OkCupid’s Predator Alert Tool

I get all sorts of links sent to me via my awesome social network as well as good old Google Alerts. (Subwhatever to Google: please don’t ditch that service like you ditched Reader!) This link from an NZ site caught my eye and seems like it should be making bigger waves. I’m quite surprised this is the first I’ve heard of it!

A techno-activist MayMay created this script to help users easily weed out OKCupid users who might have a statistical probability of being major creeps. Might. OKCupid has some fuzzy algorithmic logic behind their question-and-answer matching methods, and this script simply takes answers that seem like they could be red flags and makes them more obvious to users. So it’s only going to be useful to you if potential creeps have somehow self-identified as creeps without realizing it. (Entirely possible.)

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 5.22.05 PM

I installed the Chrome version of the script, and I have to say it’s a slightly clunky and verbose process to get it up and running if you’re not a geek, or you have a low tolerance for setup processes and tech fiddling. For example, the above interface shot is a little wordy (I know; I should talk) and it doesn’t clearly explain in detail the understandably creepy questions you have to publicly answer in order to feed the script enough information for it to work well. However, I totally appreciate the intent and the crowd-sourcing features—if users identify a certain Match Question as a potential red flag, they can suggest that it be added to the script so that it learns to identify new areas of creepiness. I just worry that the inherently creepy questions are going to put some women off from using this tool, but perhaps I’m underestimating these imaginary women.

All in all, this is an awesome well-intended approach, which certain analytical and geeky types will totally appreciate. However, I was unable to find a single guy who showed up with a red flag warning. Maybe Seattle’s dating pool (or my own dummy profile’s match list) really is that much better? In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need this script, but in a realistic ideal world, some kind of warning would be built right into the technology. Like, you know how eHarmony back in the day used to reject certain members based on who knows what? Well, OKCupid could choose to reject certain members (and perhaps their specific IP addresses?) who seemed like POTENTIAL RAPISTS. I’m not normally for massive censorship or keeping people from finding love, but, you know. These questions are harrowing and people who casually answer in the affirmative seem worth weeding out and at least flagging internally somehow, on the OKC end and not the awesome technophile geeky user end. I guess I’m just saying the onus shouldn’t be on us, ya know?

Regardless, most of you who know me know that I actually advise against answering most Match Questions on OKCupid. I think the type of information that these questions solicit only serves to harm you in terms of your visibility to others and your ability to connect with people authentically; it rarely helps you find love, it just helps people decide to filter you out for one silly data point or another. Yes, I realize the irony of this statement given the content of this post, don’t worry. :) However, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions and practices, and this script MayMay wrote is certainly one more tool in the toolbox. I’d be very interested to hear input from any users who have tried this script out and found it useful!

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