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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Matchmaker, Make Me a Match: OkCupid Fiddles With Love Algorithm

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:51 AM

click to enlarge DOOMU/SHUTTERSTOCK
Do you leave love up to fate or chance or whatever you believe in — or do you try to find meaningful relationship based on an algorithm? If you're part of the latter group, and a member of OkCupid, this relationship algorithm was toyed with —  and maybe your emotions were too. 

Yesterday OKCupid posted a blog, the first in years, titled "We Experimented on Human Beings!" and goes onto state that they've never known what they were doing — so if you met your significant other through this site — maybe it was fate (or chance) all along. They continue the post by noting that over the course of their 10 years of matchmaking they've conducted a few  experiments on those seeking love. 
Experiment 1: This experiment was called "Love is Blind" and it removed all user pictures from the site for a day to see how people interacted when they took baby blues and blond waves out of the equation. Among their findings was the majority of those conversing with strangers at the time they restored photos stopped talking mid sentence. As they put it, "The goodness was gone, in fact worse than gone. It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight."

Experiment 2: On the other end of the spectrum, OKCupid conducted an experiment called "So What's a Picture Worth?" where users could rate a potential match's photo and personality. They found that people ranked those two pretty much hand in hand, so yes super models are essential Mother Teresas. 

Experiment 3: This is the one where it gets a little tricky, "The Power of Suggestion,"  is where they really fiddled with love connections and may be leaving some users wondering if that cringe-worthy-match was a part of this experiment. In this test OkCupid decided to tell bad matches that they were in fact good matches and visa versa — so as to test their algorithm. Most adhered to what OkCUpid said, and sent that first message, but the message sending between the bad matches fell off as the number of messages exchanged went on. 

So it seems no matter what method you use to find someone — you'll need a little luck/fate/chance/correct algorithms to find him or her. And, if you want to know more about their findings, check out their blog post.
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About The Author

Mollie McWilliams

Mollie McWilliams

Mollie is the Web Editor and has been with SF Weekly since 2010.

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