@RalfH no judgement here. I was just trying to offer another perspective that pickiness can come from both sides, and was only considering some of the comments mentioned in this thread in regards to what some found picky (maybe because it has somewhat veered off topic?). I do agree with you that picky profiles do indeed exist and absolutely if you are a beginner, coming across such a profile can be frustrating. I don’t want to discount that at all.
Maybe the “postcard interests” option would become usable only when other parts have some information written on them?
Although I prefer these free-form profiles.
Most of the profiles are nice. Sometimes I read the profiles of latest supporters just out of curiousity .
Perhaps, when getting an address, a reminder/note would appear, telling that the sender is allowed to choose any card despite of what the profile says? But, might it become annoying to see it every time?
I sometimes read profile of top members in each country to know what their job or daily life. I am curious how they can send so many cards each month
It seems to me that if you made the box presented to you when you initially sign up, the one which says something like “tell us something about yourself”, mandatory to type something, it would deal with the Empty Profile/s situation/scenario at a stroke. (But only for new sign-ups, it wouldn’t deal with the existing empty profiles, but it would be a start.)
I can think of a few things to type that would be just as uninformative as an empty profile. eg “Send me anything”
I’d rather get a “send me anything” than an empty profile and I’m not alone on this one. At least “send me anything” is communicating with people who get your address, as opposed to a blank white space.
I really like the freedom of building up the profile on “empty sheet” and let the creativity to rule on it. It is fun to sometimes just click around the site and read the profiles, explore how other postcrossers have written them and sometimes get even ideas on own profile.
I also feel like an empty profile is a choice. Yes, it is harder to connect, select the card and find something to write about, but somewhere there the profile’s owner had to make an active decision to leave the profile empty and whatever made them to do that decision has to be something they prefer. I usually send empty (or nearly empty) profiles cards with poems or song lyrics, more and less randomly selected by my mood at the moment.
But would it be an idea to have somekind of “sample profile text” or “if you don’t know what to write you can pick up something from here”? I mean like short, general text with hellous and happy Postcrossing wishes. Could help those who struggle with writing English and maybe give them help with building up their profile without making it “fill in this info” type of system. Just a raw idea that one, but it could something maybe? But overall, I think the option of leaving an empty profile should be allowed.
I now have a box full of calender postcards, which I usually only send if it fits perfectly to a profile. But when someone write “any nice card” or similar, it’s one of those cards.
The cards are ok, but I wouldn’t send them in a row, because this makes it a bit boring.
About the what to write … Sometimes still a struggle. But mostly I then share my opinions about the image of the card.
I agree very much on the send me anything. It’s liberating.
Rather than empty.
I’m probably going out on a limb here, but I take a more squinty-eyed view of empty profiles than that. Especially when it’s someone who has been doing it for years. To me, an empty profile is like a closed door. Either they want to be mysterious (which fails) or they simply have nothing to say to the world. If they have nothing to say to all those people who in good faith send them a postcard, why should anyone be interested in them? (For clarity, I am not talking about postcrossers in countries where English might not be an option for them.)
Re: the sample profile text, I think when registering that is already on offer (prompts about what to write). I could be wrong about that but it rings a vague bell.
I like to think them more like extra-strangers. The idea is to send a postcard to stranger and receive one from another stranger, right. So if the profile is empty then it is extra-stranger. You know nothing of them. Time to let the creativity to decide. I guess, the empty profile is same than “send me anything” for me, so I then have freedom to send them any card and write anything on them. I am interested on these extra-strangers just as I am interested on other postcrossing members; they are all interesting people with their stories!
People also send RAK cards without really knowing anything about the person they are sending them to, and I have actually had very pleasant communications with empty profiles before. Many of them write long thank you messages back, and I have also received few fully written cards from empty profiles.
Now that I think one reason for leaving the profile empty might be the fact that profiles are public to all registered members. I can well imagine that for some people it might be uncomfortable to know that anybody can read about them, and they prefer to keep the information between the people they are exchanging postcards with. Would that be something to think about? Giving the option to have public profile only for those you are exchanging cards with?
@ empty profile: I go for ‘psychological experiment’. What do people send, what do they write when a profile does not meet their usual expectations?
Thesis: for some it’s a big big drama, they lean seeing it almost as a personal insult
btw: happy weekend for those who have. Stay confident.
Let’s put it this way. Supposing you had to sit down with this person for 5-10 minutes, because that’s the Rules. And they wouldn’t look at you let alone talk to you. They just sat there with their arms folded and eyes closed, or looking somewhere else?
I keep coming back to Paulo’s line about “communication and connection”. If you have no feeling of communication or connection with this person whatsoever, how can you communicate with them? Communication is a two-way street: otherwise, it’s a monologue.
Profiles being visible to registered members is part of the deal. And when I’ve had to send a postcard to a blank-profiler, I’ve had no information back from them…
@Stevyy it’s not a “big big drama”, it’s just a(nother) debating point.
Interesting enough, that has happened to me several times at work! Only that I got to sit down with them much longer. Okay so, I understand it can feel difficult and hey, it is okay. You don’t need to be super-duper friends with everybody or have perfect conversations with every single person you meet. We all handle our postcards different ways.
But how about, you sit down with the person who has their arms folded and eyes closed. They are still there. They are there with you. Now, if it is your turn to start, you do so. Say “hey, today I saw a frog in park and had ice cream for lunch. How was your day? Everything going well there?” Do they reply? Maybe, maybe not. If they don’t okay, well you get up after 10 minutes and that’s it. You never need to meet them again. Time to walk to next room and have 10 minutes chat with the other stranger!
If you do nothing, nothing happens. If you do something, something might happen. You can be the one to start. There isn’t really anything to lose here. You will still get card from somebody else and get to send card to next address.
@meiadeleite some thoughts on your ideas about helping people with profiles:
- Profile moderation
Although it may not “move the tide” I think it does help in, as you say, extreme cases, and should be continued for those. People can report a profile and then the admins can respond. I have done this several times myself.
- Automatic warnings
I think this is for the most part also ok. Maybe the wording for the automatic warning can be tweaked a bit if there are nice people who are accidentally “called out” for doing nothing, or maybe at the end there can be a “please contact the administrators if you believe you have received this warning in error” message, or someting similar.
This, I don’t like so much. The stated purpose behind Postcrossing is “send a postcard, get a postcard.” Period. When I signed up I was really surprised to get detailed profiles asking for certain cards, disclosing personal information about themselves, etc. etc. Some people on this thread have made it clear that they consider a blank profile to be as or even more demanding as a profile with a mile-long “no” list. I personally consider a blank profile to be a perfectly valid option, unless Postcrossing decides to officially change into a “make a social contact by postal mail, receive a social contact by postal mail” project. That would of course be valid, it would just be different than what Postcrossing has been up until now and should be clearly stated.
- Profile ratings
OH, please NO, and thank you for refraining from this from the get-go. If there were such a system and I knew about it, I would set my account inactive and just participate in the Forum. One of the best things about Postcrossing IMHO is that it refrains from this kind of mobbing/peer pressure.
Hard agree with this. I came to Postcrossing from Swap Bot, which I found so draining, with the ratings, and doing everything extra ‘right’ to get the extra heart rating, and then people following up on why you didn’t give a heart rating…
Postcrossing is cut and dried, there is one metric, registering the card (which records both the sender and the receiver’s activity). Having only that one simple rule actually leaves everything else open - you can be as creative as you want with your card choice and message, because you only have to do this one thing.
Reading threads like this on the forum I think distorts the issues and makes them seem more frequent (and I read these and sometimes post, I’m not criticising). The vast majority of interactions on the main site go ahead without issue. It’s the 80/20 rule, except I’m guessing it’s actually more like 95/5.
I want to agree with everyone above about not going with a rating system. It seems ripe for abuse and will only make people anxious at best. I think it will stifle creativity as everyone will strive to make their profiles as middle-of-the-road as possible to appeal to the widest audience. I think liking and favoriting is a bit much sometimes, too.
And as for empty profiles, well, I tend to take a more optimistic view of this. People may have very good personal reasons for leaving their profiles blank. It’s just like how I leave out some information on my profile because I don’t think it’s necessary for other people to know. But people will want to know or assume anyway because people have different comfort levels about what sort of information is needed. (Like my gender–I don’t disclose this but some people seem totally confused and write to me saying they can’t write any meaningful messages because they don’t know whether I’m male or female.)
As a postcrosser I feel I should have freedom to send the card which depicts culture of my country. For example a monument of my country has very interesting stories and I try to put it briefly in card. I also try to show cards with very interesting aspects our living habits which you may not know .I will welcome any card which shows the mindset of person selecting card.If my card is not matching the so called DEMAND of receiver, I still select card carefully to make it interesting for receiver. Post Cards in envelope are not postcards and also the cost is high.
My biggest dislike here is people apologising for not having the perfect card for me. I haven’t got a wish list and I clearly state that any card is fine. Still I get cards where the only message is an apology for sending whatever card it is that they have chosen.
For me, when I pick an address, I will try to find a common topic to talk to the person about. Otherwise, I will just talk about my day, or the postcard/stamp.
For empty profiles, it just means that I can have a little more freedom in choosing what to send and what to talk about, which is good too
And yes, as some Postcrossers have already pointed out, some might not be as fluent in English. Sometimes I will make a conscious effort to write in simpler English, just in case. E.g. I will try not to use bombastic words, or words that might have a double meaning (e.g. these people sure are loaded), as not everyone would understand the double/triple meanings to a word.
I think we can all enjoy Postcrossing a little more, and love Postcrossing for the purpose we signed up.