With all the changes in the last year the need has arisen for a new website design for wwoofinternational.org.
One part of the design still being worked on is the References section. This section is where a WWOOFer (or host) can write a personal message about their WWOOFing experiences. As you can imagine this is a sensitive but important subject. Members often have very different opinions about it – from feeling very supportive to feeling somewhat uncomfortable about the whole idea! There are a few different ways this can be implemented – maybe you have some successful experiences using other systems?
Some Background About References
References are commonly used by people and organisations to help improve the way they do things. References are usually when one member writes comments for the benefit of another member. An example of an organisation that uses references is Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing describe references as one of their “key safety features”. Some WWOOF organisations that use references include WWOOF Sweden and WWOOF New Zealand.
Writing a reference is not just a case of writing what ever you feel like. There are always rules and conditions applied. For example, you must have actually met the person you are writing about. What you write must be true and accurate and show due respect, otherwise the reference can be removed.
What Have Members Said About References in the Past?
As I said above, there are often quite different opinions about references. Some people have concerns about what people might say about them. Generally the people who are most supportive of having a reference system are those people who are already familiar with using them. The internet is full of examples of people adding comments (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and online review sites where people give their opinions about a wide range of products and services. These people have seen the huge advantage of having open access to user-generated views and information. As you can probably guess by now, it is generally the WWOOFers, more so than the hosts, who like having a reference system.
How Will References Work in the New Design?
There are two different ways that the reference system could work:
- You could receive a reference from any member who knows you.
- You could receive a reference from a member you have invited to write a reference for you.
The first way is more like general feedback. If your host or WWOOFer wishes to write you are reference, then they are free to do so. The good thing about this way is people generally see it as the most open and ‘uncensored’ way of giving references. However, some feel this leaves them with less control about who is writing them a reference.
The second way is more like a true reference. If you would like your host or WWOOFer to give you are reference then you invite them to do so. The good thing about this way is you tend to get great references. To be honest, are you going to invite a host or WWOOFer that you didn’t get on with?
Whatever your preference is, everyone is bound by rules and standards for writing references. If a reference is written that is not accurate or appropriate then there is always the option of having it reviewed by the administrator.
As always, you feedback on the Feedback topic is always welcome. We look forward to hearing from you.