Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weird questions from OKCupid

If you have, or have ever seen, an OKCupid profile, you're aware that users have the option to answer profile questions. These are a seemingly endless list of personality questions addressing everything from politics to sex to body hair.

Supposedly, your answers - along with the importance you put on the answers of others - help OKCupid find matches for you. The more questions you answer, the better matches you'll find.

I'm absolutely convinced that personality tests and profiles can be dead-on when looking for a good match - on paper. Of course that doesn't always translate to a real connection - but this site has successfully "matched" me with guys in the past. We dated (in some cases, it lasted a while) and have remained friends. So there's something to it.

Of course, in the case of OKCupid, that also requires that everyone answers the questions - and that they do so honestly. So while I don't put too much stock in the match percentages shown (I will talk to a guy who only has a 60% match, because you never really know), I do sometimes find the questions helpful.

For example, a guy might seem like a great match for me - but if he's answered questions saying he thinks homosexuality is a sin, or he believes the man should always be the head of the household, I know to back away. Quickly.

I've had an OKCupid profile for almost three years, and I'm sure I've answered hundreds of questions. I have seen (and answered) the ten listed in this Mashable article (which I found via Baking Suit).
The article suggests the questions are "user-generated." I was under the impression that they are generated by the site - but perhaps there is a mixture? I can't seem to find anything to confirm either way.

The questions aren't mandatory. You can opt to answer none, or skip questions you don't like. You have the option of answering privately, so that only OKCupid knows your answer (for use in its algorithm magic). Usually you do have to answer a question publicly if you want to see another person's response. 

I think the Mashable artical is hysterical - but the idea that people use these questions to "find a lover who showers once a month, eats garbage, likes tortured animals, and finds the threat of nuclear war exciting" is probably a little off. I mean - I suppose there might be some people out there looking for someone to join them in their bomb shelter for a nice compost dinner- but I suspect they are few and far between.

I have answered hundreds of the OKCupid questions - mostly to see the responses of others. I also like to be able to indicate what answers are unacceptable to me (an example would be questions on same sex marriage). Plus - answering the questions is a great way to kill time at work.

For the record, if STALE equals 89475, then STEAL equals 89547 - but if you answered 89754, you're in luck! Ms. Attkisson thinks you're smart and might go on a date with you. I probably won't, though.

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