partlive

Jul 18, 2013

My experience on okcupid (which I have described in another thread) has prompted some re-evaluation of OKC and underlying assumptions people hold about it. I've deduced the following:

1. As is, the OKC is structured to keep people generating content and keep others reading it. This works well for OKC as it results in huge number of pageviews, meaning ad-views. User-interactions takes the backseat and writing one-way messages doesn't count as interaction.

2. The amount of information available on particular user on the site is not helpful in determining compatibility or even predicting whether they would make for a fun date. 

3. Binary Q&A are a terrible way to determine someone's views. Therefore, answering a provocative question out-of-lockstep with the majority view results in one being shunned by majority who view the answer. Similarly, answering greater number of questions is actually detrimental to one's chances on the site.

4. The information available on a user on OKC, while vast, is static and "arranged" in nature. Since forum is separate from the site, there's no opportunity to evaluate contextual behavior of a match. This gives one an illusion of knowing someone without actually having a good model of their behavior or personality.

5. Overwhelming users with content and choice, OKC encourages what's called negative sorting. We all do it when faced with large number of similar items to choose from and it basically amounts to looking for defects. Women are more prone to it than men - there are certain evolutionary reasons, but more importantly they get much greater attention on the site, so have a much wider choice.

6. This mindset extends onto the dates themselves, particularly for women. This is because going on a date carries with it a much greater perceived opportunity cost (time that can be spent finding someone perfect on the site, or going on a date with a different guy who also messaged). Men's expectations are also raised because getting someone agree to a date is relatively rare. Raised expectations result in more pressure and less fun dates. 

A lot of what I say is inherent in the concept of OKC (and its <del>free</del> ad-supported nature) and if it is detrimental to you (as it is to me), you are better off looking for a different dating site, even if it is paid. That said, keeping all this mind can be used to improve one's own experience and response rates. I will post my tips a bit later, but you can probably infer what they are already.

Sushibitch

Jul 18, 2013

Overwhelming users with content and choice, OKC encourages what's called negative sorting. We all do it when faced with large number of similar items to choose from and it basically amounts to looking for defects. Women are more prone to it than men - there are certain evolutionary reasons, but more importantly they get much greater attention on the site, so have a much wider choice.

I'm not sure this is necessarily true, y'know. I think a lot of people do have that perception, but I suspect it is at least partly due to the fact that when asked for a reason why you don't want to date someone, it's far easier to pick on a single negative aspect than to say "Well, I'm just not feeling it".

If there is evidence that women are more prone to negative sorting (in the context of dating or more generally), I'd be interested to see it; ditto if there genuinely are evolutionary reasons why that should be the case.

_norbu_

Jul 18, 2013

^^ That's a whole lot of arbitrary points of view (aka opinions).

The alternative is the Match.com meat market approach (physical and social attributes) that completely disregards personality. If that works better for you, great.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

I'm not sure this is necessarily true, y'know. I think a lot of people do have that perception, but I suspect it is at least partly due to the fact that when asked for a reason why you don't want to date someone

But I'm not talking about an explanation someone may provide explicitly - I agree with you it's usually a rationalization of more ambiguous factors (and would need to be something negative by definition). I'm talking about the impetus for choice, and that's more of an iceberg, most of it underwater.

ditto if there genuinely are evolutionary reasons why that should be the case

It's somewhat tangential so I would prefer to not get into that. I hope we can agree on the fact that most women have greater choice on the site than most men. Greater choice would make them more prone to negative sorting.

 That's a whole lot of arbitrary points of view (aka opinions).

Well done. I didn't realize my opinions were, well, opinions. Pedantically speaking, they represent a single point of view - mine. Stating the obvious is not an argument. The alternative is encyclopedia approach of listing facts, that completely disregards personality. If that works better for you, great.

Also, I don't know how Match.com works as I haven't used it. I've explained why what people write on their profiles doesn't reveal their personality. It's better to avoid conveying illusion of knowing someone based on what they wrote to attract you, meat-market or not. Personality is circumstantial and contextual.


Sushibitch

Jul 18, 2013

But I'm not talking about an explanation someone may provide explicitly - I agree with you it's usually a rationalization of more ambiguous factors (and would need to be something negative by definition). I'm talking about the impetus for choice, and that's more of an iceberg, most of it underwater.

OK, so what's the evidence then?

I hope we can agree on the fact that most women have greater choice on the site than most men. Greater choice would make them more prone to negative sorting.

Well, if there's evidence that that's the case, we will be able to agree on it; without evidence, I don't see how we can draw that conclusion. It may _feel_ true to you, but that doesn't make it so.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

What are you looking evidence of, that women have greater choice or that choice leads to negative sorting? They both seem self-evident. 

I've just described a very detailed list of deductions (opinions with underlying logical reasoning). Requesting evidence is a cop-out. Why don't you provide some to the contrary, or better yet, state YOUR view and list of deductions.

What9Thousand

Jul 18, 2013

2. The amount of information available on particular user on the site is not helpful in determining compatibility or even predicting whether they would make for a fun date.

Disagree. I rarely message anyone below 80%, and I usually stick to 95%+. Every long-term relationship I've had from OkC was with a 99% match, and all of them were extremely good matches with me. Certainly, percentages are insufficient for confident determination of compatibility/fun date-itude, but they do seem to be a useful heuristic.

Similarly, answering greater number of questions is actually detrimental to one's chances on the site.

Strongly disagree. The more questions you answer, the more useful your match percentages will be.

Men's expectations are also raised because getting someone agree to a date is relatively rare. Raised expectations result in more pressure and less fun dates.

Disagree. I get dates all the time, and never feel pressure or "raised expectations".


Sushibitch

Jul 18, 2013

What are you looking evidence of, that women have greater choice or that choice leads to negative sorting? They both seem self-evident.

I'd like to see evidence for both; they may seem self-evident to you, but that doesn't mean they're true. After all, it seems self-evident to some people that the earth is bigger than the sun, right?

I've just described a very detailed list of deductions (opinions with underlying logical reasoning). Requesting evidence is a cop-out.

If the basic premise on which your deductions rely is wrong, then your conclusions aren't really worth anything; isn't it better to make sure you start with something demonstrably true and therfore don't go off down the wrong path?

At any rate, asking for evidence isn't a cop-out; it's perfectly reasonable to ask for support for your assertions. If you can't provide it, that's fair enough, but you can't really expect people to buy into your opinion when it is unsupported by facts.

Why don't you provide some to the contrary

Why would I? You've made an assertion; it's not up to me to disprove it, the burden of proof is always on the person making an assertion.

or better yet, state YOUR view and list of deductions.

My view is that if your deductions are based on a false premise, your conclusions are worthless. Your deductions are based on an unproven premise, and therefore your conclusions are of dubious value.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

@Sushi
If you need evidence to support an assertion that most women get more messages on the site than most men and therefore have greater choice, then you are not arguing in good faith. I would have no more desire to argue with you or provide you with "evidence" than I would with someone who believed the Earth was larger. 

@What9Thousand
Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you think that it is typical of guys on OKC? If not, why do you think yours is different?

Sushibitch

Jul 18, 2013

If you need evidence to support an assertion that most women get more messages on the site and therefore have greater choice, then you are not arguing in good faith.

Ah, OK, you're assuming that more messages = more choice? The way I see it, if you're browsing through profiles and deciding who you want to message, you're making a choice right there. And both men and women can do that, and both men and women have lots and lots of options right there. So are men prone to negative sorting at that stage? After all, if women get enough messages to push them into negative sorting, surely men have _more_ options at the "deciding who to message" stage, and would therefore be prone to it too?

What9Thousand

Jul 18, 2013

Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you think that it is typical of guys on OKC?

Yes, very. Probably not the guys on the OkC forums, though.

If not, why do you think yours is different?

N/A, but if mine were different, it would be because I know how to play it cool.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

At browsing stage, women have slightly greater choice than men. Specifically, 50% greater if the 60/40 split is to be believed. Most of the exchanges are started by men anyway, so this is a bit moot.

At replying to messages stage, women also have an enormously greater choice. 

At selecting which people to meet in real life, again the choice is with the ladies.

You appear to be intelligent enough to recognize the 3 things above and infer them yourself. You can choose to argue about what the word choice means, but as I've said, you would not be doing it in good faith. When you are erasing spam or shitty replies in your inbox, you are exercising your choice. You may claim that its not really a choice, but that's a semantic argument. Again, when faced with large number of similar items sorting shifts to negative criteria. When the choice is limited, positive criteria are used. (No I will not provide support for those two statements. Please go out and shop for tomatoes.)

wolpertinger_

Jul 18, 2013

I think OP was unfair to single out women with accusations of negative sorting, but I think there is generally some truth to what he's saying. We all do it. Different people may have different criteria, it may be done on a conscious or subconscious level, but there's no way that it doesn't happen at least as much as more positive sorting. Some people go one step further and explicitly state exactly what they're not looking for on their profiles (usually in the "message me if" box). Preemptive negative sorting, if you like.  

Sushibitch

Jul 18, 2013

At browsing stage, women have slightly greater choice than men. Specifically, 50% greater if the 60/40 split is to be believed.

The figures I've seen indicate that at most age groups, it's pretty close to 50/50.

Most of the exchanges are started by men anyway, so this is a bit moot.

Only if you assume that the only choice being made is which messages to reply to; and that's clearly not the case, is it?

At replying to messages stage, women also have an enormously greater choice.

But not necessarily better options.

At selecting which people to meet in real life, again the choice is with the ladies.

How so? For every straight woman meeting up with a straight man, there is also a straight man meeting up with a straight woman, right?

You appear to be intelligent enough to recognize the 3 things above and infer them yourself. You can choose to argue about what the word choice means, but as I've said, you would not be doing it in good faith. When you are erasing spam or shitty replies in your inbox, you are exercising your choice. You may claim that its not really a choice, but that's a semantic argument.

Of course it's a choice. But so is deciding to message this girl based on her pics and/or profile, but not that one.

Again, when faced with large number of similar items sorting shifts to negative criteria.

Let's assume that's true (even though you can't or won't back it up); so a guy going through a list of profiles in order to decide who to message should be _more_ prone to it (because he has, potentially, thousands of profiles to choose from) than a woman going through her inbox, right?

When the choice is limited, positive criteria are used.

So (again, assuming your unfounded assertion is true) a woman going through her inbox is more likely to use positive criteria than a guy going through a list of profiles.

What9Thousand

Jul 18, 2013

The point of online dating (and other dating, for that matter) for most people is to find a partner who makes them happy, and whom they make happy as well. It isn't about picking the best option from a list of choices. It doesn't matter who has "greater choice".

The number of people who would be willing to go on a date with you is many times greater than the number of people you're compatible with. This is true regardless of your gender.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

@wolpertinger_

I did not single out women. Men do it too when choosing whom to message, as do I. But men message to a significantly greater number of people, so they are clearly less selective.

Also, it may sound like I'm "blaming" people for their behavior, but that's not the case, I'm merely observing it and have no desire to use moral categories. My criticism is directed at the system and the emergent behavior it creates.

@What9Thousand

I wonder if geography and nearby population has a role here. I suspect it does and would support my assertion, but would stop short of claiming it. It would be interesting to hear people from population centers.

@Sushi

Assuming the woman has fewer messages in her inbox than a guy sees matches nearby, yes, she's likely less prone to sorting negatively than the guy at browsing stage. No, this does overturn what I'm saying. Another factor is that guys can't be as selective because the reply rate is much lower for women. So it's not comparable directly.

The figure I've seen is that it was 65/35 initially, then went to 56/44, then changed closer to 60/40.

As to everything else you mentioned, I believe to have made my views sufficiently clear.

Sushibitch

Jul 18, 2013

But men message to a significantly greater number of people, so they are clearly less selective.

Well, or there are other factors involved (and let's face it, there are definitely other factors involved!).

Assuming the woman has fewer messages in her inbox than a guy sees matches nearby, yes, she's likely less prone to sorting than the guy at looking stage. No, this does overturn what I'm saying.

It kind of does, y'know; you said women are more prone to it than men, but actually, if it's the case that men do more browsing and messaging than women do, and women are more likely simply to choose which message to respond to, then you kind of _have_ to deduce that men are going to be more prone to negative sorting than women, simply because their different strategies will push them that way.

Another factor is that guys can't be as selective because the reply rate is much lower for women.

I dunno, if you look at the number of profiles the average guy browses vs the number he messages, and compare that to the number of messages a woman receives vs the number she replies to, I suspect the women's reply rate would be higher than the men's message rate; that is, I suspect women would end up looking less selective.

But really, W9K is right; it doesn't matter if you have a million options, if none of them are compatible. If you're looking for a relationship, you only need one, but they have to be a good one.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

The number of people who would be willing to go on a date with you is many times greater than the number of people you're compatible with. 

 

In real life, yes. On OKC, absolutely not. You claimed in your previous post that match % is a good approximation of compatibility. Now, which number is larger, compatible or willing to go on a date?

_norbu_

Jul 18, 2013

For someone who uses the term "emergent behavior" correctly in a sentence, partlive is incredibly dense. I think it must be due to his intellectual tendency to have his head up his ass.

It's really simple: a guy browsing matches is analogous to a girl browsing her inbox. Simple. Fucking. Equation.

partlive

Jul 18, 2013

It's really simple: a guy browsing matches is analogous to a girl browsing her inbox. Simple. Fucking. Equation. 

It's not analogous. A message represents a communication from an interested party, the response is almost assured, so there's no fear of rejection. In addition, a message (unless its copypasta) already excludes some factors that would make 2 people incompatible. 

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