriate as well as written proceedure for deletion of such members.

Phase II of the new website is about to roll out.  This is going to include EXTENDED PROFILES.  This means that we are moving away from the 15 word minimum profile and now will be asking new members to give richer explanations as to why they wish to join the organization; why they wish to host and/or what touring background they may have.  Transparent profiles will stand out!  It is going to take a little more effort to successfully sign up, but the extra time will only strengthen the community! 

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Quit signing up new members

Quit signing up new members as available to host, just a few lines of code that will make far more difference than your EXTENDED PROFILES and doesn't require thousands of volunteer hours wasted on manually vetting profiles.

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Multilayered Complexity

If only your solution would work...

Having inactive profiles is but one problem with overall membership and protection to the community.  I have been reviewing profiles for over 4 years and am aware of the over all needs to try and build more protection against spammers, inappropriate members, and members with malicious intent.  I have been instrumental in the redesign of the profile template.  And yes, hopefully this new template will drastically decrease the amount of time manually vetting profiles and attention can be placed on those which are automatically flagged.

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instead of extended profil

maybe sommes filters will be good as 

% respones positives 

number of host (ex when you travel more than 2 peoples you need to reed all the profil ) 

allergies (food or animal) 

 

actually immagine looking for hosting with 3 people with one allergic !! 

 

 

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Not as bad as all that...

I'm en route from Pokhara (Nepal) to Delhi (India) at the moment, from where I am flying to Bangkok.

I wrote to a big'ish group of WS hosts in Delhi, asking for help/advice about getting a box to package my bike for flying. In the past, on occasions when I have used the WS site in many countries, I've had far from 100% success or even reply rate so didn't expect the tremendous response I received; 2 offers of a box, countless offers of friends in bike shops who could help & several offers of somewhere to stay & meet ups.

Such a positive response that I've decided to forego a ride up north so that I can explore the city & surrounding area, making contact with a few of the aforementioned WS folk along the way.

India is a country more like Europe in size, diversity & population so each of our experiences is bound to be wildly
different, but I wouldn't write the place & people off based on these negative experiences. There's good 'uns out there, just like anywhere else & many positive experiences to be had :-)

Perhaps the more metropolitan areas are a better bet for a successful WS encounter, I don't know. But don't let the lack of success on one day cloud your opinions of the place too much - keep optimistic. After all, you're not booking a bed through booking[dot]com, you're looking for people willing to let you into their homes & lives, of which there are actually many, even if they're not on WS.

I have loved the 3000km riding round the place (albeit a very tiny portion of it). I have had a handful of negative
experiences, but more often than not, just a few miles down the road I've been bowled over by the kindness & help offered me, instantly lifting my soured mood & making me embarrassed at how easily I've felt so aggrieved by the not so nice behaviour of one or two people in a community of countless millions.

I have met many other enthusiastic local bike tourers & groups, had meals bought for me & countless offers of staying in people's houses along the Way.
I did have a much more rewarding time riding through the South than the North, but like I say, I've only experienced a drop in the ocean that is India, even after 7 months. Every journey will differ from person to person, place to place & time to time, if I've learnt anything from 4 years on the road, it's that you can't let a run of bad luck or some dodgy encounters convince you the world, or one part of it, is a miserable place as you only set yourself up to miss the positive experiences waiting for you, just down the road or round the corner.

Sorry to go on so much, just felt the thread & lead subject were a bit unfair on the billion & a half folk muddling along in this very young, extremely complex nation, wouldn't want visitors being put off from getting stuck into the place as I'm sure this is often the best way to promote the better parts of all our cultures.

peace,
Josh.

p.s. just in case the above sounds a bit too luvvy duvvy, rest assured I do bitch and moan like a good 'un, but you have to keep your chin up, don't you??

“I am an optimist, unrepentant and militant. After all, in order not to be a fool, an optimist must know what a sad place the world can be. It is only the pessimist who finds this out anew every day.”
― Peter Ustinov

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re: Problems with hosts in India

hello Tim Swain, 

The difficulty you are experiencing, although frustrating, is NOT the responsibility of the managers of this site.  It is our shared responsibility.  Apparently in India there are many Warm Showers "members" who have all sorts of boundaries around hosting touring bicyclists.  That is unfortunate.  

I say let us ("the community") know of your experiences in India.  Which is what you've done with this post.  And -maybe- some India "members" will see this and suggest an appropriate response.  

My $0.02 worth.  Tail winds to you, Gerhardt 

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Gotta Make Ya Laugh.

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Good Point

Tim,

How is it you wish others to respond to you when your own response rate is shown at 33%?

 

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Hi Tim! I completely agree

Hi Tim! I completely agree with your concern. However, sometimes a handful of genuine hosts get marginalised in generalisations of such sort. I would be very glad to host you or any other touring cyclist in Delhi without any prejudice. Probably people get intimidated by the fear of landing up with an inappropriate hosts in India that they don’t send a request at the first place. Looking forward to welcome many touring cyclists like you! Have a great travel!! :)