Inbox in the main website

I was wondering it there is a way to have an inbox on the main website for private swaps purpose? :slightly_smiling_face:

With the recent gmail issue, some emails weren’t delivered. If it’s easy to understand that an hurray message is missing by looking at our stats in the profile, it isn’t easy to know if something else is missing.
For example, I realized I didn’t received the blog post mail because I could see the new blog post in the main page, but I don’t know if I’m missing a couple of messages from private swaps because people didn’t reply to me yet or because they did and gmail just didn’t deliver it.

I think it would be nice to have access to these messages without being dependent on external mail services. Also it could be useful for people who don’t want to receive any messages for private swaps and they still do despite having the option selected on the main website.

Maybe this was discussed before, I don’t know. I just thought it could be a nice feature to add, but some feedback from other people will also be appreciated. :wave:


Gmail by Google is a third party service that is outside of the control of Postcrossing. Despite Gmail’s commitment of a 99.9% availability to all users, there’s still 0.01% likelihood of a major outage. It’s a “black swan” type event and it does not fully justify the need to transition to a fully-integrated messaging system with inbox.

The current Postcrossing website excels in its simplicity and functionally, all thanks to the tight integration of Amazon Cloud Service (AWS) products on which it is built & deployed. The action of composing and sending a private message is handle by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Email Service (SES) in real time with little overhead and does not involve storage. (Not to mention the better security and privacy as the message is not stored anywhere on the PC server)

Suppose they do implement a messaging system on PC website, this means there will be an increase in the size of the code and storage space need (Note: it will not significantly affect cost, as AWS is billed by time).

But it still doesn’t address original question: how are you suppose to notify the users that a message has arrived, without relying an external service?

The way I see it there’s three option:

a) Email though Amazon Simple Email Service (SES): same as before, which defeats the purpose of having an integrated message system.
b) SMS through Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS): better, but subject to carrier limitation and coverage. Also super expensive and privacy concerns.
c) Push notification through Amazon SNS: very cheap but unavailable due to lack of mobile integration.

So I regret to say, that existing messaging model via email is the best available technology right now.

But still, I envision a fully self-contained Postcrossing website in the long run, with messaging built-in and a fully-fledged mobile app with instant notification to boot. For now, it’s just impossible for a two man team at PC to manage this.


Uh. With a notification like the ones we receive on the forum?

Either way, my question wasn’t about how we are supposed to get notifications about new messages, but how we are supposed to get access to our messages if an issue comes up with a third party service. In these situations, I would just enter the website and check out my inbox - I wouldn’t be losing it in the void of an virtual failure.

But you did raise an interesting and important thought about privacy and security via third party service x messages stored on the PC server. I haven’t thought about it, but it does make sense.

I do agree that the website excels in its functionality and totally understand the loads of work that a small team has to run Postcrossing in the amazing way they do at the moment. This was purely a question + suggestion for a future, which might be near or far away or never to happen.

Thank you for giving me an insight on how these things works. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think I might have blurred the line between notification and message itself in some occasions. In this case, receiving an email is both the notification (“Message from someone” in subject) and message (“Someone wrote you a message:…” in body).

And you just reminded me that there’s already a possible solution for this: Community (powered by Discourse) has a built-in messaging system with inbox, push/email notification and proper app support. As Community shares single sign-on (SSO) with main website, it’s possible to unify the messaging system by modifying the a few lines of code on the main site to utilize Discourse messaging instead of the old email based messaging system. (Of course Community inbox stores the messages on the PC server, but so long as the little padlock indicating HTTPS is visible, the data should be secure.)

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When exchanging messages with someone (on the main site), why do those messages only live in your email and nowhere else? I can’t see my entire conversation with a postcrosser in one place, which makes it really hard to keep track of what we’re talking about. Or am I doing something wrong?


That’s just the way it works as far as I know - I just use the search function in my inbox & search for their PC ID name to see all the messages I’ve had with them.

And I always check the “receive a copy of the message” box so I have both their messages and the ones I sent to them as well.

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Welcome @dhwanix to the new forum :slightly_smiling_face:

I have moved your topic because your request has already been discussed here.