Hello @PinkNoodle, I know from encountering your posts over the past month that you’ve been an active and valuable contributor to this new Forum, although I infer from your profile that your experience with the Forum, legacy or new, has been recent. I completely understand your shock at learning the Forum does not adhere to exactly the same privacy guidelines as the “official” Postcrossing site.
The difference between the two is that, although the Forum makes reference to the official Postcrossing Guidelines and Terms of Service as general behavioral parameters, the Forum actually is not an official part of Postcrossing. This is explicitly stated in the Forum Guidelines, which are distinct from the official Postcrossing Guidelines you cited:
“There are many games and activities on the forum, like tags, swaps, round robins, etc. These are not official Postcrossing activities.”
Also, although the Postcrossing administrators take your privacy concerns very seriously and of course would try their best to act quickly to prevent the malicious misuse of your personal information, those Forum Guidelines further state that your participation in the Forum (as opposed to the official Postcrossing site) is your responsibility and occurs at your own risk:
“These games and activities are done at your own risk.”
This is exactly as if you were participating on other social media user-driven platforms or, let’s face it, in your everyday real life. If you share your address (even your return address on a piece of snail mail or your address in a friend’s address book), you cede a great deal of your control over that piece of personal information to whoever happens to see it. The difference here, in the Forum, is that this is structured as a community of people of good will, or as the Forum Guidelines state, a shared public park in which we all take responsibility for the common welfare:
“Think of it like a public park: a space that belongs to the community, and that we can all take care of together.”
In other words, to participate in the Forum is to trust, only to the extent you are comfortable, that the people with whom you share your address also share your privacy concerns, and that if they do give your address to others, it is out of friendly and not malicious or careless motives.
Many if not most of the activities on this Forum would not be possible without that degree of informed trust. Round robin hosts and people who participate in those round robins, or in tags or swaps with you, all have your address, and to participate in those activities is to understand that fact, and to trust that your information is not misused.
The clause that you cite in the Terms of Service is, I think, taken slightly out of context. It actually refers to those who would try to harvest personal information for commercial or other dubious purposes unrelated to Postcrossing.
In the Random Acts of Smileness round robin, Forum members share the addresses of other Forum members with whom they’ve developed a real friendship, in the hopes of surprising them with a card from another Forum member who, more often than not, turns into another friend. To assure you that the administrators take your privacy seriously, I will tell you that I’ve had lengthy correspondence with @paulo about the disclosure of addresses, before they settled on current policy. In the 6 1/2 years that I’ve hosted this round robin, out of more than a thousand RAS cards that have been received, we have received absolutely zero complaints from RAS recipients about the sharing of their addresses. We have received a thousand or more thanks from Forum members who have been touched by these unexpected expressions of appreciation. The RAS round robin also existed for many years before I began hosting it, which speaks to the care and discretion with which it has operated. Again, this Forum is structured on the principles of good faith, friendship, and a certain degree of informed trust.
I understand that you prefer to prevent the sharing of your address with those to whom you have not yourself given it. However, I for one would be sorry to see you quitting the Forum altogether because of this issue, because I’ve found this to be a very kind and trustworthy community of like-minded postcard-lovers. Please allow me to instead offer this suggestion: you might simply state your wishes on your Forum profile, something along the lines of “Please do not share my address with other Postcrossers, Forum members, or the general public, under any circumstances.”
I hope I’ve answered at least some of your concerns about this issue. I am not an administrator or moderator of this Forum, only the long-time host of the Random Acts of Smileness round robin, with (full disclosure) some interest in continuing to encourage and nurture the community atmosphere here.