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Inside OKCupid: The math of online dating - Christian Rudder

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View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/inside-okcupid-the-math-of-online-dating-christian-rudder When two people join a dating website, they are matched according to shared interests and how they answer a number of personal questions. But how do sites calculate the likelihood of a successful relationship? Christian Rudder, one of the founders of popular dating site OKCupid, details the algorithm behind 'hitting it off.' Lesson by Christian Rudder, animation by TED-Ed.
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Text Comments (884)
Henry Sharp (15 days ago)
What’s love without math
Josh Ward (15 days ago)
Problem is women are shallow!
Bazzralic (23 days ago)
Trying to match humans on a one-dimensional, single-sensory organ (vision), voluntary application is like trying to explain a color to a blind man. You can try, but the lack of sensory data and time for propinquity / rapport will only result in a skewed, shallow and facetious outcome. The Pareto Principle proves this.
China shorts (25 days ago)
Except OKCupid is now a swipe right / swipe left style of platform that prioritizes looks first.
Horváth Benedek (25 days ago)
And all is worth nothing, because the average males chances of even matching with anyone is so low, it isn't worth mentioning. You can look at criteria and match percentage all day long - at the end of the day, you'll still be chosen based mostly on your face.
halneufmille (25 days ago)
Most people's real answer: How hot / young is he/she and does he/she have/want kids: Very important. Other questions: who cares?
Felipe Behrens (1 month ago)
There there a few fundamental problems here. 1 the person may not know what they are like. 2 the person person may think they know what the are like, but the way they are is fundamentally different from how they see themselves. 3 the person may not know know what kind of person they they want or they may think they know, but what they do want is different from what they think they want.
hinata167 (1 month ago)
I'm hoping that I can get male and female matches but everyone keeps saying it's mostly men. So is there one for women seeking women but is similar to okcupid?
Eric Lecarde (1 month ago)
I usually cringe at the thought of dating sites, but this video made me see that perhaps there's more to them than pure lust. Plus, he used the geometric mean as opposed to summing the scores and calling it a day like I've seen people do, you've earned my respects young man.
boson96 (2 months ago)
OkCupid>>>Tinder
xeno biotics (2 months ago)
Who wants twin?
relyat89 (3 months ago)
I wish they hadn't gotten rid of the mandatory choice. I'm getting 98% matches with people who answer completely opposite what I want on multiple critical questions. Super confused by it, honestly...
Rev GC (4 months ago)
That explains why "matches" are so wrong usually. You're asking these questions assuming that a) these people are answering you honestly. b) that they are aware of what they actually want.
Naro Naroyan (4 months ago)
That's a horrible way of matching up people, its fully based on new data instead of using old data...
B? Okay I’ll call him Bakugo Katsuki
Autonomous Alice (4 months ago)
And if they lie on there questions? And you get a high match but they lied about themselves. Or if you emblish the truth on your questions?
Vicky done (5 months ago)
hey try this one http://trackingnutra.com/?a=9138&c=1487&s1=
Chryselephantine (5 months ago)
Still don't get a text back...
Anthony Carpenetti (6 months ago)
1:41 ZUCC
Abraxis86 (6 months ago)
I've been trying it out for the last few days and I think the system is kinda bogus. The majority of the questions you ask I don't have firm opinions on but I have to answer anyways. I come back the next day and look at my answer and think "Wait no, actually I think the opposite under these circumstances" so I change it. Then I come back again and look at it and think "Wait no, under these circumstances, I think the opposite". So I change it again. This isn't a few of the questions mind, it's almost all of them. So tell me, when the truth is so arbitrary how can you extract a meaningful trend?
Joshua Dickerson (6 months ago)
I thought it was cool when OKC ran the stable marriage algorithm every once in a while. I’ve had dates from the site, but I met my wife in the wild (at school.)
codeman7055 (6 months ago)
Online dating is a scam all the women I've ever met say the same damn thing "it's nothing against you, I just don't think we're right for each other" if you find multiple people saying the same God damn thing you know you screwed up but they don't want to tell you how
Jonathan Neufeld (6 months ago)
No mention of hypergamy whatsoever. This algorithm is too naive.
Mister Nit Poker (6 months ago)
Most women in there are single mom fatties and they all think they're a 10 lol
Martin Haluska (6 months ago)
Bla bla bla advert for dating site. There are two big holes in online dating sites. 1, people do not answer questions truthfully, whether intentionally or because they do not see themselves realistically. 2, Most o people going there are not serious enough about it, so their profiles are of low informational value. Ones, as part of my research project, I visited a few major sites in Slovakia, and boy it was awful. About 80% of profiles weren't filled even half and even that hastily. The chance you will find "sole mate" based on such poor info, is like if you go into shopping centre and point randomly of first hot chick (or boy) you spot there.
TJ Reeves (6 months ago)
I met a girl with a 99% match after I truthfully answered over a hundred of occupies questions... she could not be more opposite of me. The big issue was that she answered every question with in a type of way that was a half truth. For example, I highly value weight training - she listed herself as highly valuing weight training... after having done it for a week. I studied neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University -- she studied neuroscience... online using an audible course. the date was horrible. And she didn't shave her legs so her leg hair was literally longer than mine. (I still shudder).
Sweden MustWakeUp (1 month ago)
People can be honest with themselves online in some aspect but dishonest in another (especially dating site ) but this applies to real life as well. What I see is that online dating can help filter and narrow your potential choices, but the ultimate algorithm lies within your mind, and only you know the best. This couldn't be written down by any programmer cos it's unique to everybody. Bear this in mind, work out your own system and don't rely totally on okcupid. Use it only as a tool. ;)
Razin Brød (6 months ago)
Hackers should pull OKC down.
Razin Brød (6 months ago)
It is all catered to good looking people anyway. And OKC still expects me to pay for something that doesn't work for me.
Holly boop (6 months ago)
Deeply faulty algorithm. Nothing to be proud of. In most of cases, totally useless.
Thomas Yardley (6 months ago)
If you are in a smaller or even medium city then it is actually very hard to get a date with OKC. I went on maybe 5 in a year. In Miami or LA it was easy for me (same profile) to go on multiple dates a week... why? Because in lower population areas Tinder is MUCH more well known and used by social people. It is often anti social people in areas like this that have no interest in dating, or are actually emotionally incapable of dating who use apps like OKC.(not always) Not to mention the vast majority of people delete the app, rather then cancel their account so when you' message 10, you may actually be messaging 1 or even 0 present users. If you have a good profile and the people in your area seem "off" it is because they usually are. Switch to a more popular app if you're in a smaller city.
ROCKY'S WORLD 777 (7 months ago)
Does it ask, " what relationship do you have with your father or mother"? Judging by the psyche of people today, that's kinda important.
Going To Asia (7 months ago)
I'll never get the minutes I wasted on this... irrelevant data. People match based on looks, first of all
Arianna Jones (7 months ago)
Who else thought of hang the dj
Maxim Petrov (7 months ago)
This was great, I have been researching "find a husband after 40" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Have you ever come across - Denrooklyn Wedlock Enhancer - (search on google ) ? Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my colleague got amazing success with it.
Slickat 503 (7 months ago)
It's sucks now another Tinder
wikicircle (7 months ago)
what is the software used to create video.
redrum0127 (8 months ago)
i met my girlfriend in the youtube comments section and we've been together for 4 years
notma reelnam (8 months ago)
What an amazing effort put into finding matches. It's a shame, though, that no one will talk to you unless you're within the top 10% of attractive in your photos.
michael carter (8 months ago)
I have had no luck with dating sites. I much rather meet someone in real life.
Chromosomal Disaster (8 months ago)
Yea, but what book? 50 shades of grey or something truly mesmerizing?
old silas (8 months ago)
You could remove the algorithm and dating results would remain pretty much the same. On dating sites, men and women pick each other based on looks. I don't think anyone cares about the match percentage and profile blurb only matters when trying to formulate an initial message.
KAIJU MECHA (9 months ago)
Nice algorithm, definitely not the place for love! If people’s life can be solved by math, there won’t be war, fight and hate! Sorry okcupid
Riya (10 months ago)
Iam confused
Amanda Ramírez (10 months ago)
I met my boyfriend on OkCupid, despite distances, we made the long distance relationship work from Mexico to USA. Next month, we are going to live together. We never forget how we met on this app and how thankful and lucky we are to be compatible and together in love.
Amanda Ramírez (9 months ago)
cyrano ASTROSTUPID detected.
cyrano (9 months ago)
ASTROTURFING detected
Royce Fargo (11 months ago)
The equation (algorithm) presented here is just the foundation. Many factors are used in addition to the foundation besides the weighting of the number of very important answers. That is, if you answer very important to all of your questions, they will appear in the algorithm as not very important. Important means I like this and only this. If you like everything then nothing is important. All this is from the Data section of the OKC blog. Not my opinion. The amount of data collected is staggering, not only do they have a "bot" that reads all your messages, anonymizes it, keeps track of replies, determines which words or phrases are successful (hey, hello, what's up greetings are better than none) but also rewards successful men (who write 90% of all first messages) with better looking women. Better looking is determined by messages received and rated as Yes or Super Yes in the Meet Me feature. Success is determined by at least two things, replies and conversations, which is more than 4 replies in one message thread. The messages you write are also analyzed for word count, keystrokes, deleted words, re-written sentences, text that is copied or pasted (a 200 word message with only 2 keystrokes for ex. that is sent to 20 women) keywords that are threatening or violent are automatically flagged for human review. Words are listed is scatter plot formats showing the reply rate and can be compared to other similar words in a user-friendly interactive graph. Word count is important to note how successful a message is based on its length. Ignoring all other factors, messages about 3 sentences long were found to have the highest reply rate compared to longer and shorter messages. Messages that contained words found in the profile of the one receiving the message are good. Messages that mentioned the recipients looks, such as you are pretty, were not. But, using the same word as an adjective, such as you are pretty funny, scored much higher in getting replies. There are thousands (20-40 THOUSAND) questions in the databank, the most answered questions are presented to you first, you can answer whichever ones you want, or skip them. You have to answer at least 100 to get a match % in the 90's and the more you answer, the higher the POTENTIAL is for a higher match %. But, by far the factor that has the greatest effect isn't your answers or match % or even your pictures, but what you write in your profile and the attention and care in which it is written. More people view and send messages to people with a profile that has descriptive words, fun, silly, serious and activities listed in it than profiles without these things. People are looking for a human connection with a familiar person, answers and pictures can easily be faked (women lie about their age, men lie about their income and unbelievably, their height!) but a well written profile is harder to fake, and will only appeal to a small target audience. So, be honest, don't tell all, be humble and be a little funny. Good luck.
Joy kts (11 months ago)
I hope meet my boy on the okcupid mabey it is lover..
CyberDating Network (11 months ago)
In my opinion, a computer will never be able to tell if you'll have chemistry with a prospective mate. For that reason we simply allow you to find single people in your area and then let your emotions decide on the quality of your match. How many times has a friend told you that you should meet another friend of theirs, but when you meet there is just no spark - no chemical attraction? But then you meet someone totally randomly and then he or she is the best match ever... Food for thought.
Alistair Bain (11 months ago)
The best way to match people is by using an algorithm that reads something they have written. You get average sentence length (number of words) to see how verbose each person is, you look at most frequently used nouns to see if they talk about  similar things,antonyms to see if they use balanced arguments, and synonynms to see how well read they are (reading leads to a variety if words being used to describe something).You also look at punctuation to see if they pay attention to detail. And of course number of swear words and type and quantity if slang.Can also look for level of poshness by seeking words such as "mummy" indsead of mum and "darling". Words such as son and daughter are important for people seeking partners who already have children.
The Mastermind University (11 months ago)
Appreciate the video! Would love to connect with everyone!
LoveliAngelVibes (1 year ago)
Awesome. But there is still a flaw in this algorithm because I'm still single lol
lee yang (1 year ago)
This was a lot of information about okc that I didn't need to know but now I do
Thao Hoang (1 year ago)
Met my husband on okcupid. Been together for 2 years now. The relationship was good at first but deteriorated after we got married 😞. But it isn't okcupid's fault.
Bellöck_Grithlus (1 year ago)
I have had 96 or 98% matches and these women wouldn't even acknowledge my message. or they would ignore me after a while. maybe its the dating scene here in San Diego or because i haven't payed for the full version.
r. chloe (1 year ago)
I have several ex-boyfriends I met on OkCupid. It's good at matching you with someone whose interests and personality might be suitable at face value, but doesn't really give you any insight into somebody's relationship style, which is maybe the most important thing in determining long-term compatibility. IMO.
Bellöck_Grithlus (1 year ago)
Can I be your 8th ex-boyfriend :D?
Charles Janssen Koo (1 year ago)
Adam Ruins Everything has something to say to you
dani_mua (1 year ago)
I chose to reach out to my now significant other of a year and a quarter because of his looks 😂He didn't really read my bio either, but we still made it work! I think we were about a 22% match actually! 😂 We are extremely different as far as interests in books, movies and events go, but we're pretty socially similar, and have quite similar family dynamics! I've found the person who is my intellectual equal and what I think is the love of my life thanks to OKCupid. So thanks to the team who made the site! ❤️
lilnerd5000 (1 year ago)
BOOK BURNING IS WORSE Plus, this flag handbook thing said if a flag is no longer in use, it should be disposed of in a proper way, SUCH AS BURNING.
Ben P. (1 month ago)
what if the book was twilight what if the flag had twilight written on it what if the book wrapped in a flag inserted into a larger book with an american flag on the cover but had the title twilight on it
Socksunited (1 year ago)
Ted-ed vs CollegeHumor DO. DATING SITES. WOORRRRK!!!???
heatseeker (1 year ago)
I met my wife on OKCupid and the question matching system is great. She was the first real date there and we hooked up within hours and were married parents within a year. Thank you.
heatseeker (1 year ago)
once you're older than 30, lots of life choice and opinion questions become extremely important. people have very little tolerance and are not as accepting of and adaptive to other people's (perceived) flaws. some extremely important points where people need to agree on: - level of religiousness and spirituality in one's life - political opinions, esp. on social issues, immigration, integration, crime, punishment - sexual morals - expectations on sex life - language stills (which is why I went on an english speaking platform as a none native speaker) all these points can be honestly answered, I don't think people lie to them selves about their political and religious views. also I wanted to start a family and soon, so I was looking for someone similar, who like me had no kids from a previous relationship and ideally never been divorced. I once dated a woman who, after a couple of weeks, came slowly out with that she was already twice divorced, separated from her Egyptian husband whom she met as a waiter on vacation and whom she converted to Islam for. That's more red flags than a victory parade on the red square in the 80's. I would have never looked in her general direction had I known any of that. OKCupid saved me from these kind of disaster dates and god forbid relationships like that.
Julian Zhang (1 year ago)
if you're a asian guy like me, dont even waste your time with online dating, im sure every non asian women ( and probably some asian women ) goes to the preference list and immediately checks off asian men. hell the okcupid statistic chart proves it
Anh Nguyen (1 year ago)
I am looking for a man!!
josephine barren (1 year ago)
I met my boyfriend on there and we matched like 80% or something like that and we been together for 2 years seems like it works to me
Firaro (1 year ago)
Wait, so they just arbitrarily defined the values to give to the levels of importance instead of researching and refining to get the exact best numbers?
TSBilliards86 (1 year ago)
Did you change the algorithm since 2013?
Michael M. (1 year ago)
Actually ... if the algorithms worked really well, OK Cupid would be out of business, no?!?
prince Happy (1 year ago)
I dunno I kinda just am on okc just because. I don't expect a whirlwind relationship out of it tbh. A girl messaging me first rather than than me messaging them first seems like a rare occurrence nowadays, though it happens slightly more often with trans women (and I'm totally fine with that, given my sexual orientation) for me, personally. I'm also a pretty open minded person when it comes to non-monogamy, so I noticed that helped me get more messages as well. As of now though I'm too broke to get premium stuff for it so I can see who likes me, but that'll happen in due time. TLDR: It's a nice app, but don't expect a whole lot to happen instantly
RF1204 (1 year ago)
The goal to marriage is find one person of your compatibility group and have RESPECT for the relationship. Okcupido algorithm explained in youtube shows that group percentage. The fault of respect , wich to me is criminal, is if one inside the relation do not finish is liberty when starts the other liberty and try to be 50℅ to each. The Respect is also what can balance Professional and Neighbour relations with Incompability groups, because is oposite to one evil think have the 99% and the others 1% liberty in that relation.
BraveNewLiberty (1 year ago)
Assortative mating hyper Darwinian sexual selection the rich get richer the poor get on welfare?
Darrin Stewart (1 year ago)
I can't get anybody to even say hello.
WishAtElevenEleven (1 year ago)
I met my boyfriend on OK Cupid and we've been together for 4 years. We were only 60% compatible according to Okc but we took a chance and fell in love anyway.
` sugarette ` (1 year ago)
"let's call him 🅱"
Julia Prohaska (1 year ago)
Aaannd now I want to try it. But I can't. Since I'm underage. And this probably doesn't exist in my country (Austria). Life sucks.
Joël Bolduc (1 year ago)
We need the same thing for job search engines
Just a quick fic: n is always 2, not the number of questions, because you are calculating the mean of two values.
Graham Palmer (1 year ago)
Get a trusted friend to independently answer for you using their own opinion of you and your personality. Tell them to be honest in their assessment of you.
Sara Murillo (1 year ago)
Meh, tried okc, answered thousands of questions, got a couple weirdos, a couple douches, and some "meh" matches. Most just care about looks/sex only. Couldn't find a normal, decent guy.
Aeroquarius (1 year ago)
Book burning or flag burning? Geez, dude! 50 shades of Grey burning > the EU flag burning The ISIS flag burning > book on psychology burning
Aeroquarius (1 year ago)
You're bi? Want both gay, straight, bi, pan et cetera people to talk to you? TOO BAD! THREESOMES, BITCH!
MJW238 (1 year ago)
"How much do you hate Jews?" "How important is this to you?" "Do you want a partner who's hot?" "How hot are you?"
Fat Furby (1 year ago)
Its not a bad concept. It makes sense its just no one answers the questions. All the matches of 90% only answer 10 questions.
Brian Jerez (1 year ago)
I met your mom on OkCupid, We've been together for 3 years, I love my little bitch, we have you in common but we also have our differences. Just recently she told me that with the money I give her she pays your internet :)
Ayon Zhu (1 year ago)
Time ago I was hoping to meet someone interesting not on okcupid but in tinder and edarling. After million of likes and messages I give up. The only thing that does matter is the look in your picture. I don't consider myself an awesome guy but I did not received any reply, when I was very polity in all the messages that I have send.
شهكت حزن (1 year ago)
مامعنى كيوبيد
DARTHORIAN_DARK_WING (1 year ago)
affection is never mutual because women are women
Lisette Gold (1 year ago)
this guy also wrote a super good book sort of about this process called "dataclysm" i highly recommend it
Okay, seems pretty reasonable. Maybe one day I will use it. But first I need a data of how it worked out in real cases.
Bernd Wechner (1 year ago)
This could benefit from a followup or very slight detour in explaining why n (the nth root) is the number of questions and not always 2. It is explained as a geometric mean, which is defined as the nth root of a the product of n numbers in a sense, and given you are always matching two people and two numbers to multiply, why then is n not always 2? What mysticism explains that? ;-)
Pete 1 (1 year ago)
Thought OKCupid'd have been the creation of someone very straight (as in standard, run of the mill, average, Jo normal, not as in not gay). But then how do you match up those rebellious, way outside the box, individual type of non-type-able types? (ie. rarer.) Especially when 'they' (read: we) probably keep our deep secret selves behind cover personalities?
SuperZed21 (1 year ago)
From my experience back when I used to use okcupid, there were a LOT of people on there who were trouble and had really messed up lives and or had serious mental issues or just simply wanted to get in your pants.
Faith love (1 year ago)
This was an elaborate commercial for Ok cupid. sneaky
Julia Wu (1 year ago)
I KNOW HOW TO TELL IF ME AND MY CRUSH WOULD GET ALNG WELL TOGETHER NOW😂😂😂
Jessi Lee Mraz (1 year ago)
Great explanation. I met my partner on okcupid 2 years ago. We were a 96 or 98% match. I'm very happy with the results.
Miles G. (1 year ago)
this was actually really really interesting
Nabilah Mhd Fauzi (1 year ago)
i was at first sceptical about okcupid. watched this similar video on the same date in 2015. set up one profile as an experiment. answered those questionnaire questions. found a guy with matching 87% compatibility and we're now inseparable ever since
Natalia Madison (1 year ago)
Is this the actual algorithm? Why would they share that?
Kaffee Miau (1 year ago)
okcupid is a joke like the rest of them. I have a thing about weight... just how I grow up. this site just showed me I have a 73% compatibility with some one that says 29 but she looks 40 and she also looks like she 300 lb... there system sucks...
Pika Zilla (1 year ago)
After 1 year on OKCupid I still got nothing. The customer support is not very helpful. But worst of all is that this site is flooded with transvestites, who are allowed to lie and catfish about their background I told a manager about my concern and they were so 'PC' about how I was being a bigot. Go to E Harmony or get a real matchmaking service if you don't want to date a crazy crossdresser.
maclovindotca (1 year ago)
The problem I found with online dating is that you spend time chatting online, even a phone call, and when you meet them in person most of the time there is zero chemistry or you know they are not right after a few minutes. I believe that dating face to face is the still the way to go.
erik shure (25 days ago)
You are supposed to use the online platform to create face to face dates. It's a means of finding people -- the dating doesn't actually happen online, despite its name.
Samira Lupiac (1 year ago)
can you invent something like that for just friends? i would use that
Ald Performance (3 months ago)
Cat M. It’s not good at all trust me
Arjun Satarkar (6 months ago)
Yeah! Good idea.
Cat M. (1 year ago)
There's an app called Skout which is for making friends, apparently. I haven't used it so idk if it's even any good.
Gina DeAngelo (1 year ago)
The problem with this site is that most of the guys NEVER answer the questions!!!! They have over 250 or more questions maybe more. How many people are actually going to take the time to answer the questions??? Yet alone fill out the profile. This is a total waste of time to true and meet some one! Good idea in theory, however it is just a theory.
Sander Bastiaans (6 months ago)
Gina DeAngelo I answered more then 500 questions.🙂
Royce Fargo (11 months ago)
There are over 20,000 questions. I've seen profiles that had answered several thousand questions. Average is about 152
Di Xu (1 year ago)
Interesting content, but the animation hurts my eyes....

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