OK Cupid, that pseudo math student/dating wizard, recently admitted to manipulating their match percentages. The Internet found this shocking. How could they? Don’t they know how seriously people take those numbers? I think this adorable.
OK Cupid claims they did this manipulation in order to test the accuracy of their mystical match percentages. I think they were bored. To find out I decided to reverse engineer their math and see how it’s done.
At the top of every profile OK Cupid lists a match percentage, a friend percentage and an enemy percentage. (Their Google Glass app is going to be awesome. Maybe it could erase enemies from my field of view.) We see these numbers and think, gee, these must be true. It’s a number on a goddamn computer screen so of course we believe. Hell, I hear Google uses computers and I trust their rankings 100%.
How does the OK Cupid math work? After extensive research I can conclude that it doesn’t and OK Cupid admits that. They claim their test helped refine their algorithm. I claim they are on crack. Let’s look at their success criteria:
The four-message threshold is our internal measure for a real conversation.
Have they not used their service? Four messages means that a real conversation and a “match” has occurred? I think two messages was my limit. If I received a third it was to remind someone what my real email address was.
I’ve gotten too far ahead. How is that number generated? Remember all of those inane survey questions they prod you to answer? Questions like, which is bigger? The Sun or a Sundae? That’s how OK Cupid finds compatibility. This is actually a complex mathematically theorem called Planck’s Nonsense.
Planck’s Nonsense is best expressed as series of gurgles and slurps caused by feeding a baby a mixture of mushed peas and pureed beets. Those gurgles and slurps can then be translated into a string of one’s and zero’s and two’s and four’s and do you have any seven’s? No? Go fish.
Put simply, if you like the music of the band Cake and a potential suitor also likes said music your match percentage is higher than a suitor that does not like that music but loves the food product called cake. If you like cake, the band and the food, and a suitor prefers vegan cookies and LadyGaga then the math increases your enemy percentage.
Make sense? All of it is nonsense. If your potential suitor is attractive enough who cares about their taste in food or music?
(Note: I spent as much time on actual math, reverse engineering, etc. as you’ve spent wondering how much Ben & Jerry’s would be needed to make a sundae bigger than the Sun. The harder question is at what distance from the sun will the sundae go from frozen yumminess into soupy sadness.)
Second note: My girlfriend and I had match percentage of 0%.