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Snail-mail has been one of my favourite hobbies in recent times as I have subscribed to an online forum where you sign up and someone (totally random user from anywhere in the world) sends you a PostCard.

Before sending a postcard, they view someone's profile to get an idea of one's likes/dislikes. Similarly, my profile clearly states my dislikes - I am attaching a screenshot to give some view:

List of PostCards I dislike

Usually people really show a respect for my wish, but at times I receive a postcard from my "Dislike list". Now there can be multiple reasons why sender still sent me a card which I dislike, like:

  • he/she didn't read my profile carefully
  • Sender comes from a non-English background
  • Sender had bulk of those cards and found suitable to "utilize" them first
  • or maybe sender just done it deliberately

Question

Now water is under the bridge now and whatever the reason was, this card has been received by me. But I want to send a "thank note" in a polite way which would convey my feelings (that I don't like multi-view cards at all), so they would get my feelings and think at least once before sending someone a card in the future.

  • P.S: If this question deems too broad, I can further reduce it to just one type of cards I dislike and its different to related questions here as I have checked their situations/answers already before posting it. – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 4:58
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    I think starting off with "I´m not choosy" is a little... unrealistic. That's one hell of a list of restrictions. I have a hard time coming up with anything you would like, outside of maybe a picture of a totally non-descript flower? – Erik Sep 28 '17 at 5:17
  • @Erik - haha it sounds so but I guess you are not much into these postcards, otherwise you would have known that there are thousands of categories in Postcards (yeah thousands!) – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 5:21
  • And ratio of unwanted cards will also give you some idea maybe: I have received 74 postcards from that community so far and around 10 have been from the dislike list – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 5:31
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    Maybe the term "multi-view" is misunderstood by them. I'm guessing it refers to those postcards which show three or four different views of a city at the same time. Is it that? – user3114 Sep 28 '17 at 7:32
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Well, since you're using postcrossing and I have done so myself as well, take a look at their community guidelines:

All postcards must be registered. These include those that might not match your personal preferences or taste - all postcards must be registered, no exceptions. If you receive a postcard without or with a wrong Postcard ID, Postcrossing can help you. If you've received an item that you feel is unsuitable for the project, you should report it to Postcrossing and we'll look into it.

And:

Use your profile to write about yourself. Your account's profile is the place where others can learn more about you, so please enter a few sentences. If you mention which postcards you like in your profile, keep in mind that others are not obliged to send you a postcard that matches your preferences. You can not make demands about what you want or don't want to receive.

So basically, when using this you can't force people to not send you postcards you don't like. But I think you could report some of the things on your 'dislike' list (specifically the ad cards or nudity, maybe LGBT themed cards as well since I can imagine receiving one in the mail can bring you big trouble in some countries), under the first paragraph, as "having received an item that you feel is unsuitable for the project".

That said, it might help to include some reasons as to why users should not send you certain postcards. I've seen you around for a while, and I think that you could explain your preference for not receiving most of the cards you listed as a consequence of your religious beliefs. So, if you want to go ahead with attending other users to the fact that you did not like their postcard, I recommend adding this information to your profile. Explain why you wish to/should not receive such cards. If true, you might in some cases even state that having cards with certain themes in your possession could bring you into serious trouble.

Adding this to your profile should help people understand the reasoning behind you finding pigs appalling animals for example. That being said, you can't expect people from entirely different cultures to understand your religion completely, so you might always get postcards that aren't completely suited. And there are always the not very nice people on the internet that will send you a postcard just because it offends you. Register the cards as having received them, burn them and move on to the next, hopefully, better exchange.

Since you stated that you really want to address this in a registration message, which I do not recommend:

  • Start the message with a 'Thank you' anyways. This will make the message read a lot more polite --> You should always appreciate the effort that people took of sending you a postcard, even though the card itself was not to your liking.
  • I'd make it very clear that I liked the gesture, if not the postcard itself, before even moving on to criticizing the postcard.
  • If you criticize the postcard, make sure it is 'constructive criticism'. Use a 'patient' tone of voice. Maybe explain that because the card conflicts with your religion, you can't keep it as a nice memory, and that you are sad that you had to let it go. And then gently attend the sender to the fact that these restrictions were already on your profile, and ask them to see this as a kind reminder to carefully read the profile of the next person they are sending a card too, since you wouldn't like to see those people disappointed as well.
  • End with another 'thank you for the gesture' or maybe for their kind words that were on the card. Make sure your message ends on a positive note: always sandwich criticism between two good things.
  • I am afraid this is exactly what I have been doing - I tear them away, register but what I want (and both answers are lacking I am afraid) is contents of registration message – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 7:32
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    @TalhaIrfan I'm recommending that you don't do that... But I'll edit the answer. Btw, I'm not here to write your messages for you, but to teach you how to write one yourself :-) – Tinkeringbell Sep 28 '17 at 7:39
  • Exactly what I wanted here – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 7:41
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Okay. So basically, strangers from all over the world send you postcards, and you're picky about what's on the card?

tl;dr: Just let it go.
This is like receiving a gift. Some people are good at picking gifts, some will always manage to get you something you don't like even though they have known you forever and they should know by now that you're absolutely not into mugs.
Sometimes maybe they don't care, often it's just an honest mistake. Bottom line is, there is no nice way to tell a stranger who sent you a postcard that you'd prefer it without the multi-view, like there is no nice way to tell your grandma that you will never ever wear the shirt she picked for you.
Say a vague thanks, or don't say anything, but don't make a big deal out of it. If the card really offends you (which can happen), trash it, and that's it.

I've done this kind of postcard exchanges a few years ago. I didn't have a "dislike list" but more a "likes list", and of course people didn't always follow it. I still have a small collection of really beautiful cards which I know were picked just for me to match my list -I was really moved, each time. I also got a few really ugly ones, but sometimes with lovely messages. Sometimes also with impersonal, uninteresting messages. Does it really matter?
Exchanging postcards with strangers is about sharing - sharing your world, your country, a little bit of what you like, your handwriting... Some people share less. That's the way the world is. In my opinion, you should look at each card with kindness, as a gift in a litteral sense: something done just for you, from someone who gains absolutely nothing by doing it. If you have something nice to say about it, say it. If not, don't say anything and move on.

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    @TalhaIrfan I'm not saying it shouldn't matter to you, I'm saying you should let it go. When you have a glance at the card ("uh-oh! naked sculpture...") flip it over so you don't see it anymore, register the tracking number, and then trash it or burn it or something. You can't make the person un-send the card, so I don't see the point in absolutely wanting them to know you were offended (see my answer for detailed reasons). But that's only my opinion of course. – Kerkyra Sep 28 '17 at 8:05
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    @TalhaIrfan I get all sorts of dumb advertising spam through my mailbox everyday. I just throw it away. Naked sculptures through the mailbox would improve the average quality of what I get, imho. And if I didn't like it, it'd go in the trash with everything else I get that I didn't like. – Erik Sep 28 '17 at 9:08
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    @TalhaIrfan but it's effectively the very answer I commented on, which also says "trash if if you really don't like it". – Erik Sep 28 '17 at 9:16
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    @TalhaIrfan Have you ever considered that any form of contact could be counterproductive? It seems pretty well established that the only reasons for this are human error or deliberate malice. Best case scenario, the person made a mistake and now they are aware of it, hopefully avoiding it in the future. What seems just as likely to me, is that they will not take it well. They may just think "Wow, I was only trying to be nice" and be left with a bad feeling. What's worse, they could be doing it on purpose. I think the worst thing you can do in that case is let them know... – JMac Sep 28 '17 at 11:25
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    ... that you disliked it. Some people do things like this to "troll" and specifically get a reaction out of you. If they see that it worked, you may encourage them to do this more frequently. It's really a tough one to deal with the way you intend to. – JMac Sep 28 '17 at 11:26
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Haha. It's possible that the sender intentionally tried to poke/tease you by sending the one from your 'dislike' list.

Either way, for the first time, I'd recommend either ignoring it altogether or just thanking them. Nothing more. Anything more would have upset them.

If this is repeatedly done by the same user, it might be worth letting them know that while you are thankful for their card, you would prefer that it were about the topics you listed under 'likes'.

So, if they were intentionally trolling, there's nothing you can say to change their mind, but if they were unknowingly choosing the wrong topics, letting them know will help them choose better ones.

If the same sender is never likely to send one again, then there's probably no point in contacting them about it, anyway.

  • Ignoring is exactly what I do in these cases but I just want to give sender some idea of respecting other's wishlist as all of users (including me when sending card) do. Please note that there are millions of users there and once an user sends you a card, there is almost 0% probability of him/her sending you again. – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 5:35
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    @TalhaIrfan If the same sender is never likely to send one again, what's the point in contacting them about it, anyway? :) – NVZ Sep 28 '17 at 5:36
  • Since I want to save other recipients in future from facing same sour experience. Can you kindly update your answer with how should my "thank-note" be like? As this is what I have actually asked there. – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 5:37
  • @TalhaIrfan You want me to write the exact words to thank them? – NVZ Sep 28 '17 at 5:38
  • Yes! A draft will do as well - but I want to convey message to them so they would not repeat it (for others) in future and in the meanwhile also appreciate the time and effort they took in sending the card. – Failed Scientist Sep 28 '17 at 5:40
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Some assumptions:

  • You are unlikely to be postcard-matched with the same person in the future

  • It is customary to send a thank-you note (is this actually true?)

Honestly, there's little benefit in instructing your correspondent, especially considering point #1. I'd assume that the sender was acting in good faith and made a mistake, not trying to offend your personal sensibilities.

Here's a quote from the homepage of postcrossing.com:

“Every single postcard brings me love, from different corner of the world. The little piece of paper has its temperature, just right enough to make people feel warm. By sending a postcard to someone, we send out care and love. While the postcards are being exchanged, the love is spread out...”

If this is the spirit of the hobby, I'll recommend your thank-you note if any should just be a simple thank you.

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