Suggestions for blog posts

We’re accepting suggestions for new posts on the Postcrossing blog! :slight_smile:

The blog has been running for over 10 years now (see the archives here) and sometimes we have some trouble coming up with new topics to write about… so if you see some interesting postal news, or find a detail of postal history you’d like to know more about, feel free to suggest it below!

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Not sure about topics, but I would like to make a suggestion for the blog. I almost never read the blog because whenever I do, it’s really hard to read. The font used for blog posts is really tiny, and even if I put on reading glasses, it’s a strain. Is there a reason you use a different font there than elsewhere on Postcrossing? If so, know that you are losing at least some readers.

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Try increasing the size of your browsers.
I’ve zoomed mine up to 120% in order to better see every website; it’s not just Postcrossing that strains my aging eyes … :wink: :eyeglasses:

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I’m happy to let you know that this is in the works! We’re bundling that change together with a couple other usability updates (text size increases in other pages, different font styles in some browsers), but it should be out when we’re done testing stuff.

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Here’s my suggestion:

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Ah, bummer… I hadn’t noticed that topic! I’m going to merge the replies here, so we can keep them all in the same place.

I’ll start with a suggestion of my own!
I’ve recently learnt about an art/postcard edition project that I’m thrilled about!
You can find out about it here: http://incident.net/ctrlp/
Basically, because of covid, most art exhibitions around the world (and around my country) have been cancelled, thus leaving artists without projects to work on, even without work at all.
So this mutlimedia artist named Julie Morel decided that distance and lack of exhibition space would not stop her. She created a micro-edition project to invite other artists to create artists’ postcards and stamps, so that the public can still stay in touch with art, and even own it!

I just think it’s a brilliant way to share art in a difficult time. And if, like me, you enjoy recieving unique postcards and collecting art, well, what a charming way to do both!

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That sounds a great project. There is similar one that started in UK recently. It’s called The Art Post based in Sheffield, UK and you can subscribe and get 3 postcards monthly of prints by artists from Sheffield, so it supports the artists. You don’t know what the prints will be until they arrive in your mailbox.
It’s www.theartpost.co.uk and costs £4.50 a month.

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@Kotorrai & @Highrisk these are brilliant projects & I love the idea of an affordable subscription to these artists’ work. Would love to see this duplicated everywhere! So exciting!

The Sheffield one is a great model for promoting postcards in a specific region - I think this could catch on and maybe some Postcrossers might get more of these types of ventures off the ground.

On the artists sharing their work via postcards: this is also possible via Patreon where you indeed pay a monthly fee to support them in their work. Depending on the fee you pay you will receive rewards, varying from access to digital art, discount in their shops to written or blank postcards!
Personally I support several artists in this way.

Back to the topic of what I would like to see a blog post of is…the Postcrossing algorithm!
We have so many threads in the forum discussing how we think it works, I would love to get a glimpse of what is considered in the algorithm model and how it’s maintained and has evolved during the years.

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Yes, I support someone, who is also a Postcrosser, that way now and yes, it’s also a good way to support artists’ work, but I like this more public, visible approach too.

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I definitely understand the appeal, but this is super tricky to do.

Not only is the algorithm several pages long, but the more we talk about it, the easier it is for people to game the system… which isn’t great. In the past, we’ve written about very specific bits of how Postcrossing works (see address validation and unknown IDs) but beyond these, it’s hard to find a topic that is the right size for a blog post, while keeping the mystery and not giving too much away. :sweat_smile:

Other than address selection, are there specific parts of how Postcrossing works that people are curious about? I could talk about keeping the Postal Monitor updated, but that might be a bit boring…

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How about sent/received balance? I think this is being discussed a lot in the forum.

As for me, my favourite part of the blog is interviews.

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I totally understand! Making my living working with algorithms also makes me especially interested, I just imagine the work you must have been doing!
So I make a try in thinking along of what might be possible.

Isn’t there some steering method in the algorithm that everybody is unconsciously aware of, but can still be amazed by when they think about it? For example, the fact that you don’t get an address from someone from your city (is it the whole city? A distance range?)
Or a throwback in time of when you first were creating it, seeing weird behaviour and had to adjust the algorithm that now seems like a dead simple choice?

Or a story on the options you have as a user to steer the algorithm, like repeated countries? You don’t have to explain how it works exactly, but why it was introduced can be interesting. And that there’s a team thinking about it and implementing it (what does that actually mean?).

My conclusion is that I really like the behind the scenes series (thanks for sharing the links!) to get a glimpse of what’s behind what I see in my browser. So anything on maintaining the algorithm I’d be excited to learn!

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Oh indeed that’s a steering method/restriction that not everyone is aware of! People have been worried about getting addresses of countries they can’t send to. And it explains what you do! (Probably it’s manually checking and that’s why you think it’s boring, but it shows the work you do!). If it’s too short, combine it with the restriction on not getting the address of your neighbour!

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Here are some suggestions:

  1. How teachers are using Postcrossing in their lesson plans and the response from their students.

  2. The different ways in which the CoVID-19 pandemic has affected Postcrossing.

  3. The bags that postmen use and how their designs have changed over the years.

  4. Speculating and forecasting how postcards will be used and valued 100 years from now.

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All interesting topics — I’ll give them some thought! :slight_smile:

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I would love to read about the roles postcards played during WWI and WWII, or other major historic events.

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