Does the algorithm choose addresses for each postcrossers fairly?

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’?


@Izzy2018 We don’t have post offices boxes available at all.

The privacy issue is talked also, at least little, in the same country thread.
It is a small safety thing. Yes, only small, some idiot can live closer in another country than in my own country. To me it still does not mean I would not choose the small safety thing, when I have a possibility.

Better a little, than nothing, for me.


As we are slightly off topic we should come back to the topic of this thread and talk about privacy issues in the regarding topic. I think there was once a suggestion that sending within own country should be mandatory.


You are right, here is one suggestion about it being mandatory for only some countries, I don’t like it, but of course it’s good to discuss and I’m not the one who decides :slight_smile: :

But back to topic: every now and then, when I get a new member, I remember this thread. Last time the new member with I think a little over 10 sent and received, only had the most common countries.

Of course sometimes it happens that a new member gets a rare country, but also old member. New member doesn’t necessarily know what country is rare, so it doesn’t matter.

And it’s not easy to think about the fairness, when we don’t know if the member prefers to send to a rare country, or would rather send in their own country for example. (Someone can think it’s unfair that a new member must send to very far, some can think it’s unfair that they only get the three most common ones - in that way I think the algorithm is fair, it doesn’t ask the feelings, it only gives the address within the few preferences and restrictions.)


After reading all these concerns I decided to check my own country and repeated…just drew 10 addresses, all US. So I saved a bunch of postage and hopefully they travel a little faster. Maybe I can just send domestically all summer!

I would never want the own country option to be mandatory, but I occasionally I check the repeated box to help reduce the backlog (such as the need to draw China addresses 2 years ago).


This conversation has raised a sufficient number of good points that I’m unsure whether or not I myself should turn on “Repeated” for the good of the community.

So let me ask you all, should I?

  • Yes, Turn On Repeated
  • No, Keep Repeated Off
0 voters

For background, I just started Postcrossing in January 2024 and while I’ve had “Same-Country” on since the beginning, I am from the U.S.

Now, I can only have 8 active cards traveling at once right now, so I’m unlikely to make a dent in any overall U.S. backlog, but I can try for a while if that’s what the community thinks needs happen!

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you are new so enjoy all the wonderful variety that you can…old folks like me can carry a bit more of the load. I had 30 slots open so I can make a bigger dent. But one day consider helping out with the backlog…for now, just relax and enjoy all you can!!


Depends what you want! I have had repeated on sincei joined (I turn it off every once in awhile for fun), mostly because with all the German address, cards travel quickly so I get to send more! So there are bonuses as well :grin: