Does the algorithm choose addresses for each postcrossers fairly?

I’m relatively new to Postcrossing, with 8 postcards sent and 6 currently traveling. I haven’t drawn addresses from very rare countries yet, but the ones I have gotten so far are quite varied.



I live in Japan (UTC+09:00) and usually request addresses in the morning, which might influence the variety of countries I get. I cannot send to Russia at the moment.


I’m living abroad and today I received an address very near to my mother’s house in my hometown.

So actually, living abroad and drawing an address from your home country is quite similar to getting an address from your own country while using travel mode (and I also find it quite fun!)

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That’s a lot

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I exchange within the US, and also allow repeated countries.


My domestic German cards sit at about 27%. I’ve sent and received about 100 cards in one year time.


I have also found this post by an admin from 2021 regarding sending in travel mode:


The algorithm selects what is in the pool and needs to be allocated.

Postcrossers from the USA currently dominate the 60-day ranking. 8 US postcrossers are in the top 10 of this ranking and therefore in the pool. You can also look at the statistics of the German postcrossers who dominate the all-time ranking. If you set the year 2024 as the period for these postcrossers, you can see what percentage of cards were sent and received within Germany. Of course only if they were active during that period.

So you could always fill all your slots very quickly to get more cards and reduce the percentage of German cards.

Currently active GermanPostcrossers have a different percentage of German cards because they have many free slots and the time for mail within Germany is short.

If you make sending and receiving within a country mandatory, the algorithm should give this more weight so that everyone can send and receive within their own country. Assuming there are enough postcrossers in this country.

I suspect that this will reduce exchanges between countries. That is maybe not the that postcrossing what want.

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31,1% sent within Germany
30,4% received from Germany

2024 so far:
16,7% sent within Germany (19,8% to US, 19,1% to Russia)
11,6% received from Germany (29,1% from US, 11,6% from Russia)

(and I have repeated countries turned off since mid 2022)

The numbers for 2024 are little bit strange so far.


For everyone who is interested: :smile:
I live and write from a more or less rare country - Austria :austria:, in 22nd place on the cards sent by Postcrossing.
I turned off “repeated countries”, and I selected “own country”.
I only receive and send less than 1% to my own country - so these are special events that I’m always happy about :smile:.

My top countries sent/received are:

  • Germany :de: with around 26%
  • USA :us: with around 13%
  • Russia :ru: with around 11%.

What I mentioned above was just my opinion that making same countries mandatory would be an easy fix for solving receiving too many cards from one or two countries.
It’s not a suggestion.

The idea would be that the algorithm would be modified to take advantage of this, only if necessary so as to accommodate excessive supply or demand from a certain country and only then.

Not if you set a maximum limit of "same country cards of (let’s say) 10%.
Of course postcrossing should be international.

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This won’t work. Let’s say someone can send 100 cards at a time and is now sending 25 domestic. If there will be a max of 10 % within own country one will now only send 10 domestic. Means that e. g. even more other users will get German addresses (oh yeah - not). Everyone is already complaining about too many DE, US and RU. And I’m sure there will be even more addresses been given out in advance then it is already the case.

And what is if there are only two members in one country. How should this work? A can send one card to B but B can’t send to A.

In my opinion, it would be better that everyone has to send to repeated countries. Sometimes you have luck and receive lots of different countries and sometimes you’re the unlucky guy who only sends to the top 3. But I’m sure the country distribution would be better over time. Because eyeryone will get the first address in the pool - simply said.

And maybe it shouldn’t be allowed to send cards while one is inactive. Or better said, the gap should not become that huge until you’re blocked from requesting addresses. This also could help.


What would happen to the rest of the “same country” addresses?
If I would now send 30% of my cards to Germany, who sends to the 20% that I wouldn’t? From 20% to USA, who sends the other 10%? Or would it just mean I can’t send so many cards, so slots would be blocked until there is some cards registered from the sent 10% limit? Choosing to send to my country would mean I needed to then send 30% there, but if the limit were 10%, there is still 20% addresses to somewhere to send.

Unless you think the “excess” addresses just aren’t given to anyone? So it would be certain amount of addresses, shared equally to that country members? For example each country gets 1000 addresses each month. If there are 1000 members, each member can send one card. If more, they should wait. If less members, they can send more. And if they don’t send, or there isn’t “enough” members, it’s a rare country (again). (I don’t think you meant this, and I don’t want such, but that way it would work, as evenly as possible to get different countries.)

This topic was about fairness to each postcrosser, now it’s turned more to about getting the same countries.

But, in as fair manner as can, we all get the big countries :slight_smile:
so it’s fair that way.

If one member in a rare country sends only 10 cards a year, of course we can’t all then get address to them, or get a card from them.


World events affect postcrossing from time to time. Its unavoidable. E.g. currently in UK we can still mail to Russia so we have seen an increase in Russian addresses and fewer German. As Germany is a quick delivery for us and Russia one of the slowest it has slowed down how many cards I can send.
A while ago it was covid/Chinese mail. What will be next I wonder ? It isn’t the algorithm being unfair its just humanity. I have own country switched on but rarely receive any. I have repeated countries off as they were all going to RUSSIA & I kept running out of slots for weeks



If I understood correctly @grizzabella and @S_Tuulia have the same objection that 10% will be too low because now the German postcrossers that have selected this option have 30% cards inside the country.
The answer is simple.

Let’s assume that currently 10% of German users have ticked the box of same country.

If it becomes mandatory everyone would have to opt in.
And if everyone would opt in, the percentage of same country cards (per member) would be much lower because 10% of all the German users is much much more than 30% of 10% of the German users.

Because of privacy reasons it never should be mandatory to send within own country.


What is the problem with privacy?


here is the topic about getting the same countries;

also discussion about privacy if I remember correct


In the US we can rent a small box at the post office. I dont know if those are available in Europe but that might help if you have concerns anout Postcrossing giving out your street address

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In Germany we can rent post boxes, too. But not everyone is willing to spend money for such a box. Sometimes the next ones are located in another city and not everyone has the chance to go there once a week.


I agree that it should not be mandatory, but given European geography I do not understand the privacy issue. Another German might be a ‘bad’ result, but someone (not so nice) just over the border in another country is ‘safer’?