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Guest leaves no Feedback -is that enough for a negative?

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Guest leaves no Feedback -is that enough for a negative?

i had a Guest recently, for two nights, plus two breakfasts and - if I do say so myself - a very good Indonesian style dinner, which took me a deal of time to make. He also had a personal 5km escort [ me] to the beginning of the route out of town. I'd put the total value of that package at ~ US$50.00 ( minimum) if he had stayed at the local camping ground.

So far we have had *no feedback* from this guy [ 'mature" demographic, too ], which surprises me.

At the moment, I have given him "Neutral", as opposed to a "weak positive" I would like to give, as he was a bit dull, and apparently a bicycle scofflaw, to judge by my experience riding with him. Definitely not my favourite Guest ...

But now I am thinking : he deserves a "Negative" as he is unable to provide any FB to his Host ( or this Host, anyway).

Let me guess ....this will seem very harsh, and I will be criticised here.

But I am interested in the philosophical issue : does a Guest providing Zero FB to a Host constitute grounds to give them a Negative, as in fact they are ignoring a central feature of the WS ethos ?

Over to you, philosophers ..!

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Feedback is mostly about the in-person experience

Mostly, feedback is supposed to be about the in-person experience: Can the next host trust this person? Are they the kind of guest you'd expect? Things like that. So no, leaving a negative because one is miffed about not getting feedback would not be the expected use.

What really irks me is when people have a negative in-person experience, either as guest or as host, and then don't leave negative feedback warning others. Wow, that seems so amazing. Every couple of weeks we'll have somebody quit the org and when we ask why they say "We had a bad guest or two". And we look at their profile and *no* feedback. Really annoying.

-Randy
Warmshowers.org Webmaster

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Culture

Not all guest, great guests and bad guests, leave feedback, just like not everybody sends a thank you note after receiving a gift. While good feedback is validating after you treat a guest with kindness, you just have to accept that not everyone will leave a note about their stay. Feedback is not a requirement, so if you enjoyed the guest and your experience, leave them feedback without expecting one in return.

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Feedback *should* be required

Actually, I do consider feedback (negative, neutral, or positive) a requirement for every host/guest interaction from both sides. I think the future of our community depends on it. But leaving negative feedback about not getting feedback is not the solution.

I'm hoping we'll be able to formalize the idea of a "hosting request" in the future, which can then be marked as accepted, and finally be marked as actually done, and then used as a way to pester people for feedback. We can even add a rating of whether people have left feedback.

I really don't think people understand how terribly important this is, especially when the feedback is less than positive. Most people who are active have way enough positive feedback. But the people who need negative *really* need it, to warn the community about problems.

-Randy
Warmshowers.org Webmaster

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This has nothing directly to

This has nothing directly to do with the question in mind, but a suggestion if I may.
I host both for warmshowers and couchsurfing, and while I lean more towards warmshowers I like a few of the features over at couchsurfing.

A few things I would like to see:

- A formal hosting status, if someone requests and I reply it will say that I am hoting
This would open a few more options, like the guest can accept the hosting and it will show on our profiles (hidden for public) that we will host/guest and even open the possibility to flag a no show.
- Feedback to be shown in a similar way like couchsurfing, so if I leave feedback, it will be shown on my page, everyone will see that I'we had guests (as confirmed by the previously mentioned feature).

I feel this might work in a positive way, even if guests wont leave feedback, I can and people will see that even if I might not have as much feedback, I am hosting!

Not that I had issues with feedback so far!

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This has nothing directly to

That sounds sensible.

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my opinion

Hi Bicycle fish,

1. I think You 're a little bit sad about this. I could understand it. My idea is asking the guest directly by a message, not by forum. It could be a cultural difference or a personal reason or....
2. I don't like feedback about myself in an open forum. I always ask the host or guest to say his experience directly, not by internet.

Regards Sebastian

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Grievance process

Leaving feed back can also be about access to and familiarity with technology as well..maybe something happened on the road that you don't know about, maybe they forgot and so on. If a host or a guest is concerned or believes that something is amiss it would be good to directly deal with that through a grievance or complaint process which is more rigorous than an opinion posted on a persons profile. Warmshowers team might have some ideas about that.

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Complaints only for very serious issues

Since we have more than 40,000 members and two volunteers (sometimes one) doing mostly everything, we *have* to count on the community to do self-policing via feedback. We absolutely want immediate contacts in serious issues. But feedback should be absolutely enough for "didn't show up or contact us" or "not very grown up" or "left a mess in the room". We want to know the second there's a serious concern about anybody's health or safety, of course, and have a formal process for that.

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Feedback, the lack of it, from those touring south New Zealand

Last southern summer was the first time we'd hosted any Warm Showers guests and the first time we'd hosted anyone through an organised website. It's been an interesting experience.

The negative has been the lack of receiving feedback. Providing feedback to me is a form of recognition that someone has gone out of their way to host a perfect stranger, a means to thank them. To not receive it is like not being acknowledged, for reasons unknown.

We had ten individals / couples stay with us, being more or less equally hospitable. Of the ten, six provided feedback and four haven't. Two more wouldn't have had I not made my opinion obvious.

In other words, the majority wouldn't have put feedback if left to their own devices.

I wrote to three of them to see if they had a problem. One reply - "there is no particular reason. I simply forgot it", and then doesn't put feedback either. He stayed with us three nights - poor memory. No other responses.

But really it should be important as it underlies the one of the fundamentals of Warm Showers
'What are the responsibilities of a guest?"
"Always provide feedback (and thanks) to hosts by clicking the "Provide Feedback" button on their profile page. .... Your honest feedback helps build trust in the community."

Seems straightforward and sensible.

Maybe 'FAQ' could be changed to Rules and Responsibilities? Should the 'sign up' page oblige us to 'read' them?

Is there some automation that, after a certain period of time, reminds those who've received feedback that they haven't reciprocated?

Or else could there be a prompt 'button' the undervalued party can activate that, after a certain period, sends out a 'reminder' Email?

Could there be somewhere on the feedback entry panel that could be revisited when feedback isn't forthcoming, that changes the colour of the feedback, or adds a note below, to indicate that's happened?

Obviously this is a 'rant' but I've been disappointed with the reqularity with which providing feedback is ignored and it has devalued the experience of hosting those people.

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Mr. Grant, I cringe hurtfully

Mr. Grant,

I cringe hurtfully at the experience you have had. I apologize on behalf of The World. My own experience touring NZ thirty years ago STILL recalls, even before the beauty, the human warmth of everyone there. The stories are endless and remarkable. I could not give back enough.

Touring cyclists are often given a pass on gratitude and manners because of the rigors of the endeavor. Its a simple equation: if genuinely appreciative travelers exceed the number of hosts, hosting grows and the WS experience grows. If travelers disappoint, the number of hosts shrinks and the WS experience withers.

For yoru disappointments Mr. Grant, know that what NZers taught me by example for 30 days has been given to others for 30 years.

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Hospitality exchange

Like you hosting people is my 'exchange' for being looked after so well by others, within or outwith Warm Showers, plus it's enjoyable.

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Hi from Australia, I agree

Hi from Australia,

I agree with all of what John has said.

We have hosted five lots of tourers over the last two years, and although all of them appeared to have a good time, only three have posted feedback. For all of them we have gone out of our way cooking meals, washing clothes, photocopying maps, riding with them to get them on to route.

I know that cycle-tourers don't always have easy access to computers to provide quick feedback, but I really think that they owe hosting people the courtesy of honest feedback eventually.

Can tourers be sent a prompting email about their responsibility, or even given a rating feedback given / times hosted?

Perhaps it is as some have commented, and that there is some cultural issue here. We have found Asian and European guests extremely appreciative of our efforts, but Americans less so.

Judith and Chris

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a broad church...

Thanks for those interesting replies. Looks like no two members have the same experience or expectations either. I recognise that Members will be different to me. I just have to accept that.

As I hope I said (above), I believe "No Feedback given" *is* sufficient for at least " neutral" and maybe "Negative" - after all, any FB can be **revised** by the Giver, at any time.

[ In the case of my "no FB" Guest, I think he was sore that I was reluctant to provide him with my WiFi Password (!) - which my neighbours don't know, BTW. I suspect he was also disappointed that I offered him "only" a tent space - the very same tent space which has suited generations of cyclist travellers...]

Anyway, if in future I see " doesn't give FB to Host" , I will want to know why before accepting such a Guest.

BTW, I noticed a particular member recently who gives plenty of FB as a Guest, but doesn't receive the same from their Hosts < go figure>

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Response to BicycleFish

I think you should just put a note at the end of your feedback to say he omitted to provide the same for you. You might be aggrieved at the lack of it but doesn't sound like he otherwise strayed far from the Warm Showers guidelines to deserve either a negative or neutral.

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BicycleFish, From here, an

BicycleFish,

From here, an emphatic 'yes'. Give negative feedback. Firstly, as you all have convinced me here, feedback is what is owed by all to the rest of the community. Secondly, you deserve it. Thirdly, you can always change it later if the guy comes around. If he does and you change your input, or if he doesn't and you don't change your input, the rest of the community who considered hosting him down the road are strengthened for it.

And, it works in the converse. I recently gave positive feedback to someone who, having written for information ahead of his tour, wrote to advise that the trip was postponed. That is a courteous traveler. On the flip side, I also recently gave searing negative feedback to someone who made arrangements then changed them once in town without letting anyone know.

Jeff Gardner
Las Cruces, New Mexico USA

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different folks - different strokes

Bicycle Fish, seems like you have very strong views about a lot of things and that is fine but it seems to me that you might be better off accepting that other people see things differently to you.

I, personally, would leave "Negative" feedback for situations where people are dishonest, super creepy, or unsafe. But if not getting feedback really winds you up, and it seems that this is the case, then so long as you specify that is the reason for applying a "Negative" it seems reasonable to do so.

I, myself, always leave feedback and it is not always reciprocated but since I am on a long tour I am normally the guest and perhaps guests are seen as somewhat less deserving of feedback.

Can you tell me, what is a scofflaw?

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Scofflaw....

"..Can you tell me, what is a scofflaw?.."

Scofflaws are people who scoff ( laugh) at laws. That is, they ridicule accepted rules that other people follow. In the case of cyclists, they ride to suit themselves without regard to other road users, even other cyclists. [edit: Scofflaws will ignore red lights, despise any restrictions about where they can camp etc etc ] Outlaws, you might say.

This is very common in some countries, especially the English speaking ones ! I think the disorder might be spreading, however.

Scofflawing is however, irrelevant to this thread - except maybe that the bigger the scofflaw, the more likely they are to fail to "contribute' to WS by providing FB - Positive, Negative or Neutral ...

Providing FB is the first and most important expectation any WS member one can have of any other. Without FB, we are just another part of the gray world of take-what-you-can.

Best wishes to all !

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This makes no sense to me but

This makes no sense to me but I've already written about it elsewhere on these forums - other possible responses which I think are more reasonable (and certainly more common in my experience) include mentioning the lack of feedback at the end of your reference or removing your reference altogether after a given amount of time (unless it is already neutral or negative of course).

I'm just interested if this works in reverse, ie: you have an enjoyable stay at the house of a WS host but they give you no feedback - I assume this would also result in a negative reference for the host or am I getting this wrong?

While feedback is important I believe the first and most important expectation that any WS member can have of any other as a guest or a host is going in to each encounter with openness, respect and a willingness to engage with the other.

...but, as we always say, to each their own - just make it clear on your profile.

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Feedback?

I just hosted a lot of cyclists, and happened to make a passing comment about feedback. One of the visitors surprised me when he mentioned that a previous host had asked that he not proved feedback - positive feedback would bring him even more visitors and he was already overwhelmed. I live in a very popular place along the Pacific Coast route so I know how he might have felt that way. (We have hosted 12 cyclists so far in October.) I personally prefer just to say no if I don't feel up to hosting, and to accept feedback gratefully. But I just thought it worth mentioning that not all hosts view receiving positive feedback as a good thing.

I do try to give feedback for my guests. I have yet to experience a negative one & I don't really think an absence of feedback is a significant negative. I assume that my positive feedback will make it easier for these great people to find hosts as they continue along their routes & I think that's what this site is all about.

By the way, one possibility for hosts who really want to hear back from their guests is to have a guest book. That feels more direct, more like a personal thank you, to me than does a comment on this site.

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I see feedback as something

I see feedback as something that protects the integrity of the community, not something to become personally invested in. I wouldn't invest myself emotionally in a guest's experience to the extent that I'd be concerned about whether or not they left feedback.

I wouldn't expect someone to appreciate something I did for them unless they expressed specific interest in it, e.g. cooking them an elaborate meal or showing them around town. I would also expect them to be a little miffed if they were denied something (or treated as if their request was unreasonable) that most other hosts would provide without hesitation and hadn't been advised so in advance, e.g. internet access.

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Just Ask.

I have recently joined WS so had no feedback. My first contact was in the same position, so to make getting accomodation easier I gave them positive feedback even though they did not visit. However they did not reciprocate to make me an attractive host!
My first guest was also without feedback, so I made sure we left eachother feedback before he left!
Just ask!

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Sounds like they did the

Sounds like they did the right thing to me. Feedback should really be limited to people you have face to face interactions with. Every member you see on WS had to start as a guest or a host with zero feedback. Make an effort with your profile and in your communications, there is penty of trust and goodwill in the community - giving out positive feedback just for an email is really devaluing it.

I saw Coushsurfing turn into some Facebookesque point scoring competition with vouches, friends, and references given out to anyone who gave the time of day. I found when looking at a potential host or guest that I had to wade through a lot of meaningless references, I was only interested in what each member was like as a host or guest. For this reason I decided on all hospex sites to only give references to people I hosted or was a guest of even though I frequently cook meals for or meet up with people I am unable to host.

WS does have the 'Other' category for references but if you are going to use this it really should be reserved for people you meet face to face outside of host-guest interactions.

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First neutral

I have now given a first neutral reference to the guy with a whole bunch of positive references. I made it clear that my only reason is that he had given feedback to his hosts only once on his long trip. Otherwise he was a good guest (but maybe a bit too busy with writing postcards home).

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"I made it clear that my only

"I made it clear that my only reason is that he had given feedback to his hosts only once on his long trip."

I am very uncomfortable with your penalizing a guest for his behaviour not to you, but for his behaviour to other people. Are you sure that his other hosts minded the fact that he didn't leave them a reference?

I've hosted several people on WS so far – none of whom I've left a reference for, and none of whom left me a reference, although they were pleasant encounters and I still keep in touch with some. I’m just used to hospitality-exchange communities that are more informal and don’t even have profiles (you just get a phone number or e-mail address for someone), so I’ve never taken WS’s feedback system very seriously. I would be very unhappy if, because I left feedback for a member but he didn’t do the same for me, you later gave him neutral feedback for it, when it’s not your call.

People should leave feedback only for their personal interaction with a member, not for that member’s general use of the site.

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Hardly "penalizing"

My comments are hardly "penalizing". This guest had not left me feedback, which annoys me, especially because he spent so much time in my living room writing postcards home. And it is unlikely that his reason is that he does not want to hurt my feelings with less a than positive review, because he does the same with almost everybody else.

Without other hosts giving him positive feedback, I would not have accepted him in the first place. Warmshowers is totally dependent on feedback.

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It's fine if you left a

It's fine if you left a certain kind of feedback for a guest because you personally had a negative experience with him. I only took exception with your leaving feedback based on how this cyclist treated other members, because you have no idea what those other members thought of his behaviour; some of them may have had no problem whatsoever that he failed to leave feedback for them.

I disagree that WS is “totally dependent” on feedback. The network survived for many years before its internet incarnation without a feedback system, just like other hospitality-exchange communities that lack profiles and comments. The presence of the feature makes WS attractive to many, and some site volunteers are very vocal in encouraging its use, but it is not obligatory to leave feedback, and ultimately the responsibility for receiving a guest to our home rests entirely upon ourselves.

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The second post in this whole

The second post in this whole thread, by Randy Fay himself. Pretty much sums it up.

I don't feel that it's appropriate to leave neutral or negative feedback solely based on the fact that no feedback was received. Especially when you clearly state that he was a good guest.

...Michelle

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Agree

I agree with Michelle (And Randy) but lets also not forget that there is a language barrier with some guests. Speaking poorly in a foreign language is one thing, but leaving a written record of how poor your english is could be very embarrassing to some people.

I can see why some would prefer not to try rather than risk offending someone who had been kind to them.

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Automatic message

I can understand that this is an annoying situation, where you put a lot of effort to please your guest(s) and then they can't even bother to give you feedback. But other hosts don't care about feedback, so it depends on the host.

Airbnb has recently introduced an automatic message on the host's profile everytime the host cancels a booking. I once found a host that had more than 5 cancelled bookings so I was more careful before deciding if I booked that property.

I think Warmshowers could have something like this when guests or hosts don't leave feedback. Maybe after 10 days, an automatic message can be posted on their profile saying that that guest did not leave feedback on XX/XX day. This would give useful information to hosts expecting a review afterwards, and hosts not caring for reviews would just ignore it. It would be a good solution for everyone.

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My views on what I expect

My views on what I expect from a guest may be different from other hosts. And it may be because we host so many. A couple of hundred at the very least each year.
I expect my guests to at least "engage"...I understand the drudgery of touring sometimes. I like to think that my site is a respite for them to just chill.
When they arrive, I give them a quick overview of the facilities and then I leave them totally alone until *they* have their brains back...(most of them arrive brainless after being on the road all day)
I try to remember that it is mostly about them, and they are a huge variety of....everything. Personalities, abilities, socio-economics, education, language barrier, physical/emotional limitations (I had a high functioning autistic guest, who, to this day is one of my favorite stories, was he strange socially, yes..did he leave feedback? no..but that is beyond his "what's important")(in fact he stayed with us twice, it was nice to know he was comfortable here)
For me, it is ALL about the connection or lack thereof. If it is a lack, then I wonder if I didn't make them comfortable.
I think to expect guests to gush appreciation and show Emily Post manners is unreasonable. But I DO expect to at the very least to have both of us experience some sort of connection...I like to think that when they leave my place, they have had a nice rest, no pressure from the daily touring grind and hopefully I had a chance to cook a fun meal with/for them and they leave refreshed. Refreshed on all levels.
I get totally put out by guests who diddle with their phones the whole time they are here, I understand they have to let their family know they are still alive, but when the phones get in the way of connecting and engaging, then that's when I have a real objection.
I state, right up front, no phones at the dinner table.
Perry