On This Story About the Guy Who “Hacked” Online Dating

Just a quick comment on this story that has been going around about a guy who “optimized” or “hacked” online dating on OkCupid: this guy should not be a person to admire. This guy is a perfect example of why men tend to get so many fewer messages than women on dating websites: because he cares more about getting dates than about whether or not the women he gets those dates with are likely to think those dates are more than a waste of time.

In spite of the talk of “only answering questions honestly”, my read of the article is that, first, he doesn’t even pretend to have decided on the level of importance of the questions in an honest way, and, second, it sounds like he chose to only answer the questions that would give him a higher likelihood of high match percentages with people, and not the questions that might give him a lower one. In other words: he deliberately omitted any details that people might not like. Those other 87 women he went on dates with? At least a few of the things he omitted probably mattered to them, and the fact that he omitted them only enabled him to waste their time.

It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to posit that the reason this guy only got four second dates and one third date out of his first 55 was because the things he omitted from his profiles actually, you know, mattered to people. Fortunately, I suppose, for Mr. McKinley, he didn’t apparently give a shit that they mattered to people as long as those people ended up going on dates with him. Which is why, to me, this looks like a story about a person who is Part Of The Problem.

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By ResearchToBeDone Posted in other

2 comments on “On This Story About the Guy Who “Hacked” Online Dating

  1. I see what you mean, and I agree with your final analysis. However, the point that he didn’t lie in his actual answers puts him well above the average “player” out there, so that’s a plus.

    Because of this kind of avoidance of the “hard” or potentially negative answers, I only bother looking at matches who have answered at least 1000 questions. At the time that I was actively using OK cupid to meet friends, I was answering or discarding every question they had available. (Some of the questions and/or answers are so poorly worded that they are useless, and I skip those.) If the other person had answered at least 1000, odds are good at least some of the negatives would emerge from that pool of answers. The quality of matches I got from using that filter were substantially more accurate than allowing a smaller sample size of questions to get my attention. (I know this because I knew, had been involved with, or had at least met a significant portion of the local matches I found through that kind of search, so my trust in the other matches being of similar quality was reinforced.)

    My advice to anyone who was using OK Cupid at the time was, “Don’t trust a match until you have both answered at least 1000 questions.” The algorithm is dependent on large sample sizes, but if you are honest, it works rather well. Also, someone who has spent the time it takes to wade through 1000 questions is more likely to be dedicated to using the system “for real” rather than to just pick up random “hotties”, thus more likely to also be answering honestly.

    Of course, I didn’t take into account the kind of person who would build a bot to isolate and answer “good” questions. That level of ability plus geek knowledge would probably work in their favor for our compatibility, though the dishonesty of “gaming the system” would put them in the “not with a 10-foot-pole” category due to trust issues.

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