Artist Trading Cards - ATCs for Artists Artist Trading Cards - ATCs for Artists FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

iTrader vs. Reputation ("You Rock")

When you receive returns from a mail art swap, it is considered good form to do the following:

1) Leave an iTrader for the host, thanking him/her for doing the work required by the swap. Further details on this appear in the next FAQ item, "How to Use iTrader."

2) If the swap is a PAT, CAT, or moley swap, you should also leave iTraders for the individuals who created artwork expressly for you.

2) Otherwise, for all standard swaps, leave "reputation" (aka "rep") for the swappers whose cards you received.

To do this, locate the gray bar on the bottom of a particular forum comment (hint: this is the same place you go to reply). To the left of the replying options is a STAR. Click the star, and you can leave a private comment that will also earn the trader reputation points.

Most members prefer rep that is specific ("I am so excited that I received your juggling clown!"), rather than general ("Got your card"), mainly because people like to know where their work ends up.

If you are participating in personal trades or a Monthly Match Game, rather than official hosted swaps, you should leave iTraders, following the rules outlined below.

How to Use iTrader

The iTrader system is used to rate ATC traders. Please use the system properly, as indicated in this FAQ, so that the ratings are a proper reflection of accurate trading status. There are 3 types of traders listed in the iTrader system:

Host: Person hosting the swap
Player: Participant in a swap
Trader: Person completing a 1 on 1 personal trade

For each trade that you make at, you must leave iTrader ratings.

  1. You can access a person's iTrader system through their profile or by clicking their iTrader rating that appears in the header of their posts to the forum.
  2. Please indicate the type of swapper that you are: Host, Player or Trader (see above for definitions). For instance, if you were in a swap, you are a PLAYER and only leave iTrader for the host, not the people who made the cards. If you took part in a personal swap (ie a 1:1 trade), you are a TRADER and you leave iTrader for the person you traded with. If you are a HOST, leave iTrader for each swap participant who sent in cards.
  3. Please indicate the rating that you will be giving the person.
    • Positive:

      TRADERS: You received the cards within a reasonable time (or the time agreed upon) and in good condition.

      PLAYERS: You received swap returns within a reasonable and expected time.

      HOSTS: Players submitted cards prior to the swap deadline.

    • Neutral:

      TRADERS: Cards were very late and there was very little communication regarding lateness.

      PLAYERS: Swap host disappeared for some period of time, did not communicate or answer private messages, and sent returns significantly late.

      HOSTS: Swap participant did not send in cards for a regular swap, did not withdraw, and did not communicate. (Neutral is optional in this instance and not required.) Swap participant submitted cards late for a PAT, CAT, or gift swap. (Neutral is not optional in this instance and IS required.)

    • Negative:

      TRADERS: Although you sent cards for a mutually agreed-upon trade, you did not receive any cards in return, and attempts to communicate about cards proved fruitless.

      PLAYERS: Host disappeared, did not communicate or answer private messages, and never sent swap returns.

      HOSTS: Participant did not send in cards for a PAT, CAT, moley, or gift swap.

  4. Write a short comment where indicated. This comment will be viewable by all.
  5. You can use the larger comment area to leave a private note to the trader if you wish. This will not be veiwable by anyone by the recipient.
You will receive 1 iTrader point PER TRADE, regardless of how many cards were traded.

I Don't Deserve that Negative Rating!

As a trader or a swap participant, you should only receive a negative rating under very specific circumstances: 1) if you do not send cards or other mailart for a mutually agreed-upon personal trade; 2) if you do not send cards or other mailart for a game or thread (e.g. Monthly Match Game, PIB-MMH thread); or 3) if you do not send cards or other mailart for a swap from which players may not withdraw, such as a PAT, CAT, moley, or gift swap. If you are signed up for a regular swap and cannot send in the cards for whatever reason, you should withdraw by private message or post in the swap thread so the host knows you will not be sending in cards. If you do not communicate with the host and the host does not receive cards or other mailart from you, the host has the option to give you a neutral rating.

Cards must be sent prior to the due date for all swaps.

For personal trades, cards must be sent within 30 days of the acceptance of a trade unless other arrangements have been made and agreed to between two traders.

If you have received a negative rating for a swap or trade that does not fit these circumstances or that you believe was not deserved, please send a private message to an Administrator, requesting a correction of the rating.

If you make good on a personal trade after your partner has given you a negative rating - that is, if you do send the cards or other mailart at some later time - you can request that an Administrator change your Negative rating to a neutral.

Suspension for Negative iTrader Ratings

We are very strict at All members are expected to follow through on trades initiated at this site. If you do not fulfill your trading commitments, you will be asked to leave.

Can Someone Be Banned for Negative iTrader Ratings?

  • Upon receipt of the first negative rating, a member will be sent a warning letter.
  • If a member receives two (2) or more negative iTrader ratings, the Staff will review the ratings (we understand that miscommunication is possible) and come to a decision on whether or not the member will be banned from the site or placed on Probation.
  • Failure to respond to PMs and email messages from the Staff regarding negative iTrader ratings will result in an automatic suspension.

If you have been suspended and have sent out all cards owed, please contact an Administrator to be reinstated.

Administrator Neutrals for Late Swappers

Artists must send in their swap cards before the due date. It is recommended that participants make their cards prior to or just after joining swaps in order to get them in on time. It is unacceptable to hold up a swap by sending cards after a due date or asking the host to wait longer than our 2 week grace period. Artists who continually do this will receive an Administration given neutral iTrader rating for holding up swaps, regardless of the hostess given rating. Hosts do NOT have to use the grace period. It's their choice, not the participants'.

Artists who do not finish their PAT or CAT cards on time should mail directly to their group members at their own expense. Their returns will be sent out by the hostess, AFTER their group mates have received their cards. The late sender will receive an Administration given neutral for holding up the swap, regardless of the hostess or group member given ratings.

Any artist who receives 3 or more neutral ratings for late swapping will be suspended from trading here for a period of 3 months.

Administrator Neutrals are not reversible.

Sister Site iTraders (iATCs) is a sister site to (AFA).

If a member of iATCs earns a negative iTrader while trading at iATCs, that negative will also "count" at AFA, just as regular iTrader points count when applying to swaps that require a minimum iTrader needed, such as PATs, Moleys, and Circle Journals.

If a member of AFA earns a negative iTrader while trading at AFA, that negative will also "count" at iATCs, just as regular iTrader points count when applying to swaps that require a minimum iTrader needed, such as PATs, Moleys, and Circle Journals.

We also accept membership lengths from both sites for swap hosting and trading requirement purposes.

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