Dear Fellow WS Community Member,
We are a group of bike tourers and developers, former WarmShowers.org volunteers. We created this app for you as much as for ourselves. For years, this was the official WS app, trusted by thousands of people.
Back in 2012, when this app was created(*), WarmShowers was an open, free and welcoming platform. Since 2015, under the new board, WS has been slowly but steadily moving in the direction that we can’t agree with any more(**). It’s time for us to go our own way.
We are thinking about creating a new platform dedicated for the worldwide community of bicycle touring travelers and those who want to host them. One that is again built on trust and openness, that reflects values which drive people to open doors to their homes and welcome strangers traveling the world by bicycle. One that helps to build lifelong friendships which cross boundaries. Free and transparent for everyone forever.
Please help us by filling out this short survey. We would like to understand which aspects are important to you for a bicycle touring platform.
Until we get something new working, we hope to meet you in the Cyclists Circle at Trustroots.org (travellers’ community - sharing, hosting and getting people together) or at WelcomeToMyGarden.org (a network of citizens offering free camping spots in their gardens to slow travellers).
See you on the road!
Former WS Android volunteers
A last shoutout to all the people who contributed to this app in the past 9 years:
@jstaffans, @rfay, @jeanfrancoisbeaulieu, @CyrilWendl, @kirbycool, @saemy, @siavash1986, @LaurentSouchet-Orange, @PattaFeuFeu, @sgelb, @dproctor, @Poussinou, @noSim, @mariha, @cioccasimone97, @jakobhanna, @nonno.
* Backstory …
Warmshowers started life as an openly available contact list of cyclists committed to sharing their love of bicycle touring and their hospitality.
In 2001, this list was moved online by Randy Fay to help expand its reach and welcome more people into the bicycle touring family. And for almost 15 years he maintained this service with an open and welcoming attitude that made Warmshowers what it is today. Volunteers helped create an iPhone app and in 2012, an Android app so that cyclists could benefit from Warmshowers on the move.
In 2015, the Warmshowers Foundation was created to help manage the growing service and secure its future in light of Randy’s retirement. Sadly, the board from the outset did not share the volunteers’ open and inclusive attitude that made Warmshowers so well-loved.
Decisions that had previously been made with community support were removed from the public forum. Volunteers that helped grow Warmshowers were pushed out and unable to contribute. And donations that used to support the operating costs were funnelled into private software companies who haven’t published or made any significant upgrades in over 5 years.
In 2021, the Warmshowers board finally declared the old community driven apps a security hazard. Instead of helping them upgrade, it has withdrawn the Android app’s access and blocked the developers’ accounts, favouring the paid app built by the aforementioned software companies with a $20 a year subscription model.
So here we are, with the story of how a once welcoming and open platform has become a closed subscription service, locking out the very community it supports.
** Did you know?
Warmshowers Uncensored tracks censorious actions taken by Warmshowers.
*** What else can I do?
- Spread the world! Make your Warmshowers friends aware of this situation by writing them a message and updating your profile text.
- If you are on Facebook, join “Open Alternative to WarmShowers.org” group.
- Contact the Warmshowers board to tell them how you feel about the direction they have taken.
- If you are on Android, rate our app for it to get more attention.
If we decide to build something new, we’ll post an update here, on https://warmshowers.bike.
Together with volunteers from other hospitality exchange communities we have an idea to federate our platforms and solve the issue of communities being trapped in a platform they can not influance or change - once forever. We plan to make it easy for users to move between different platforms and to make it easy for new platforms to emerge - let the one for bicycle touring community be the first one in the Fediverse! Visit our new project page and give us some feedback, support us or join the team.
We are a very small team at the moment. We are looking for people that share our vision and would like to contribute to the project. If you are experienced in setting up a non-profit organization, building community or are a developer that knows how to build a platform like ours, please contact us in https://gitter.im/we-love-bicycles/community or in the #hospex:matrix.org.
We appreciate everyone who wants to help.