Translating/Transcribing postcard messages

Ordinarily, I would. However, in this case I feel you are being disingenuous and since I am not entirely sure of your motives, I no longer wish to engage with you or this thread.


He is only staying in topic.
Some are trying to distract to other topics and problems, which of course can be discussed in another threads.


Since no further clarifications on Forum A, it seems that a blanket ban of public posting of postcard writings does not contradict the cited argument above. The translation thread will remain but it will be inconvenient to get a translation/transcription for a written message. The bar should be intentionally set high for this case. That is the part of efficiency I suggest be traded for fairness and for the integrity of the Postcrossing concept.


[edited forum name to make it sound less aggressive or presumptuous] Since the absorption effect emerges as one point of contention, let me rephrase from an imaginary moderator’s perspective. Assume someone is tasked with moderating Forum X with a specific focus on public posting of the backsides. Here’s his scope of work in two scenarios.

Status quo

  • For postcard backsides posted in the translation thread, screen the following:
    • Address
    • Postcard ID
    • Message
      • Language (whether it is English or not)
      • Content (judge if there is anything, both English and non-English, written that amounts to privacy)
  • For postcard backsides posted elsewhere in the forum
    • Delete or redirect to the translation thread and screen
  • What is happening outside of Forum X?
    • Many questionable sharing activities

Blanket ban

  • For postcard backsides posted in the translation thread
    • Delete if it shows postcard writings
  • For postcard backsides posted elsewhere in the forum
    • Delete if it shows postcard writings
  • What will happen if all the intended postcard backsides are pushed outside of Forum X?
    • Still many questionable sharing activities as it looks like adding only a limited number to infinity.

To me, the moderator’s job is easier in the blanket ban case, hence the 2nd pro listed in my OP. The blanket ban does not prohibit translation/transcription/language learning. It makes a specific case inconvenient for the sake of fairness. For more info, revisit Alternative 2 in the OP.



This is a personal one-off comment and not the start of a new discussion - please accept that.

Since you cannot really evaluate my work as a moderator, I would kindly ask you not to make assumptions about it.


He stays in his facts, but ignores the facts provided by others, if these facts don’t support his arguments.

If you want to “build a case”, you have to argue with counter-arguments if you want to stay credible in the discussion. You can’t just dismiss or even ignore other opinions. Its impolite to demand of others to read your own lengthy explanations, but dismiss the others’ explanations with a simple one-sentenced “I heard you, back to my arguments.”

I stated the fact that a minuscule amount of official cards is shown in the translation thread and argued that it isn’t worth it to change the terms and conditions, and explained why. I argued with juridical discretion. I stated the fact that data protection is about storage too. I got no meaningful answers at all.

In my experience, there are two sorts of people who act like this: Bosses who have put the idea of a project in their head and want to push it through, against concerns and risks voiced by others. Such bosses praise those who support their arguments and ignore or even despise those who have good counter-arguments. The second group are children who can’t accept that they don’t rule the world and throw a tantrum because they don’t want accept the opinions of others. We aren’t either of these, aren’t we?

If you want to build a case like an impertinent, pushy lawyer, you treat the counter-arguments casually or blank them out and just repeat and pressure forward your arguments by stating that they’re better, because you’re under the arrogant impression that you’ll win this case no matter what. If you want to build a case like a matter-of-fact, considerate lawyer, you’ll balance your arguments against the arguments of the other party. You’ll try to convince the judge (who will read both compositions) that your arguments are better by explaining why, by responding to the other’s argumentation and by finding new arguments which prop up your own ones.

If you want to build a case, you have to provide more than a theoretical argumentation. You have to substantiate and concretize. It really helps to reveal what this all is about because the other party will be able to understand it better if you offer examples to illustrate your problem.

I totally agree with @littlesthobo that this forum isn’t a discussion forum, but that @varn behaves as if it were. This topic has reached its limits. It’s my opinion too that @varn’s way of “discussion” is against the spirit of the forum.

And last but not least, @varn doesn’t stay in the facts because he has made himself the judge who rules which arguments are more “sound”, more “valid”:

I’m sorry, but this isn’t “staying in the facts”, but unobjective and impertinent. The judge is the one who decides; in this case, the judge are the admins who will ponder over the arguments stated and weigh them to find a solution.


If you mention the translation topic in the terms and conditions, you’d put the idea of publishing postcards’ backsides into the heads of members who wouldn’t have gotten the idea themselves.

Even if you’d try to state clearly in the terms and conditions that this isn’t about allowing the publication, but only tolerating it, for the sake of help with translation problems, some members will understand that it is gererally allowed and basically ok to publish the written sides of postcards. Some will even transfer this understanding to the usage of other websites: “If its ok to publish them in the Postcrossing forum, I guess there’ll be no problem if I publish them on facebook.”

In my opinion you can’t mention the translation topic in the rules because the translation topic is in a grey area, in the area of juridical discretion which may change under the circumstances. Publishing the written sides is against the rules. The forum allows one exception because

  • a few members have the need for it;
  • it does affect only a minuscule amount of cards;
  • it’s better to have it under control of moderation, in an open topic where you can delete pictures easily;
  • it’s better to deal with it in your own responsability instead of pushing members in need of help to other platforms;
  • the Postcrossing forum is a friendly place where the members help each other out.

The juridical safer solution would be to close the translation topic and ignore and close each new request for help. But I don’t want that, and I appreciate it enormously that the admins and mods of this forum provide and tolerate a simple solution for translation help, even if it’s in the grey area of juridical discretion.


Another thought:

If you implement it in the terms and conditions, you even have to think about scaring away new members because they could get the impression that the risk that their cards are shown in the forum is relevant - although it isn’t, because only 1 in 10.000 cards could be affected. (And again, that’s a conservative estimation. I calculated with 300 cards recieved per hour at 5 a.m. At 9 a.m. there were over 400 cards recieved; 500 from 10 a m. until 1 p.m; 800 at 3 p.m.; 700 at 8 p.m. So even less cards are concerned.)

I think it would be a pity if persons decided to stay away from Postcrossing because they read about the translation topic in the terms and conditions and fear for the protection of their data. If I were a new member and would read this, I’d reason like that: If it’s mentioned in the terms and conditions, it surely must affect a not neglectable amount of cards, otherwise it wouldn’t be mentioned in the rules! - And this impression would be wrong.


The facts are, for example:

Guidelines tells not to show or scan the message side. That private information should be kept private. It’s implied safety is important.
There is no information about the translation thread. (A joinig member cannot choose if their message is published, but it’s random, and they don’t know even that.)

In translation thread messages are shown, with personal information and id, without sender’s permission.

The translations thread is not consistent with the guidelines.

These are not “varn’s facts”, right?

What facts have others provided (of this topic) that he ignored?
Have you looked at the first topic how it’s edited and opinions and viewpoints added?

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The exception is not needed, because, like answered before:
If only a few member need it, they can ask the sender. Now keeping it published, it harms members, and causes discomfort not knowing when one’s card is there.
This applies to all point you present.

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Yes, they could, but either they don’t and decide to ask directly in the forum, or they did ask the sender but didn’t get an (understandable) answer. We don’t know why they use the forum for help; but it’s a fact that they do.


But that would be a responsible thing to do. Letting people decide if they agree that. Maybe they go look to the translation thread and see how it looks. Then they can decide based on truthful information.

I think they could also be aware of not writing too much information, how the messages can be published, and work as a general warning too.

And your reasoning would be proven wrong, if you went looking the thread, and consider it as minimal as now.

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If the card came through the forum, yes, they can.

If it is an official one, no, they cannot, or not in a simple way - there is no possibility of attaching an image of the back of the card in a PM on the official site. I would think no sender remembers every word they wrote on each card they have sent, so they would not be able to help without seeing that backside. The solution would be to exchange e-mail addresses but I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that with a complete stranger.


I mentioned the facts stated by me that were ignored or not answered properly:

The whole thing can be reduced to the academic question if you should stick to the rules of data protection to 100%, or if its OK to make a tiny exception out of sense of practicability.

I won’t repeaty my arguments. :slightly_smiling_face:


Maybe the receiver will try more, to read it (now there have been messages written in capitals letters too, published, maybe just out of lazyiness).
They could be or join the forum to send the image if they want.

Pros: the sender will know their message is unclear/“wrong” language
they can start taking a photo of their message for the possible future need
they can start writing more clearly and/or pay attention what language receiver understands
the message is not published here

But yes, I understand giving e-mail address can be uncomfortable, just like all the information published here without permission or without the person knowing about it

so a pro: you can choose what information you share

Sender can also give their permission to publish it somewhere, if they are unwilling to help.

And sometimes, some messages are not understood :slight_smile:

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The sender should join the forum to explain what they wrote on the card?

That’s not necessarily a pro. If the sender is disabled and can’t write more clearly, what then? It could make them feel bad.

Why bother? Personally, I would never do that, too much hassle to keep every message.

As a sender, if my message is not understood, well, tough luck (for me). I’ll take my chances. If the receiver wants to ask someone for help with reading it - without notifying me - they can.

A general observation - I think we can be going in circles here for a long time. There are two opposite views and neither side is getting convinced by the arguments of the other :slight_smile:

On a side note - the guidelines also don’t state that the admins can tell you not to register something you have received if they deem it was not a postcard. In the guidelines it’s only written to contact the admins if you receive an item that you deem is unsuitable and it will be looked into. Should the possibility of non-registration be clearly mentioned? I don’t think so, no. Not every single thing needs to be clearly stated in a general document.


No they don’t have to. (They can already be here too.)

Then that’s what it is. They probably know it. They can also feel bad when their message is published and people perhaps make comments of their bad handwriting and how they make no effort.

I wouldn’t either, of every card :slight_smile: but I know some do. ( I take a photo if they mention they know a little Finnish, and I write in Finnish, and they need a translation - few times it’s asked, and I appreciate it’s asked from me :+1 )

(About the side note: I knew I only need to register postcards, because it was clear to me in some other part, so I knew mine won’t possibly be registered if I send a ticket, but it could be added more clearly, just in case, but that’s another problem. Maybe own topic to that.)

I have this very same feeling.
Part of this is of course the different weight of the pro and con arguments in the eye of the beholder. If there is one argument that is very prominent to you, no number of repetitions or adding new (and often similar/related) arguments or nuances will change that.

Same here :smile:


I think I answered to the amount point already, right?

But the other part, do you mean this:

Do you want this to be reacted and feel this is ignored?
I think this is another problem, and maybe ignored because of that.

This isn’t another problem, but a concern I voiced about varn’s idea that the pictures of postcards’ backsides should be shared by private messages instead of being posted in the translation topic.

He only wrote this:

I took the burden to read his initial post again, but it doesn’t contain anything about my question why storing the private data in other members’ private messages infinitely should be preferred to sharing it in a topic where it will be deleted after a short time.

Data protection isn’t just about sharing data, but also about how, where and how long it is stored.