Oh, no–I opened my swap-bot inbox several days ago to find this message: “Sorry to inform that I not yet receive your card…” An elaborate “chunk of cardboard” I sent to Malaysia back at the beginning of April has apparently not found its destination.
Mail loses its way all of the time, and what could be worse? I’ll tell you what: getting a “1” or a “3” rating on swap-bot! Will I be penalized for mail that has vanished, no matter the fact that I have now sent out a second postcard to my swap partner to replace the missing card?
I do solemnly swear that we are SUPPOSED to literally send out a chunk of cardboard for the “chunk o cardboard” trade! Isn’t the sea turtle a nice touch?
To date, I have received nothing but 5s on swap-bot–the best-available of the three ratings–but as one reads profiles & trade postings on the site, it becomes apparent that ratings–and the threat of bad ones–are kind of a currency, and a sticking point. Here is a bit of an explanation of ratings, from swap-bot’s FAQ page:
There are only three different rating criteria: I got my stuff and it met posted swap requirements (5 points); I got my stuff, but it didn’t meet the posted swap requirements (3 points); I never got anything (1 point). Keep in mind that you are NOT rating your partners on whether or not you liked what you received, only on if it met the requirements of the swap
Trade creators tend to set up a minimum rating requirement, so if you get one 1 or 3 in the mix, that could affect your ability to get into certain trades–and the way other traders think about you.
And then there are the hearts. A person rating you as a 5 could also add a heart. Here is swap-bot on that topic:
If someone sends you an extra special swap package that far exceeds the swap requirements, you can give that person a heart…You do not have to give anyone a heart just because you gave them the highest rating. We suggest that you reserve giving hearts to those swappers who you think deserve even more than the highest rating (more than 5 points)…Swap coordinators should never dictate when hearts should be given. Also, swap participants should never demand that they receive a heart for their sent swap items. Hearts are only to be given at the discretion of each swap recipient.
Now, I always try to make my swaps (and keep in mind, I am on the site nearly exclusively for postcard exchanges) go above & beyond the trade requirements. And when I rate, I try to do so from a starting place of generosity.
I’m pretty easy to please, I think, in part because I am not looking to fill a certain hole in a collection, either of postcards or stamps. My biggest wish is that a postcard’s sender makes that slight effort to put some writing down on the card–and the more words, the merrier! On the rare occasion I have refrained from adding a heart to a person’s rating, it is because they have utterly not even tried to write a message. We’re talking cards that only say “happy swapping,” and even ones that contain no more than the swap title & user name. The kind of mail that makes me sadder than bills, at that point.
So anyhow, I do whatever I can: I choose a card that I think best matches my partners’ tastes, I write a full message (usually runs around 13 lines), I add washi tape (I had absolutely no idea what that was before I signed up for these services), and also ink-stamp impressions or stickers. My cards make themselves known. After the effort I put in, yes, the lack of a heart does puzzle me.
Recently, there was another Zazzle trade on swap-bot, a trade in which members were to send cards they had a professional printer create from their (the swap-bot members’) own photos. This trade by definition does restrict what cards you will be able to choose for a partner. I actually think I may have more custom-created postcards than most people: 11 different cards from which to choose. So in this latest trade, I was assigned a partner who likes cats. She also says she likes “fun/cute/unique cards. “I have a fun/cute/unique cat card! A toy cat card. Okay, it’s a tiger. So I prepped it, and sent it out:
I normally would not share this much of a card’s message–mine or anyone else’s–it’s between me, the sender/recipient, and about 100 postal workers–but in this case, I thought I ought to, just to show you I try. And by the way? Cat STAMP, too.
Here is the rating I got:
Comment: Interesting card! Thank you!! 😀
No heart next to that 5, as in the previous 16 ratings on my profile. Is that extra exclamation point, and the smiley face, supposed to be my substitute heart? I hate redundant exclamation points!!
I’m saying this: I don’t know what more I could have done.
So I ask you, fellow swap-bot users: do you have heart problems?