What the–?!? (Repetition & Proximity)

A slew of new swap-bot postcard assignments are coming my way today.  I’ve received most of them, and my eyebrows are raised.  One goes out to a user in Australia to whom I just posted a few days ago, and several are to fellow users here in the U.S.–including one who lives as close as 20 minutes away from me!

So it seems that swap-bot doesn’t have any controls to prevent repeats–if even at the very least in too close a time period–or to put a minimum distance between members.  Over at Postcrossing, all of the correspondence is international, and there are enough members that you get a new pick each time.  At swap-bot, you choose your swaps, and are limited by the number of people who enlist in each one.  This means that, although I’ve only signed up for swaps marked as “international,” I’ve been given a lot of U.S. addresses for my outgoing cards. The repeat, and the super-close member, make me guess that the user-moderators of each swap make the assignments, and not some complex algorithm on the site.

Ah, well.




4 thoughts on “What the–?!? (Repetition & Proximity)

  1. Oh, I assure you that the swap host has absolutely no say in pairings. It is an actual ‘bot’ and I think it’s programming is not sophisticated enough to look at past pairings. I hosted hundred and hundreds of swaps, and never assigned partners. The postcard swaps tend to attract the same participants over and over, so you get paired often with the same people.


    1. Thank you for the insight! This really surprises me, because now I am wondering why there are times that partner assignments do not take place until 2-4 days after the signup date has passed. I’d been considering hosting my first swap, simply so that I may find out what happens behind the scenes.


  2. On the last day of the swap sign-up, a button appears for the swap host to order the “bot” to assign partners. MOST swap hosts will spend some time making sure everyone who has signed up is a member in good standing, with no rampant low ratings (those participants can be removed from the swap by the host). It takes some hosts a long time to do that, thus the 2-3 days before partners assigned. I used to review participants as they signed up, so when it came time to assign partners, I was ready the second the button appeared, but I’m super organized and rather anal 😉


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