Does the algorithm choose addresses for each postcrossers fairly?

I never really noticed when I first started,
Each year for me Germany, Russia, the USA have been at the top with the Netherlands and Finland not far behind.

My my first year in 2019, my rarest country was sending to Sweden whilst in Malaysia, Travel Mode.
In 2020, I sent to South Africa, New Zealand and Estonia, none of these countries have come around again.

But like many I’m here for the connections, I’ve deliberately switch on ‘Repeated Countries’ in January, because during December, German postcrossers go wild with the postcards and stamps for charity, so many are due postcards and almost draw Germany exclusively.
UK - Germany Post is usually quite quick thus cunningly pumping up my numbers and postcard allowances.

I have nearly 100 postcards sent to Germany, 64 where sent in 2021.


I joined in 2016 and I never sent to South Korea (or received from there), or Sweden. Only once to Romania, and twice to Brazil and Estonia. None of these in my early days but i used repeated countries a lot in the beginning because I felt it is helpful and because I wanted a lot of Russia.

The only one of this I ever got assigned was Macau and the card expired :rofl:

So I guess my fondness for repeated countries in the beginning meant that I really didn’t experience any newbie luck. My first 5 all went to Russia :joy: and I was aware it was likely to happen when I chose repeated countries after learning how Postcrossing works.


Well, in general I think I get a nice variety of countries even if it sometimes feels I get a lot of Germany and Russia. :smiley: Then suddenly the system might suprise me, and I draw Gambia or Chile. Almost every year I have sent to and received from some rare country even if the country isn’t necessary new for me. During my first year in postcrossing I sent cards to Sweden and Australia and got a card from Nepal among others, so I don’t necessarily buy the comment that only newbies get exotic countries. And like said, as a newbie every country feels exotic.

But regardless, I have noticed that during the pandemic I might draw a several addresses to newbies if I request many addresses at once. So postcrossing has attracted many new members. :hugs:

They were talking about newbies in general I suppose, but didn’t specify what they mean by a newbie. I guess some of them might be not aware of how covid is affecting postcrossing.


I believe the system operates fairly as it was designed to do.

I have found a method that works for me to obtain more of a variety of destinations. I tested it yesterday again to make sure.

I send for a string of postcards in quick succession. Yesterday I opened five Postcrossing windows and set them to be ready to ask for a postcard. Then I went from window to window pushing “Request Address.”

I received addresses from five countries (none from Germany or Russia).

When I request addresses one at a time as is my custom, I often get Germany or Russia.

I have used this method over the years with the same result.
If I request more addresses I’m more likely to get a more uncommon country.


But looking at your statistics you’ve sent to other rare countries (that I haven’t) so I guess it really depends just on luck! I saw Croatia, Malta, Malaysia, Morocco, Hong Kong, India and Indonesia in your sent countries. But I don’t know if the location could effect this too? Since there are now restrictions in many countries and some can ony send to a few countries, I guess.


By the way I really like your profile picture :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


This! I recognized this when answering a thread for direct swaps. I was rejected because I don’t live in a “rare” country. It’s quite a bit shallow.


True, but I’ve been Postcrossing for more years than you. Anyone who stays with it eventually gets more of a variety people to send to/receive from. :grinning:

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@postcardsFromBella I’ve actually had the opposite experience!

When I take many addresses (5-8) the same time I often get many to Germany, Russia AND USA. But when I take one → write it → take another address, I’ve gotten more variety! I mean it might be just luck too but that’s how I’ve experienced it.


This! The “trouble” with randomness is that it is random. So it comes down to luck. A funny side note - I believe Spotify had to change their random playlist because users felt it wasn’t random (or maybe better word would be “fair”) because it repeated some songs more than others. So they had to change the algorithm to be less random so that people would feel it was more random :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I feel we have a very similar “issue” here.


Yes, this is what generally happens to me too.

I think this thread is showing, through many people’s different experiences, that the algorithm is random - it’s working!


Ah that is certainly true - I would have countries that you don’t have :slight_smile: I don’t think I got any of those countries during the pandemic (just from memory) and from Singapore most major countries were not restricted. I received A LOT from Malaysia and Indonesia though, because they could not send to many other countries than Singapore. I loved that, because to me they are still exotic.

Oh thanks! It’s an accidental picture I took :rofl: You know when you move your phone and click accidentally. But it looked too good to delete :smiley:

That might be the heart of the matter here!

Interesting - I am on the side of “you get more rare countries if you pick a lot at once” - though I rarely do it so I only experienced it a few times which might be not very signficant to detect a pattern. But since I usually pick one by one, I expect one of the big three most of the time.


The algorithm is questionable. I am from Mauritius and I have sent most postcards to either Germany and Russia.

It is through postcard swapping that I travelled through the world. :blush::blush::blush:

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Ha! I live just 90 mins from the border but it was closed for soooooo long that I now think of Canada as a very far away & exotic destination! I love getting Canadian cards


I just wanted to say Thank You for taking the time to share your findings in so much detail. I love data :slight_smile: and this is truly very interesting!

And I also very much agree with this:


That is too funny! Yes, I believe it. I am prone to the gambler’s fallacy myself when gaming, even though I know better :laughing: This is similar.


I’m been postcrossing for 7 months and i send to Russia and Germany the most instead of getting diversity


For me it is not so important if I send/receive cards to/from a rare country or not. I am happy when I get a nice card and for example I have often got really wonderful cards from Russia :smiley:

Well, I live in Germany :de: and when I read this topic here I feel that many people seem to be sad when they get cards from Germany or when they shall send cards there, this is really a pity :disappointed_relieved: That is why I already some years ago started to do more private swaps and take part in Forum RRs and send only few official cards.


I, for one, love to send to Germany. Like many Americans, I’m interested in my roots, and every card I send to Germany, I look to see how close it is to where my great-grandparents emigrated from. I haven’t gotten the exact town yet, but it’s a matter of time. It has been a good way for me to learn Germany’s geography. Also, your postal service seems speedy, so the cards get registered quickly. It’s a win-win to draw a German Postcrosser, in my opinion.


I receive 32% or more of my postcards from Germany. I enjoy contact with each person. I just like to receive postcards from other countries, too.


I love sending to Germany too! It takes a few days for the postcards to arrive. The postcards I sent in November to USA and Russia are still travelling.