Listing Preferred Postcards in a Profile

I have received the dreaded message:
“Please use your profile to write about yourself . Making demands about what you want or don’t want to receive is not allowed by the [Community Guidelines] (Postcrossing Community Guidelines) and may put your account at risk.”
…attached to my profile. And I am seeing a similar warning pop up on profiles of members when I first get their address to send out a card.

Here is what the community guidelines say:
“Your account’s profile is the place where others can learn more about you, so please enter a few sentences. If you mention which postcards you like in your profile, keep in mind that others are not obliged to send you a postcard that matches your preferences. You cannot make demands about what you want or don’t want to receive.”

I have been an active member since 2011 and have both sent/received over 6,000 cards. The favorites are kept in 3-ring binders in clear plastic photo holders to be able to see the face and also read the sender’s comment. I have really enjoyed the hobby!

But what I have learned is that the more we are exchanging cards, and can see what cards are available, the more we want to list cards that we especially appreciate. I often change my suggested topics as I see different cards in transit, or I have enough of that category. Also, there are multiple commercial companies now specifically making certain types of postcards, and members are listing them by name (“anything from Lou Paper”). You will see some of them pop up in the ads, too.

Over 90% of the recipients I get now have some sort of preference in their profile, but, like me, and in accordance with the guidelines, also add a disclaimer that any card will be fine. That is how we find out new types of cards, or even get some homemade. Over the years I have accumulated blank postcards in probably 30+ categories to hopefully match those being sought and have standby of typical Arizona scenes if I cannot find one. I even used Snapfish to create 2-sided 5x7 cards that are collage of my own photos to send out to those who already have thousands of commercial cards. They are unique, and topical: a hike across Grand Canyon, visit to an Arizona ghost or mining town, highlights of my area, and even cards showing our favorite parts of a Disney cruise or driving the North Coast 500 in Scotland.

Maybe the project started as a way for surprising a recipient with a card, and for beginners it still is the primary benefit. Now, though, the seasoned postcrossers are looking to increase their collections, if they can, without snubbing or penalizing those who do not have access to large blank reserves. Some of the cards I value the most are outside my list, but are heartfelt and unique exchanges valued more for the message than the image.

What I think is disturbing is to be told that having a list endangers the account. If that is true, there are a lot of us on the edge.

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First let me commend you on sending & receiving 6000+ postcards. Quite an accomplishment! I took a peek at your profile; very well-written and interesting. I have read your post a few times, and based on your profile, I can’t figure why you got that “dreaded message.” The only thing I can think of is that some specific wording or how something was worded triggered that alert.

The other observation I have is concerning seasoned Postcrossers “increasing their collections.” I have never looked at the Official site as a way to build my collections. I find it more useful to do that via trades in the Forum with other members. But again, that is my viewpoint only. You may be dealing with a one-off situation here, so no need to stress over it. I have found over the years that the administrators on PostCrossing address members concerns very adequately. So, if this ever pops up again, do let them know. I am sure they appreciate hearing from valued members like you.

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@arizpublaw

Both informations are not personal messages to you, but appears automatically when you write your profile or make a change to it or when you draw an address.

So if you write about yourself in your profile and also express some wishes (not demands), that’s fine.

And when you draw an address, sometimes the message appears that it doesn’t matter which card you send, so that every user knows that they are not obliged to follow the wish list in a profile, but can send whatever they want.

Here you can read what Ana wrote in another topic:

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I have this message, too. But I’ve also written on my profile, that any card is fine. I don’t see any problem with wishlists.

What I had sometimes, that there where profiles that had long don’t-send-lists such as “no viewcards, no ads, no animals, no flowers” and sometimes also added a “I won’t register cards that I don’t like”. I guess the message is meant for those profiles…

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Just confirming that everyone sees this message! It’s not targeted at you, or triggered by something you’ve written. It’s a general reminder, based on common mistakes people make, to help avoid them. Otherwise, I’d guess there’s a tendency for people to do things that aren’t permitted without realising, and then be quite upset that they unknowingly broke the rules. This makes sure the rules are clear.

Regarding the worry about your account being at risk, I’m not generally the person who contacts members if there is a problem with their profile due to listing things they want/don’t want, but I’m pretty sure the team give you a chance to amend it in almost all situations. With the sorts of issues I email people about, I start by just contacting the member and letting them know about the problem, and prompt them again after a week. Only if both emails are ignored do I start doing anything else.

I’m fairly sure that most profile issues are treated like this, and you’re given ample time to change it if the team spot a problem.

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@Izzy2018
I have moved your post to another topic where it fits better How to tweak your profile description

This one here is a help topic and the question of the TO is answered and I close it soon.

Cliffside,

Thanks for the comments. I did not think of postcard swaps in the Forum with other members to build up certain collections.

Bille,

The reminder is fine, though I have not seen it posted very much until this last year or so. What I am concerned with is more the veiled threat to cancel the account, particularly when the guidelines themselves acknowledge that profiles can include lists of preferred cards.

What I would suggest is changing the wording to include exactly what the guidelines state about profiles, and then maybe softening it a little with the addition of “Remember that not all members will have access to many types of postcards, particularly as they start out in Postcrossing, and we would not want to make them feel unwelcome, or their card not valued, just because it does not appear on a list. Most Postcrossers feel it is the personal message shared across countries and cultures that make the hobby fun!”

Better?

Ron R

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I understand what you mean and you are welcome to send your concerns and suggestions to the admins via the Contact us page.

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LOL I just read this thread and then it happened to me: I updated my profile and this warning came up. What triggered it? I wrote that “Canada Post does not accept mail to Russia and Belarus” (just a warning that I can’t send thank you cards there right now).

Clearly the phrase “does not accept” is a concern to the Postcrossing bots, regardless of context.

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I don’t know, but probably there is no formulation that triggers, but the updating itself.

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Oh sorry, that was rhetorical. The red warning box popped up as soon as I typed “do not accept”

Haha, I didn’t know the main site has such a feature! Well, writing, “I do not accept these and those cards,” that would be against the rules. It makes sense that the phrasing triggered a bot. :thinking:

Edit: Everyone else is right. Simply entering the settings for your profile text will show this message. There is nothing popping up when you write certain words.

Again, as admin has already said, these are not warnings given to specific people. These are general reminders that everyone receives.

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Hi everyone! :wave: I think this started on a wrong assumption that has already been cleared up by a few people. Just adding a few more thoughts to make sure it is clear.

The yellow background box is there for everyone to see — it’s a reminder, nor a warning. Yes, it’s a bit strong worded and the yellow does pop out, but this is because very demanding profiles is a long standing problem in Postcrossing and we want to, as much as possible, encourage people the right way, so we placed it as visible as we could without having it blinking or something even more annoying. So, yellow background box: it’s always there, to everyone — it’s a reminder about not making demands. I’ve prefixed the text with “Reminder:” to see if we can minimize the confusion with it.

Now, there is also a red background box that only appears to some people in specific cases. This is only triggered if you have very specific text on your profile like “do not send me” and a few other combinations that are often problematic. This is done automatically and, again, this is to encourage people to follow the Community Guidelines about not making demands. If one sees that box, then they should take a close look at what they have on their profile to make sure everything is ok — but this is NOT what this topic is about, as the @arizpublaw is referring the yellow background reminder that is shown to everyone.

The other issue brought up is whether the reminder contradicts the Community Guidelines. We don’t think it does. The Community Guidelines says that one may list their interests/preferences — but not making demands. The yellow box is emphasising no demands part — it does not say one can’t list preferences/interests. Stating postcards preferences can be alright, as long — and this is important! — one doesn’t use the profile only/mostly for that as the profile is expected to be primarily to write about yourself.

Lastly, just to reassure: if a profile is truly very demanding, it first receives an email from us first asking for it to be updated: we don’t outright suspend any account because the profile is demanding about the postcards one wants/not wants. If our request is ignored, we may end up clearing the profile. Only if the text returns again (or is not changed at all) we may consider something more serious. We have no pleasure in closing one’s account, so for these issues, we always contact first.

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Paulo,

Thank you for the posting and clarification of the notices and warnings. I think the explanation helps. The profile really needs to give a sender an idea of the recipient’s background, hobbies, family, and home area. A few sentences at the start puts any card requests in perspective.

Although almost all of the profiles now have some sort of card preference, I rarely see one strongly worded - that they would only accept those on the list. If there is any express demand, it usually is in the negative, that they are even afraid of certain images, insects, or cards that may be off color. I think those requests are reasonable. We all have enough blanks to work around them.

I would still suggest, though, that the yellow box could be better worded. The guidelines say it the best - that preferences can be listed, but not demands. Stating only that “Making demands about what you want or don’t want to receive is not allowed.…” can be interpreted to mean that any listing is frowned upon. At what point does a list become a demand? When it is too long? When the profile is very bare, and only has a list? If you get that warning, what changes are expected to be made to the language in the profile?

So, here is my suggestion for changing the wording on the yellow box, building on the guidelines themselves:
"“Your account’s profile is the place where others can learn more about you, so please enter a few sentences. If you mention which postcards you like in your profile, keep in mind that others are not obliged to send you a postcard that matches your preferences. You cannot make demands about what you want or don’t want to receive. Remember that not all members will have access to many types of postcards, particularly as they start out in Postcrossing, and we would not want to make them feel unwelcome, or their card not valued, just because it does not appear on a list. Most Postcrossers feel it is the personal message shared across countries and cultures that make the hobby fun!”

Again, thanks for your work to envision, create, and continue to support this great hobby!

Ron Ramsey

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Woah. Those are a lot of words. I think that a lot of people won’t read all of that and/or a lot of people struggle with English and it’s written in a way that is hard to literally translate.

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Really? I haven’t come across that particular statement (I won’t register…).
#speechless

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4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Postcard to member with empty profile?

I moved some posts to another topic and close this one, because Paulo answered the question of @arizpublaw.
We have a lot of other topics where we can talk about profiles, wishlists and “don’t send” lists.

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