The Health of Postcrossing

Meanwhile to me (and obviously not to me) it seems that @greenskull wants to change Postcrossing somehow.

Ideas are always good, until a certain point. To me it seems too enthusiastic now.

Greenskull, you’ve sent ~ 30 postcards in almost 4 years. You may be good at statistics. Theory is one side. But what about the practice?

Like Sir Winston Churchill once said: “The only statistics you can trust are the ones you have falsified yourself” :wink:

I prefer to continue writing postcards, enjoy them and when the recipients are happy about my selected cards. I enjoy the exchange with nice people. This is what Postcrossing is about and from what it lives. I better leave statistics to those who think they know what they do and can’t live without them, no offence.


I think this wouldn’t change.
I like that too, and I don’t see how and why it would change, if some intermediate member could send more cards.

I think this could result more happy Postcrossers. Maybe it’s the nice person who got more slots, and you get a card from them :slight_smile:

(Off topic a little, sorry, but also related:
I wonder how members reacted when the slots were added earlier? It was that members could send a certain amount no matter how much they sent, right? Did members also then think it will result bad things only? )

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That depends on what priority postcrossing has in your life.
As with you and with us, it has a high priority. So, as you write, we will do without other things.
But I disagree with you - 20 euros is a lot of money!

We can currently ship 21, all our slots are always filled. We are at your side, we would like to send more. But there are still the RRs and swaps.

It might also be possible to increase the number of cards to be sent by making a change so that some addresses cannot even be drawn.

An example:
We draw an address. The member has not been online for 20+ days. And registered the last card in September 2022.
First we ask ourselves - has something happened here that prevents him from sending more cards?
Whatever the reasons, we probably won’t find out.
But in our experience, sending a card here is a waste of time. You have to wait 60 days for the slot to be available again.
Perhaps – one should put “the system” to the test here.

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It is for some, while other’s don’t care. I know people who pay 30-40 Euros in month for their gym membership, and don’t even go there. I know for some it’s one hour work, and some it’s their daily benefit, but it’s not one truth that it would be much.

Can be they came back active then? It’s not given they won’t get your card or that it will be expired.

I have similar experience and the card is registered, not even expired.
Then again I have sent to active members, who don’t get my card, and sent a second card, which they don’t get either. All time active, other cards from Finland arriving well. This is the surprise element :smile:

These above I don’t see related to the suggestion to give more slots to members (who are not totally new). Value of money doesn’t change, members changing inactive/active or disappearing doesn’t change (or maybe they don’t disappear, because they can send cards and stay :slight_smile: ).

Postcrossing has been slowly dying out for 10 years.
The number of postcards in it is stagnating.

The correction of the slots rule does NOT affect the current capabilities of the players in any way. Correction of the slot rule gives additional possibilities.
If you do not use them, then everything will be as before for you.
I will say more, the game will return to those levels of exchange of cards that were 10 years ago.

If someone is embarrassed by the very fact of additional features, and they snort and leave (which is absurd given the above), then significantly more players will remain due to the fact that now they do not sit waiting for weeks, but send and receive. Because there are orders of magnitude more beginners and intermediate players. They are the main potential of the game.

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I have already answered and described it above.

We are not discussing me here. And the state of Postcrossing, which unfortunately has been fading for 10 years. And we discuss a few ideas on how to breathe the previous life into it.
Everyone here sends postcards. But not everyone is able to analyze and offer ideas for improvement :slight_smile:

Let me explain what Postcrossing fading means.

Each year, a certain number of postcards are registered in the game. Now it is about 4 million.
So the number of annually registered postcards in each next year is approximately -6% less than in the previous one.
This is exactly the fading that we can see as a downtrend.

And this fading has been taking place since about 2013…2104. Since Postcrossing began to actively penetrate into countries far from Europe.
Which began to increase the average postcard travel time.

As a result, the waiting time to send a next card for those who play at the limit of their slots began to grow. What reduces the performance of Postcrossing, the satisfaction from the game, as participants are forced to wait longer and longer every year.

And this is precisely the fading that is clearly seen in postcrossers playing at the limit of their 100 slots. I picked a postcrosser from the TOP 100 at random.

See the TOP-100 postcrossers, at least half of whom are playing at the limit of their 100 slots. And you will see that soon after they reached this maximum, their volumes of postcards began to fall inevitably.

What I’m saying is -6% in registered postcards annually = about -27% every 5 years.
That is, Postcrossing loses about a quarter of its postcard traffic every 5 years.
These are the postcards that postcrossers will not send or receive.

If postcards were money, it would be a terrible loss leading to bankruptcy :flushed:

Can this be prevented?
Yes. To do this, we need to adjust the slot rule as I suggested above.

The blue line is the current slot rule.
The orange line is the new slot rule I propose to replace the current one.
The horizontal axis is the number of postcards you sent in total.
The vertical axis is the number of slots (maximum postcard limit).

I don’t think it’s only that. Italy-Germany is advertised as needing 8 business days, but I started again this February and I hadn’t had one less than 3 weeks. At the same time Germany-Italy postcards arrive the week after being sent.

Plus the massive number of senders that get my address for one registered postcard, I can spend weeks in which I have maxed out slots without receiving.

There is an imbalance that goes over the factors you are considering imo

If these are factors that we can influence with our forces, then describe them and please suggest actions to stop them.

We must have the courage to change what must be altered, the serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.

Above, I showed what can be fixed, explained how it works, and evaluated the effect.
And it would be nice to get some commentary from the founders of Postcrossing. And learn about their political will regarding the proposed idea.

I think you’re right about the effects here, but wrong about the causes.

The way I see it, fewer and fewer people out of those who are joining postcrossing just now will become long-term, active, reliable postcrossers. Increasing the number of slots for them will be beneficial for a handful - but uneventful for most, or maybe even unbalancing for the system.

I’m curious about your opinion on my take on this.

And I think there’s a quick way to measure this. We can choose at random 100 postcrossers that signed up this month (or this week, or this day) and have currently 0 cards sent. We check on them in a month or three, see how many cards they sent during this time.

And as always, thank you for your great posts. I love your take on everything countable :slight_smile:

L.E.: I think the best way to gain @paulo and @meiadeleite 's attention on this subject is actually tagging them - I think it’s unlikely they go through every discussion thread without somebody drawing attention to it :slight_smile:


It is all the time someone joins to Postcrossing, and someone freezes.
They join out of curiosity and interest.
They freeze for various reasons - one of which is unjustified expectations, and insufficient encouragement, the need to painfully wait. The price for beginners and even intermediate players is not so significant. I think that anyone can afford 10-15 euros a month.

I’ve researched this before and found that most postcrossers quit after reaching 20…40 postcards sent. They get bored, there is no action, and the pace of adding slots is so slow that there is no joy from such Postcrossing.

Approximately TOP-10 000 (of 800 000, it is less than 1%) postcrossers make 50+% of all registered postcards. Above, I gave estimates. I’m sure the founders will confirm it, although there may be some margin of error as I use indirect estimators.

The new slots rule will give a direct increase in growth mainly due to those who play at the limit of their slots.
And there are quite a lot of them among the TOP-10 000. I can only say for sure that among the TOP-100 there are about half of them.
Everyone who has a similar pattern in statistics is playing at the limit of their slots.

I can assume that among the TOP-10 000 there are 10…20% of those who play ± at the limit of their slots. It doesn’t matter how many there are exactly, it is important that with the new slot rule they will cover -6% of fading with their activity.

And this will give an indirect increase due to an increase in the appetite of those who previously was quitting the game due to dissatisfaction with the pace.

What you suggest is basically correct. But all this is already evident from the data that I have given for review above.
And the founders of Postcrossing have a full range of data from which they can squeeze anything with any certainty.
That is, there is simply no need to do any experiments.

In absolute terms, this is -1,000,000 (minus 1 million !) postcards every 5 years :sob:

There are lots of factors you don’t consider in your analysis, you just assume more slots for everybody below 100 would be better.

But you don’t know if the decrease in total numbers is due to that, or to more postcards being lost, or even due to covid or the war.
The world isn’t the same as 10 years ago, and multiple factors can explain that change in postcards numbers. Even inside the Postcrossing world things changed - do you know if the change to this forum increased the number of postcards sent by forum games, and therefore decreased the official numbers, as persons can prefer one to the other?

Last, I don’t buy your explanation that the increase in users from Asia/Oceania countries is the reason travel times are bigger now - from my point of view (I don’t have the time to do the pretty graphs like you) travel times increased even inside Europe since 2019 to now.

Ps. Of course if you’re sad the number is decreasing you can try to change that, by sending all the postcards your slot allows :wink:


I still think this is because of the ratio of active, seasoned, reliable members that reach either a comfortable limit (e.g. the number of postcards they afford to send monthly - time-wise or money-wise) or a hard limit (100 traveling) compared to the ratio of people that quit postcrossing because it is too expensive / no longer attractive for them / real life gets in the way.

To me, the number of people that join monthly, stick around, and always send to the max is nowadays (compared to 5 or 10 years ago) too small in the sea of all postcrossers ever (and even of all postcrossers currently active). I don’t think an increase of slots will “revive” postcrossing - I don’t think it will be noticeable in the stats.

But an increase in slots might bring unbalance to the system in the sense that there are already too few addresses in the pool when somebody draws an address. I have another analysis here on how that impacts me (and most users from countries say below top 10) personally - the first time my address goes into the pool, it is drawn 40-50 times (depending on how many cards I have traveling at the time). I quickly go to having more cards received than sent, then my address won’t go near the pool for weeks or even months.
On January 24th, a single card of mine drew me 41 cards. Nobody drew my address since Jan 28th - even though I kept drawing and sending. Soon I will cross the sent < received line again, and there will be another avalanche.

And unfortunately, a high number of cards drawn by new members are never sent. I think the cost of increasing their limits would outweigh the benefits. I think it’s good we have a hard limit where newbies aren’t allowed to make too much of an impact. When are we sure they are reliable? 10, 50, 100, 500 sent cards? How many of them would send more if given the chance, and how many are at a comfortable limit already?

A local friend and postcrosser recently moved; she still had access to her old mailbox, but decided it would be cleaner to autoregister everything travelling to her, even if she set her account to inactive plenty of time in advance. The system showed 23 cards! Only two of those actually arrived at a later date. A few had scanned images and were from well seasoned members - the rest were from people who were inactive for months, had very few or no cards sent and registered, and might have never bothered to send them in the first place.

And another little experiment :slight_smile:

I took 10 countries or regions of variable activity, counted the members that have signed up in February, and the total number of cards they sent until present date. This cannot account for people that have deleted their accounts since then. Let’s compare this against the total number of active* members in the same country/region (by active here I mean “logged in last month” - not necessarily sending any cards). I tried to make it diverse, selecting countries and provinces from various continents

# Country/region New members in February 2023 Total postcards they sent Total Active* Members Members all time
1 Australia, Queensland 6 19 117 1233
2 Bulgaria (whole) 11 7 192 1703
3 Czechia, Olomoucký kraj 3 4 83 1232
4 Canada, Ontario 31 88 530 4209
5 Finland, South Karelia 2 6 46 373
6 Germany, Berlin 30 63 501 3313
7 Hong Kong, Central and Western District 6 0 177 6884
8 Norway (whole) 6 38 133 1248
9 Russia, Leningrad oblast 12 4 176 1479
10 UK, London 9 3 174 >1000


  • New members and their cards: search by country/province, showing people active in the last three months; sort by membership; select people who joined in feb 2023, count their cards
  • Total active members: search by country/province, showing people active in the last month
  • Members all time: explore → countries; browse all members; filter by province/city

(I’m sorry I’m hijacking your post with my numbers. I felt I had to get it all out :smiley: )


I know. But that’s another topic.

You don’t have to believe. You need to understand the numbers above. Using the RalfH data as an example.
We can take any postcrosser with a long enough experience and the data will be confirmed.

If these are factors that we can influence on our own, then describe them and please suggest actions to eliminate them.

If the world followed this principle, then you would still be working on MS-DOS :slight_smile:

In order for your opinion to work, you need to convincingly substantiate it.

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Imbalance will not occur if the system itself selects the recipient in accordance with the priority of the receive request stack.
And even if Postcrossing is supplemented with additional features (5 most desirable countries, etc.) - all these are simple technical issues that are easily solved.
I don’t see the point in going into the technical details of how the algorithms work now. This is a specific topic that 99% of postcrossers will not understand :slight_smile:

I suggest us be consistent.
And at this stage, I would like to understand whether the founders of Postcrossing see a falling trend, whether they want to turn it up and whether they are going to do something about it.
If their answer is a categorical NO, then all this talk, in principle, does not make sense.
And then over the next 10 years, Postcrossing will lose half of its registrations.

I want to share here an optimistic forecast for the number of registered postcards per year, if we leave everything as it is and do not change anything.
And, of course, if another shock does not occur in the world.
The values for the years 2023…2032 are forecast. Most likely, the fact will be slightly lower.

Year Poscrads per year Growth over the previous year
2005 40 082
2006 314 530
2007 485 800 54,45%
2008 937 287 92,94%
2009 1 731 717 84,76%
2010 2 502 668 44,52%
2011 3 649 580 45,83%
2012 5 344 059 46,43%
2013 6 107 132 14,28%
2014 6 253 721 2,40%
2015 6 024 930 -3,66%
2016 5 946 735 -1,30%
2017 5 425 005 -8,77%
2018 5 287 315 -2,54%
2019 5 100 682 -3,53%
2020 4 513 545 -11,51%
2021 5 289 716 17,20%
2022 4 993 468 -5,60%
2023 4 760 000 -4,68%
2024 4 442 000 -6,68%
2025 4 133 000 -6,96%
2026 3 837 000 -7,16%
2027 3 541 000 -7,71%
2028 3 253 000 -8,13%
2029 2 948 000 -9,38%
2030 2 652 000 -10,04%
2031 2 356 000 -11,16%

If we adjust the slot rule in accordance with my suggestion, then we will at least prevent the trend from sliding down. And I estimate that in a few years (2-3 years) we will change the trend towards growth.

To be or not to be let the founders of postcrossing decide.
Time will act as a judge.

Just start sending out postcards and you could help to change this :woman_shrugging: