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

You can read about it in the manual.

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There is a manual? What else is there that I don’t know about :see_no_evil: :see_no_evil:

Yes. I understand this. As I said, this is merely a link to the main site. The official profile is not embedded in the forum. So when you click on the icon, it takes you completely out of the forum. This is not user-friendly. Also, the icon is not obvious.

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I agree! The detour via the forum profile is not necessary, as the forum profile itself is not really necessary in my opinion.

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There was a lot of hatred in this forum, when the Ukraine war started and many participants asked to exclude Russians from Postcrossing. The staff had to delete a lot of postings and to close discussions. I also regard Postcrossing as a peace project, but it is not always peaceful itself.

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I agree. The forum profile is redundant. It should just show a user’s main profile on the forum.

Yes. A user guide exists. I read it when I first joined. However, there is an overwhelming amount of information in there that is presented in a difficult way to navigate. I would prefer a clickable FAQ.

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I referred to Manish.
A clickable FAQ could be a good solution.

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If you would like to have a clickable FAQ, just ask the admins, tell them why you think it is necessary and ask if you can create one.
There are also other topics that have been opened by users to help.

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A good exercise in UX (user experience) development is asking “What problem does this potential solution solve?”

Since we want to increase Forum usage, the question becomes “What problem does the forum solve?” or “What forum benefits do we want people to use?”

I, for one, began using the forum when I wanted to share some of the stamps I was using on my sent cards. It was too cumbersome to load the postcard picture + stamp in the gallery, so I started looking for other options. And voila, the forum solved that problem for me in the Stamps thread.

All that to say, one idea would be to list out how the forum solves “I wish I could do ______” in the main site. And then include prompts to steer people to the forum.

The key thing is to include bite-sized prompts at the moment of friction, at the micro decision point. It’s a smaller way in, rather than this big overwhelming idea of a forum. That solves what other people mentioned earlier in the thread: misunderstanding of what the forum is, or being reluctant to tackle the whole beast.

  • User thought: “I wish I could send more postcards than the official site will allow.”
    On the Send page, “Sorry, you’re already sending five cards, which is your current limit! Want to send more? Explore the Trades page in the forum.”
  • User thought: “I wish I could show off my stamps in my sent cards.”
    On each postcard details page, “Share what stamps you used in the forum.”
  • User thought: “Where are people getting great cards like these?”
    On the Gallery page, “Need ideas for where to get postcards? Fellow Postcrossers share tips in the forum.”

Etc, etc.

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I agree. Starting out with clear requirements is essential!

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I agree that it’s a bit annoying to have to click around to get to someone’s profile, but it’s very minor - and anyway, most people who don’t use the forum prefer Facebook, where you don’t see the postcrossing profile at all and it’s 600 times more difficult and cumbersome to navigate. It’s just habit.

I’m also not sure a FAQ that pops up or whatever would help, there is so much information already and people ignore it… If something pops up, it’s very likely people will close it and that’s it (I would - but then I would very much look for information when I want to, or poke around. I can’t tell you off the top of my head where the forum user guide is but I know that I see it every single time I log in, and yet I ignore it because I prefer to poke until I get where I want to. But I thought it was 100% unmissable).

@valdavid 's post is very useful and has great suggestions. But there are similar prompts already, though your examples are more targeted (e.g. addressing a problem, as you explained).

But all in all, to me this is the same as the problem of having not enough users from African countries and things like that: it cannot be solved because there is only so much you can do, and most of it has been done. Oblivious people or those who struggle with English will still ignore the forum.

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This is a great question. I’m obsessed with postcrossing, but find the forum difficult to use and navigate. I wish postcrossing had a social media app to help navigate forums, as well as update registered cards. I would love to see new cards in my feed.

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I don’t agree with that. My guess is that most people who don’t use the forum do not belong to any postcrossing communities beyond the official site.

While they might ignore something that pops up, they might refer to something later when they have a question if it were in a visible and easy to access spot. They could also be prompted to do so before creating a new post with a question containing key words that has also been asked a thousand times already.

Again, I disagree. I don’t believe everything that could be reasonably done to promote the forum has been done. I think that unless you happen to press the forum button, which you must discover on your own, and then you understand what you are seeing before you, you would never participate in the forum. I think more could be done to promote it and I am glad we are discussing ideas.

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I use Postcrossing this way:

I find it much easier than logging on to a browser and surfing over to the website every time. It’s not a full app but, for all intents and purposes, acts as one. For some reason, PC doesn’t promote it and keeps insisting it doesn’t have an app when people ask. But this obviously exists as I use it every day and it makes navigating the forum easier. As well, it sends notifications, etc.

ETA: It says “Forum” in the name but it is also for the official site.

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I’m starting to suggest the forum in my hurray-thank you messages.
Something like “I hope to meet you also at the forum for chats and swaps”

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That feature is a progressive web app which the Discourse forum software supports, it isn’t built by Postcrossing.

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Yes. I realize that it is maintained through Discourse and not Postcrossing. However, I’m not sure that distinction really matters for the average user. If people are looking for an app, I don’t see why this is not suggested.

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This is a great idea. The way you worded is like a gentle invitation.

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