Translating/Transcribing postcard messages

Yes, but that doesn’t mean the proposed ban cannot be considered. You may be pushing for a ban on permanent storage of personal data. Here I am proposing a ban of public posting of postcard images. These two do not necessarily contradict each other.

These technical details can be ironed out. There is a report feature in private messages. If you notice a postcard image is not deleted in time, you can alert the admin. If you insist the two parties may both be irresponsible, then posting it publicly will probably invite more irresponsible third parties.

:goal_net: I am still sensing a potential consensus here. If private messages can be deleted, then you would support the proposed ban? @Cassisia @delenn_mir @littlesthobo @MarinaL

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Yes, they do. If you delete the translation topic, there isn’t a legally responsible alternative for the users as Postcrossing cannot suggest the private message alternative, because it also contains a violation of data protection, as I’ve pointed out already.

The missing consent of the sender isn’t a technical detail which could be ironed out! Again you’re ignoring my point completely, so I’ll ask again:

You don’t need to ask again if I support your suggestion; I don’t.

P. S.:

No, I’m not. Where did I write that? I wrote that your case and argumentation imply a complete ban of translation help.


No, I would not support the ban because IMO it will push people to seek help in other places, thus generating more exposure of postcard backsides without any control of the Postcrossing team. That has been my first and foremost concern.

People will seek the route of the least resistance so if they cannot simply post a picture with a few written sentences here and are instead forced to use private messages in a more convoluted way, they will make use of other channels/social media. I do not want that. I prefer some measure of control, even if tiny, than no control.

It’s like you have people do road races on public roads (posting on social media - bad things can happen to many people), racing on racing circuits (posting publicly on the forum - bad things can still happen but with much less probability and to a smaller number of people, and there is some control) and racing in secret in unknown places (posting in private messages - no idea what is happening, bad things can happen to an unknown number of people, no control).

I choose the road of the lesser evil here and I think the translation topic is that road.

Also, discussing if private messages can be deleted or not has no point because if I recall correctly it’s the forum’s software’s internal feature and cannot be changed unless the whole software is changed by Discourse. I doubt it will ever happen. If I am wrong, please correct me.


Seems that you are against permanent storage of personal data including addresses, images, etc. Do you have any suggestions how Postcrossing might improve this?

Yes, I raised the issue for the case of public posting. In the case of private sharing, I don’t think it is needed.

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Thank you for clarifying! @delenn_mir

Actually I still feel I can simply insert the term “addresses” in your reasoning above and it is roughly the same as below. If you’re worried that your swap partner is not trustworthy and the inability to delete a private message is security concern, then it seems that it’d be safer to exchange addresses in a public post.

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Thank you for clarifying. Then it means you are okay with the permanent storage of personal data in Postcrossing’s private messages.

I am not worried about the trustworthiness of my (theoretical) swap partner and never said that. Please do not make such assumptions.


I’m OK with it IF the data is shared CONSENSUALLY.


Since you’ve said this, then I would assume you are not worried about the person with whom you’re sharing a postcard image in a private message either?

I totally agree with consensual data sharing! As you’ve said this, why can we share postcard image before proper screening and without consent? This question is intended to guide you from “Alternative 2 Keep status quo” to “Alternative 1 Revise guidelines”. Well, and you know I’m still for the ban.

This has already been answered/commented several times.
Postcard backs are already published elsewhere, and Postcrossing team has no control over it.
They have control over it what is published here.
Also, it is mentioned how minimal the need for translation thread is. Only this minimal amount would be elsewhere if they all publish it elsewhere.

I see it gives more possibility to ask the sender or trying to understand it by themselves.

There is no evidence or reason to believe they will do that (it’s a possibility, but again, the minimal), and apparently they still post to other social medias.

With road race example:
there is possibility of for example drive nicely, on normal road (ask the sender)
you don’t have to drive at all (try to read what is written or accept the normal part of communication - not understanding everything)


Please stick to facts here and don’t keep making assumptions about what other users might think.


Absolutely not. Again, I have zero problem with the translation thread on any grounds. I think it is wonderful and would like it to stay exactly as is. It shows the spirit of this community, which is (except for this thread that is allowed to go against the guidelines ironically) one of total politeness and sharing. Again, you are offering solutions to something I and others do not perceive to be a problem. So, we are never going to give you your win. In fact, I see only one other person supporting you.


Again, consent is not required for public or private sharing of a postcard that you have gifted someone. Legally, it is there item to do with what they will. PC has asked nicely via guidelines that backsides not be shared. However, it is merely a request (as guidelines are) not even a rule and certainly not a law.

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Is this the spirit of the community to you?
Who is the “we”? Are you leading an attack? What happens to the ones who “loose”?
It would be friendly to remove this kind of message that encourages people to attack the ones who disagree and attempt to form sides, it doesn’t courage to civilised conversation and living friendly even in disagreement.

I think this topic has been a rare topic where are made good efforts to say in facts.

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It says:
" The Community Guidelines are in place to help you understand what it means to be part of Postcrossing. Please note that your use of Postcrossing is subject both to these Guidelines and our Terms of Service."

For me, most of these are common behaviour which I don’t need to be told. I send cards to addresses I get, I register cards, I don’t publish others addresses. It’s not that you choose what parts of guidelines you follow.

If you violate these, like not send your cards, I think your account will be suspended.

I hope you are not encouraging members to overlook these guidelines whenever they want to.

This topic was discussed in another thread, so I don’t think it needs to be brought here too.
But like I linked earlier, majority didn’t like their messages published.

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I feel like you missed my point entirely but that may have been purposeful.

I was stating I feel like the OP is trying to win an argument. I think that others could understand me having that opinion based on the OP’s tone, language used, and massive amounts of content continually posted to the point of the thread being switched to slow mode.

Do you disagree that the OP is trying to win a debate? I think they have said so multiple times. They have made it clear that they will not stop arguing until their suggestion is implemented. I personally feel this approach goes strongly against the community guidelines.

I, in no way, have encouraged anyone to attack anyone else. I would like to see this type of discourse end.

I hope that my intentions are crystal clear now and would appreciate, as the mod has implored, that you do not tell me what my opinion is, as you tried to do here:

This is not what I said or meant. As you are having such trouble accurately interpreting my words, I beg you to please stop picking out my texts to attack.


I don’t feel like I missed.

It’s clear.

I know that removing “personalities” and “feelings” might make the tone different, but it’s good way to deal the problem when it’s not about persons, but about the problem. He is continually asked the same questions, and if he refers to earlier answer, it’s told he ignores it.

As did you. Right?
Also, you stated guidelines are merely request, not laws, and following your logic one can choose not to follow this.

Do you see? It’s not that you choose what guideline should be followed.
What is not important for you, is that for another.

I didn’t tell, and won’t try, I wrote my concern about your impression guidelines being merely a request.

I didn’t say you did. It was again my worry, about you not treating guidelines as important, or how it seems to me. So are you saying you don’t need to follow the guidelines? Or any of those who publishes the messages? But some should be followed? (No need to answer, I am just showing how I feel you see “you and the others” more important :frowning: might not be true, but my feeling.)
I think we are equal and guidelines are to all of us.

Ok. Same.

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@Varn wrote repeatedly that he wants to “build a case” against the translation topic. He did it like preparing legal procedure or in a debate at a discussion course.

I don’t. My impression is that he’s in to win this. He tries to act like a moderator, by summing up some arguments, but unfortunately he did it in a subjective way: By dismissing, ignoring or twisting arguments which didn’t support his suggestions. He tried to fence the discussion to his liking and even made himself the judge, by curtly calling arguments invalid or not sound. And he implied things that weren’t written.

I voiced all this repeatedly, but his attitude didn’t change. Instead he continued to frame me in a way that I can only call inappropriate.

In my opinion acting like that can only mean that the person desperately wants to succeed.


After digesting posts #242 through #249, let’s see how the case can be refined.

Sticking point: Presumption of privacy versus publicity

One particular sticking point lies in presumption of privacy versus presumption of publicity for postcard writings. It must be noted that I’m not building a legal case here. Rather, it is about the Postcrossing concept or the kind of service Postcrossing provides and the kind of postcard experience that I expect Postcrossing to curate. It is not illegal to post one’s written messages in most cases. It is also not illegal for Postcrossing to implement the proposed ban, which is certainly only a rule not a law.

My proposed ban adopts the principle presumption of privacy. Postcard writings are private by default unless permission is granted. On the other hand, alternatives “Revise guidelines” and “Keep status quo” presume postcard writings are public.

This principle is pretty much black and white. Suppose “postcards are private except for translation”. As a sender, we have no idea whether our postcard will be subject to translation needs. However big or small the chances are, the guideline effectively presume postcards are public. In my opinion, this is not the spirit of Postcrossing.

On (allegedly) invalid arguments

I described some arguments as invalid when I spotted self-contradiction in the reasoning. I realize this may sound disrespectful. I regret my word choice. Those arguments mainly revolve around data storage. See #221, among others, and my interpretation #225. Consider these two cases

  1. Images posted in a public post temporarily but can be moderated and deleted
  2. Images exchanged in a private message permanently and cannot be deleted

The question is: Which is safer?

  • Would it actually be safer for us to exchange addresses in a public thread?

If one thinks 1 is safer for images, then one would also think 1 is safer for addresses. Obviously we don’t wish to publish addresses as in 1. So here we have a point of self-contradiction (see also #241. This is not to judge if alternatives are right or wrong, valid or invalid. It was only my rebuttal that these counter-arguments do not necessarily alter the logic of my argument.

So again, in this specific case, where exactly do we disagree? It seems to be again the presumption. Postcard writings are public so data security is no longer a concern in this case.

By the way, the delete function in private messages is a straightforward improvement for the forum. However, as noted in #234, it may not be easy due to the forum’s software architecture.

Below are again the three main positions that have emerged so far. Refer the OP for details. If you don’t agree with me, most likely you don’t agree with one or more of the principles/pros/cons listed in my recommendation, but instead, agree with those listed in the alternatives. Hope this helps us understand each other better.

Last but not least, even with the ban, the translation thread will go on with all the communication and mutual learning activities, such as postcard texts and captions. Only with postcard writings, I seek understanding that the inconvenience caused is for the sake of fairness (especially non-forum members) and the Postcrossing concept.

Recommended measure


  • Senders are the most vulnerable party as far as the message part is concerned
  • Presumption of privacy
  • Transparency: Exceptions (at least significant ones) to be made explicit


  1. Conforms to the community guidelines. No more exception within Postcrossing’s purview.
  2. Relieve workload of Postcrossing team to screen the content of postcard writings.
  3. Obviate the necessity to explain the official translation thread on the main site. Not all Postcrossers are forum members.


  1. More troublesome to get a translation/transcription.

Alternative 1: Revise guidelines


  • Recipients to be prioritized over senders
  • Presumption of publicity
  • Significant exceptions to be made explicit


  1. Community guidelines reflect current activities on the forum
  2. Easy to get a translation/transcription


  1. Difficult to explain on the main site
  2. Difficult to moderate the content of postcard writings

Alternative 2: Keep status quo


  • Recipients to be prioritized over senders
  • Presumption of publicity
  • Exceptions (at least some insignificant ones) to be kept implicit


  1. Easy to get a translation/transcription
  2. Decrease questionable posts outside of Postcrossing
  3. Safer to publish postcard images temporarily in a public thread than to store them permanently in private messages


  1. None
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