Why so few Postcrossers use Forum and how to increase its popularity?

Hi all,

I have met many people on other social media who quit or don’t use Postcrossing frequently due to a lack of slots, the inability to do swaps easily on an official PC, wanting to swap envelopes, etc.

Most of these problems could be easily solved if these users started using the Forum. Sadly, many people don’t even know about the existence of the Forum and all the amazing activities here.

I wonder what is the problem - Is the Forum option easily visible on the homepage? There is no proper description of the Forum?

Let’s discuss what is the problem and what could be done to increase the adoption of the Forum.

Happy Postcrossing.

22 Likes

Good idea!

I remember when I first joined Postcrossing, I saw “Forum” in the menu but didn’t try to check it out for months. Was only focused on completing the cards to be sent and waiting impatiently for cards to be received. I had no idea that there were ways through the Forum to create additional exchanges.

One day I clicked on the Forum and saw a huge list of things which I didn’t know or understand. The amount of possibilities were overwhelming, so I shut it down and didn’t go back for a long time.

Judging from my own experience, there are (at least!) two roadblocks, but each could be addressed.

One is that newcomers could be better educated when coming into Postcrossing - with some gentle explanation that the Forum is a place to ask questions, to connect with others while you are waiting for cards to come, and to explore many other fun or educational or creative challenges. There is a list of clickable questions (FAQs) but none of them talk about what the Forum is. Some of those questions could be edited to include a sentence or two at the end along the lines of, “While you are waiting, we invite you to explore the Forum, where there are many more opportunities for Postcrossers to exchange cards and connect with each other.” -

  • How does Postcrossing work?

  • How many postcards can I send?

  • Why am I not receiving postcards?

  • My postcard should have already been received! What should I do?

My second thought is that many people benefit from a bit of gentle coaching before they try something new. So if we created some tutorials, possibly in that same list of clickable questions, on other ways to enjoy Postcrossing - Tags, Round Robins, Language and Geographic Areas, Lotteries, that might also increase participation.

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I’m fascinated by the number of reasons people do Postcrossing, like many I guess I joined in the first lockdown as a way to feel connected with people and so the simple random Postcard exchanges are enough for me. I now have several really good penpals from this too.

But I do love the Forum part too, seeing everyone’s other ideas. The Notebooks especially appeal to me and I’m on the list for a couple of them, I even started one of my own. But I don’t collect postcards or stamps, beyond what I receive as a Postcrosser.

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It’d definitely be great to provide more tutorials about the forum on the main site and let users know its existence, and more importantly,

  • to what degree the forum is linked with, or separated from, the main site.

In doing so, people can make an informed decision. At the end of the day, it probably boils down to

  • To what extent can the random one-way postcard exchange experience be replaced or enhanced by forum tags or swaps?
  • If the main site and forum are highly integrated, should forum membership be made compulsory or an opt-out arrangement?
  • Even an extreme case:
    • What if the forum were turned into the main site? The initial interface becomes the forum. People join the forum and automatically the official postcard exchange platform as well.
    • Membership of the main site and the forum to be made separate. People can join the forum without a main site account.
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Thank you for opening this topic! I feel the same too, I’ve had postcrossers who prefer direct swap from the official sites, which I think it’s more complicated than doing it in the forum.

It’s a bit sad I’ve encountered many accounts who set “interested in direct swap” but I’ve never seen them around here (well it’s not a must either, but I think it’s easier to do it here on forum). I tried to “drag” postcrossers who have swapped with me from official site to forum, but they didn’t stay long as forum members :laughing: (Maybe they just like one time swap with country they’ve never swapped with)

I read message on official postcrossing site, “Do you know? Postcrossing has a forum buzzing with activities” . Maybe many people skipped that since it’s written in small font?

Perhaps should be there a blog post about forum? :laughing:
What kind of activities we do here, what kind of discussions etc.
I don’t know if there’s a blog post already about it

Personally what dragged me to forum was postal monitor :laughing: not the activity, I found the tag later and I’m attach to tags now

I think I’ve read a thread about “forum member badge” here :thinking: . Giving forum member a badge on official site. But idk how this could help with raising forum’s popularity and idk too if it’s easy to make it applicable

When I draw address of member with “interested in direct swap” I’ll try to promote the forum on my card, so they probably would at least check it out. Maybe I’ll do it too on my thank you note for hurray message

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Have you asked those people, why they do not use the forum? What did they reply?

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Most of them, just don’t know that such a thing exists. Some reached Forum a couple of times, but got confused and never came back.

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I also didn’t look at the Forum for several months after joining PC, and found it confusing to know how it worked. Admittedly there are still lots of sections within the Forum that I don’t understand, and don’t find any clear instructions for, such as some of the games. I don’t know if it’s because I only use my iphone and maybe the desktop is clearer? or just because it isn’t explained clearly for those not used to online forums, or because I’m simply a luddite and I have no clue! :laughing:

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I only recently discovered the Forum after joining late last year. As a new member, I didn’t really know what the Forum meant, so I didn’t click on it. But later when I explored, I found so much there and it really enriches the Postcrossing experience.

I must admit the first time I looked on the Forum I didn’t really understand how it worked, it was a bit confusing with acronyms (that people have since helped me with), references to lotteries and swaps, it was all very new to me and I didn’t really get it. I am starting to feel a bit more familiar with it, but I still feel I have a lot to learn.

I hope others will discover it when the time is right for them.

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You can aloso do it in your profile.

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Why didn’t I think about it :rofl:
Thanks, I’ll update my profile lol

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It is in the tab list on top of the main page, clearly visible to everyone. If someone does not know about the existance of the forum, they they did not really look around the website very much.

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I don’t have it in my profile either, Lol. I need to make the update as well. But, I am also thinking about what would be done at a more official level to make it more prominent.

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Similarly to others, it took me very long to join the forum. For a long time I didn’t know about its existence or what it was for. It wasn’t mentioned anywhere, there was only the mote that Postcrossing is not responsible for anything there. So it felt like a dodgy place to me. There was another hurdle in the past and that was that you had to make a new registration and that was putting me off further. I believe it is not needed now, correct me if I am wrong.

Mentioning and explaining the forum on the main website would help in my opinion. For example a section in FAQ.

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I know it is there, but maybe it is not very clear to people what the Forum is. People might think it is just some official page/ blog or something and not check it. Also, some do come but they get confused.

The forum is nice but can be a bit overwhelming. I would spend more time in the forum if there was a way to hide, for good, the many sections that are not that appealing to me (certain games, meetings, language-specific treads, etc). Maybe there is a way and I just don’t know how :sweat_smile:.

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You can mute those sections in your preferences. Under Preferences > Categories > Muted, just select the categories you don’t want to see.They won’t appear in your latest and if your home page is set to category view, they’ll be hidden under ‘Muted categories’.

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I just wanted to comment the same :smiley:
We can write in our profiles, that we use the forum or even for what we use the forum :slight_smile:

I know members who have send like 5 officials and than switched to the forum forever :smiley:

I’ve two pen pales who don’t use the forum, because they are afraid of all the new stuff the have to learn and that it would take to much time

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When I receive a newbie’s address on the official website (1-10 postcards), when sending, I always write on my postcard the phrase: “If you would like to send and receive more postcards, welcome to the postcrossing forum.” Of course, this is very little to promote the forum, but so far I have not come up with anything better. At the same time, I am very glad that at one time, even if not immediately, I came to the forum. It is not very far-sighted to refuse the communication opportunities that the forum offers without even knowing about them.

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It also took me several months to join the forum. I don’t know why, but when I first read on the main page that Postcrossing also had a forum, I immediately thought about that old forums with unattractive designs that I always found confusing to use. Later, when I finally decided to give it a try I realized that, despite being a bit confusing indeed, it felt more like a “modern” social network than the old forums I used to participate more than a decade ago.

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