There aren’t many things we hold sacred in this fragile fabric we call society, but online dating was supposed to be one of them. 99% of Internet matchmaking might consist of fraudulent profiles, dick pics, crazy hooker scams, and people pretending to love to hike, but there was a small corner of the digital dating realm that we believed was as clean as Disney’s Main Street. Not any longer. OKCupid just shit on Main Street.
You may recall OKCupid as the dating site so high minded that it refused to allow Firefox users access through its glistening portals because the Mozilla CTO once donated to an anti-gay marriage proposition. They were a dating site that took a stand. Also, one who was finding new business only in same sex registrants. Now the founder of OKCupid, Christian Rudder, admits OKCupid intentionally mismatched potential couples to see if their algorithm of compatible boning actually worked, or if test dupes who were duplicitously told they were matches would fall for each other just the same.
The ultimate question at OKCupid is, does this thing even work?” In the back of our minds, there’s always been the possibility: maybe it works just because we tell people it does. Maybe people just like each other because they think they’re supposed to?”
Ten years into the life of your Harvard geek website seems about the right time to ask if your product actually works. At least Zuckerberg tested his algorithm first. He knew through some scientific rigor that it would ruin society. Then he cackled like a vengeful nerd and moved forward.
It turns out people don’t actually like finding out their online services are fucking with them for the purposes of blind experimentation. It’s like people who join disease studies then find out they just got the placebos for six months and now they have four weeks left to live. But, hey, thanks for advancing science. It’d be easy to say that anybody who naively believes in the ability of online dating service to find them happiness deserves what they get. So I’m going to say that.