The Health of Postcrossing

Alas, the problem is systemic. And it can be solved only by systematic approaches.

If you’re that smart, try predicting when Postcrossing will reach 72 million.
If you want to prove something, just make a prediction. If your predictions come true, then you understand something.
And, perhaps then, it will be more interesting for me to read what you write here.

It’s more like auto-suggestion :slight_smile:
Without a forecast and estimates, all this is just demagoguery, sorry.

Part of the confusion here is the flawed conclusion that Postcrossing is “unhealthy”. There are seasonal peaks and valleys but membership is strong and the exchange of cards is above 400k every month for 10+ years. A very strong showing in the age of email and texting. Could members send more cards? Yes! Would it be nice to see more members in rare nations? Yes! But overall I think most of us are quite satisfied and very appreciative of Paulo’s hard work.


But did it got expensive, in relation to their income? Many who were members at the time Finns were a big group, lived on a student’s benefit. Now these would be working. I think one of the main reasons is the life change. They stopped this “childlish” hobby and wanted to be more adult, and/or didn’t have time for this. (One reason also was the few slots to send, I don’t now remember how little it was, but they felt it’s only and too much waiting so they lost interest. After that the slot amount got bigger, and also amount of members, if I remember right. But the team has all this info.)

Also, in Finland this is not at all so much talked about. It used to be on every forum I saw, it was told about in a school book, in magazines (which are so much less now than then). This is one reason why not so much new members appear: possible new members are not informed about this in the amounts as before.

And I see Postcrossing will increase also when there are slots to send cards. There are members waiting to spend their money.


The increase would mean their addresses would be more often in the pool too.
I think one reason for imbalance is caused is by old members who are inactive, but send all possible cards.

There would be limit for new members.

(Your example of your friend is only hear say. Maybe she got more cards later? Maybe there is exaggeration :slight_smile:
And if she only got two cards out of 23, that would mean also well seasoned members didn’t sent their cards, right? If that’s the reason why she didn’t get the cards. (And of course you can’t choose a reason, meaning that if it’s a new member, they didn’t send, older member, some other reason :slight_smile: )
Are you suggesting Postcrossing should go back to what it was, only same slot amount even to old members, if it looks like the old members don’t send the cards (because they can take another slot and choose to whom they send)?)

I never said that. I think the current limits are perfectly fine for most users and for the global dynamic of postcrossing. I admit there are a few members that would send more if given the chance (I saw one or two people that expressed this wish, in more than a hundred comments of this post). But they keep sending and their limits grow.

There may be a problem with cherry picking, as you say. But also postcards get lost in the mail, or they get misdelivered. There is a problem in the US with machine reading (I’ve had postcards lost and a package returned). But when you see a user who has only sent one or two cards, and went directly to inactive, I see it’s one of three: they drew all the rest and never sent them (they didn’t know how, wouldn’t care, life got in the way etc), or they simply weren’t interested in drawing more, or their postal system is so unreliable that they can’t actually postcross.


Well, if losing about 1 million postcards every 5 years is a good thing, then there is no question.

And we can only rejoice at the prospects for the next 10 years. Or is it still not?

Of course, the founders can do nothing about this and wait another 5 years to make sure the forecast is correct.
But by then, Postcrossing will have fallen to 2011 levels, losing about 50% of its postcard volume from its peak (2013…2014).

Paulo (@paulo) and Ana (@meiadeleite) can listen to my arguments and take action to give their project a chance to revive.
And for this, it’s enough just to set up a slot rule. I calculated everything some time ago and proposed a new version here.

“To be, or not to be, that is the question” :slight_smile:
Nothing will happen on its own. Miracles don’t happen.
It’s time for the founders to make a decision.

This doesn’t tell anything about the true situation since only small amount of members read this forum, let alone this topic, or take time to answer (especially this thread not being only about sending more).

They might be just waiting for their card to arrive either to them or the receiver.

I believe this what you wrote (about old members lost cards?) applies to new members too:

To me seems you have a little negative attitude/mistrust towards new members and assume the “worst”.

A card sent by a new members gets lost as possibly as old members.

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Here are all the users from The Netherlands - a total of twelve - that were active (last seen in the last month, at the time) on Feb 24th, 2022, had sent exactly 50 cards at that date - the total cards they sent as of today - and whether or not they are still around:

User Total today Status Average cards sent per month
AggieAgnes 98 active 3.69
Amparo1976 304 active 19.53
Brandi104 84 last seen 1 month ago 2.62
cis 73 last seen 1 month ago 1.77
Esmee308 78 last seen 1 month ago 2.15
Eva2 137 active 6.69
Femkuhhhh 50 last seen over 1 year ago 0
Ineke 66 active 1.23
Lisa3491 50 last seen 10 months ago 0
Logan2014 50 last seen over 1 year ago 0
Sjus 50 last seen over 1 year ago 0
TessWiegers 65 last seen 1 month ago 1.15

A member that has sent 50 cards can have 10 cards traveling at a time. Assuming the worst possible scenario, they will send at least 5 cards per month on average if they keep drawing every card they can send (in 60 days, a card that is not registered expires so they can draw a new one). But how many of them sent at least 5 cards per month in 13 months? Only 2 out of 12. 8 of 12 have gone inactive. And if you compare the two highest ratios, it is obvious the user with 6.69 is not sending their maximum quota either. So the maximum number of users who would possibly benefit from an increase in slots on this sample of data is one in twelve. But this user has already gone from having max 10 cards traveling at a time to having max 20 cards traveling at a time - and last month she had 23 of her cards registered. Sounds like she’s comfortable with this limit already.

Here are all the users from The Netherlands - a total of eight - that were active (last seen in the last month, at the time) on Nov 14th, 2022, had sent exactly 50 cards at that date - the total cards sent as of today - and whether or not they are still around:

User Total today Status Average cards sent per month
Lola84 50 active 0
lotteannemarijn 50 last seen 3 months ago 0
michel1984 50 last seen 1 month ago 0
MissWallet 54 last seen 3 months ago 1
NicVee 118 active 17
STARSIEWERTSEN 61 last seen 3 months ago 2.75
VeroniqueNL 53 active 0.75
xPaulienx 60 last seen 2 months ago 2.5

So again, only user in eight that is very active, maybe close to their sending limit.

That gives me only one in ten low-number users would possibly - not guaranteed - send one or three more cards if given the chance. The rest are either comfortable and much below their sending max - or have decided on a different hobby.

Here are the active users in Netherlands that have sent exactly 50 cards and are active today, April 1st 2023. Anybody fancy making any predictions?

User Total today Status Average cards sent per month
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I’m not sure what is your point here? So are you thinking more slots would be ok if no one stopped postcrossing? (Especially new ones?)
What relevance does the inactive have here?
I thought it’s understood people go inactive and even stop, new members, intermediate, old members. Some go inactive because all their slots are taken, some die, and all between that.

I am looking at the more slots from the perspective, where an active member would send more, but can’t. (And yes they can be inactive at some point too, that doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t send more at that time.)

I don’t know if you read this topic:
(many members think the low starting amount is good, but after it could be more, and at some point it doesn’t matter - just what the new slot suggestion would fix :slight_smile: )

I too remember the phase, when I was “old” member enough to have all go smoothly, but then having maybe only 14 slots, and I could have had sent much more. That time mail was still somewhat faster, so for member in that situation now, everything is even slower.

((From the above link I found that the original sending slot amount was 3, then 5. Both these to all members, no matter how much you sent. Then this changing slot amount came.))

I was very curious and did the same check as @lamelemon but for Poland.

There are at the moment, in the entire country, 5 users with exactly 50 cards sent, who have also logged in within the last month. Interestingly, not one of them is a relatively new member - the newest one joined in 2017… :wink:

Very interesting on the whole, I think I will start doing some data gathering of my own :smiley:


My point was that unfortunately the number of active users still in their lows (thus affected by the sending limits) is very small, and out of them the ratio of people who are actually active and send regularly and close to the limit is very small as well. I don’t see how increasing the slot limit for such a tiny demographic would impact the declining curve.

There are too few people that discover postcrossing just now (it’s been around for 20 years, the most interested demographic is there already), and out of them too few stick around.


You are right.
The TOP-100 accounts for about 3.7% of all postcrossing postcard registrations.
The TOP-1000 ~ 21% of all registrations.
The TOP-2250 ~ 31% of all registrations.
The TOP-5000 ~ 43% of all registrations.
The TOP-10 000 ~ 54% of all registrations.

In total, the game has 800,000 postcrossers.
And TOP-10 000 is only 1.25% of all participants. And this 1.25% make about 54% of all registrations.
Please think carefully about this.

It is impossible to induce (800,000-10,000 = 790,000) participants to start intensively playing Postcrossing by any persuasion.
For them, postcrossing does NOT have the same high priority as for those TOP-10 000 (1.25% of all postcrossers).

But if the founders give the opportunity to the most motivated postcrossers, who play at the limit of their slots (they are included in this 1.25%), to send more, then they will give an increase in the volume of registrations.
And this increase will exceed the rate of decline (-6% per year) in registrations that we have seen for the past 10 years and we will see more. This compensation is in the shape of the curve of New Slot Rule that I calculated.

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).

That is what I am writing about here.

Moreover, even after the launch of the new slot rule, it will take a couple of years to stop the trend from falling and reverse it. Since Postcrossing is a system with inertia.

That’s just it - I don’t think they would.
I agree with your numbers, but not with your predictions.
I don’t think there are enough postcrossers that play close to their hard limit.
And I think the stat that gives more info here is focused only on the 65.000 or so users that were active in the past month - and only on the cards they sent in the last month.
Most of the 800.000 are gone. A few of them come back every few months, send a few cards, stick around a bit, register what they receive, then they take a break again. Some of them were top users. Most of them sent tens, maybe hundreds of cards.

Here’s what I would do if I had the time. Maybe I will in a couple of weeks, on my next holiday. All the info here is public. It would be 2 minutes for somebody that has access to postcrossing’s database. It would be 3-4 hours for me today and another 3-4 hours in say a month.

  • make a table of all postcrossers that have logged in in the last month - and their total number of sent cards (at least one)
  • collect the same data in say a month from now
  • join the two tables to count: deltas; new members; members that have gone inactive; members that have become active again; members that have deleted their account; average cards sent per month; ratio of average cards sent per month to maximum slot limit;

This way we could estimate how many people play close to their limits, the percent of the cards they send out of the total cards sent in a month, and how many extra postcards would bring the increase in slots (assuming best case scenario = everybody that plays now to the max will keep on playing to the max)

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I already wrote on this topic above.

I would say more precisely if I had direct access to the all data. And the founders of Postcrossing have this access.
Even if the proportion of postcrossers playing at the limit of their limits among the TOP-10 000 is only 5% (just 500 members), this will stop the trend from falling.

There is no need to believe or not believe, everything is easy to calculate here.

This doesn’t make sense ie your example of growingfrom10 to 23 slots so fast.
In my experience I have kept all slots full except a couple of weeks when waiting to send in travel mode so I didn’t go all holiday with no slots.
And yet I have still only progressed to 14 maximum travelling with 268 sent/received. 23 is many months/years away

It’s a deal :slight_smile:
I have a snapshot of Nov 14th. I will take a new one around two weeks at most, on my holiday (or maybe tomorrow if the little lemon complies)

Can we agree on a formula and a daily average for “playing at the limit of one’s slots” until then? In sent postcards/day, factoring the max no of cards one can send.

I think the best place to look for it is [Ranking by postcards sent (last 60 days)](https://the rankings for the last 60 days),

The most active was @suegathman from the US with 437 cards sent. Congrats, Sue! That would be a whooping 7.28 postcards per day at a 100 slot limit.

The “least” active was @tabru from Germany with 285 cards sent. I’m kidding Tanja, congrats, that’s huge :slight_smile: 4.75 postcards per day at a limit of 100 as well.

And halfway through is @tilly30318 from the US with 314 postcards sent - that would be 5.23 cards sent per day. Wow!

But somebody who has a slot limit of say 20 will not be able to sustain such a rhythm - they will quickly run out of slots. So how do we factor this limit in playing head to head?

Let’s take @tesc - I remember Tracy said a bit earlier in this thread that she would send more if given the chance. She has at the moment 268 cards sent, so 14 slots if I’m not mistaken. And she had exactly 14 of her cards registered in March, with a max number of cards per month of 20 in March 2022 - which she ended with 115 cards sent, so only 11 slots available.

So maybe we can equal playing to the max to be

(Sent cards per month) / (max slots available) >= 2? Or thereabouts?

Funny, I was just using you as reference :slight_smile: Thanks for borrowing us your stats.

Thats ok
You may be interested to know I will be sending 40 + postcards this week alone in RR,s that could have been officials if I was allowed :wink: