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Dating on the green June 29, 2012 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Isn't linking to your online dating profile in AskMe self-linking?

The phenomenon of folks posting links to their OKCupid profiles on AskMe is picking up steam. I don't know why, but I find this a little troubling. It seems like this exploits the green, since not only are you asking for advice on your profile, but you're advertising that you're single and looking, and look, here's all my interests and contact info.

It just feels a little off, no?
posted by hwyengr to Etiquette/Policy at 7:49 AM (132 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Sometimes people are asking for help with their profiles. Sometimes people really, really need it. This is a nonproblem. OKC FPPs would be another story and, of course, deleted immediately.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:52 AM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, when someone posts a question asking "Why does nobody message me on OkC?" and doesn't include a link to their profile, the first reply they get is guaranteed to be "Oh, you probably have a hideous picture or some off-putting text, but without looking at your profile we can't give you any specific advice."
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:52 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Er, that "on the other hand" is on hwyengr's other hand, not on EatTheWeak's.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:53 AM on June 29, 2012


I think self-linking only applies to the Blue. I mean, you'd pretty much have to self link from time to time on AskMe, depending on the question.

Mind you, it's a bit chatfilterish to ask for dating profile advice, but if the mods let it through, I can walk on by it.
posted by Mooski at 7:54 AM on June 29, 2012


No, it's fine. People have a very specific problem to be solved: what is wrong with my profile. The self-linking rule is for two main purposes

- so we don't worry that you're secretly spamming us or linking to something that will somehow direct money/clicks/fame your way
- so you don't link to something that you think is awesome because the person is you/your friend/your colleague at work

And this doesn't violate either of them. I feel that it's more like people linking to their resumes. Sure on the one hand there's an implicit "Hire me!" on the other hand "What is wrong with my resume, why are people not calling me back?" is a concrete problem to be solved. We allow people to link to their OKC profile on their profiles and indicate whether they are single or partnered there as well.

We have seen more "Give me a profile critique!" posts lately [where N=maybe three?] that don't seem to have specific questions, but this is a small adjustment thing we can make, I think generally having people give you advice on your profile is fine.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:56 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


After seeing some of the changes people have made after getting advice, I think it's wonderful that they have AskMe as a resource.
posted by batmonkey at 7:59 AM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you have to go seeking advice from anonymous interweb strangers on how to write a dating profile, perhaps it isn't the profile that needs repair. I'm just sayin'.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:01 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't think of anything I'd want less in the context of a dating profile than to broaden the attention it receives and maximize the subsequent responses I'd get.

I wrote a Craigslist personals ad once and it immediately got flagged away and when I went to the forum to ask about it, the response was that it wasn't in the form that personal ads are expected to take. And I responded that that was my point, that I was targeting a particular kind of person by making my ad unlike most ads and that, unlike when one's selling something and one wants the largest possible market of buyers, when I place a personals ad I'm a buyer looking to find a very particular product and the last thing I want is to invite everyone who is selling something to contact me.

This is sort of a divide in how people view dating, really. Some people think they're "selling" themselves to the largest possible pool of people, and some people are looking to "buy" a very specific "item".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:03 AM on June 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


"If you have to go seeking advice from anonymous interweb strangers on how to write a dating profile, perhaps it isn't the profile that needs repair. I'm just sayin'."

You're also being kind of a jerk.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:04 AM on June 29, 2012 [92 favorites]


you're advertising that you're single and looking, and look, here's all my interests and contact info

Hmm. Interesting. I see your point, but in addition to nebulawindphone's point, I feel like most people are approaching it not from a "date me!" perspective, but from a "how do I get someone to date me?" perspective, which I think is a suitable use of Ask.

(Also, what Ivan said. I assume that if someone has gotten to the point of publishing a link to their profile, they're seriously asking for help, rather than trying to maximize their dating pool.)
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:07 AM on June 29, 2012


How would you even repair an anonymous interweb stranger?
posted by griphus at 8:08 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you have to go seeking advice from anonymous interweb strangers on how to write a dating profile, perhaps it isn't the profile that needs repair. I'm just sayin'.

I participated in one of those threads. The advice I gave was about sentence structure and paragraph organization. Many people--not just those on dating sites--need help with perceiving and correcting those problems.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:10 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Probably by giving them advice on an AxMe question.

Seriously though, you may think I'm a jerk for saying it, but perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:11 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the record, Hwyengr, you're not alone. If it's cool with the moderators then so be it, but yeah, I get your point and I agree that it seems (1) to echo some of the reasons self-linking is prohibited, and (2) to be picking up steam.
posted by cribcage at 8:11 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Also, what Ivan said. I assume that if someone has gotten to the point of publishing a link to their profile, they're seriously asking for help, rather than trying to maximize their dating pool."

My comment was aimed at both, really — a lot of what people would consider improvements to my profile would seem to me to be making me more appealing in a way that works against my goal of finding the right person for me. I don't want to be more appealing to the average OKC user. In fact, when I've read those AskMe threads and there's that one person who considers themselves the authority on how OKC profiles can, and should, be improved, I'm always rubbed the wrong way by many of the assumptions implicit in the improvements.

But, yeah, it's also the case that spamming your profile isn't likely to be productive in any way that you actually want. I'm not sure that I'd want more of the people who read AskMe to see my OKC profile, but I would want more people who are hardcore mefites to see it. And there's others kinds of people who probably would want, and even be well served, by greater attention generated from being in an AskMe post. So I think it's something to keep a watch on, but I trust the mods to be doing so. As they say they are.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:15 AM on June 29, 2012


We have seen more "Give me a profile critique!" posts lately [where N=maybe three?] that don't seem to have specific questions, but this is a small adjustment thing we can make, I think generally having people give you advice on your profile is fine.

Yeah, this is the sort of thing where in small doses and with a clear question about the content of the profile (or resume, or CSS stylesheet) it is basically okay. We'll keep an eye out for serious upticks but as a now-and-then thing it's not really an issue.

but perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.

Skills and experiences are not distributed evenly throughout the human race. Knowing about yourself is not the same thing as having a good set of skills for constructing a dating profile, any more than knowing what you look like makes you good at painting self-portraits. There are all sorts of things in every day life where our knowledge of our needs and wants doesn't match up with our ability to execute a related task.

I'm just sayin'.

Basically nobody's day is ever in any way improved by a comment that needs this post-fixed to it. It's like some sort of reflexive signal from your own brain that you know there's a better, kinder way to phrase what you just said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:15 AM on June 29, 2012 [78 favorites]


"Seriously though, you may think I'm a jerk for saying it, but perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says 'here is who I am' then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go."

There's so many possible reasons someone might have difficulty writing the best profile for them that are not because they "don't know enough about themselves". Some people know themselves very well but aren't good at expressing that by filling in the profile sections. Some people are poor spellers. Some people want an attractive photo but don't know what an attractive photo to others really is. That you think it comes down primarily, even exclusively, to "knowing themselves" is something I'm pretty sure you don't actually believe, if you think about it instead of gratuitously insulting other people.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:20 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously though, you may think I'm a jerk for saying it, but perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.

The audience for an OKC profile is made up entirely of strangers who don't know your name. It is beyond reasonable to solicit advice from other strangers.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:22 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


"It is beyond reasonable to solicit advice from other strangers." (my emphasis)

So...?

I know what you meant (I think!), but I had to read it twice.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:24 AM on June 29, 2012


Knowing about yourself is not the same thing as having a good set of skills for constructing a dating profile...

It boils down to if you would prefer people to date you or your profile. I'm not making a value judgement on that decision, it's just a profile based on anything other than who you are is not really a "profile".

I'm just sayin'.

Basically nobody's day is ever in any way improved by a comment that needs this post-fixed to it.


Yes, I agree, in many contexts that is true. Occasionally, it is used not because you feel that your commentary is incorrect, but because it will probably be received badly. In this case it was used "ironically" and in poor taste by its author.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:24 AM on June 29, 2012


I think we should do an experiment: set up the most plain, inoffensive, unspecific profile ever: "I like books and also movies and music," "the most important thing you should know about me is that I am a good person," photos of a person wearing jeans and a t-shirt just standing there, smiling. Then post it to AskMe for advice. After a day or so of advice, take all of it. Even the conflicting pieces, and update the profile. Then see what happens.
posted by griphus at 8:25 AM on June 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


I kinda agree with 10th in some respects. I would like to know if the person has horrible spelling, a bad sense of humor, etc.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:26 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because having a partner who is a good speller is foundational to a healthy, happy romantic relationship?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:29 AM on June 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.

I haven't put my own OKC profile up for help here (mostly because it's in mothballs right now, dating is too hard). But I did ask a trusted male friend to look at my old one, during a time period when I was ONLY getting sleazy messages from total sleazeballs.

Turns out there was some phrasing in the "what I'm looking for" section that implied I was trolling for hookups only. It was something pretty innocuous, I thought, so that VERY VALUABLE input opened my eyes. And without that input, I probably would not have realized that the thing I thought was fun and friendly was really advertising that I was essentially open for business.

If you think that makes me some kind of pathetic loser who doesn't know themselves and should be mocked and jeered at... well, that says a huge amount about you, but nothing about me. Have a great day!
posted by palomar at 8:29 AM on June 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sometimes we need other people for insight. That's what community is for and about.
posted by batmonkey at 8:30 AM on June 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


KogeLiz: "I kinda agree with 10th in some respects. I would like to know if the person has horrible spelling, a bad sense of humor, etc."

On the other hand, if someone is asking for help with their profile, maybe it's because they know they have awful grammar, and want to fix it. Would you really want to rule out people who are insightful enough to ask for help on their problem areas? It shows a person who is willing to adapt. It shows a person who is trying to better himself. In my opinion, that is a positive trait. I wouldn't see "asking MeFi for help" as a sign of a character flaw.

I dunno. Maybe that's a personal character flaw.
posted by Night_owl at 8:30 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


It isn't foundational, no. On the other hand, every healthy and happy romantic relationship I've had has been with a person who happened to have a good handle on spelling and grammar. I could see a person with similar experience using that as an indicator.
posted by cribcage at 8:31 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]



I kinda agree with 10th in some respects. I would like to know if the person has horrible spelling, a bad sense of humor, etc.


Right. And you can find all of that stuff out by actually interacting with that person. You know, by messaging them. Or maybe going on one date.

By these lights, using spellcheck would disqualify someone from dating you, since they didn't spell things correctly all on their own. Sheesh.
posted by palomar at 8:31 AM on June 29, 2012


(and by "you", I mean the worldwide you -- all of us, not you specifically, KogeLiz. Sorry about that! Warrior needs caffeine badly.)
posted by palomar at 8:32 AM on June 29, 2012


There was a "hope me with my profile" askme within the last couple of weeks where there seemed to be consensus that one of the photos the asker had up was not good. Maybe the asker thought the photo made them look mysterious or adventurous or some other attractive thing, but strangers on the internet - like the ones on OKC who'd be looking at it - said no, this makes you look creepy/strange/off-putting.

Sometimes the advice of people we don't know is valuable precisely because that's our audience. Knowing you need insight from other people doesn't mean you don't know yourself.
posted by rtha at 8:33 AM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Because having a partner who is a good speller is foundational to a healthy, happy romantic relationship?

For some people, though not for all, absolutely.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:33 AM on June 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


I kinda agree with 10th in some respects. I would like to know if the person has horrible spelling, a bad sense of humor, etc.

I get the value in this, but it's kind of counter to the aims of the community, right? If our advice on any other topic was just "continue doing awful/careless things so that rational people can avoid you/dump you/fire you/otherwise filter you out" it wouldn't be helpful to anyone. Dating is the same--being able to recognize your flaws and address them might be more of a virtue than being a good speller.
posted by almostmanda at 8:36 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because having a partner who is a good speller is foundational to a healthy, happy romantic relationship?

Thank god my whyf doesn't think so.
posted by bondcliff at 8:38 AM on June 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


"It boils down to if you would prefer people to date you or your profile. I'm not making a value judgement on that decision, it's just a profile based on anything other than who you are is not really a 'profile'."

You're sort of arguing a point similar to what I argued in my two previous comments. For example, many of the things in my profile that deter interest are there intentionally because I want to deter interest from the people for whom those things will deter their interest. And, generally, I'm not nor do I want to be attractive to the average person and it would be both dishonest to make my profile present me as attractive to the average person and also not serve my purposes.

That said, where you're mistaken is in thinking that every single aspect of someone's profile written by themselves truthfully and in earnest is necessarily an accurate reflection of who they are and is of sufficient importance to be make-or-break in presenting them accurately with regard to whether all those things are present or absent. Because of course many, many things are just unimportant or completely insignificant and may be giving inaccurate impressions and it's helpful for other people to check this.

But even if your implicit premise is true, then having another individual or a smartmob edit one's profile is also then necessarily significantly representative of who they really are. Should they disclose this? Well, not disclosing it is significant, too. Just something of significance that prospectives won't realize until later.

In other words, the standard you're applying not only is unfair and unrealistic, it actually is self-contradictory on its own terms.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:38 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That you think it comes down primarily, even exclusively, to "knowing themselves" is something I'm pretty sure you don't actually believe, if you think about it instead of gratuitously insulting other people.

I think you are taking my statement as an intentional slight. It is not, at least I don't mean it to be, really. Sure, we all have to do some "marketing" when it comes to dating, but if you are looking for a relationship with a person doesn't that need to be based on the reality of who you are as a person?

I'm also a right shitty speller who relies on spell checkers!

If you think that makes me some kind of pathetic loser who doesn't know themselves and should be mocked and jeered at...

Whoa now, I don't think anyone should be mocked and jeered at and I don't think that asking for advice makes someone a loser. I never said any such thing and if anyone felt I implied any such thing, well sorry, chalk it up to me being a crappy writer.

Wow, have I totally derailed this or what?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2012


It never seems like they're pimping their profiles and trying to score dates through Ask; it seems like they're asking for advice specifically tailored to their online dating issues. But I do wonder about that a little bit.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2012


I don't think anyone should be mocked and jeered at and I don't think that asking for advice makes someone a loser. I never said any such thing and if anyone felt I implied any such thing, well sorry, chalk it up to me being a crappy writer.

I'd be happy to help you write your OKCupid profile if you ever are in need of such a thing. That is, if you don't mind accepting help from an anonymous interweb stranger.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're sort of arguing a point similar to what I argued in my two previous comments.

Yep. I really wasn't trying to be an insulting jerk! And I don't think we're really that far off from eachother. I just think if you, or anyone, are seeking to form a true(ish) profile of yourself, then (almost) complete strangers are not going to be able to provide that. If you want advice on how to put together the profile that will get the most hits or look the best to the widest audience, then AskMetafilter is a great place full of people far more witty and intelligent than I could ever be!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:51 AM on June 29, 2012


but you're advertising that you're single and looking, and look, here's all my interests and contact info.

It's alright if Askme occasionally helps people find someone.

That said, I get what you're saying, it does seem like rising phenomena and I'm turned off by it. So I skip the thread and remain happy. Those who want to respond do so and they remain happy. WIN WIN.

Wow, have I totally derailed this or what?

Yes and no. Remember, communication is a two way street and multiple people can feel the need to correct a statement (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). One has to remember that every comment you post here is being seen by thousands of people. If even 1% respond, which isn't unreasonable, then yeah, there's a deluge.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to repeat that there's a difference of temperament/worldview/personality/whatever involved in this and it's not the case that one side is right and the other wrong. It's not even the case that the two viewpoints are integral; for most people there's a balance.

But the two viewpoints are basically the difference between what it means to make oneself "more attractive" to others and what it means to be "compatible" with someone and/or find a compatible partner. I strongly lean toward the latter and am not interested in, for the most part, making myself "more attractive". But, on the other hand, I'm interested in making myself more attractive to people with whom I believe I am very compatible! So, really, I start from compatibility and then after that comes presenting myself in the best light.

Other people work from the other direction, and they have various good reasons for doing so. For one thing, you can be attractive or unattractive in ways which are orthogonal to what it is that you're looking to be compatible about. Or the compatibility is more narrow, such as superficial sexual attractiveness that matters only in the context of a brief sexual interaction. Who cares about spelling then?

And, again, most of us in practice sort of juggle the two things — presenting ourselves purely as we really are in the hopes that people will like who we really are; and presenting ourselves in ways that make us more attractive to others in hopes of, well, attracting more interest. We do both, not only in different situations, but we sort of work back-and-forth along that continuum in the relationships we actually establish.

Insisting that exclusively working from one side of the spectrum or the other is how everyone should behave is wrong on many levels. It's not how anyone actually behaves and it wouldn't work, anyway. And there's nothing wrong for a particular person to favor one strategy over the other about these things and in dealing with other people.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:52 AM on June 29, 2012


I'd be happy to help you write your OKCupid profile if you ever are in need of such a thing. That is, if you don't mind accepting help from an anonymous interweb stranger.

Thanks, surprisingly despite my inability to express myself well enough not to piss absolutely everyone off I was able to put together a profile myself (with spell checkers, the shame!) that was successful enough to land a wife. I know, amazing right?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:54 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


....Good luck to you then.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:03 AM on June 29, 2012


They are really strange threads to read - if you come into them even a day late, sometimes people's comments about photos and wording make absolutely no sense, as (reasonably) the OP is changing and finessing their profile. They're interesting, bu these questions have a much shorter shelf life and much less use for future Askers than most.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:05 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It never occurred to me that it might be self-linking, but I hate those questions with a fiery burning hate and skip them. In fact, to me, they seem kind of chatfilter.
posted by sm1tten at 9:08 AM on June 29, 2012


I was able to put together a profile myself (with spell checkers, the shame!) that was successful enough to land a wife. I know, amazing right?

Good for you. Some of us aren't as lucky to find people as easily, and we might need a little help. No need to come down on them for doing it in a way you don't like.
posted by palomar at 9:09 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


argh, pronoun fail, COME ON COFFEE DO YOUR STUFF
posted by palomar at 9:10 AM on June 29, 2012


God, dating has gotten so complicated because of the internet. Maybe this will save me an Ask question, but if one requires that a potential mate defeat them in open combat, does that go in the actual profile? Or do you just bring it up before officially initiating parmaqqay?

Also, am I being overly judgey by rejecting people who don't own their own bat'leth? I mean, I have a few to spare (who doesn't, right?) but now owning a weapon to be used in honorable combat feels like a red flag to me.
posted by griphus at 9:11 AM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good for you. Some of us aren't as lucky to find people as easily, and we might need a little help. No need to come down on them for doing it in a way you don't like.

Again, there was no coming down on people meant here at all! My "journey" took a long time and a lot of years of crappy dating until it was finally successful. Perhaps if I'd had advice on how to express myself better on my profile it would have happened more easily, but where would I find such advice?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:14 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband and I met online (rec.arts.bodyart, back in the day). If you'd asked me, before we met in person, what I thought of him, I'd have said "Seems like a nice guy. Can't spell worth a damn." Me, I can spot a typo at 20 paces and at the time was fairly prescriptivist in my outlook.

I now have a callus on my tongue from biting it to keep from correcting him on "lay" vs. "lie" over the past 17 years. On the other hand, Wednesday was our 14th anniversary.

I am really, really glad I didn't let something like his spelling or grammar skills to determine whether he was worth my time.
posted by Lexica at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


10th regiment, your experiences in this thread demonstrate exactly why people sometimes need help with their profiles. You're trying to be friendly and helpful, but you keep coming off like you're shitting all over other people. And you don't mean to! Similarly, people sometimes say things in their profiles that are meant to express something about themselves, but ends up sounding like they're saying something else entirely. I remember a question like that where someone had a profile that said that the first thing people notice about her was her dilated pupils. It turns out that she has naturally dilated pupils, but everyone told her that it sounded like a clever way of saying that she did a lot of drugs (she did not do any drugs at all). So she was able to correct something that was, in fact, giving an incorrect impression of who she was. This is not a "knowing yourself" problem, it's a writing problem. And writing problems are easy for strangers to fix, because they have the most important quality necessary to help with writing: they aren't inside the writer's head.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2012 [30 favorites]


argh, pronoun fail

irony is a harsh mistress
posted by elizardbits at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think they're self-linking at all. It's like asking someone to look over a story before submitting it for publication. I certainly wouldn't ask a friend or family member to look it over because they'll say, "This is great; they'd be fools not to publish it." And for an online profile, they'd probably say, "This is great; you'll find someone in no time."

Friends and family members are far less likely to critique something close to the heart like a story or a OKCupid profile for fear of hurting. Online strangers, on the other hand, are quick to point out how this sentence makes one sound creepy instead of chipper and that picture makes one look like they're leering and not smiling. So, yeah, online strangers are great resources to update an online dating profile.

Like stories, I edited my profile several times before I was satisfied with it. And, yeah, I asked for opinions (not here) to get it to where I wanted it.
posted by patheral at 9:42 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, if they're self-linking as a way of trolling for dates, it's a completely ridiculous strategy, since most of the people who answer are already amply partnered/not the preferred dating gender and/or orientation/not in the preferred age category/hundreds or thousands of miles away.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:45 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have been noticing the uptick in OkCupid posts on Ask. I really wonder why there is not a "Dating" space on MeFi yet, it seems like something that would be hugely sucessful. Would it be very out of place to have a space on the IRL page for people to add their profile links?
posted by cairdeas at 9:49 AM on June 29, 2012


I definitely see the merits to having strangers editing for tone. I still feel a little offput by the issue of editing content (provided a real profile is the desired outcome). A strange won't be "inside the writer's head," precisely, so they also won't know what the intended meaning is, only their impression of the meaning. True, this often makes them more honest critics of the impression, but their fixes could veer off from what was really intended.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:54 AM on June 29, 2012


"It's alright if Askme occasionally helps people find someone."

It helped me!

But it was a Photoshop thread, not a dating thread. And I didn't post the thread. And he didn't MeMail me till a year after the thread closed.

...YMMV.
posted by Phire at 9:57 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would it be very out of place to have a space on the IRL page for people to add their profile links?

Check out the MeFi Social Explorer!

It's not quite what you asked for, but it does provided a way to find Mefites who have OK Cupid profiles, among other things.

But it was a Photoshop thread, not a dating thread. And I didn't post the thread. And he didn't MeMail me till a year after the thread closed.

He probably had to wait for Photoshop to finish running the Dating Filter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:59 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


A strange won't be "inside the writer's head," precisely, so they also won't know what the intended meaning is, only their impression of the meaning.

Right, and if the author is looking specifically to have strangers think their meaning is ABC, but other strangers go "I can see how you'd want to convey that, but as someone who doesn't know you at all, what it really sounds like you're saying is PQR", that's wicked valuable feedback right there.
posted by rtha at 10:01 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Because having a partner who is a good speller is foundational to a healthy, happy romantic relationship?"

After being with the same person for almost 30 years, sometimes correcting her spelling is the only exciting thing I get to do all day.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:08 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think in practice, because of the question and response nature of AskMe it goes more like:

Poster: My profile says "ABC".

Responder: That sounds pretty creepy, you should say "XYZ" instead.

Responder II: "XYZ" sounds like you are just trolling for tail. Saying "RST" comes off more respectfully...


Anyway, none of the responses are actually telling the poster how to better express "ABC", rather how to say something different that is more appealing.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:13 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could being a good speller mean you have a good memory and pay attention to small things, and could this be relevant to a relationship? I would say: yes.
posted by John Cohen at 10:13 AM on June 29, 2012


Could being a good speller mean you have a good memory and pay attention to small things, and could this be relevant to a relationship?

What if Mr/Ms Right has a great memory and pays attention to small but important relationship things, but is just a crappy speller?

Dysgraphics need love too.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:18 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really wonder why there is not a "Dating" space on MeFi yet, it seems like something that would be hugely sucessful.

I can think of one or two mefites I would go on a date with, for sure, if they happened to live nearby.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:19 AM on June 29, 2012


Because having a partner who is a good speller is foundational to a healthy, happy romantic relationship?

That was yesterday's Love Letter in the Boston Globe.
posted by catlet at 10:24 AM on June 29, 2012


I really wonder why there is not a "Dating" space on MeFi yet, it seems like something that would be hugely sucessful.

It's super important for us to not reinvent the wheel to do what other sites are doing much better. There are already ways to see [if people want] what their relationship status is on their profiles and/or see if they are on OKCupid and/or have a meetup that you invite them to if you are geographically close. I know many people, myself included, who have met people that they are quite fond of via MeFi, but the logistics of doing anything other than mild facilitation of these sorts of interactions is somewhere we very much don't want to be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:24 AM on June 29, 2012


I know many people, myself included, who have met people that they are quite fond of via MeFi, but the logistics of doing anything other than mild facilitation of these sorts of interactions is somewhere we very much don't want to be.

That makes sense, Jessamyn.

I wonder, since the MeFi Social Explorer is already around, if it would be trivial to also pull the info from the gender and location fields into that, if allowed. Not sure if that would go beyond "mild facilitation."
posted by cairdeas at 10:30 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could being a good speller mean you have a good memory and pay attention to small things, and could this be relevant to a relationship? I would say: yes.

You would be wrong, John Cohen. My wife is the better speller and editor in our house, but has a terrible memory and attention to detail about pretty much anything except letters and numbers.

I can usually walk into room in the house and tell if something has been moved, even if the movement is small. Yet the furniture in the living and dining room could probably be swapped and she'd barely notice. But she's the one with the verified genius IQ.

Everyone has their particular needs and there's nothing wrong with wanting someone good with spelling and grammar. But that doesn't mean someone who isn't is uncaring, and frankly your implied belief that we are has made for tense situations in the past and present and not doubt the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on June 29, 2012


That was yesterday's Love Letter in the Boston Globe.

Huh, how about that. A whole paragraph on the spelling issue, with a casual aside that, "he is also extremely socially awkward to the point that he embarrasses me." I guess some people care very strongly about spelling.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:33 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


if it would be trivial to also pull the info from the gender and location fields into that, if allowed. Not sure if that would go beyond "mild facilitation."

It does. We're pretty uptight about the "your profile information stays on your profile" rule here and as much as we realize that this would solve a problem for some people we are also certain it would create a problem or discomfort among other people. I totally understand why people want it but this is one of those "Nope" situations.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:36 AM on June 29, 2012


Could being a good speller mean you have a good memory and pay attention to small things, and could this be relevant to a relationship? I would say: yes.

I'd say no, as there is no evidence of causation. And I've known lots of wicked smart people with good attention to detail who couldn't spell worth a damn because of various learning disabilities.
posted by rtha at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2012


Oh, and as for dating mefites: if you want to date mefites, go to mefi meetups. Among our regulars, I can think of at least a couple of couples who have become couples because they met at meetups.
posted by rtha at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2012


Thanks, surprisingly despite my inability to express myself well enough not to piss absolutely everyone off I was able to put together a profile myself (with spell checkers, the shame!) that was successful enough to land a wife. I know, amazing right?

Stop being like this.

Anyway, I like helping people with their profiles and general dating.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


But she's the one with the verified genius IQ.

Your wife is Scott Adams?
posted by hwyengr at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd date MeFites. I live in a middle sized Iowa town though and no one is nearby! Or there's no way to know, rather.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:41 AM on June 29, 2012


About the spelling thing - one of my best friends growing up has never been able to spell for anything, but she got a close to perfect score on the LSAT and graduated from a top 5 law school. There is nothing about her that makes her dysfunctional in relationships. Her husband is equally brilliant and isn't complaining. When someone can't spell because they are just poorly educated, that is obvious in other ways. But that's not the only reason someone can't spell and it really does seem bizarre to me too to count them out based on that.
posted by cairdeas at 10:42 AM on June 29, 2012


I really wonder why there is not a "Dating" space on MeFi yet, it seems like something that would be hugely sucessful.

In your profile here you can indicate other social networks that you are a part of as well as your username in those networks. Seems OKCupid is there, eHarmony and match are not, but heck, you could put it in the profile free-form. Conversely, you can also find other networks with MeFi groups or where you can add Metafilter as a tag/interest in your profile (Hell, LinkedIn turns up more than 50, only 3 of whom seem to work for Metafilter; couchsurfing has a MeFi group as does airbnb...). Anyway, what I mean is, this principle can be successfully applied to/from dating sites without any additional work on anyone's behalf.
posted by whatzit at 10:48 AM on June 29, 2012


but perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:11 AM on June 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


This is akin to saying that everyone who has x skill ought to be able to teach that skill. Just because you know yourself does not mean that you are able to adequately express that knowledge.

Additionally, being able to convey who you are is different from being able to convey what you want. Some OKC profiles have problems with one or the other, or with both.

Asking for help with a profile is like getting an editor for any sort of written thing. Just because an author is an expert in, I dunno, honeybees, does not mean that they are necessarily capable of imparting that information clearly for every audience, or of anticipating questions that the uninitiated may have about their topic.

As for myself, I think having total strangers help with this task is the best, because our friends and family think they know the ins and outs of us, but they usually don't have experience of our romantic sides. Sure, they know our favorite foods and where we spend our friday evenings If I ever have to see another dating profile that says "relaxing" or "having a good time" I will harm a computer. Total strangers can ask the nosey questions and make suggestions like "your profile sounds really pretentious, dude, and why are you wearing a fucking fedora in every picture? Also stop messaging the ladies that you want to send them a banjo. Please."
posted by bilabial at 10:51 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


it really does seem bizarre to me too to count them out based on that.

It seems bizarre to me that people care about what sorts of television shows other people watch, but to some people this sort of thing is important. I feel like the only time it's really appropriate to critique what people do/don't like in the dating realm is if you want to date them, you think there are inconsistencies that will give them trouble [i.e. you are "young/old/tall/short and you want someone who is old/young/short/tall, that might be difficult"] or if they're narrowing down their own dating pool to the point where they're unlikely to find someone and finding someone is important to them.

Some people would prefer not being partnered to being partnered with someone who doesn't fit whatever thing it is they are looking for, others would rather be more flexible in the interest of expanding their options. I, personally, spent too long dating someone who wasn't a good Scrabble partner and for me, personally, that was a mistake. YMMV, and it usually does.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:55 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Scrabble is a window into the soul. It is known.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:08 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I purposefully date people who can't spell, because I find it charming, so more for me MUAHAHAHAHAHA

Seriously though I don't really care what other people like and don't like, but I do find it odd to start talking about it randomly and I find it rude to be like "of course we would never date a gross non-speller"
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:10 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.

There are a bunch of professional editors, marketing and advertising folks, and psychologists here. Getting these people's advice for free seems like a good deal.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:14 AM on June 29, 2012


Well, knowing MetaFilter, the editors will be giving psychological advice, the psychologists will be giving advertising advice, and the advertisers will be giving editing advice.
posted by griphus at 11:16 AM on June 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


Stop being like this.

I know! Getting married was terrible for my dating life!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:21 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Deask AskMe, should I eat this editor?

I know! Getting married was terrible for my dating life!

Thank you for making me look so good right now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:23 AM on June 29, 2012


perhaps if you don't know enough about yourself to put together a profile that says "here is who I am" then asking a stranger who doesn't even know your name is not the route to go.

Knowing yourself isn't the same as knowing how others perceive you. The two bases of knowledge overlap, but they aren't the same. The implicit question is, "Will a bunch of strangers understand who I am from my profile?". Asking a bunch of strangers on the internet to critique your profile seems like a good way to find that out.
posted by rhythm and booze at 11:47 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stop being like this.

Some folks don't want to stop. In fact, they want to find someone they can keep carrying on like this with. It can make being like this tons more fun, not to mention being with someone else feel a lot more worthwhile if at all possible...

It seems to be an unfortunate truth that whatever you are, you're bound to clash with some and strike the chord of awesome with others at the same time (incidents of clashing/chord-striking increasing with willingness to express self). It's everyone's personal freedom to decide on the extent they're willing to compromise this.

Maybe token apologies should go around if this just happens to ruffle your feathers, on account of [generally speaking] you just happening to be like that.
posted by human ecologist at 11:58 AM on June 29, 2012


What a strange comment.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:02 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, OnTheLastCastle, there's a way to input your location on your profile such that your profile will show you nearby mefites. (My profile has it, for example.)
posted by ocherdraco at 12:47 PM on June 29, 2012


I am fairly certain that I have been more open on the Green than I have been to anybody who hasn't shared my bed, and I do so because I'm comfortable with the response I'd get (or getting too old to care)

But if I had a dating profile, I would not at all be brave enough to open it up to the crowd, despite how much I respect much of the crowd's opinion. To be able to take that course of action immediately negates any 'quit promoting yourself' feeling I get from such posts.

(And if you ever meet somebody who manages to charm your socks off with photos and text, even though he is not the best speller, meet them in person because I did so 7 years ago, and reader, I married him.

That said, the bad spelling did make me tentative to meet. Thanks hormones for winning that particular battle.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:06 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


... not only are you asking for advice on your profile, but you're advertising that you're single and looking, and look, here's all my interests and contact info.

I find this very useful, actually. How else am I going to find a nice single young man for my daughter?
posted by SLC Mom at 1:07 PM on June 29, 2012


It does. We're pretty uptight about the "your profile information stays on your profile" rule here and as much as we realize that this would solve a problem for some people we are also certain it would create a problem or discomfort among other people. I totally understand why people want it but this is one of those "Nope" situations.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Seriously, thanks for thinking this kind of thing through.
posted by winna at 1:10 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, knowing MetaFilter, the editors will be giving psychological advice, the psychologists will be giving advertising advice, and the advertisers will be giving editing advice.

What should us advertising editors do?
posted by ambient2 at 1:11 PM on June 29, 2012


I'm not entirely sure, but does this look infected to you?
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, and as for dating mefites: if you want to date mefites, go to mefi meetups. Among our regulars, I can think of at least a couple of couples who have become couples because they met at meetups.

I've seen it too! It's hell of romantic.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:24 PM on June 29, 2012


If you have to go seeking advice from anonymous interweb strangers on how to write a dating profile, perhaps it isn't the profile that needs repair. I'm just sayin'.

It's pretty easy to have something unintentially offensive in a dating profile especially if you are froma different culture or don't have English as your first language. I'm reminded of one of the guys I game with who intially, totally innocently called his Online Guild "The Great White Brotherhood". You know 'cause all the members were from Canada and he was a bit of a fan of SCTV and it invoke the Band of Brothers trope. He thought it was brilliant. Until we pointed out that some people might find that a _wee_ bit offensive and it would for sure be sending the wrong signal.

Anonymous strangers on the internet are the perfect people to consult on that kind of thing.
posted by Mitheral at 1:27 PM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


My favorite thing to do on OKC is to find all the women who say some variant "don't bother contacting me if you're a writer/actor/artist/musician" and rate them one star. It doesn't prove anything, but it makes me feel all warm inside like hugging a puppy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:28 PM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also try to steer clear of the people who go on the rant about, "If you can't spell/do grammar I won't even talk to you how dare you here is a link to some grammar site."

1) These people tend to conflate rote knowledge with intelligence. Nope.
2) They tend to be poor writers themselves, as they believe good writing involves following a set of "rules."
3) They are way too proud of themselves for knowing some extremely basic grammar.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:31 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


All you people talking about the stuff you look for on OKC but not having the links in your profile is making my "entertain myself on boring conference calls by OKC stalking MeFites" plan really difficult ..
posted by dotgirl at 2:06 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, dotgirl, have I got the thread for you.

The aggregate page that Ivan kindly put together for us is now lost to the ether, but you can still skim that page.
posted by Phire at 2:29 PM on June 29, 2012


Anyway, none of the responses are actually telling the poster how to better express "ABC", rather how to say something different that is more appealing.

I have seen some very reasonable and useful advice in these threads that remained true to what seemed to be the intent behind the profile.

I have also seen plenty of bad advice but that is by no means combined to AskMes about OKC profiles. The key there is that the OP is not required to implement any of the advice they get. They are still making their own selections.
posted by mountmccabe at 3:18 PM on June 29, 2012


So I think you are very pretty and we should go disco.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:09 PM on June 29, 2012


My favorite thing to do on OKC is to find all the women who say some variant "don't bother contacting me if you're a writer/actor/artist/musician" and rate them one star. It doesn't prove anything, but it makes me feel all warm inside like hugging a puppy.

I'll see your women and raise you the men who say "don't bother contacting me if you don't have perfect breasts."
posted by Melismata at 6:09 AM on June 30, 2012


There is a shortage of perfect breasts so that's a terrible idea.
posted by PuddleWonderful at 6:22 AM on June 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


if you are looking for a relationship with a person doesn't that need to be based on the reality of who you are as a person?

Yes, exactly. An OKCupid profile is not who you are as a person, no matter how well you think you know yourself. It's like when McDonalds does the photo shoots for their commercials. They have to use the same ingredients, but they put it together in a way that encourages people to go and see for themselves if they like the burger. If you make a shitty commercial for the world's best hamburger, no one will try it.
posted by cmoj at 3:19 PM on June 30, 2012


Yes, but I think where there's a difference of opinion — with regard to giving others advice on how to improve their profiles — is in who people want to "encourage".

That is to say, there are things which we can choose to include in our profiles which are not seen generally as attractive — their inclusion doesn't increase the number of people for whom the profile is attractive, it decreases it. And because of that, many people will say that including those things is a mistake and the profile would be better without it. Which is true assuming that we want to attract those particular additional people.

But what if we don't?

And the more outside the sociocultural norms one is, and assuming one wants to find a similar partner, then the more likely it is that what appeals to more people is also what appeals to people that you don't want to appeal to. So including things which repel some people — perhaps most people — is a reasonable choice that will seem unreasonable and a mistake to someone who is in the group which finds those things repellent.

Ideally, what I aim to achieve in my profile is to maximize my attractiveness to those and only those with whom I am already highly compatible and no further. The statistically optimal OKC profile is optimal for the purposes of the average, composite OKC user...which basically defeats the whole point of matching in the first place. That's the end-point of most advice — it's effectively stripping away all the edges and leaving a rounded mostly blank surface upon which the viewer projects their hopes. Answers shouldn't be too long, but shouldn't be too short. Photos should have such-and-such characteristics. Yes, these things will attract the largest number of people. Some of us emphatically don't want to attract the largest number of people. We emphatically don't want to truthfully present ourselves (or, at least, only lying by omission) in a way that attracts the largest number of people. We want to attract the largest number of the right people, and for various different individuals this can mean including poor spelling, odd photos, terse answers, judgmental answers, or whatever.

Any given thing which is normally thought to be a vice in a profile can be, for some individual person, a virtue, assuming that they know what they want and how that may achieve it.

Obviously, however, for all the reasons stated above, we are not always able to judge those things well on our own, so advice is welcome (or should be welcome). But for those who want their appeal to be deep and not wide, then it's most likely best that the outside evaluation and advice comes from people very much like those they are hoping to find and not from a wide cross-section.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, I think that this is only one strategy among several. Other people may want to first attract the largest possible pool, and then winnow from there and that's fine.

All that said, I've admitted in the past, many times, that I think most of us (very much including myself) are far too picky on OKC and other online matchmaking sites. In my case, in both directions — any hint in an otherwise promising profile that I'm not what the person is looking for, I will disqualify myself. I think that this is mistake because this stuff is such a thin sliver of the deep and complex people we all really are...and yet I can't change how I approach all this. I just can't. I want what I want and that's what I want.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:37 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


It only makes sense to try to make your profile unattractive if you think you can write it in such a way that your ability to the right people exclude you based on that (through their judgment) is better than your ability to determine who the right people are for you (through your judgment). Seems like an iffy proposition.

But, um, so what? Obviously you can do whatever you want. But just as obviously, if someone is asking for advice on how to get more people interested in their profile and not stating any preference like that, the help they want and the ability of a forum to provide it is clear.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:17 PM on June 30, 2012


"It only makes sense to try to make your profile unattractive if you think you can write it in such a way that your ability to the right people exclude you based on that (through their judgment) is better than your ability to determine who the right people are for you (through your judgment). Seems like an iffy proposition."

No. Take the spelling example. Let's say someone isn't a good speller but, more importantly, wants to exclude people who will criticize their spelling. Deliberately including misspellings (or not worrying about undetected ones that might exist) is trivial to accomplish exactly that purpose. It's not rocket science, as you wish to argue. And, in contrast, if that person has misspellings which are corrected by well-intentioned advisors, then they won't dissuade picky people from contacting them and, more importantly, they won't be able to identify those people until they interact with them.

But more to the point, your use of "unattractive" is loaded. More detail of any nature is inherently unattractive in the way you're using the term. What I describe is not specifically deliberately including things which a majority will think unattractive (though it includes this), but the larger set of simply not expanding attractiveness beyond the boundaries of attracting the desired targets. That's specifically relevant to this discussion, and is the only reason I have mentioned it: advice from others will by its nature push for changes which expand attractiveness, not the reverse (and that's the point of it), but to the degree to which it comes from a broad spectrum of other people, is the degree to which it's likely to expand attractiveness beyond the boundaries of the target audience. And the advisers are unlikely to understand this by the very nature of their composition.

This is true for everyone who ever asks for such advice, independent of whether they are inclined to attract a narrow or wide range. It's greatly exacerbated for those who prefer the narrow direction. But it's true for everyone.

Really, though, I think your objection amounts to nothing more than the difference of temperament I mention. I don't think you're actually intending this, but I feel like I detect something in your comment that amounts to saying that you don't want other people to disqualify you, you want to disqualify them.

I can totally see — as per some of the excellent examples given above — how and why any given person might benefit from advice for improving their profile. But somewhere, at some degree of "improvement", it moves past correcting genuine errors and into advertising and attempting to create an imbalance of power.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:58 PM on June 30, 2012


Before I even saw this thread I was thinking that all the "check my profile" posts were getting out of hand. And there is a new one..... Maybe I just don't get it but it falls under the "do my homework" area for me. I think that this is a slippery slope and we are starting to slide....
posted by pearlybob at 6:29 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there a way to exclude posts with the "OKcupid" tag from my feed? That would give people the freedom to use AskMe to enhance their dating prospects, but at the same time would give the rest of us an "opt out" option in case this gets too ridiculous.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:56 AM on July 1, 2012


Have you checked out MyAsk? (Look for it on one of the tabs at the top of the page in Ask Metafilter.) It lets you tailor what you see and don't see in Ask.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:48 AM on July 1, 2012


My feeling is that there are better places than Ask for these kinds of questions, for various reasons. Many kinds of questions, really.
posted by sm1tten at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2012


The last OKC post now links to a profile that's inaccessible to non-OKC members. I don't begrudge anyone's privacy, but it's sort of annoying that the shelf-life on that question was approximately an hour and a half.
posted by chiababe at 10:00 AM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't have any problem with these questions -- and it's easy enough to ignore questions that you're not interested in -- but yeah, the locked down profile on that last one was kind of annoying.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:04 AM on July 1, 2012


Yeah, that's a kind of weird and not so okay way to deal with ask. I can understand the asker's motivation to minimize visibility or something, but at that point it's more something that's just not really a great fit for Ask Metafilter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:24 AM on July 1, 2012


At least it's not a paywall site on the front page. An inaccessible link on ask only hurts the person asking the question.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on July 1, 2012


If you have to go seeking advice from anonymous interweb strangers on how to write a dating profile, perhaps it isn't the profile that needs repair. I'm just sayin'.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:01 AM on June 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


I have always relied on the kindness of anonymous intarweb strangers.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:42 PM on July 1, 2012


I love OK Cupid profile questions and think they're a great fit for the site.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:04 PM on July 1, 2012


Yeah the whole "I made my profile visible to everyone and now it's not" thing is really a not okay part of it. Generally people saying "Hey give me advice about my profile, I have these questions..." are a totally fine fit. I'm sorry there are a lot of people who dislike them, but you can jut click past them like I click past all the fashion questions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:07 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it's akin to the problem solved by dancing Santa. I could see the 'hey, you can get your personal ad workshopped by the people at Metafilter!' turning into a thing people do.
posted by winna at 9:01 PM on July 1, 2012


I think it's safe to say it's already turned into a thing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:06 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I made a short FAQ entry about this so that we can be more clear going forward about what is or is not okay. If people have suggestions I'd appreciate them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:11 AM on July 2, 2012


I don't know...this seem problematic to me. OKC profiles are temporary by their nature. Most people come and then they go, either finding what they're looking for or giving up. But, in addition, a large number of people change their profile over time, anyway. And, in addition to that, the question and answers themselves mean that the profile will be changed.

The availability of the profile as being a criteria for future readers finding utility in the Q&As is faulty, I think. I don't believe that a deliberately only-temporarily-available profile is significantly less useful for later readers than will be most others.

So, to me, that argues that this is not a useful requirement. And that implies that either the questions and answers, minus the profile, are (usually) useful on their own for later readers, or they're not and they aren't appropriate for AskMe in the first place.

I think this is directly comparable to "need criticism of my resume". Does AskMe get a lot of those? Should it? Isn't there plenty of advice out there for resume writers? And isn't there plenty of advice out there for online dating profile writers? Critiquing OKC profiles ends up doing two things, over and over again: suggesting very common changes as per well-known guidelines for profiles; and picayune suggestions as per individual answerer's idiosyncratic responses. The former is available widely on the web as general guidelines, the latter isn't useful to later readers and mostly isn't even useful for the poster.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:28 AM on July 2, 2012


I think expecting someone to keep a dating site profile public forever is unrealistic. I don't know what is realistic, though. It doesn't seem "fair" for a poster to change or close their profile down while people are still responding to the question, but if they get all the help they need and the question is resolved, haven't we all done our jobs?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:43 AM on July 2, 2012


We don't expect them to be public forever, we expect them to be available to people generally while the question is open and especially while the question is active. Nothing wrong with having a private profile generally or switching it to private, but if you don't think you can do this you should probably not post a "critique my profile" question to AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:20 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's safe to say it's already turned into a thing.

And I'd say based on this we're in for a whole slew of them. Ug.
posted by shelleycat at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2012


Yeah, it's more an issue with intention in the foreseeable short term. With a "help with my profile" question or any number of other things, there's a difference between someone asking with the good faith intent of the content staying visible and then something changing down the road to change that vs. someone asking with the explicit intent of yanking the content shortly thereafter.

It's the same general reason that we're not okay with people asking questions that they plan from the start to ask to have deleted. Things happen, people change or have regrets and we're willing to be reasonable about that, but we don't want people intentionally yanking the rug out from under their fellow mefites.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:12 PM on July 2, 2012


jessamyn writes "I made a short FAQ entry about this so that we can be more clear going forward about what is or is not okay. If people have suggestions I'd appreciate them."

It's happened enough that I've noticed that users sometimes ask a question relying on an image and then once the question has been resolved to their satisfaction they delete the image from Flickr/Photobucket/whatever. Maybe this guideline should apply to images like those.

On the profile thing though a restriction on setting private seems misguided. The purpose of a profile, at least some of the time, is to gain a life partner (Yes?); once you've potentially reached that goal it seems weird for your profile to be out there still soliciting dates.
posted by Mitheral at 2:59 PM on July 2, 2012


ThePinkSuperhero I think it's safe to say it's already turned into a thing.

It's like, hwyengr, if you feel like occasional critique-my-OK Cupid-profile questions picking up steam is bad, trust me, a deluge of them will be worse.
posted by mlis at 3:06 PM on July 2, 2012


Also, I like the questions. I feel like I learn something from them (I don't wear polo shirts often, but you should not wear a white t-shirt with one? Have to look into that).
posted by mlis at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2012


Well, advice to read men's style blogs is sort of exactly what I think is so very wrong with how people answer those questions.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:42 PM on July 2, 2012


It's like, hwyengr, if you feel like occasional critique-my-OK Cupid-profile questions picking up steam is bad, trust me, a deluge of them will be worse.

It's gonna be a loooong summer.
posted by hwyengr at 4:09 PM on July 2, 2012


I was the guy who made my profile private after a couple hours of allowing anyone to view it — it was brought to my attention that I should have obscured the faces of other people in my photos, hence I made the profile private until I could do edits. So to those who are annoyed, my apologies.

Anyways, thanks again to those of you who did see my profile and made suggestions. I added some better pictures, and it has made a huge difference to my response rate.

With that said, I hope dating profiles questions are here to stay.
posted by helios410 at 7:59 PM on July 4, 2012


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