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Your Looks and Your Inbox
November 24, 2009 2:24 PM   Subscribe

"This week we will be confronting a fact that, by definition, haunts the average online dater: no matter how much time you spend polishing your profile, honing your IM banter, and perfecting your message introductions, it’s your picture that matters most." (Previously 1 2 3)
posted by gman (123 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
But with the basic ratings so out-of-whack, the two curves together suggest some strange possibilities for the female thought process, the most salient of which is that the average-looking woman has convinced herself that the vast majority of males aren’t good enough for her, but she then goes right out and messages them anyway.

Uhhh.... no. The most salient possibility is that women make a decision about whether or not to message a guy based on more than just their rating of his appearance. Based on the offset of the curves, appearance does play a statistically-significant part, but it is not the primary factor.
posted by muddgirl at 2:34 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, I was reading the chart wrong. But their "salient point" could have been expressed as a positive rather than as a negative.
posted by muddgirl at 2:35 PM on November 24, 2009


I'd go for rds858. Any girl who can afford to pay for proper shots to put on a dating site will likely just walk out on me when I ask them to pay for their half of dinner.
posted by mannequito at 2:36 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


The female users of OkCupid are scaring me a bit. Those two "average" looking guys are above and beyond more attractive and interesting looking than the "top-looking" ones. That and "angelboyxxx" -- really? Come on now, girls - we can do better. Even you, Bella.
posted by june made him a gemini at 2:44 PM on November 24, 2009


Data point here: Everybody on that page is hot. Some even megahot. The results baffle me.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:48 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, you have to remember that (apparently) hormonal birth control causes women to find younger, more baby-faced guys attractive. A high population of women with a very specific criteria of attractiveness, and a low population of men with that criteria, would skew the ratings in the graph shown.
posted by muddgirl at 2:51 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why the shit would I care that angelboyxxx is getting more messages than I am? What am I going to talk to those girls about, who I saw at the mall yesterday? Self-selection is a wonderful thing. You know who's probably more likely to contact me? A woman I might actually want to date.
posted by The Straightener at 2:54 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Calm down Straightener, it's gonna be allllll right
posted by LoopyG at 2:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just to illustrate that women are operating on a very different scale, here are just a few of the many, many guys we here in the office think are totally decent-looking, but that women have rated, in their occult way, as significantly less attractive than so-called “medium”:

Sorry to whoever he is, but the 3rd guy from the left after the paragraph above is not "totally decent-looking," amirite? Hetero guy here, but even I can tell that...
posted by jckll at 2:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm misunderstanding the language, but I don't think this person knows what "normalized" means.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:01 PM on November 24, 2009


It's not alright! Don't be lumping me in with these himbo dipshits!

Sorry, I'm still a little high on Mr. George Hutchins right now.
posted by The Straightener at 3:04 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think that hypothesis can possibly account for 80% of men being rated as below average in attractiveness by women and a shockingly high percentage of those being rated as downright ugly. I mean the mode is a ONE on a scale of 1-5. How can that possibly be? It's shocking.

I wish they had posted a bunch of examples of the guys that were rated as very attractive instead of just 4 guys rated as unattractive despite being average or better. Well, I think the third one (sammy) is kind of weird looking but, hey, whatever.

june: Where do you see examples of top-rated males?
posted by Justinian at 3:04 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


As with all of their "Statistical Findings," OkCupid's dataset is hideously flawed. Here's why (for this specific case).

OkCupid users are allowed to rank other users' attractiveness on a scale of 1-5, it's true. However, if you rate someone 4- or 5-stars, it messages them with a grid of nine users and says "Hey, one of these nine people thinks you're cute! Rate them back, and if you rate your admirer with a 4 or 5, we'll connect you!"

So the flaw in the dataset is that the users know rating someone above a 4 or 5 is tantamount to messaging them directly. So it stands to reason that women -- who are traditionally more discerning than men when it comes to online dating -- would be hesitant to give many guys higher scores, even if they did find them cute, simply to avoid sending the wrong impression.

---

There was also a "study" recently about whether or not Zodiac compatibility matched up to OkCupid compatibility. Of course the problem there was that OkCupid builds personality profiles on as few as 20 questions answered. And as anyone who's answered their little multiple-choice questions knows, they're hardly a gauge of someone's personality. At best, it gauges your likes, dislikes, and peccadilloes. But your personality? Not by a longshot.

In the end, the OkCupid blog is fun to read and it does bring up some interesting talking points. But that's it. There's as much statistical credibility behind their findings as there is behind a fortune cookie lotto pick.
posted by focalmatter at 3:05 PM on November 24, 2009 [23 favorites]


Justinian: Under the first two sets of photos on the page, there are light grey "show men instead" links. I missed them the first time through too.
posted by asterix at 3:07 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


For an unspecified period of time, I used a picture of me sat on a toilet. It didn't seem to make a difference.

Sorry to whoever he is, but the 3rd guy from the left after the paragraph above is not "totally decent-looking," amirite? Hetero guy here, but even I can tell that...

I don't know. He looks a bit like Will Self, whom I would totally fuck, but only because of his character/personality. I'm attracted to guys, but unless they're really hot models, I find it hard to judge how attractive they are until I've met them. So at least for me, the "female messaging and male attractiveness" graph makes pretty good sense.

Also, what focalmaster said.
posted by Sova at 3:08 PM on November 24, 2009


focalmatter - that also probably accounts for why men predominantly send messages to women that they rate between 4 and 5.
posted by muddgirl at 3:08 PM on November 24, 2009


(oops I meant scale of 0-5 not 1-5)

I hate to follow up to myself but I can't emphasize enough how incredible it is to have the mode be 1 on a 0-5 scale and, additionally, for more men to have been rated as a ZERO (zero!) than average or good looking combined. ZERO! Did a quarter of men just come walking out of a burn unit? Do they like weigh seven hundred pounds and have bad personal hygiene?

As I said, I'm sort of appalled. I can't imagine what would make me think that fully a quarter of women would rate as a 0 on a scale of 0-5, that more than half of women were ugly or hideous, and less than a quarter were even average.

More men were rated as a 0 than average or better combined.
posted by Justinian at 3:09 PM on November 24, 2009


Completely unscientific here, but it's my distinct impression that women are much more likely to be turned off by the sense that a guy is vain, than a guy is to be turned off by the sense that a woman is vain. So having an attractive picture might be in some ways a disadvantage for a guy: if he looks a little too good, too posed, tarted up and male model-ish, it may work against him with a lot of women. Guys don't read quite so much into how well presented a woman is in a photograph, I think it's considered more normal behavior for a woman to have a particularly good shot of herself. Again, nothing scientific about this, just a general impression.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:11 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


[show men instead] just may beat out [more inside].
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:11 PM on November 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Justinian: Under the first two sets of photos on the page, there are light grey "show men instead" links. I missed them the first time through too.

Ah, thanks, yes I missed it.

It appears that to be rated as decent looking by female users of OkCupid you need to be some sort of emo boy band member.
posted by Justinian at 3:11 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


From the comments on that article:
Maybe it’s just me, but when I get the Quiver Match emails that try to bamboozle me into viewing a ton of profiles to find the one needle in a haystack, I get so annoyed at the blatant bait and switch that I just rate every guy one star. Not necessarily because they are medium or unattractive but because the primary photo they use is, if you actually click through the rest, clearly misleading.
I wonder if, in general, women just take the attractiveness ratings a lot less seriously.
posted by muddgirl at 3:12 PM on November 24, 2009


There was also a "study" recently about whether or not Zodiac compatibility matched up to OkCupid compatibility.

The point of that study was to demonstrate that Zodiac sign is completely meaningless; it had no correlation with compatibility whatsoever. Indeed, compatibility across Zodiac pairings was essentially completely uniform, just as you would expect. I don't know why you used that study as an example of the statistics being poorly done.
posted by jedicus at 3:14 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


http://cdn.okcimg.com/blog/your_looks_and_inbox/crudder.jpg

Okay, guy #2 there is rather more than "decent looking"
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:21 PM on November 24, 2009


I wonder if, in general, women just take the attractiveness ratings a lot less seriously.

It does seem to imply physical attractiveness is something women on OK Cupid grade on a pass/fail basis. That men are appraising a woman's looks with more exaction says to me that at least they think about it a lot more. All that could certainly imply it's a bigger deal for men.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:22 PM on November 24, 2009


"if you rate your admirer with a 4 or 5, we'll connect you!"
So it stands to reason that women -- who are traditionally more discerning than men when it comes to online dating -- would be hesitant to give many guys higher scores


This doesn't explain why they rate the men as zeroes and ones, when a three would work just as well for that purpose.
posted by martinrebas at 3:25 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


None of this is particularly surprising (i.e. news flash, attractive people get more responses), but I thought it was interesting that in this graph it seems to suggest that among the least attractive guys, response rate is somewhat insensitive to female attractiveness, as long as it's above "medium", and in this graph, male attractiveness is strongly inversely correlated with female response rate among the least attractive women.

Of course, it's also possible that few very attractive men or women contact very unattractive people of the opposite sex, (I'd be curious to see similar graphs for same sex contact) so the percentages could be misleading in that respect.
posted by electroboy at 3:27 PM on November 24, 2009


Yes, the methodology is sometimes flawed. But I love this blog.

What it has is an INCREDIBLE pile of data, and this data blows any flavor-of-the week evolutionary pop psych, trend-of-the decade crap psychology, sociological hooha, occasionally excessive feminist jackbootery right out the window. They collect data on what people actually DO online, not what is appropriate, what is popular, or what is safe to say on Ask Mefi.

In my mind, this actually hints at the death of most cog/ev/soc/psych "theory" as we now know it. In the near future, we'll have abundant, highly reliable timestamped data from phones, facebook, twitter, every place you've ever shopped, etc. We won't need to have psychologists making up elaborate theories with hideous flowchart/venn diagrams, like most emotional psych is conducted today. We won't need twitch response, surveys, or IAPS -- we won't need any of that crap. We'll have the damn data, and you can shove your politically correct shit where the sun doesn't shine, at least when and where it doesn't match the data.

Right now, we'll have Metafilter users and Internet Psychologists arguing against this post and their methods where they don't match certain ideas, but there will come a time when the only story to tell will be plainly evident in the data. I can't wait, because the bloat, pomp, and taboo in Psychology/Sociology as a whole right now is almost unbearable.
posted by fake at 3:28 PM on November 24, 2009 [16 favorites]


I hate to follow up to myself but I can't emphasize enough how incredible it is to have the mode be 1 on a 0-5 scale and, additionally, for more men to have been rated as a ZERO (zero!) than average or good looking combined. ZERO! Did a quarter of men just come walking out of a burn unit? Do they like weigh seven hundred pounds and have bad personal hygiene?

Even when given a scale to rate things on, lots of people seem to just use it as a yes/no question, and choose either the highest or the lowest, which often skews results on this sort of thing, I'm pretty sure.
posted by dng at 3:29 PM on November 24, 2009


eh, photos provide little useful information. all men have an attractiveness score of zero to me until I have had the opportunity to smell them.
posted by little e at 3:30 PM on November 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Even when given a scale to rate things on, lots of people seem to just use it as a yes/no question, and choose either the highest or the lowest, which often skews results on this sort of thing, I'm pretty sure.

This, yes. Personally, on some sites when asked to rate something in order to move on (people, music, videos, what have you), I remember hitting whatever my mouse was nearest to advance.

I wouldn't put that much stock in this piece of data.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:33 PM on November 24, 2009


Even when given a scale to rate things on, lots of people seem to just use it as a yes/no question

So, essentially, "(I would/I would not) hit it".
posted by electroboy at 3:34 PM on November 24, 2009


dng: That theory doesn't account for the fact that the plot of men's ratings of women was a shallow curve with fewer ratings of either 0 or 5 than the middle scores. There is a stark disparity in the ratings by men and women. Additionally, there were virtually no 5s given by women. So I don't think the 0/5 thing passes muster.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even when given a scale to rate things on, lots of people seem to just use it as a yes/no question, and choose either the highest or the lowest, which often skews results on this sort of thing, I'm pretty sure.

What makes you think that women "choose either the highest or the lowest", when the graph shows that 0% of men are rated a five?
posted by martinrebas at 3:35 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ladies, angelboyxxx wants you to know that "everything I say and do has meaning and carry’s on its own significance." Also, he's getting his GED because he took a few years off of high school just for fun. Hot!
posted by naju at 3:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't put that much stock in this piece of data.

Except, as I said, that there is a stark disparity in the ratings given by men or women, so people just hitting whatever their mouse is nearest to advance doesn't work as an explanation, unless the theory is that men and women hold their mouse pointer in different places on the screen.
posted by Justinian at 3:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even when given a scale to rate things on, lots of people seem to just use it as a yes/no question, and choose either the highest or the lowest, which often skews results on this sort of thing, I'm pretty sure.

If this were the case, the 5 would be skewed high.
posted by Jairus at 3:37 PM on November 24, 2009


What makes you think that women "choose either the highest or the lowest", when the graph shows that 0% of men are rated a five?

I dunno. Maybe they're using Roger Ebert's rating system.
posted by dng at 3:38 PM on November 24, 2009


This thread moves too fast.

JUST LIKE A FIVE AMIRITE
posted by Jairus at 3:38 PM on November 24, 2009


In the near future, we'll have abundant, highly reliable timestamped data from phones, facebook, twitter, every place you've ever shopped, etc. We won't need to have psychologists making up elaborate theories with hideous flowchart/venn diagrams, like most emotional psych is conducted today. We won't need twitch response, surveys, or IAPS -- we won't need any of that crap. We'll have the damn data...

Oh god, my worst nightmare. A future where everything's a Gallup poll.

"Data" is as reliable as a photograph. And by that I mean, everything depends on how you set it up. We've already given several explanations to show how this OKCupid data is highly skewed by the collection method.
posted by muddgirl at 3:39 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


We've already given several explanations to show how this OKCupid data is highly skewed by the collection method.

I don't think that's the case. A few people in this thread have given several explanations to show how this OkCupid data could be highly skewed by the collection method, but none of those explanations come anywhere close to explaining the observed data. The hypotheses don't fit.
posted by Justinian at 3:42 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huh. I find the second set of guys - the ones rated as "in the middle" after you switch to men - more attractive than the ones that have for "near the top of our range".

And I don't have a picture up, or much of anything else, and today I got one of those "Hey, one of these nine people thinks you're cute! Rate them back, and if you rate your admirer with a 4 or 5, we'll connect you!" things. Apparently that gray humanoid silhouette image is cute to somebody out there, but I'll never know who.
posted by dilettante at 3:46 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Justinian - you don't think that the almost total lack of 4 and 5 ratings among straight female users can be explained by the fact that a 4/5-rating is essentially the exact same thing as just messaging a guy, and we've already shown that straight women are highly selective in messaging guys?
posted by muddgirl at 3:50 PM on November 24, 2009


Perhaps I overstated my case by calling this a sure thing, but if I were reviewing a paper I'd call this a critical error.
posted by muddgirl at 3:51 PM on November 24, 2009


A few people in this thread have given several explanations to show how this OkCupid data could be highly skewed by the collection method, but none of those explanations come anywhere close to explaining the observed data. The hypotheses don't fit.

No, I also believe something else is going on here as the differences are massive and are completely outside of the norm of people norming their ratings based on the observed population over time. What you're likely observing for the OkCupid data is that votes are public, especially the fact that votes are public to the person being voted upon.

People behave very differently when being observed. The fact that votes are public completely explains this massive skew.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:52 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And it would be good if they had a little button for things like that rating bullshit - some "Homey don't play that" clip, something.
posted by dilettante at 3:54 PM on November 24, 2009


jckll: I *think* the joke there is that those are actually pictures of the site's founders.
posted by Limiter at 4:01 PM on November 24, 2009


Good point, amuseDetachment.

For contrast, here is a paper I found on google which graphs data from AmIHotorNot.com which shows similar attractiveness graphs for men and women, with men having a higher average than women. The data sets aren't exactly comparable (for example, the Dartmouth paper does not filter out same-sex votes), but it's pretty indicative that something is going on with that OKCupid set.
posted by muddgirl at 4:03 PM on November 24, 2009


I don't think that hypothesis can possibly account for 80% of men being rated as below average in attractiveness by women and a shockingly high percentage of those being rated as downright ugly. I mean the mode is a ONE on a scale of 1-5. How can that possibly be? It's shocking.

My guess is that women are extracting different information from the male user pictures than just a register of physical attractiveness. I can tell you that my kneejerk reaction to the proffered "average to good looking guys" was not so much good looking or not, but that I was seeing hair flying in all directions (dishevelled, hinting at being uncontrolled) and playing guitar (seen one too many guys try to charm by waving an acoustic around). The photograph is a statement of self-presentation with many undercurrents and variables and choices made, and that's what I read when I look at one on a dating profile. (Yes, it's irrational and unthinking and emotional, but I don't use dating sites so it's not like it affects anything in my real life. Obviously meeting somebody in person-- or reading their biography-- is utterly different.)
posted by jokeefe at 4:03 PM on November 24, 2009


My guess is that women are extracting different information from the male user pictures than just a register of physical attractiveness.

Yes. I would give a negative score to photos of shirtless men who obviously intend to convey HOW MUCH TIME I SPEND IN THE GYM LOOK AT MY ABS DID I MENTION I WORK OUT
posted by little e at 4:11 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


People behave very differently when being observed.

That's Heisenberg's OKCupid Principle, in opposition to Schrödinger's Rapist.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


For contrast, here is a paper I found on google which graphs data from AmIHotorNot.com which shows similar attractiveness graphs for men and women, with men having a higher average than women. The data sets aren't exactly comparable (for example, the Dartmouth paper does not filter out same-sex votes), but it's pretty indicative that something is going on with that OKCupid set.

Or that different things are happening in each case. When Hot or Not was popular, I knew a number of people who pretty deliberately fed it results that were not indicative of their true feelings vis a vis a person's attractiveness. That's anecdotal, obviously, but I'm willing to bet a huge number of people visited that site expressly to goof on it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:27 PM on November 24, 2009


From the comments:
a lot of the messages are creepy, rude, or from guys with low match scores who clearly didn’t read anything in my profile and are only contacting me because my “photos are hot.” The fact that I also don’t receive very many messages from men I personally find attractive doesn’t help, but even a hot guy who was totally my type sending a message snottily insulting my profile (”you seem like a bitch, but I thought I would try anyway” is an actual quote from a message I’ve received.
Really? Some guy thought "you seem like a bitch" was a good opening line?

About the ratings:
Women tend to post better photos and put more care into their appearance in general. I doubt there are more than a handful of photos on the site of women in terrible lighting, wearing no makeup, with their hair in a rat’s nest (or with a baseball hat hastily shoved over it to attempt to disguise the fact that it’s unwashed/unbrushed/missing), wearing their dumpiest, sloppiest around-the-house clothes, but there are TONS of photos of men in a similar state on the site. A lot of guys seem to be under the impression that, since women are supposedly less visual and care less about looks, they should make no effort whatsoever to make themselves look more appealing to the opposite sex.
The two highest rated guys look like they had professional, flattering photographs. Sure they are too emo for me, but I can see the appeal. The 4 less-than-medium guys all made much less effort. I'm guessing #4 snapped a picture of himself at work, #1 snipped himself out of a group shot after some serious drinking, #3 is just goofy looking with his casual boy clothes, and #2 would probably be all right if his eyes didn't look like two black holes of doom.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:28 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm looking at the [show men instead] photographs. The dark one on the right looks like he's trying to hard to convey brooding macho. And his username? angelboyxxx? Possibly gay and repressed, or at least an ego on display. Next. Guy on the right looks nice, and has a reasonable username, too. But who knows what he's like in person? Straightforward black and white headshot. Need more info.

Guys in the middle: What's with the crotch forward shot? Also, knife tattoo actually larger than his face? What are those posters in the background? "Leave your mark"? Huh. Dunno about that. Next guy is standing in the snow. His username is thechocky, so I assume he's a fan sending out a Radiohead flavoured dogwhistle. Works, predictably, for me. Have no idea if I think he's good looking or not, but we'd have something to talk about.

(Note: given that every man here is young enough to be my kid, reactions are purely theoretical.)
posted by jokeefe at 4:39 PM on November 24, 2009


Yeah, the photos of the OkCupid guys would probably get "less attractive than average" ratings from me because the two conventionally-handsome-by-media-standards guys have asshat photos--"HERE I AM WITH MY DUDEBROS GETTING DRUNK" and "HERE I AM WITH MY GUITAR BECAUSE I'M SENSITIVE AND ALL."
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:43 PM on November 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm mystified that the star-ranking data being collected is assumed to reflect ONLY looks, when they provide part of the profile under the pictures.

If a guy is a jerk in his profile he gets 1 star from me, regardless of his physical appearance. Men who I find completely unattractive but lack the tone of major a-hole get 2 stars. Men who are attractive but whose profiles do not strike me as a decent match get 3 stars. 4-5 stars go to men who represent the :total package: to me.

If the star ratings are supposed to be used to rate attractiveness only, why do they provide part of the profile at all?
posted by prettymightyflighty at 4:44 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


(Whoops-- dark one on the left.)

Also, I disagree with SLoG's assessment of #3. He reminds me of a guy I knew, an academic type, and I like the background which hints at liking the outdoors without being a jock. Also like the understated by tasteful clothing choice. However, if the hair turned out to be a combover rather than what might be a ponytail, we'd have issues. Not because male pattern baldness isn't attractive-- I like it-- but because a combover is a sign of insecurity.
posted by jokeefe at 4:45 PM on November 24, 2009


Yeah. Basically, looks are just a bonus, and are far from the main thing. Anyone who you love becomes beautiful to you, and the initial attraction of good looks can wear off very quickly.
posted by jokeefe at 4:48 PM on November 24, 2009


Yes, the stars, they definitely go down with the stupid, obnoxious, thoughtless, or empty profile.
posted by kathrineg at 4:56 PM on November 24, 2009


Basically, looks are just a bonus, and are far from the main thing.

I recall this being debunked (not your personal preference, of course, but as a widespread acted-upon belief by either men or women in general) as long ago as intro psych which, for me, is a looong time ago. As I recall, women were more likely than men to claim that looks didn't matter, but it did, far and away being the most important predictor of action, for both men and women, everything else a distant second.

Of course that's, what, people sitting there theorizing about photographs of strangers. In real life, people catch each other by surprise. The guy, or girl, you weren't glancing twice at hits you with an unexpectedly insightful or witty comment, walks on stage to wow you with talent, or myriad other ways in which human beings charm the pants off each other.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:57 PM on November 24, 2009


Also: alcohol.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:57 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


In my personal experience, when I ask a man who he finds attractive out of a group of women, he will start rattling off names or pointing people out. When I do the same with a woman, she will often fail to name anyone. I will say, "Seriously? There are twenty guys in this room. None of them are attractive?" She will assure me that none of them are attractive.
posted by flarbuse at 5:06 PM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Really? Some guy thought "you seem like a bitch" was a good opening line?

It's called "negging," right? Guaranteed to work, according to the pick-up artist types.
posted by Forktine at 5:09 PM on November 24, 2009


All dating sites are a problem because they shows how many perfectly normal looking creepy people are out there and frankly I don't really want graphs and charts about what all the creepy people are thinking and why they think the creepy way they think. I don't like it.

That said, OkCupid has fun quizzes. I liked taking all their various crazy quizzes, which usually sought to find out what kind of ______ I am and if I'm a ______ or a ______ in _______.
posted by Salmonberry at 5:09 PM on November 24, 2009


Basically, looks are just a bonus, and are far from the main thing.

The main thing of course, would be penis size.
posted by jonmc at 5:17 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


What kind of creep I am and if I'm a pervert or a stalker in prison?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:18 PM on November 24, 2009


I remember posting what I thought was my best picture to Hotornot and feeling like SHIT after a week went by and I found out that, on average, I'm a 6 at best.

Looking at some of these guys that are considered to be 'Highly Attractive' or highly rated (whatever), I don't feel as bad.
posted by Bageena at 5:32 PM on November 24, 2009


...what kind of butts I am and if I'm a sex or a fart in Machiavellian rhetoric.
posted by flatluigi at 5:33 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


you don't think that the almost total lack of 4 and 5 ratings among straight female users can be explained by the fact that a 4/5-rating is essentially the exact same thing as just messaging a guy, and we've already shown that straight women are highly selective in messaging guys?

No, I don't think that explanation is sufficient. Certainly I think it could be part of the explanation, but if it were all of it we would expect to see a lot more 2s and 3s which are functionally the same as 0s and 1s in terms of not auto-messaging the other party. So while some skew away from 4s and 5s could be expected, the massive shift to 0s and 1s can't be explained by a simple desire to avoid auto-messaging.

Secondly, even were that the full explanation it would be interesting in and of itself. Because men show no such inclination. My interest here isn't ZOMG WOMEN ARE SHALLOW, because that would be both assholish and premature from the data but rather that something is clearly different between the sexes and it's cool to see such things in actual data rather than thinly veiled sexist sociological theories. I just wish we knew exactly what causing that difference between the sexes and I don't think any of the explanations offered so far are completely satisfactory. Probably it's a combination of many things.
posted by Justinian at 5:34 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Y'know sometimes I'm amazed anybody anywhere manages to get laid at all, but the species keeps going, so somehow we must be managing.
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


perhaps the low scores for guys are other guys signing up female accounts and poorly rating all the other guys?
posted by TheJoven at 5:53 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's great that the site gathered, labeled and interpreted all this data. But seriously, folks. Does any of the information come as a surprise to anyone?!
posted by consilience at 6:20 PM on November 24, 2009


The main thing of course, would be penis size.

Guys like to make this joke about women and other guys always laugh but it just isn't true.

What is the best-selling type of sex toy for women? Not the 8 or 9 inch dildo. It is the thumb-sized clit stimulator. Besides, it is pretty hard to make our choice based on dick size when we don't get to see anything until after we make our choice; the penis is like a nice surprise you unwrap the first time you see your man naked. Really? All for me?!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:39 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


An alternative theory might be that guys who sign up for "okcupid" skew ugly.
posted by pwnguin at 6:41 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Other possible theories:

* Ugly dudes use OkCupid
* Women on OkCupid are single because they are unable to gauge male attractiveness in anything like a population-normal way
* The majority of men on OkCupid are offputting in some way that negates the attractiveness of their photograph
* ...etc...

I'm not saying any of these are true, but all of them are possible, given the limited and self-selected population here. There'd really have to be a lot more work done to draw any conclusion about anything from any of this, other than what the blog is actually about, which is getting the most from this one particular dating site.
posted by rusty at 6:58 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


http://cdn.okcimg.com/blog/your_looks_and_inbox/crudder.jpg
Okay, guy #2 there is rather more than "decent looking"


That could be an inside joke: he's Christian Rudder, one of the guys who created OKCupid.

You might remember him from TheSpark.com, when he

tried to get athelete's foot on purpose

tried to get people to gain 30lbs in 30 days

Actually, I in looking up those two links, I just saw this:

Where "significantly less attractive than so-called “medium”" guys go to work
posted by surenoproblem at 7:05 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. Internet dating is rather awkward and summary for the exceptionally short (male), because most sites allow (female) users the convenience of setting lower bounds on height before appraising photos, me-blurbs, 'biodata'♬, and the whole semiconscious calculus of hot. Like a biological adaptation run riot, like a mutation by way of Marvel, we default to invisible on exposure to internets. And so I haven't the slightest idea what you think of our pictures, which, for all you know, we have replaced with repellent, animated .gifs of Jake the Snake Roberts and The Million Dollar Man. Yeah, baby.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:10 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Besides, it is pretty hard to make our choice based on dick size when we don't get to see anything until after we make our choice

Well. There is a solution to that. But I don't think your gonna like it. I don't think anybody but a few are gonna like it.
posted by tkchrist at 8:04 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Unisex urinals?
posted by ifandonlyif at 8:16 PM on November 24, 2009


After reading about Christian Rudder and seeing that this guy deliberately got himself infected with athlete's foot by rubbing his feet around a dirty YMCA locker room and then wearing plastic bags on his unwashed feet for a week while jogging, etc, and then posting pictures of his feet while describing the dead whale rotting flesh smell... and then ending up with a case of cellulitis in addition to the athlete's foot... I have come to the conclusion that there is something to this whole "it's not just looks" thing.

Because I now wish to rate him at roughly -92138187 on a scale of 0 to 5.
posted by Justinian at 8:25 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. Internet dating is rather awkward and summary for the exceptionally short (male), because most sites allow (female) users the convenience of setting lower bounds on height before appraising photos, me-blurbs, 'biodata'♬, and the whole semiconscious calculus of hot.

Really. I did not know that. Been an old married guy for 15 years.

I have friend who is kinda short. But he's also an elite athlete. Like one of the top 20 in north America in his sport. He's super charming. Witty. Looks like Luke Wilson. Only way cuter. My wife adores him. When women spend ten minutes with him they want him to take off his pants.

But he's also a little shy. So we were gonna set him up with a couple of girl friends of my wife. The second or third question for all three women was "Is he short?" So we'd describe all the stuff I just wrote above. And still "Is he short? Like I won't date anybody under 5' 10'" was the impenetrable filter. I thought that was kind of weird.

I didn't realize it was that pervasive to be an actual filter on date sites.
posted by tkchrist at 8:27 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yes: being short is a killer for men, worse than being "ugly". There are good statistics to show that short men, for example, earn significantly less than their taller counterparts.
posted by Justinian at 8:36 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Based on the photo examples (small sample size I know), if you want a top rating use black and white or sepia tone photos, fill the frame with your head, look down at the camera, open your eyes, and soften the focus a bit. Bonus points for lens flare. I you want a medium rating use a color photo, don't fill the frame with your head, look straight or up at the camera, squint your eyes, and use a photo that is blurry or slightly out of focus. It's probably safe to assume that the bottom photos are grainy and dark. This is highschool year book photography 101.

Based on the above assumptions I think one factor is the skill of the photographer and the desire to spend some time figuring out how to get a good photo. Based on the fact that women are more concerned about their appearance to begin with I'm going to guess that women spend more time and effort getting a good photo. Men don't spend as much time and effort on photos and don't spend as much time familiarizing themselves with photography modeling techniques that saturate the media. Also men spend a lot of time viewing and rating photos of women "I'd hit it" etc., they get group feedback on appearance. Women generally don't spend as much time viewing photos of men.

So in summary women know how to look their best in a photo but they don't have as much attractiveness evaluation experience. Men don't know how to look their best in a photo but they have a ton of attractiveness evaluation experience. As a result women rate photos of men harshly because men suck at taking pictures of themselves and women suck at evaluating them. Men rate photos of women on a bell curve because women generate the best photo that they can produce and men are good at evaluating them.
posted by Procloeon at 8:55 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


And it's funny, because people are so different and there are people out there for everyone. I wouldn't date a guy over 5'10". Not a fixed boundary, just an estimate. But personally, I'm not into tall guys. My height to about 5'10". Even my boyfriend, who falls within that range, thinks that's weird.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:59 PM on November 24, 2009


Yes: being short is a killer for men, worse than being "ugly".

I suppose that being rich and good luck are both potentially transitory states of being. Everybody gets old and anybody can become poor. But tall is a feature that lasts a while. An obvious evolutionary trait that might more reliably get passed on. Tall is still somewhat an evolutionary advantage and it lasts. Makes a sick sort of Darwinistic sense.
posted by tkchrist at 9:05 PM on November 24, 2009


good luck = good looking. heh.
posted by tkchrist at 9:05 PM on November 24, 2009


The real takeaway is that OKCupid's male users are unattractive on average.
posted by delmoi at 9:06 PM on November 24, 2009


Justinian said, Yes: being short is a killer for men, worse than being "ugly". There are good statistics to show that short men, for example, earn significantly less than their taller counterparts.

Your first statement seems true. Your second statement seems irrelevant. Being "too" tall can be killer for women, and taller women also earn more than their shorter peers.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 9:09 PM on November 24, 2009


Based on the photo examples (small sample size I know), if you want a top rating use black and white or sepia tone photos, fill the frame with your head, look down at the camera,

That's interesting. Maybe it's because I'm kind of tall but I think faces look better with the camera aming down. Even looking at pictures of myself, I think I look better from an upper angle, but most women would be more used to seeing male faces from below (because they're shorter).

People tend to think things they are familiar with look better.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes: being short is a killer for men, worse than being "ugly".

Protip: I learned I should stop approaching tall, dim (that is, Cantabrigian) women with the line "would you fancy a child of average proportions and intelligence," because (all too often) they will hit me over the head with their Porsche.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:16 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm going to guess that women spend more time and effort getting a good photo

Based on the photo examples I've seen on Facebook (huge sample size I know), I'd say that the vast majority of women (that use Facebook) know very well how they photograph best - to the extent that many will adopt the exact same pose in photo after photo. I'd go so far as to assume that they practice in front of mirrors.

And not just the head shots. In shots with the full body, they'll often turn halfway side on, angle one knee across the other (what on earth is that called?) to accentuate curviness, and so on.

Guys, on the other hand, usually adopt expressions like they've been surprised on the toilet.

My amateur sociological hypothesis is that we are so saturated with images of female beauty that women consciously try to emulate those kind of looks in photographs, whereas men are mostly oblivious to doing the same kind of thing themselves.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:20 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not just being short that's a killer for men, it's being not-tall. This is not uniformly true, of course, as there are women who will date men who are not-tall, but in general, simply being over six feet tall is the equivalent of being a 5'7" guy holding a baby and a puppy while slam-dunking a solid gold basketball and solving P vs NP on the backboard on the way down.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:23 PM on November 24, 2009 [41 favorites]


I'm six foot. But I don't brag about it. My giant penis on the other hand... he's always going around bragging about it.
posted by tkchrist at 9:27 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Just for the data point: I have no issues with tallness and I've had a couple of relationships with men who were shorter than me or equal height. I do know women who insist on tallness, and I've never understood it. So it's not a general thing.
posted by jokeefe at 9:29 PM on November 24, 2009


Jebus, what if the basketball landed on the baby?

I'd be surprised if he could get a date at all, with that kind of reckless behaviour.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:32 PM on November 24, 2009


I'd go for rds858. Any girl who can afford to pay for proper shots to put on a dating site will likely just walk out on me when I ask them to pay for their half of dinner.

Lots of people can take good photographs themselves, or have friends who can do it.

Also, I noticed one little odd artifact, least attractive men are less likely to respond to super-hotties them medium men before it starts to decrease. Maybe ugly dudes are afraid of beautiful women, or think they're spammers.

The effect is even more pronounced with women. Less attractive women don't respond to hot dudes.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 PM on November 24, 2009


The attractiveness results shouldn't be taken at face value because people are rating truncated profiles, not just pictures. I'll use the quickmatch feature, as they call it, whenever I get notified that someone rated me 4 or 5 stars. I'll browse through the profiles they feed me (one of the first ten will be the person who rated you highly), and I rate people based on how much I'd like to meet them. I'll give low ratings to people with pretty pictures if the snippet of profile provided leads me to believe we would be totally incompatible. Quite often, what people write is the determining factor in how I rate them. As a result, I rate a lot of people quite low, not necessarily because I find them unattractive, but because I'm not interested in contacting them. This behavior might be far more common among straight women compared to straight men, pushing down the average rating of straight men compared to straight women.

Still, I give people twos and threes, mostly. Either there are lots of cruel and judgmental women out there, or most men have profiles that are completely execrable. From what I've seen, I'm leaning towards the latter explanation.

Another thing to remember is that the interest must be mutual for the rating to be tantamount to messaging someone, so I doubt it is responsible for much of this putative effect. Maybe once a month or less, I'll get a message in my inbox putatively from the person who rated me highly saying, "Hey SnideBromide, We rated each other 4 or 5 stars! Reply to this message to contact me. If you don't want to receive rating messages, go to the settings page to change your notification settings." It's not a very intimidating thought that this will end up in someone's inbox. Most of the time, this just results in a short back and forth that just runs out of steam; that is, when it prompts genuine contact of any kind.

I can back kid ichorous up about the short guy thing. A few times now, because the people thrown at you aren't filtered for height, I get a "too short, sorry" result from these same people initially rating me so highly.

Why anyone rates me highly at all, when OKTrends claims this is a statistical implausibility: that I can't explain. Y'all just have to suspend your disbelief on that one.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:51 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I used that site for a while, I always rated everyone as a 1. I'm not sure if they still do it, but at one point you would also get a message when the other person rated you very low . I mean, I guess I'd rather know upfront if someone thought outright that I'm repulsive.

I like to think I did my part in helping to skew their ratings just a little.
posted by howrobotsaremade at 10:18 PM on November 24, 2009


I'm six foot. But I don't brag about it.

Obviously there's an age/location skew to heights, because I'm 6'0" as well, and I'm considered short-to-average by most people I know. There are two 6'7" guys out of the 20 or so people in my office, I'm the third-shortest out of the ten I play soccer with on Sundays, etc. A 5'9" girl recently told me I was too short to go out with, but, y'know, just tall enough to pop over and visit now and again, provided she wasn't in heels.

I should move to Korea, and live like a king.
posted by kersplunk at 10:42 PM on November 24, 2009


> And still "Is he short? Like I won't date anybody under 5' 10'" was the impenetrable filter. I thought that was kind of weird.

> Yes: being short is a killer for men, worse than being "ugly". There are good statistics to show that short men, for example, earn significantly less than their taller counterparts.

I've a friend who worked at a dating agency-- his report was that "short" was an immediate and almost blanket disqualifier.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:55 PM on November 24, 2009


I'm 6'0" as well, and I'm considered short-to-average by most people I know.

Oh saint fucking Warwick Davis. I wonder if I was cruelly deprived of sunlight at some photosynthetic juncture in my boyhood, like Kaspar Hauser.

Although I don't see much use shaking out your pockets to fill a 'Tall Privilege' list (ugh, the residue of this phrase on my keyboard), OC did land a solid point, in that shortness is a kind of sexual invisibility; at 5'5", I find it is something not felt rather than felt when people scan my face. This is more Ralph Ellison than Predator. No cool powers. Yet!
posted by kid ichorous at 11:01 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obviously there's an age/location skew to heights, because I'm 6'0" as well, and I'm considered short-to-average by most people I know.

There's some sort of weird confirmation bias going on, then, because you're well above average height. Assuming you're in Ireland like your profile says. At least one standard deviation over the mean.
posted by Justinian at 11:01 PM on November 24, 2009


I can't emphasize enough how incredible it is to have the mode be 1 on a 0-5 scale and, additionally, for more men to have been rated as a ZERO (zero!) than average or good looking combined. ZERO! Did a quarter of men just come walking out of a burn unit? Do they like weigh seven hundred pounds and have bad personal hygiene?

*tiptoes away*
posted by Ritchie at 11:42 PM on November 24, 2009


There's some sort of weird confirmation bias going on, then, because you're well above average height. Assuming you're in Ireland like your profile says. At least one standard deviation over the mean.

Maybe I should stop going for drinks with my volleyball friends.
posted by kersplunk at 11:44 PM on November 24, 2009


Anyway, I stand by the age part. As in: I'm in my mid-20's, and me and all my same-age male friends are 4-6 inches taller than their fathers. Which makes what's tall and what's not an age-specific question.
posted by kersplunk at 11:54 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


True, which is why I only looked at the height among Irish males born after 1970, among whom the average height is about 177cm, or 5' 9.5"
posted by Justinian at 12:25 AM on November 25, 2009


Fair enough then. In statistics versus anecdotes, statistics wins.
posted by kersplunk at 12:38 AM on November 25, 2009


With reference to our chromosomes, it's amusing that men seem to be rated on the Y axis, whilst for women it's apparently all X.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:44 AM on November 25, 2009


I'm a 5'11" woman and have gotten several emails — first contact, as in it was the guys contacting me for the first time, I hadn't even looked at their profiles, much less contacted them — to say "Whoa, you're too tall! Good luck!" (I have no idea why they wrote. What were they expecting?)

There are upper limits for preferred heights too; it was extremely rare to see straight men's profiles with anything over 5'10" as the upper limit. Most upper limits were between 5'7" and 5'9".
posted by fraula at 2:05 AM on November 25, 2009


The one time I tried online dating, I found the height/weight limitations really strange. It's not that I'm insensitive to height and weight; it's just that in real life it's all part of the total package, and online it's reduced to two numbers. No wonder I'm told so many people lie about their measurements.

As a straight guy, I've often found myself confused about ideas of male beauty, and looking at the highly- and less-highly-rated photos in that article didn't clarify anything for me. It's something that is becoming less and less clear to me with age, actually. I can remember being in high school and having a very clear sense of which guys were considered attractive and which weren't; the other day I was in a meeting, all men, ranging from 30's to 60's, and looking around I had absolutely no sense of how to rank the men in terms of attractiveness.
posted by Forktine at 4:17 AM on November 25, 2009


When Hot or Not was popular, I knew a number of people who pretty deliberately fed it results that were not indicative of their true feelings vis a vis a person's attractiveness. That's anecdotal, obviously, but I'm willing to bet a huge number of people visited that site expressly to goof on it.

This is assuming that "goof votes" make up a significant part of the votes received for any picture used in the sample. The paper states that they only used averages from pictures with over 100 votes. Also, I can't think of a goof vote mechanism that would predominantly give "average" scores. It would be more likely to see either a very low average from a goof vote (as seen in the OKCupid data) or a spike at the highest number with an otherwise-normal distribution of scores across the rest of the range.
posted by muddgirl at 7:37 AM on November 25, 2009


On Hot-or-not, I'd only use '10' if it meant, "I want you." Really good lookers that didn't interest me might get a 9 (purely based on looks). The ones who had certain features that I strongly disliked, got 1 step above the bottom, unless I felt they weren't otherwise bad looking, then 2 steps up. Occasionally, there were those who went to the bottom.

Count me in, too, with those saying they want to see how the gay guys rate eachother. Maybe the site would benefit if they used the gay ratings, if gay guys use the same bell-curve pattern of ratings.
posted by Goofyy at 7:42 AM on November 25, 2009


It appears that to be rated as decent looking by female users of OkCupid you need to be some sort of emo boy band member.

Or look like a clone of John Mayer (which both of the "top of our range" "show men instead"s do), which may not be a category separate from the category you mentioned.
posted by blucevalo at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2009


Man, it was a hard day when I realized I was short. I used to think I just had really tall friends.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:00 AM on November 25, 2009


the two conventionally-handsome-by-media-standards guys have asshat photos--"HERE I AM WITH MY DUDEBROS GETTING DRUNK" and "HERE I AM WITH MY GUITAR BECAUSE I'M SENSITIVE AND ALL."

That could be an inside joke: he's Christian Rudder, one of the guys who created OKCupid.


It should perhaps be pointed out that Christian Rudder plays in the Brooklyn-based popular-blog-band-circa-2k7 Bishop Allen.

Anyhow, I agree with some of the other users that the quality of the photo plays a large part here. I wish they'd shown more than one photo of each of the example users, as people doing the rating get to see more than one when they do so.

I thought the two "attractive" women looked pretty cute, but I've seen better-looking girls on OKcupid, and I think it's hard to tell much from those pictures. Online dating has definitely helped me develop a sense of when a photograph may not be an accurate depiction of someone. I was really surprised by the "attractive" men photos, as I think they're totally average and their pictures are terrible. I don't see a major difference between the "attractive" men and the "average" men, whereas I do see a big difference in the women -- even if, again, I think a lot of that can be attributed to the photographs.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:09 AM on November 25, 2009


Also:

Another thing to remember is that the interest must be mutual for the rating to be tantamount to messaging someone, so I doubt it is responsible for much of this putative effect

Well, yes and no. By default users get notified when anyone rates them a 4 or 5, but it doesn't reveal them who rated them, it just shows them several users and says that the person who rated them highly is among the group. If they rate that person 4 or 5 as well they'll both get a message that says as much.

And I agree that it's a little odd to count the rating as a measure of looks. Before one of their redesigns OKC had two different ratings, one for looks and one for personality. I'm not sure why they combined them into one rating.

Also I don't think I've ever rated anyone less than 4 or 5 stars -- if I don't find them attractive I just click on "can't tell" and give them no rating.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:14 AM on November 25, 2009


So I'm on OK Cupid and after looking at that data I have come to the conclusion that I am ugly as sin. *sigh*
posted by Sandor Clegane at 11:26 AM on November 25, 2009


Well, yes and no. By default users get notified when anyone rates them a 4 or 5, but it doesn't reveal them who rated them, it just shows them several users and says that the person who rated them highly is among the group. If they rate that person 4 or 5 as well they'll both get a message that says as much.

That's not tantamount to messaging them. This is my point; maybe I could have been clearer with it. Most of the time, when I get these notices, I never find out who rated me. Half the time, I don't even bother trying.

Also I don't think I've ever rated anyone less than 4 or 5 stars -- if I don't find them attractive I just click on "can't tell" and give them no rating.

I think we may have found what's skewing the ratings.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2009


Most of the time, when I get these notices, I never find out who rated me. Half the time, I don't even bother trying.

Seems like the way to game this is to rate everyone in the notice as 4 or 5, guaranteeing that you will get hooked up, right? That would certainly skew statistics.
posted by msalt at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2009


It would skew the statistics towards 4s and 5s. Which we don't see any evidence of, and plenty of evidence against.
posted by Justinian at 2:15 PM on November 25, 2009


So I'm on OK Cupid and after looking at that data I have come to the conclusion that I am ugly as sin. *sigh*
posted by Sandor Clegane at 2:26 PM on November 25 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:36 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't see a major difference between the "attractive" men and the "average" men, whereas I do see a big difference in the women

I see a definite difference between the "attractive" men and the "medium" men. That angelboy guy is conventionally handsome and the other guy looks like one of my exes (who was a jerk, FWIW). The "medium" guys aren't unattractive, they just have a quirkier look to them, same as the "medium" women. Mr. LeaveYourMark has a horrible photo. We're eye level with his crotch.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:45 PM on November 25, 2009


It would skew the statistics towards 4s and 5s. Which we don't see any evidence of, and plenty of evidence against.

That's true only for women. Which proves that women are less inclined to open dialog with someone who says "Yer HOTT!" than men are. Which surprises no one.
posted by msalt at 6:10 PM on November 25, 2009


"The point of that study was to demonstrate that Zodiac sign is completely meaningless; it had no correlation with compatibility whatsoever. Indeed, compatibility across Zodiac pairings was essentially completely uniform, just as you would expect. I don't know why you used that study as an example of the statistics being poorly done."

They tried to say "See? Zodiac compatibility is meaningless because when you compare it to our data, it's equal across the board." Except that their own data was flawed.

They were comparing Zodiac compatibility to "personality profiles" they had built using silly multiple-choice questions (and not many of them, since they would establish a "reading" on someone's personality from as few as 20 answers). Their system doesn't gauge personalities, it simply records likes and dislikes. Answers to either/or questions. You can learn more about someone's personality by spending an hour with them than by reading 100 pages of their likes and dislikes.

Mind you, I'm in no way defending Zodiac compatibility. I'm simply pointing out that you can't discredit something by comparing it to findings based on fallacious data, which is what they did.
posted by focalmatter at 1:10 PM on November 30, 2009


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