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Looking For Love; Finding Privacy Violations

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the my-profile's-all-lies-anyhow dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 112

itwbennett writes "When you sign up for online dating, there's a certain amount of information you expect to give up, like whether or not your weight is proportional to your height. But you probably don't expect that your profile will remain online long after you stop subscribing to the service. In some cases your photo can be found even after being deleted from the index, according to the electronic frontier foundation (EFF), which identified six major security weaknesses in online dating sites."

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112 comments

Obviously, deletion was never the case! (1, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009063)

In some cases your photo can be found even after being deleted from the index, according to the electronic frontier foundation..."

How can something that was 'deleted' still be available? Obviously, it must not have been deleted. Whoever is lying should be brought to book.

I know I [might] have opened a can of worms. My law-inclined slashdotters are going to argue that I obviously "do not understand."

Deleted is a relative term (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009099)

In a lot of systems, deleted simply means marked as deleted. What the system does with that information is another matter. Even in a file system, when a file is deleted, it is many times recoverable if it hasn't been overwritten with other data.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009119)

I wonder how many future presidents and company CEO's etc will literally be caught with their pants down in the years to come.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009491)

Very few. Their campaign maangers spend a lot of money finding out every little detail about their life so far and doing everything they can to prevent stuff like this from getting out in the first place.

The improprieties you hear about in the news occasionally are par for the cost for most politicians - hell, for most people, even. Those are just the ones that slipped through the cracks.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009903)

The improprieties you hear about in the news occasionally are par for the cost for most politicians - hell, for most people, even. Those are just the ones that slipped through the cracks.

I disagree. The improprieties you hear about in the news make these politicians look like normal people; everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet after all. However, you just said that their campaign managers prevent most of their improprieties from becoming public, and the stuff we hear about is just the stuff that falls through the cracks. That implies that these politicians have far, far more improprieties than normal people. Normal people have a skeleton or two in their closet, not dozens or hundreds.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 2 years ago | (#39011155)

No, because while politicians do have campaign managers to hider the improprieties, which is more protection than normal people do, they also have political opponents and millions of shlubs in the opposing party searching for improprieties, and normal people don't have those either. It balances out--more protection but more exposure too.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39011243)

That implies that these politicians have far, far more improprieties than normal people.

Based on what they do once elected, I have no problem believing that to be true.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010227)

I wonder how many future presidents and company CEO's etc will literally be caught with their pants down

As long as they remember to lock the door it will probably remain exponentially small.

There's only one thing to do... (2)

jopsen (885607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010693)

Make sure you choose a good picture, because it's going to be online long after you're gone :)

Re:Deleted is a relative term (2)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39011019)

.. will literally be caught with their pants down ..

There is no "gotcha with your pants down" here: he/she used an online dating service, so what, what's wrong with that?

When you are going out to meet new people on a Friday night, are you not doing the same? You don't really care about the venue, you are interested into meeting someone: in that case, it is the bar/club/gas station lavatory that acts as a "host" for your endeavors, instad of an online meeting place.

As for the personal data, online dating, weird and beyond me as I may find it, works for many people and the giving up of personal info beyond picture (like a credit card number) is in place so there is some level of security involved, and you can be traced back if you misbehave: in that sense, it is a tradeoff.

Such information though should be safeguarded and once the goal is met and you have succesfully been introduced to your significant other, it should be imperative that when your profile is deleted, it really stays deleted.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009147)

In a case like that the "deleted" flag still means the data mustn't be accessible from the outside anymore. That is, unless your developers belong behind a McDonald's counter in the first place.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (4, Insightful)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009391)

In a case like that the "deleted" flag still means the data mustn't be accessible from the outside anymore. That is, unless your developers belong behind a McDonald's counter in the first place.

Or, unless the company is hit with a subpoena that forces it to give up your data. Or, unless it is bought by another company that wants to monetize the purchase. Or, unless it decides to unilaterally change the privacy policy, and you have a week to opt out, but oh, don't you check daily for policy changes for this company you haven't used for years now? Then it's your fault if all your "deleted" data suddenly surfaces!

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009853)

In the case we're talking about here, I'd guess it's the CDN that still has the photos and such. The service no long links to the image from your profile, but the image is still out on the outside service.

Facebook has the same problem. Deleted photos can be available via direct link for years after it has been "deleted". That system is currently being replaced.

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/02/nearly-3-years-later-deleted-facebook-photos-are-still-online.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010419)

That is, unless your developers belong behind a McDonald's counter in the first place.

Which is often the case for web developers or, at least, the people who hire web developers. To an even greater degree than most of the rest of the industry, they are judged by UI first, scalability and performance second, and security a very distant third.

Re:Deleted is a relative term (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010563)

That is, unless your architects belong behind a McDonald's counter in the first place.

There I fixed that for you...

You might as well blame the guy cooking the burger for the lack of nutrition. Usually it's improper use of a CDN that causes these issues, such decisions are typically not made by developers, unless it's a one man shop.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (4, Insightful)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009105)

Well, without RTFA but going just by the above statement: "even after being deleted from the index..."

Deletion from an index != "being deleted."

If I go into the index of the Encyclopedia Galactica and remove all references to The Mule, the article(s) the index pointed to still exist...

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009957)

Only if The Mule allows you to remember that they exist.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009115)

"Deleted from the index" does not mean the file was deleted. If I rip the table of contents and index out of a book you could still find each page by flipping through them.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009131)

This is actually reassuring in a sick sorta way - I always thought that people working for dating sites combed random sites and osmosed peoples pictures, without consent, as a basis for building fake profiles.

Now, as it turns out, they just keep the pictures from all the people who uploaded to their site and left a day later after they figured it was bullshit.

In my next life months from now, I am making 80K a year, driving an M3, and I'm looking for a woman who knows how to initiate and hold conversations. [kym-cdn.com]

My name will be Bryce Johnson, and my occupation will be engineer who loves wine, cheese, and long walks on the beach.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009287)

In many systems there is a legal requirement to retain data for, and then delete data, within a specified period of time.

For government systems this is generally 7 to 10 years.

What data retention law applies to these sites?

Is there any kind of law or mandate requirement these sites to delete user submitted data?

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010799)

Of course it wasn't deleted. To these businesses, the old personal data is _valuable_. They resell it, as a matter of course, to their corporate partners for targeted advertising. That's why one should use a throwaway email account for such a purpose: not merely to protect your online persona, but to be able to cut off the spew of spam that is inevitable from signing up for such a service.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (3, Insightful)

HereIAmJH (1319621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39012049)

Data retention laws only apply to things you are required to keep. You can keep any information that your customers allow you to collect. And you can be subpoenaed for any information that you do collect. But only information that you are required to keep has a legally mandated retention period.

I'm surprised more businesses don't realize the legal obligations that they take on when they collect unnecessary information on their customers. Note ISPs that refuse to keep anything beyond essential logging because keeping it entails a liability to the company. And it's not just law enforcement, the act of collecting can put you under civil requirements and liabilities, for example, PCI.

I can think of very little, if any, customer data that a dating web site would be required to keep. But once you start collecting associations and communications, ala Facebook, then you can expect law enforcement to take interest. Even collecting innocuous things like who visited a profile (something OkCupid and even LinkedIn track) could be used for tracking 'terrorism'.

A big factor on social web sites is ownership. If you pay GoDaddy hosting they are not responsible for data retention on your site. In fact, they may not do any kind of backups at all on your site. Web hosting companies consider it to be your data, thus your responsibility. Social web sites, OTOH, consider your profile to be their data. They only thing that will force them to delete something they consider a business advantage are privacy laws that are virtually non-existent because governments see the value of having access to information they don't have to collect or store.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009777)

How can something that was 'deleted' still be available? Obviously, it must not have been deleted.

Do you keep regular backups? When you delete things from your main database, do you also delete them from your backups? If you do, what is the purpose of having backups?

In this particular case, the photos are stored on Content Delivery Networks. Apparently the love websites upload your pictures to those sites, but are sloppy about deleting them when they are done (or maybe the CDNs don't delete them, I couldn't find out from the article).

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39010859)

Content is usually not uploaded to CDNs , the CDNs just act as reverse proxies and load the content on demand. In this case, there's no standard method to actively remove content from the CDN - there may be proprietary APIs to do so, but who would bother with those? If you tell the CDN that it can keep the image/page essentially forever without verifying with the source, that's precisely what will happen.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010567)

Sadly a lot of these sites are either filled with scammers or datamine and spam the living hell out of anyone that signs up, i should know as i deal with a lot of folks that have gotten their first computer so I have to warn them and be on the lookout for them as they learn the ropes. Its made all the harder to warn folks because it seems like everybody knows someone who found their current SO through online, hell that's where I got my GF of 4 years, I signed up to get one of my buds to STFU about the stupid site and my little Cherokee princess saw I was a PC guy and asked if I could help her fix the sound on her desktop. I would have never met her IRL since we didn't travel in the same circles but my family just loves her to pieces and we've been happily together ever since.

So if you know anyone that is new to computers or are starting online dating please have them look at a site like Romance Scams [romancescams.org] so they can see what to watch out for, i know one of the mods and they are good folks just trying to warn the folks about how slick these new scams are. Like the malware I have to deal with daily it seems they get better and smarter at this each year and become harder for those that aren't alert to spot.

Re:Obviously, deletion was never the case! (2)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39011219)

Hey! I found my wife on-line. She did a who command and saw that I was on the server so she talked me.

Of course this was back in '95 and we were dialed up to a Unix box with a shell account, what passed for Internet access back then. I was using telex.exe and Norton Commander on my DOS box.

Damn, coming up on 17 years soon.

Yeah, I know (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009113)

I'm too short for my weight.

Re:Yeah, I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009167)

It's a height problem, not a weight problem.

Re:Yeah, I know (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009195)

I'm not overweight, I'm undertall!
-Garfield

Re:Yeah, I know (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009405)

I'm too short for my weight.

Yeah, me too, I'd be perfectly proportioned if only I was 11 feet tall

Re:Yeah, I know (1)

Rufty (37223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010527)

I am the right height for my weight, gender and age; (though sadly not for my species).

Re:Yeah, I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39010597)

I'm like a TV you measure me diagonally.

Reality check time : (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009123)

When you put data up on a system you are unable to
physically control, all sorts of things can happen to
that data, including things you might not like, and
in most cases you won't be able to do anything about it.

Facebook, Myspace, all of it is one big steaming pile of
shit and most of you idiots are walking right up and taking
a big bite like it was a tasty meal. Honestly it is impossible
to feel pity for you, because you do it to yourself.

Re:Reality check time : (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009281)

It's not very often friendless people get to act smug.

Re:Reality check time : (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009429)

Or maybe people who know how to host their own content and how to give access to those they'd like to have access? Hmm! Though I'll admit, it seems hard to do online dating that way haha.

Re:Reality check time : (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009557)

Why do you always assume somebody that refuses to be on Facebook has no friends? It's a curious bit of fallacious logic that I encounter quite often.

I feel the same way the AC does. Most people *are* foolish to give up so much privacy for whatever you think Facebook is delivering.

Personally, I find Facebook to not only be dangerous to me for factual reasons based on logic regarding privacy, anonymity, game theory, etc. but incredibly shallow and just plain old bullshit.

I don't need to tweet shit, or put stuff up on Facebook, or see any of your shit either.

Call it a personal preference, but I prefer my relationships to have a little more "real life" in them. Meeting at tea and coffee shops, having a meal, you know, actually doing real things. Talking with my friends.

Facebook and Twitter (especially Twitter) just lack the depth that I find rewarding in personal relationships.

I am not a phone guy. Hate to be on it for more than a few minutes. Refuse to txt message. My communications are literally limited to email, phone conversations and physically talking. I like it that way.

and..... I have plenty of friends and I am considered to be quite nice and approachable.

Re:Reality check time : (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009669)

Because the people who complain about it talk of shallow relationships, which usually happens when they sign on and try to increase the friend count. They then post comments and nobody replies. After a bit, they get grumpy and complain that people on Facebook arent friends, but 'friends'. Suddenly, instead of just getting bored with it and moving on, noisy opinions of these sites are born and are, not-surprisingly, leveled solely at sites that are really only useful if you have a friends list.

I'll concede that Im generalizing, but I'd wager I've struck close to home.

Re:Reality check time : (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009913)

Call it a personal preference, but I prefer my relationships to have a little more "real life" in them. Meeting at tea and coffee shops, having a meal, you know, actually doing real things. Talking with my friends.

I am not a phone guy. Hate to be on it for more than a few minutes. Refuse to txt message.

Obviously, all your friends live locally to you. There's a lot of older people who use Facebook to reconnect with or stay in touch with old friends who now live far away. If you're either still in high school, or one of those people who has lived in the same small town his whole life and thinks a long-distance once-in-a-lifetime vacation is driving to a neighboring state, then it's easy to see why something like this wouldn't make any sense to you.

Re:Reality check time : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39011265)

Exactly! Parent comment should be mod up. Unless you have very few friends and relatives, almost everyone is having someone to care about who lives far away. Facebook is just a mean to keep in touch, not the only one. And it's also useful for disabled peoples which cannot communicate or travel easily. Facebook may not be the ideal, perfect thing, but it does the job for now for many people around the world.

There are friends outside of facebook? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010953)

If you're not on facebook and have friends, how do you friend them?

Re:Reality check time : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39011073)

The fact that he calls everyone else an idiot is a big clue that he has no friends. Who'd want to be friends with someone like that?

He also doesn't understand how to write inside text boxes.

Re:Reality check time : (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39012391)

Why do you always assume somebody that refuses to be on Facebook has no friends? It's a curious bit of fallacious logic that I encounter quite often.

Well, I hear that Facebook creates ghost profiles out of posts made by members. Therefore you are only not on Facebook if you have no friends signed up on Facebook (otherwise you just don't know that you basically have an account).
Also, what can I assume about a person who's reaction is not "Facebook violates privacy, we should force them to be more respectful of their users's information" but rather, "Ha, ha, you signed up for Facebook, you deserve all the crap that may happen to you now". I mean the latter reaction screams of asshole-ness.

Re:Reality check time : (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39014857)

Call it a personal preference, but I prefer my relationships to have a little more "real life" in them. Meeting at tea and coffee shops, having a meal, you know, actually doing real things. Talking with my friends.

Same here. And I'm not fan of facebook and their ilk. But some of my proper friends (and family that I care about too) are, and if I stayed away from one of their preferred contact mediums completely I'd lose one method of staying in contact at those times when meeting them in person isn't possible for one reason or another. While I'd prefer email they wouldn't and I the preference isn't important enough to me that I feel like labouring the point. For a start the second choice for most of them is the phone, and like you I've never been comfortable with that so I'd be swapping something I dislike for something I dislike and that my friends dislike in comparison to the other option.

There are people on my list who are there out of politeness rather than anything else, but that is no different to being pleasant to them in person when we happen to be in the same place in RealLife(tm) because of our mutual friends.

Re:Reality check time : (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010433)

It's not people who have no friends, it's people who interact with their friends in person...

Re:Reality check time : (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39013013)

Those are actually the ones you add on Facebook. When you don't, you're not using it correctly, then you become the bitter sort who writes long tirades about how shallow people are on Facebook.

Bullshit anon. (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010365)

Things don't "just happen" to my data. What can and can't be done with it, is regulated by the European Data Protection Directive, UK Data Protection Act 1998, and several other laws which reflect European attitudes to the key role of privacy in human rights law.

However there are gaping loopholes:

Personal information may not be sent outside the European Economic Area unless the individual whom it is about has consented.

So buried in the terms will be a clause consenting to export my data to a data ghetto such as the United States, and that is where the problems begin.

Re:Reality check time : (4, Insightful)

neonKow (1239288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010565)

You don't physically control the systems that hold your wedding photographs, the photos you're getting developed at Walgreen's, the medical information at every hospital or doctor you've visited, or the credit card information from every Target, Macy's, and Safeway you've made purchases at. It doesn't mean you don't deserve to have some expectation of privacy and discretion for that data. You should always be able to say, "okay, stop using this data except as far as compliance with the law goes."

Re:Tyub6irl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39013151)

Hi, fellow troll!. Why don't you update your script to point to goatse.ru, or similar?
So sad to see the effor wasted

So this comes as a suprise? (5, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009177)

ANYTHING you give up to a website is there for the duration of time. I just figure it will never go away.

Even if you run your own site, don't fool yourself that you can take down the information and it's gone. There are folks that archive web content and sell the historical data for profit. If you are expecting that Facebook or Twitter content can be deleted and it will be gone forever, you are a fool.

I'm always amazed at the number of folks who simply don't understand this, and think that they can delete their Facebook posts and they are gone. So I'm not suprised that data on dating sites might stick around after you are gone.

Don't think I'm right? Check this out: http://www.archive.org/web/web.php [archive.org]

Re:So this comes as a suprise? (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009881)

Absolutely.

If you've ever posted something (anything) which could be found with a search engine (ie, it was indexed, which it most certainly was), it's probably available as part of a very large dataset which is indexed and searchable, and the company is able to generate

Those reports are sold to other companies, which then combine them with other information (or do so themselves) - like financial information.

Think about it: how many things from 10 years ago can you find just on the public internet (via Google)? Hell, you can track the 'accuracy' of my job history to see when and with what my resume, etc. on my site was updated through archive.org - going back over a decade, and all they do is archive. I'm sure this isn't exceptional. With the screen name of a prolific internet user in hand and a little time in front of a search engine, chances are you can track down a known person's entire online history manually, too - even without going to Facebook or the like.

As for the OT: my wife recently saw an ad for "singles in your area" for some random site. She was kind of shocked to see a picture of me as part of the collage advertising the 'singles'. It was a picture someone (ahem me) had put up on hotornot.com years ago (close to a decade ago, before I'd met her). Anything and everything you ever post on the internet in a datatype'd field? Someone has packaged it, sorted it, studied it, created reports on it, and sold it - guaranteed.

Re:So this comes as a suprise? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39014225)

Did you contact the service about it or did you just leave it alone?

Re:So this comes as a suprise? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39014369)

Wasn't able to track down where the ad was from. Wife mentioned it in passing.

Re:So this comes as a suprise? (3, Informative)

Svippy (876087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010143)

Don't think I'm right? Check this out: http://www.archive.org/web/web.php [archive.org]

Amusing that you uses Archive.org as an example, because the Wayback Machine fully respects robots.txt, even retroactively. If you eventually decide that your site should not be indexed by Archive.org, you can tell your robots.txt file to indicate that. Moreover, whenever the Archive.org bot comes by your site again and discovers it, it will not only not index your current site but also delete everything else it had on your site.

Now, of course, that is not to suggest that if you delete it from Archive.org and your own website, that the images and text is gone for good, another site may have re-hosted it. But I know none other than Archive.org that does it for a living and moreover, the very data in question will certainly be harder to find.

Difficult deletions (5, Informative)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009201)

I have several honeypot email accounts, and one kept getting emails that suggested it was somehow a member of a French on-line dating/introduction service.

The web site had no way to delete one's account, nor did the proprietors respond to emails.

My solution? I logged in and updated "my" personal information. I got nasty, every bit of the sickest crap I could think of.

They pulled my account within the hour. :-)

...laura

Re:Difficult deletions (5, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009457)

My solution? I logged in and updated "my" personal information. I got nasty,
every bit of the sickest crap I could think of.

They pulled my account within the hour. :-)

You just go right on believing that.

Re:Difficult deletions (4, Interesting)

cshake (736412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009587)

I had some person set up personal ads on eharmony and another website using my email address a while ago.

On both sites I logged in ("forgot password" link works great since it's my email, and somehow the second site emailed me the unchanged plaintext password so I could leave them both to what the person had set them...) and changed the "something else you should know about me" to be something like "I signed up for this site using a strangers email address, and they're going to delete this account soon if I don't change it" to be nice and give the person a chance if they actually wanted to find dates. The number of email notifications I got for people still trying to set up a date with "me" even with that little tidbit in the profile was kinda scary, so a week later I went through their "delete profile" procedure, and lo and behold I'm getting mail filtered to my spam folder to this day from eharmony asking me to sign back up. However, the second site seemed to be moderated by real people, and within a day of me adding that info the account was removed without me having to do anything more - and I haven't gotten any email from them since.

I thought this profile was deleted. But it's back. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009243)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago, I worked in what was once my Grandfather's Greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white under the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did not chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

Old Ike, he extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old man winked at me. "Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game."

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men. . ."

"I'll bet you do."

". . . and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I though we were talking about. . ."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of 1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature some times climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as brown as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his hightop work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!"Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then stuck it out far enough that the tip could touch the tip of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never. . ."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiosity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgmental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't being queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a hand inside the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

***

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed I Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out your'n and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yessir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanced over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yessiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "I t sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expanding shaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I ‘ll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set ‘em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause I keep exercising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some say you'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been puling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance to lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma ‘wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is something I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on from all this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiosity that needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather .

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to adjust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." I Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticeably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaining drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle forming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

***

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his calloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches. . ." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do. . ."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said,"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging ‘tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree wan I was seven.

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Nineteen almost twenty."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not.

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass. "I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a few hard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed I Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and gray pubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't. . ."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your pecker. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't. . ."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd say you're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cock head smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man.

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old I Ike to lick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceeded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and proceeded to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

***

The following day, We skipped the preliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old I Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accommodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

""It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin' my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back and then pulled it up and over the expanded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's cum in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

Whitney Houson (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009265)

Just another dead nigger addict. I hope she burns in hell.

Re:Whitney Houson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009471)

Racist, mean-spirited, AND completely off-topic.

Congrats on the trifecta, moron.

Re:Whitney Houson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009549)

that's ok. non whites dump on whites all the time and it's considered 'empowerment.'

Do not date online (4, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009303)

I tried a dating site long ago (eHarmony) and I found that they are utterly worthless for finding real relationships with real people. All it does is attract spammers, scammers, and predators. If you want to date, get to know people in your local community. To dating sites, you are just money to be made.

Re:Do not date online (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009317)

Or, better yet. Date online, as the Internet is a GREAT tool for bringing people together. Just don't go trying to take shortcuts like dating sites. Actually MEET people via sites discussing your interests (you know, outside of genitalia). Dating sites are a hotbed for spammers, desperate folk, and other bad news. Hobby/other Interest based networking sites are much more promising for creating a healthy and valuable relationship in the future. Meetup.com comes to mind, though I'm sure there are great less mainstream/corporate options to go with as well, that may be less inclined to treat you like data to be mined and sold. Even better would be the BBS's of the past (due to their local nature), but I'm afraid in most cases you'll be needing a time machine to go with this option... The big benefit of this method, outside of being less sketchy than online dating sites, is also that even if you don't succeed in finding a partner, you're at least still likely to make some worthwhile friends in the process (might be more valuable to some than others...but I tend to figure most people who use online dating are probably fairly lonely to begin with).

And obviously, use some goddamn common sense. Strangers are strangers, and hopefully y'all got that lesson back in Kindergarten.

Re:Do not date online (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009623)

....but they have the candy that I want!!! >_

Re:Do not date online (1)

ElusiveJoe (1716808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39013951)

Date online, as the Internet is a GREAT tool for bringing people together. Just don't go trying to take shortcuts like dating sites. Actually MEET people via sites discussing your interests (you know, outside of genitalia).

Yeah, everyone knows that slashdot is great for finding your spouse!

Re:Do not date online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39009637)

eHarmony is a religous nut dating site. Thats fine. If they were up front about that anyway.

Now... can you think of any group of people more likely to fall for spammers, scammers and predators? Religous nuts already believe some of the biggest lies ever told on earth. They'd be the best group you could target with scams.

Seems like the scammers found their ideal target market.

Re:Do not date online (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010269)

OK Cupid is free and worked well for me, I am 7 months into a relationship which I fully expect to lead to marriage and forming babby. OKC has a bigger pool of suitors, because it is free, and better quality suitors because, let's face it, who wants to meet someone so desperate for a date they are PAYING a website for leads.

Re:Do not date online (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39017581)

Heh, I was going to reply to say almost exactly that (except for me it's 8 months and we're both in two minds about kids) - OkCupid seems to work really well, much better than any other dating site I've used. There are some truly awful ones out there (as with anything else), but tarring them all with the same brush is counter-productive (again, as with anything else).

Re:Do not date online (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39011457)

Different strokes for different folks. I met my GF (and more than likely future wife) on Plenty of Fish. Never had any spammers but did have to weed out the crazy.

We also went out on a date last night with another couple we met on another "dating" website and had a great time.

Problem with online websites is it's like walking up to every girl in the bar and then getting mad when they all don't fit. You don't give up.

I'll match your FAIL anecdote with one SUCCESS. (2)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39011691)

I met my wife through Match.Com. We've been together now for just shy of 7 years. I pinged her the day after she had decided decided to pull her profile and let her account lapse. Fortunately, she hadn't yet gotten around to it when my forwarded email arrived in her inbox. She told me later that I intrigued her so much she re-subscribed just to reply.

We spent a week and a lot of emails back and forth before we agreed to meet for a quick dinner date. Three and a half hours into what was supposed to be less than an hour, we knew we were on to something good. :-)

Now, we had several factors working in our favor. First, we were both in our 40s so we had enough life experience to spot the obvious predators. Second, we were both coming off long term first marriages that had failed partially due to a lack of honest communication on our partners' part so we were prepared to be up front about our expectations. Third, both of us were prepared to just let the relationship develop naturally and not force it. Fourth, we had both followed up a few contacts on the site already (she more than me, actually) so we had a pretty good idea about how online communication can sometimes obscure true intent.

My advice would be to treat online dating as just one more option to meeting people. If things click between you and someone else, great! If not, in many ways it's a lot easier to walk away from an online relationship gone bad than, say, someone you met at work, at church, or your favorite local watering hole.

Lies I tell you .. all lies (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009323)

My online dating profiles of course. You see by posting profiles that are completely full of lies I have totally side stepped the security issue! There is no way that anyone can trace my profiles back to a real person.

So nyah nyah nyah to all you suckers how put your real photos and descriptions out there in public - you'll never know who has your information now, while I'm free of any worries at all.

(But please don't remind me that I am posting on /. on a Saturday night)

weight:height (2)

cwspain (774211) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009349)

"like whether or not your weight is proportional to your height" Of course it's proportional (unless your height is 0, in which case the proportion is undefined).

Re:weight:height (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009757)

So you just say that you are exceptional. OK, its a divide by zero exception.

I don't mind. (2)

manual_tranny (2566083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009411)

It's OK that my picture and profile is still "up" at several dating websites. I don't mind, because I am human and not ashamed of the fact that we must reproduce in order to exist. Thank goodness everything I put up was in good taste. My only regret is posting on several STD dating sites before finding out I didn't have any disease. :D :P

"Weight proportional to height" (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009467)

Isn't weight proportional to cube of height?

Re:"Weight proportional to height" (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010461)

Isn't weight proportional to cube of height?

That would be the Ponderal Index [wikipedia.org], which assumes mass is proportional to the cube of height, and has some use in pediatrics. However, non-infant humans don't scale like spheres. Unfortunately, they also don't scale such that mass is proportional to the square of height, which the BMI [wikipedia.org] assumes. A statistical fit to height and weight data for the US yields an exponent of about 2.6 [utah.edu] for those aged 2 to 19 years. Note that this exponent slightly underestimates weight for persons shorter than 40" or taller than 65", and slightly overestimates it for those of height from 45" to 60". Apparently, medical underwriters don't rely just on BMI, but assume the Ponderal index has at least as much significance in assessing health risks from weight.

Re:"Weight proportional to height" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39015437)

For solid statues, yes.

You can be Googled (4, Informative)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009481)

Reading the article it is worse than just the deletion problem. If your profile is on the site ever, it is on google forever. Making it available to google seems like a pretty big breach of trust. You look at a site like OkCupid, that allows users to set their profiles to private. With google and google caching, that setting is bypassed entirely. That is simply a failure on OkCupid's part, they either don't have the technical skill to properly secure their site, or they choose not to despite telling users their info is restricted to other users only. Either way, false advertising.

What's a Dating Site's Incentive? (3, Interesting)

Thai-Spy (2572485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009497)

The best way for a dating site to attract new members is to have a lot of "inventory" in the form of user profiles. Having a larger inventory also means they can ask for more money from advertisers. Again it's a case of "if you aren't paying you aren't the customer, you're the product".

Really cool in 1998 (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009597)

Online dating was really cool for about six months in 1998. Since then, it's been a scam.

The history of Friendfinder (which now owns Penthouse and tried to buy Playboy) is interesting, in the litigation sense.

Proportional? (2)

cfc-12 (1195347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39009599)

...like whether or not your weight is proportional to your height.

So it's OK if I put on weight as long as I get proportionally taller at the same time?

Online dating (3, Interesting)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010075)

On a peripheral matter, online dating does work. I met my wife on Love@Lycos in 2003, she moved in two years later, married in 2007 and we're still together.

The thing about that website is that it was free; others have left a very bad impression, the worst one being match.com . I don't know if it has changed since then, but about 1999 I put my details on their site and got an interested email a few hours later. Of course, I couldn't reply, as you had to pay for membership before you could contact anyone. So I paid £5 for a month's subscription and messaged back. I got no reply. I think it was just an automated match.com robot designed to suck in the desperate into paying up. A little while later, I created a sock puppet account with the most repulsive details I could imagine. I got a couple of messages from people who said they were interested and wanted to know more. In my mind, proof that match.com would do anything to make you part with your money. I didn't and it put me off dating sites until a few years later when I happened to read a newspaper article which rekindled my interest.

Re:Online dating (1)

shic (309152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010789)

Congratulations.... I'm pleased to see that things worked out for you.

When I think about it, I notice a number of weird problems with the idea of dating sites. Free dating sites, inevitably, will be the preferred haunt of the insincere who lack commitment to the idea of forging a new lasting relationship... you'd expect the participants - if genuine at all - to be looking for cheap thrills... encouraged that by avoiding handing over credit card details, they're in some sense shielded by anonymity. Conversely, paid dating sites turn my stomach. I'd have no objection to paying a fair commercial price for introductions to people of interest to me... romantic or otherwise. The snag is that dating sites aren't selling a competitive introduction service - the most charitable description of their business model would be that they're trying to 'sell love' - though maybe they should just be regarded as old fashioned pimps. The obvious lack of integrity in the sales pitch for such services leaves me feeling very negatively towards them.

If there was a site that introduced me to groups of locals interested in obscure topics that might interest me - I'd pay for that... assuming the party I paid understood that they were engaged in a merely administrative capacity. I guess that a useful service like that doesn't present the same opportunities to gouge the vulnerable - so I don't expect to be a customer of such a service any time soon.

Capturing your Brain (1)

garthsundem (1702946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39010501)

Similarly, sites web-based brain-training services like Lumosity are capturing and keeping data that describes your cognitive function. First, this is very cool: it may provide the data points researchers need to discover once and for all whether training IQ is, in fact, possible (and if so, how to do it). And second, this is very scary: Woe be unto the users if the databse is hacked, opened, or otherwise sprung. You think carrying a height/weight ratio with you from a dating site is disturbing? What about carrying your IQ or ability to learn? Simply: yikes.

Not to mention spam mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39011363)

I am pretty sure that an old account somewhere or other's email has been sold off to trojan spammers, I get a ton of dating site looking spam with questionable attachments, these days.

I can remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39011655)

I can remember joining one of these dating services several years ago. A woman I contacted expressed surprise that she was still on the system. She was fairly good looking, so I figured that she was left on because of the desire for customer bait. She had been divorced 3 times and didn't want to meet because I had never been married.

So, no worse than regular social networks? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39015365)

And probably better, because who actually tells the truth on a dating site?

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