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Of Science and Choice In Online Dating

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-the-only-starfish-in-the-sea dept.

Social Networks 311

Must be summertime, as online publications turn to the contemplation of Internet dating. The NY Times's piece (registration may be required) takes a not particularly deep look at the reality behind the "science" claims of chemistry.com, eHarmony.com, and others. "The question is how much it really matters to users if the methods have any scientific basis. A friend of mine... said she looked at several dating sites and chose the ones that looked like they had 'the least riffraff.'" Technology Review focuses on studies showing that the overwhelming number of choices presented by many dating sites can be counterproductive: "...more search options lead to less selective processing by reducing users' cognitive resources, distracting them with irrelevant information, and reducing their ability to screen out inferior options." The article concludes with a look at the startup Omnidate, which offers technology for 3D virtual dating. The site has had twice as many women (by percentage) sign up as the other dating sites typically see.

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The biggest problem with dating... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28742993)

...are the women.

Anyone who can solve that problem deserves a Nobel.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743013)

Maybe you should give men a try.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743115)

Maybe you should give men a try.

Wait, that's an option? You mean to tell me that I can date someone who likes sports, video games, fast cars, and drinking beer? That sounds so awesome. It almost sounds too good to be true. What are the downsides?

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743137)

No one to be in the kitchen :(

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743161)

The downside will be the inside of your backside, if you're ever expected to be the bottom side.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743205)

You have to take a big sweaty negro cock up your ass, faggot.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743487)

Going gay sounds like a great idea, but take it from someone who's tried it: it starts out great, but in the end it's just a huge pain in the ass.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743489)

Wait, that's an option? You mean to tell me that I can date someone who likes sports, video games, fast cars, and drinking beer? That sounds so awesome. It almost sounds too good to be true. What are the downsides?

Eternal damnation, a new hairstyle and a sudden interest for fashion and interior design.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743775)

It can be a pain in the ass from time to time.

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743229)

Fuck dating sites. Seriously. Fuck them right in their fucking arseholes.

They're there to foster discontent. You look and look and look, you might even talk and talk and talk, but it all just leads to disappointment. If you're discontent enough, you might not stop to think that the dating site is your problem. They, as well as Fleshlights and herbal Viagra spam all operate on the same principle.

Stop chasing the dream of poon by going out and getting some. Start with tequila, and invest in some paper bags if you have to. A ball gag and/or ear plugs could also be useful. Do not ever live with it. And don't forget protection (the most important rule: don't ever breed with it!).

(Did this go from agitated to lighthearted to you? It did me. It might have been the lubricant. My anal sphincter feels all gooey, now.)

Re:The biggest problem with dating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743857)

Well, there is an obvious, easy solution to that, if you're not too picky.

Panties STINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743005)

Panties Stink!
They really, really stink!
Sometimes they're red, sometimes they're green,
Sometimes they're white or black or pink
Sometimes they're satin, sometimes they're lace
Sometimes they're cotton and soak up stains
But at the end of the day, it really makes you think
Wooooooo-wheeeee! Panties stink!

Sometimes they're on the bathroom floor
Your girlfriend- what a whore!
Sometimes they're warm and wet and raw
From beneath the skirt of your mother-in-law
Brownish stains from daily wear
A gusset full of pubic hair
Just make sure your nose is ready
For the tang of a sweat-soaked wedgie
In your hand a pair of drawers
With a funky feminine discharge
Give your nose a rest, fix yourself a drink
cause wooooooo-wheeeeeee! panties stink!

Virtual dating (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743031)

Only works until the first second of meeting that person in real life and all illusions are instantly shattered. Or maybe you can have virtual relationship, virtual marriage, virtual children...

Re:Virtual dating (4, Funny)

Zarlan (1596657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743123)

Are you suggesting people should get a SECOND Life?

Re:Virtual dating (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743239)

Some people need to get one life before worrying about a second one.

Re:Virtual dating (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743535)

Wooosh....

Re:Virtual dating (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743553)

No, I get it and I stand by my comment.

Re:Virtual dating (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743639)

Mod +5 irony.

Re:Virtual dating (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743339)

Meeting online and figuring out your common ground works much better for me. Then meeting in person goes so much smoother and the first meeting tends to end with more dates from my experience. The thing is you gotta get the real meeting in there before you become too attached to talking online.

Why online "dating" is useful (4, Insightful)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743405)

It's not "dating" so much as it is being efficient by running the population through a filter. If I filter out all women under the age of 22, all political conservatives, and all evangelical Christians, I'm probably not missing out on the love of my life an it let's me focus on people I might actually be compatible with.

The reality is that the vast majority of people in the US seem to have gotten married because they figured "it was about time for that" or something similar. If you have anything resembling standards, dating is really, really fucking hard.

Hope that marrying someone wonderful and having a family isn't part of what you need to be really happy, because it sure as hell isn't guaranteed.

Re:Why online "dating" is useful (4, Funny)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743905)

If you have anything resembling standards, dating is really, really fucking hard.

Especially if she has standards too.

Re:Virtual dating, Seriously? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743635)

Headline: "Of Science and Choice In Online Dating"

Let's get one thing straight: If you're using online dating, you've got no choice.

She had... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743071)

She had man hands!

It's the number of zeros that matter (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743077)

In the salary cheque that is.

No?

The camera doesn't lie:
http://collegeotr.s3.amazonaws.com/images/blogs/b422245a96af7340b70921c641e0b6db.jpg [amazonaws.com]

Simple. Set up a dating site which costs a thousand+ a month for guys but is free for women.

 

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743127)

those "dating" agency already exist
they are usually run by a pimp....

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743135)

Yeah, guys with thousands to spend on online dating but no success picking up women otherwise will flock to the site.

By guys, I of course mean those 5 guys like that, nationwide.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (5, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743333)

I was approached by one of those dating services 6 years ago to 'just come in and talk'. So I used it as a chance to hone my negotiating skills and went in. I found some nice ladies that had me fill out some forms, then explain how great their service was. They told me how nice it was to have a 'nice guy' come in, by which I think they meant someone polite, considerate, and well employed. They told me that they only accept employed people without criminal backgrounds.

Then they told me it costs $3,500. I almost laughed at them and suggested that that was a little high just to meet someone. They then went through the schpeal about how they do all these checks and everything. I still said it was too much. They came down in price. Still too much.

Finally, they asked me how much I thought it was worth. I told them that I'd pay $500. At which time they concluded my interview.

I left that day with the thought that if there truly were more women than men in this service, it's only because men won't spend $3,500 to meet women because they don't need to.

Three years later I rediscovered an old high school friend and sent her a 'Hello!! How ya doing??' email with no intention of dating. We sent a few emails, started calling, flew 2,000 miles to visit several times, and got married 10 months later. And joked that we never had a real date because we already knew each other and had never dated in high school.

2 1/2 years later later we are still very happy together, have sex regularly, and enjoy being with each other. Worked better than my first marriage by a long shot.

Maybe people should just stop dating and learn how to experience life and just get out and do things. My friends that try the hardest to meet someone are the ones that are the least successful at it.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (2, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743413)

Finally, they asked me how much I thought it was worth. I told them that I'd pay $500.

Yikes! You are either desperate, a liar, or maybe just really rich ;-)

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

Steffan (126616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743805)

Finally, they asked me how much I thought it was worth. I told them that I'd pay $500.

Yikes! You are either desperate, a liar, or maybe just really rich ;-)

I really don't understand your argument. You are asserting that:

A) He's desperate to pay $500 to sign up with an agency that wanted $3500 originally? I'd say paying $3500 may be desperate. $500 is just good negotiating. Besides - he never went into detail regarding what the sevice provided. It could easily be worth $500 if they sponsor dinners / meetings / outings, etc.

B) A liar? What is so hard to believe about him *telling* the agency he thought they were worth / that he would pay $500

C) Rich? $500 is not pocket change, but neither [as the sales pitch goes] is it an excessive amount to meet a future wife / husband.

All that said, I don't think *I* would ever pay that much for something so contrived as one of these matchmaking agencies. I am forced to conclude, however, that there are some people for whom this is the best option. That number is probably a very small one though...

Easy for you to say (5, Insightful)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743481)

Maybe people should just stop dating and learn how to experience life and just get out and do things. My friends that try the hardest to meet someone are the ones that are the least successful at it.

This is a very facile thing for someone in your position to say. For many of the rest of us "experiencing life" all by itself simply means interminable years of crushing loneliness.

I have started to come to the following realization:

Happiness is guaranteed to no one. The best one can expect out of life is that you can always find some way to respect yourself and say "I did something with my life that I can look myself in the mirror and approve of." That status of self-respect is prerequisite for happiness, but it is by no means a guarantor. There is every chance that you'll just get out there and do your thing and live your life and be alone and lonely right up until the day you die.

Re:Easy for you to say (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743661)

There is every chance that you'll just get out there and do your thing and live your life and be alone and lonely right up until the day you die.

Every relationship I've been in where I wasn't happy with myself has been a miserable failure. If I don't like me, how can anyone else like me? Meanwhile, if you're happy with yourself, it doesn't matter if you're in a committed relationship. But the simple truth is that being in a committed relationship with a good partner is not enough to bring happiness. I know, because I've been responsible (in retrospect, of course) for ruining good relationships. I've also been in relationships whose ends were not "my fault" (heh heh) so I don't have a complex [about that].

Of course, that sort of thing is easy to say when you're relatively happy. But I'm certainly no stranger to depression. I know how frustrating it is when someone says "You just need to..." Yeah, that's a bunch of shit. On the other hand, it's kind of true; what you need is to decide to do the thing. That's not easy either, but it's usually a lot harder than the actual doing turns out to be, when you're in that state. All I can say is, start small and keep trying. You don't learn to talk to people and relate to them by crouching in your house. Trust me.

Re:Easy for you to say (4, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743685)

I lived in a loveless, sexless marriage for many years and was single for another 8. I didn't get married until I was 24, and only had one long-term relationship before then. I spent many a night alone when I was young and didn't know any better ... like you are apparently. I didn't realize how little I knew about life and living it. After I got divorced, I still spent nights alone, but didn't care because I had developed friendships over the years.

What I have seen from those around me is that when someone spends their life having friends and going out in the REAL world and doing things, then they won't be lonely and will meet someone that, oddly enough, enjoys doing the same things they do. When I turned 40, I discovered what a great thing it was to have women friends .. women who trust that you are not going to try and screw them the first chance you have. I was going out all the time having a grand time with people I truly had a blast with, and with no pressure to be someone other than myself. And I don't mean going out and getting drunk, I mean shooting pool and going to concerts and having dinners and going to bars to listen to music and comedians instead of getting wasted. You know .. enjoying all that life has to offer. What a concept .. too bad more people don't learn it.

So .. unless no one likes to be around you, you are the only reason you are alone. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it.

BTW .. facile is a snooty word for easy. Maybe that's part of your problem.

Re:Easy for you to say (1)

Welsh Dwarf (743630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743893)

BTW, facile is french for easy, and isn't snooty at all :P

Other than that you're spot on.

Reference to the G[GG?]GP: I met my wife in the same way, we'd been out of touch, then an IM leads to phone calls and voila :).

Re:Easy for you to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743875)

"Children need to learn that life is a humiliating charade, list disappointment and sadness, ultimately culminating in pain decay and death." - Samantha Bee

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743789)

$3,500 is pocket-change when it comes to getting a high-maintenance woman. How much did those cross-country trips cost? And getting back together with a high-school friend is not exactly "getting out there". It's better than dating your sister, but still...

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (3, Insightful)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743353)

What would you call such a service? Golddiggers.com? For women who only want to date rich men?

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743391)

Perhaps it'd come with the promotion: "The first pre-nup is free."

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

metallurge (693631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743659)

sugardaddies.com
Don't ask me how I know. Suffice it to say I wasn't the one utilizing the service.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743765)

What would you call such a service? Golddiggers.com?

It's already taken: http://www.golddiggers.com/ [golddiggers.com]

I defy you to find a site name in this space that is so crass, so crude, so offensive to the belief that love and respect have something to do with happy relations between men and women that someone has not already registered it.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743399)

In the salary cheque that is.

Many sites with a profile page include a salary range field. I tried one with and without seting my salary... Unsurprisingly, I got far more interest with that little piece of info there. Alternatively, include your house/benz/yacht/etc in the background of some of your photos. Hell, wear some decent clothes instead of jeans and t-shirt. Get some shoes and a nice watch. Get a haircut. Go to the gym. Most IT folks get paid a decent salary, so if you want that kind of girl, there's no excuse for not getting one if you advertise the right way.*

*Not that I'm suggesting eveyone should be looking for that type.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743683)

So act shallow to attract shallow people.

Now I remember why I am taking Philosophy, to get chicks.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743861)

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I think maybe it's best for people to marry with somebody of roughly their own income. A woman who makes a decent living and wants to meet a man who makes a similar amount isn't necessary being greedy, she's probably just trying to avoid being taken advantage of, or at worst not wanting to give away everything she has earned to be with somebody who can't make an equal financial contribution to the couple's lifestyle.

I say this as a guy with a stay-at-home wife and kids who willingly donates the vast majority of my earnings to the family, but I take it most people see this as an outdated way of life nowadays. Personally I'm glad we can do it, since otherwise we'd be way too busy. When the kids are old enough not to need constant care, I'm pretty sure she'll go back into the workforce.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743883)

So act shallow to attract shallow people

A lot of attraction is based on first impressions - A good haircut, nice shoes and a pressed shirt 'get you in the door.' You won't get much further if you don't have something to sell (i.e. intelligence, sense of humour, etc.) but to make your pitch you've got to make a good first impression. Face, it girls notice shoes. Loose the Tevas with socks.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743401)

There's a correlation, but it's not that money leads to success with women; instead charisma and (perceived) social status leads to both money and success with women. Pick-up artists don't bother trying to appear rich; they've just figured out how to signal high status.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743561)

Simple. Set up a dating site which costs a thousand+ a month for guys but is free for women.

Uh, you must be thinking of the 80's and 90's or something because nowadays most dating sites already have way more women than men. For example, men get a substantial discount on eHarmony and such.

Still more men than women (1)

erice (13380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743799)

Uh, you must be thinking of the 80's and 90's or something because nowadays most dating sites already have way more women than men. For example, men get a substantial discount on eHarmony and such.

Not generally, they don't. Maybe in parts of New England, where single women outnumber single men by a significant margin. Everywhere else, dating sites are male dominate with male/female ratios ranging from 1.2:1 to 7:1 Sites I have verified personally include: Match Yahoo Personals PlentyOfFish OKCupid I am no longer on Yahoo (2 years) or Match (1 year) but the POF and OKCupid data is current. The long term trend is toward more women, but it hasn't even reached parity yet, much less swung toward toward more women than men.

Re:Still more men than women (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743907)

Verified personally how? You have inside information?

From what I have seen men get a discount and women pay twice as much or more. This is on practically every pay matchmaking site there is. Explain that.

Re:It's the number of zeros that matter (3, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743747)

In the salary cheque that is.

If you ever want to get really depressed about the state of humanity, spend a little time coming up with the most egregiously sexist URL's you can imagine, and then type them into your browser.

http://www.sugardaddies.com/ [sugardaddies.com]

I tried this one day when a friend was bitching about men treating women like whores (there was some Craigslist ad he was pissed off about, offering free rent to a woman in exchange for sex) and I wanted to prove to him that women could be just as crass. It didn't convince him (he has a naively romantic view of women) but it sure as hell depressed me, even though I know full well that not all women--or even the majority--are quite as wretched as the ones who inhabit these sites (and in fairness, the site I've linked above has at least one link to a site for gay golddiggers... it's clear that a certain fraction of humans in every imaginable category are basically sleazy.)

There's also okcupid (5, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743117)

Run by a couple of maths grads. Last time I looked they were using a regression analysis to match people.

The site's also free.

 

Re:There's also okcupid (2, Informative)

EnvyRAM (586140) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743273)

Yea, they were a group of friends from Harvard that majored in math & CS. They actually post some technical details of how they calculate the matches here. [okcupid.com] They even have a technology section [okcupid.com] where they say which programming languages they use as well as their own open source webserver. I don't work for OKCupid or anything, I just thought it was cool that it's run by our kind and they're not afraid to include such nerdy information on their FAQ pages.

Re:There's also okcupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743299)

Their system is really quite impressive. I never thought I'd meet someone who matched up to me nearly as well as my girlfriend I met on OKCupid.

Re:There's also okcupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743625)

Another good dating site that is free is Plenty of Fish [plentyoffish.com] . My girlfriend and I found each other on the site. It's not like okcupid or other sites which use formulas to match people, but it is free so no complaints. Last I logged on there (almost 2 years ago) the site had much to be desired in terms of design and usability, but it worked.

A friend of mine started a dating website (0, Redundant)

billstewart (78916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743643)

Back in the 90s boom, a friend of mine started a dating website, and wrote a book about using online dating. It's not still around, and I don't know if she made any money off it, but she did find a husband :-)

Re:There's also okcupid (3, Insightful)

Captain Vittles (1096015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743655)

That 'free' bit is a great selling point but is probably one of the site's biggest flaws. The comment in the summary about 'a site with the least riff-raff' isn't just a silly notion. When I used OKCupid regularly, I encountered a large number of women I would classify as crazy. That's not to say the other sites manage to filter out 100% of the crazies but personal experience has shown a connection between 'Cheap' and 'Crazy,' thus a free site is going to have a higher proportion of 'riff-raff.'

I found the perfect site (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743139)

ArrangedMarriage.com. They skip the whole dating thing and set you up to marry the woman/man of your possible dreams. The only bad thing is that the woman's family sometimes has to provide a hefty dowry.

Re:I found the perfect site (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743235)

I know you're joking/trolling, but there is something to arranged marriages when done properly. One of the biggest problems in marriages is the tendency for people to form them while stupid. There's a lack of objectivity that people have when making those decisions, which are often times more apparent from a parent or friend. The ability to consider things other than just hormones.

Of course it can work the other way as well, but the key is to actually care and to take the time to consider all the angles.

Re:I found the perfect site (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743465)

know you're joking/trolling, but there is something to arranged marriages when done properly. One of the biggest problems in marriages is the tendency for people to form them while stupid.

By "stupid", I'd suggest that would include those viewing marriage as a romantic union, rather than a social union rooted in an an exchange of property rights (i.e., a business agreement).

Cynical? Perhaps. But consider what happens during the dissolution of a union. The people involved typically want or need to hire lawyers to negotiate competing claims. The only claims relevant are those that include such things as income, real property and the custody and upbringing of children.

The irony here is that those who are wealthy or otherwise more sophisticated will typically hire lawyers before the fact, in effect treating the marriage as a business agreement. This proxy approach allows the happy couple to view their marriage in different terms.

No OkCupid mentioned (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743147)

While the one free site Plenty Of Fish is mentioned, the other one - which in my subjective experience is popular with the more internet experienced, geeky crowd - OkCupid is not. Strange, I thought they were among the first to start the free and high quality dating site.

Re:No OkCupid mentioned (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743403)

Of course not. That entire "article" was written by a PR firm. How can you tell? A bunch of facts and experts and the mention of "Omnidate" at the end.

See: The Submarine [paulgraham.com] .

Re:No OkCupid mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743695)

mod parant up the submarine was a great reading

OkCupid (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743507)

Strange, I thought they were among the first to start the free and high quality dating site.

I didn't find the date of when OkCupid started but more than 10 years ago there was a free site called American Singles I think. Another dating site bought or took over it though.

Falcon

"twice as many women....." until now! (4, Funny)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743149)

The site has had twice as many women (by percentage) sign up as the other dating sites typically see.

A new meaning was given to the term "slashdot effect" today, as hordes of /. readers register on the site, changing its demographics to be similar to other dating sites.

twice as many women signed up? (3, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743183)

Sure they did. You go on believing that.

Science, lol? (3, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743185)

Do people even know what they want from a partner?

People talk and talk about wanting this trait and that trait but they often seem to date people that are nothing like they claim they want. I'm honestly convinced people in general have no idea what they want, so by extension I struggle to see how you could create a site that offers people those things...

Random selection based on
  - Age
  - Geographic location
  - Large important decisions (e.g. Family, yes/no?)
  - A few shard interests

Would likely have a very high success rate.

Re:Science, lol? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743257)

I figure something like this is the sophisticated system the E-harmony uses. They take people that live close to each other and that have jumped through their hoops, and they make them meet. Some success seems inevitable.

Re:Science, lol? (3, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743583)

I heard that E-harmony includes people that are no longer active on the site in your "matches". Back when I tried eharmony, I had written to a lot of people who never wrote back. I had a decent profile and am not a freak or too bad looking, (basically your average guy) so it's more likely I was just talking to a wall. The profiles I looked at indicated recent activity, but things like login times are easy to fake, especially if you have no choice but to trust what the service tells you. From what I observed, eharmony artificially inflates the count of your matches, plus they ration out only a few matches at a time to string you along for a few extra months on the service. (I had a lot up front but then only a few a week by the time I cancelled) Plus, you have no way of knowing if the matches that do respond to you are actually real people or just dummy accounts staffed by employees meant to keep you interested in the site. (the real test is if they bail out when you want to meet) The commercials you see are obviously designed to exploit lonely people in an emotionally vulnerable situation. When you sign up you have such optimism that you are going to find someone and then you get slammed hard with disappointment after a few weeks of it. The whole thing just seems really dishonest to me. Maybe I've grown cynical or just merely wiser about how these things work.

My advice is to date in the real world and get some friends to hang out with. Friends have other friends outside of your immediate circle (and out from there) and chances are the right one is in there somewhere.

Re:Science, lol? (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743739)

I heard that E-harmony includes people that are no longer active on the site in your "matches". Back when I tried eharmony, I had written to a lot of people who never wrote back. I had a decent profile and am not a freak or too bad looking, (basically your average guy) so it's more likely I was just talking to a wall.

I doubt that there was any sort of deception. Geographic distance has a lot to do with it. Also, I believe providing either too little or too much information (i.e. length of bio).

The profiles I looked at indicated recent activity (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743773)

I found it was the opposite with Match.com. I signed up with them years ago and for both my matches they generated as well as searches I did it was not unusual to see last sign-in dates from a week or a month ago. I figured that if users are waiting a couple of weeks to a month before logging in then they mustn't be that interested, or too busy. Then most of the those I contacted never returned my messages.

The commercials you see are obviously designed to exploit lonely people in an emotionally vulnerable situation. When you sign up you have such optimism that you are going to find someone and then you get slammed hard with disappointment after a few weeks of it.

While the commercials promise too much, people have too high of expectations. Seriously it's unrealistic to expect to strike paydirt by creating an online profile on a dating site and not doing much otherwise. Singles should be doing more than just that. For instance find a club or group that shares an interest you have. You like bike riding, find a bike riding club. Interested in writing, find a writing group. But don't join these groups just to find a date, do it because you like it and want to meet others who like it too. One thing may lead to another.

Falcon

Re:Science, lol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743345)

People talk and talk about wanting this trait and that trait but they often seem to date people that are nothing like they claim they want.

Ok, I admit it. But she had really nice tits and was willing to sleep with me...

Re:Science, lol? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743347)

Random selection based on

- Sex

- Age

- Geographic location

- Large important decisions (e.g. Family, yes/no?)

- A few shard interests

You missed one.

Re:Science, lol? (4, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743389)

When I was young, I thought I knew. But it wasn't until I was in my early 40s and had been married once and gone through a few relationships that I learned how naive I was when I was young. Each time a relationship ended, I add things to my list of 'must haves'. After I got divorced after being married for 18 years, I started to go out after work with fellow employees, both men and women, and realized I didn't have a clue about what I wanted in a partner. I started to see women I was interested in outside of work, but in a non-dating way, and realized that they looked great but had personality traits that I couldn't live with. Luckily, two dear lady friends helped me to understand what I needed to know and I'm now very happily married.

My opinion at my current age of 50 is that if a man is younger than 30 and has never lived with anyone for any length of time, he has no idea what he wants in a partner.

Except for big boobs.

Re:Science, lol? (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743703)

Luckily, two dear lady friends helped me to understand what I needed to know and I'm now very happily married.

Shit, where is that legal? I'm packing now...

Re:Science, lol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743449)

Maybe they should set up an equivalent to the Netflix Prize, where people compete to predict a partner you'd like based on the previous partners you've dated. :-P

Or rather, I wonder if there'd be merit in actually matching people based on data from Netflix, last.fm, etc. Gotta be a correlation in there somewhere. Makes you wonder how much of people compatibility is based on personality, and how much is sight or smell.

Random selection based on (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743621)

- Age
- Geographic location
- Large important decisions (e.g. Family, yes/no?)
- A few shard interests

Would likely have a very high success rate.

Many dating website offer those choices. Searchers can chose what is important and what isn't. Age, is someone between 30 and 40 important? Do matches have to be within 20 miles, or is it alright if matches are 200 miles away? Do you want children or prefer none. Do you do or are you interested in outdoor activities?

I last checked out dating sites years ago, but those I did check out allowed as many or as few selection criteria as users want.

Falcon

Re:Science, lol? (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743653)

I think you're right about the selection criteria, but you left out one, physical appearance. It sounds shallow, but honestly, most people wouldn't even consider dating someone that they weren't at least somewhat physically attracted to. You may be in my age range, live right down the street, share all my interests, but if you're 400 pounds, I don't care.

Photos are important.

Re:Science, lol? (5, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743689)

Do people even know what they want from a partner?

Yeah, they do. 99.9% of women want "a good man who loves to laugh and is fun and just an ordinary guy."

I'm a divorced man in a small (~100,000) town and have used online dating sites off-and-on for about five years--mostly Plenty Of Fish, but also LavaLife and OkCupid. I've met two absolutely wonderful women this way--both of whom were so wonderful that after a year or three with me their careers took them off to bigger, far-distant centres, although in both cases we're still friends.

I've also met the biggest collection of flakes, losers, liars, bores and nutjobs you could possibly imagine, and I am currently ready to slap anyone whose entire self-description is, "I love to laugh, like long walks on the beach and am just looking for an ordinary guy."

Seriously, have you ever met anyone anywhere who doesn't like to laugh? It's what we laugh at that's interesting, and hardly anyone ever says what that is.

The trick for all these sites is to weed out the common things that everyone has, and to reduce people who have zero self-awareness to abject silence until they come up with sufficient self-knowledge to say something about themselves that isn't woefully banal. OkCupid's system of questions does that, although I can think of some simple improvements that would make it better.

The key thing is to focus on the concrete. There should be very nearly zero abstraction in any of the information gathered from users, and the site should then generate the abstract categories the user is assigned to based on that information.

For example, don't ask people what their "body type" is (abstract category) but what their height and weight are, how fast they can run or walk a mile, how many miles they run or walk each week, when was the last time they walked more than a mile, or biked more than a five miles, or swam more than 500 m, and so on. Then generate the abstract category for them: "couch potato", "morbidly obese", etc, rather than letting users define "athletic" or "slim" or "average" any way they want to (I've seen morbidly obese people, who have posted pictures of themselves, categorize themselves as "average".)

Mostly, these sites are selling fantasies to liars (women) and idiots (men), so doing anything that would provide more accurate information about what differentiates one person from another is counter-productive relative to their business model. The few honest, intelligent people out there have to wade through a huge amount of dross to find each other. Fortunately, that is still possible, and despite their flaws these sites remain a sensible component of anyone's search for companionship. Just be prepared to do a lot of filtering by hand.

Online dating sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743283)

Bah. I met my soulmate on the netbsd-m68k mailing list.

Twice as many? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743293)

I was on eharmony a while. I had over 400 matches in the same time that my matches got only 40. Ten times beats twice any day. I did get quite a few dates just by being the normal guy in a sea of weirdos.

Online dating sounds like a good idea but it's not (2, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743297)

I've considered using it because time-wise, it would be ideal. The problem is everyone more or less says the same cliche crap and, more so with the advent of MySpace, people clearly spend ages taking pictures that make them looking better than they really do which wouldn't matter if the profiles were honest but they're not.

Meeting drunk women is the best way. Their guard is down so they're honest and as a bonus you may just get laid after the first meeting. The only catch is remembering if she's a keeper or not the next day.

Re:Online dating sounds like a good idea but it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743359)

In Indiana, and I'm sure in many other states, it's considered rape if the woman has had even one drink. Sounds like a great way to start a relationship.

Re:Online dating sounds like a good idea but it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743455)

In Indiana, and I'm sure in many other states, it's considered rape if the woman has had even one drink. Sounds like a great way to start a relationship.

In party states it's considered the norm.

Re:Online dating sounds like a good idea but it's (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743531)

It's that way in a lot of area and countries and forgetting the fact it's biased and the rules shouldn't be that way (assuming the male was drunk as well) but drunk people have sex all the time. The idea is not to pick the one so drunk that she'll be freaked out the next day.

Like anything else, it requires using a bit of common sense.

Re:Online dating sounds like a good idea but it's (2, Funny)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743371)

Meeting drunk women is the best way. Their guard is down so they're honest and as a bonus you may just get laid after the first meeting. The only catch is remembering if she's a keeper or not the next day.

The trick there is to not be to drunk enough to forget come morning, but you give the illusion that you are.

Re:Online dating sounds like a good idea but it's (0)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743469)

The only catch is remembering if she's a keeper or not the next day.

That's why you make sure that she's drunk and you're not.

Meeting drunk women is the best way. (2, Funny)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743803)

Their guard is down so they're honest and as a bonus you may just get laid after the first meeting. The only catch is remembering if she's a keeper or not the next day.

It's not a problem if you have to chew your arm off in the morning.

Falcon

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743319)

What's a date?

As far as the free ones go... (2, Interesting)

shoegoo (674914) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743395)

My vote is still for OkCupid. I met a couple really great people on there that I am still friends with today, and I met my current partner of over two years through a volunteer organization one of the aforementioned people I met on OkCupid introduced me to. I would guess that, like me, most slashdot users would be more interested in the scientific approach that a site like OkCupid takes rather than profile/picture system most sites use.

Badge of Honor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743409)

So my girlfriend and I are sitting around fairly drunk and watching the boob tube after a night out cut short. One of those dating site ads was on TV and we got talking about it. Out of curiosity we both signed up for the free trial answering all questions truthfully, except about being single. I think this was the eHarmony one, but I forget. Anyway, after a short period of time we both were sent a reply that, sorry there were no compatible matches for either of us. It was a good laugh and we both consider it something of a badge of honor. At least we aren't boring.

eHarmony "success" story (3, Interesting)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743415)

I was divorced in 1998 after 18 years of marriage.

After a series of "fixups" and other misguided attempts by friends and family, I tried Match.com. I did the questions accurately and honestly. My profile text made it clear I was (a) highly intelligent, (b) looking for a permanent relationship, and (c) pretty particular about who I dated.

Within 72 hours of posting, I had over 400 "matches" in a 50 mile radius of me. WHAT? I don't live in NY or LA, so the statistics were mind-boggling. I imagined there must be a secret kingdom of single, middle-aged women in that 50 miles, just waiting for yours truly to show up on Match.com. The sad reality was that well over 99% of the so-called "matches" were train wrecks, literally and figuratively. I dated 10-12 women from Match and NONE were anything close to a "keeper".

So, one night, I waded through the eHarmony process, set the radius for 150 miles, and waited. ...and waited. ....and waited. Finally, after 6-7 weeks, I got TWO matches. One was a "crossover" from Match that I actually kind of liked, but she declared we had no chemistry on the 2nd and final date. The other match and I spent some time in communicating via eHarmony and finally agreed to a real date in September of 2003.

We got engaged on the following Valentine's Day...lured her into a jewelry store that I'd enlisted to help, and surprised her with a diamond ring. Everyone applauded...it was a nice moment.

The wedding was a few months later in July, so we've just celebrated our 5th anniversary.

A couple of years ago, eHarmony tried to get us to appear in one of their commercials, but we declined.

I don't know about the "science", but we do get along really well, so I have no complaint.

Re:eHarmony "success" story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743623)

Posting as Anon to protect some privacy :)

My wife and I met in November 2003 on e-Harmony, married in May of 2004, and have a wonderful 2 year old son, and now another child on the way. We have had our ups and downs just like any other couple, in the end it is trully amazing.

I could not have even considered this amazing story was possible 7 years ago.

I have several friends who have also meet their spouses n e-Harmony, and all are doing quite well.

Next step is to convince my sister-in-law to accept an e-Harmony gift subscription...

and the land rush begins. (2, Funny)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743429)

the startup Omnidate, which offers technology for 3D virtual dating. The site has had twice as many women (by percentage) sign up as the other dating sites typically see.

Not after Slashdot gets done with it.

OK Cupid (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743459)

It's a shame that neither of these sites reviewed OK Cupid.

I've been on that site for some time now, and have met some truly amazing people from it. They have, by far, the most impressive search filters that I've ever seen. Their match percentage is scary accurate (and gets even more accurate as you answer more questions about yourself).

And best of all, it's 100% supported by advertising which isn't obnoxious.

Abandon all logic ye who enter here (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743485)

...at least when it comes to attraction.

Getting into a relationship you better use your head or your life will turn to crap. You've do NOT want to hook up with someone who's self centered and irrational.

But determining if there'll be sparks....forget the science and go with your gut. Most of the people you "should" get along with based on statistical methods and science you will find boring. Many of the people you shouldn't be attracted to will turn you into a horny toad. The trick is to find someone who's good for you, and be good to them back. Oh and by the way those hormones that make the sex great will make any kind of reasoned rational logic go out the window at least for some of your relationship.

No, more women is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743549)

So my seed can be spread far and wide. The Y chromosome demands it.

Plenty of Fish (2, Interesting)

Acuram (845804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743609)

I met my current wife through pof.com, a free dating site. It took a couple of years of using pay and free online dating services. I also used a local dating service for $1200. I went out on an average of 1-2 new dates per week. 1 was the norm and 2 was maybe once a month. I ended up not liking most of the women and they didn't like me. After shelling out all that cash and spending all that time and effort, I ended up marrying a woman that made contact with me first through a free website! If I could go back and do it over again I would just focus on what I liked to do to make myself a better person and let it happen on its own.

Re:Plenty of Fish (1)

Acuram (845804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743619)

I forgot to mention that we have 2 friends who also met their husband through pof.com. We should make a commercial.

Decision tree (2, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743633)

seems like a lot of it is a fairly straightforward decision tree.

There are things someone requires (gender, age bracket, willingness to relocate either for the relationship or for work etc), and an individual may have their own quirks/fetishes. Then you have things which are preferred but not necessarily required, height, haircolour, food preferences and so on. And then you're matching based on answers to other questions with a personality profile (which is largely psychologist nonsense but not entirely. if you ask 200 questions, even stupid questions each with a scale out of 5, you have 1000 possible points, you can do a fairly straightforward matching (0.5% each, want to assume some distribution etc.) then by virtue of the large sample size a close % match probably means something. Not necessarily a lot, but it does tell you something about how they answer questions at least.

I suppose the big advantage to online dating is if you know there is something you specifically do, or do not want that is not always immediately obvious when meeting somene (smoke, drink, shave, like harry potter, likes to travel whatever) you can immediately cull that lot from your target selection pool. People who would fall into an exclusionary category that isn't obvious can consume time otherwise spent looking for people who wouldn't be excluded. Esspeecially if they are mutually exclusive, I like to travel, she doesn't well neither party will be happy in the long run, it might be more efficient (albeit less fun) to simply skip each other and move on. You have to know what you want (which is a decidedly iterative process), and then be honest about it, one can see the advantages.

We need fewer virtual relationships (5, Insightful)

darpo (5213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743681)

I'm in my late 20s, have done the online dating thing off and on since college, as well as asking out people in real life. If I go back and think about which were the best relationships/sex in terms of online vs offline meeting, offline meeting tended to be the best. There's just far too much useful information you get from seeing someone up close, listening them talk, watching their body language. We have lots of mental machinery dedicated to parsing that stuff, and almost none of it is activated during online dating (even pictures are no good, because they're so often old photos or outright deceptive).

So, at this point in my life, I'm trying to reduce the amount of time I spend on IM, forums, computer games, etc. and spend more time around real people in the real world. I think it happens to a lot of nerds as we get older. We look back and realize we don't have much to show for all the thousands of hours spent on inane IRC conversations, first person shooters, and forum flame wars. All that stuff is so much emptiness when you get right down to it...

...with the exception of Slashdot, of course. ;-)

modQ 3own (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743769)

I always thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28743787)

that veryrealperson on okcupid was quite funny.

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