• The Right Way To Onboard People Into Your Product

    Do you remember all the dating sites before Tinder came along?, eHarmony, OkCupid — the list goes on. What did they all have in common? The worst #onboarding experience imaginable.I remember it like yesterday, the hours 21-year-old me spent setting up my OkCupid profile. Searching for photos, cropping them, uploading them, updating my preferences, writing and having friends edit short-form essay questions about myself — all of this just to start using the service.And then Tinder comes along. Login with Facebook and… you’re done.You went from 0 to actually fully productive and using the app in a matter of seconds. All your pictures are uploaded for you. Your name, age, and location are already pre-filled. All you need to do is update your preferences and start swiping. You could always (...)

    #product-development #product-design #how-to-onboard #customer-experience

  • Playing the Online Dating Game, in a Wheelchair - The New York Times

    Not one to be deterred, I persevered, downloading every possible dating app and creating accounts on various dating sites. But I became skittish about revealing my disability, because in an already shallow dating culture, I believed my wheelchair would cause most men to write me off without a second thought. So I decided to hide my disability completely. I cropped my wheelchair out of my photos. I eliminated any mention of it in my profiles. In this virtual world, I could pretend my disability didn’t exist.

    I kept up with this facade for a while, messaging matches who were none the wiser. Once I thought I’d spoken with a guy long enough to establish his interest, I’d choose a moment to strike, telling him about my disability. I’d send a long-winded explanation divulging my wheelchair use, reminding him that it didn’t make me any less of person and ending with reassurance that he could ask me questions, should he have any.

    After dropping the “wheelchair bomb,” I’d have to brace myself for their reactions, which were always a mixed bag, often ranging from indifference to ghosting. Occasionally, I’d receive an accepting response.

    Prominently in my profile, I wrote: “I’d like to be very upfront about the fact that I use a wheelchair. My disability is part of my identity and I’m a loud, proud disability rights activist, but there is so much more that defines me (you know, like the stuff I’ve got in my profile). I realize some people are hesitant to date a human who experiences the world sitting down. But I’d like to think you’ll keep reading and dive a little deeper. And you’re welcome to ask questions, should you have any.”

    Once I added that paragraph, I felt liberated, relieved that anyone I spoke to would have a clearer picture of me. There have been plenty of matches that haven’t worked out, and whether that’s actually because of my disability, I’ll never know. But I had a nearly yearlong relationship with a man I met through OKCupid, so I know it’s possible for lightning to strike again. My dating life remains a comedy of errors, and I still struggle every day with the feeling that my disability means I won’t find love, but at least I’m being true to myself. I’m putting myself out there — my whole self — and it feels good to be proud of who I am.

    #Sites_rencontre #handicap

  • Here’s How Web Service Cloudflare Helps Serve up Hate on the Internet That Fuels Real-Life Killings | Alternet

    The operations of such extreme sites are made possible, in part, by an otherwise very mainstream internet company — Cloudflare. Based in San Francisco, Cloudflare operates more than 100 data centers spread across the world, serving as a sort of middleman for websites — speeding up delivery of a site’s content and protecting it from several kinds of attacks. Cloudflare says that some 10 percent of web requests flow through its network, and the company’s mainstream clients range from the FBI to the dating site OKCupid.

    The widespread use of Cloudflare’s services by racist groups is not an accident. Cloudflare has said it is not in the business of censoring websites and will not deny its services to even the most offensive purveyors of hate.

    “A website is speech. It is not a bomb,” Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a 2013 blog post defending his company’s stance. “There is no imminent danger it creates and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and make determinations about the theoretically harmful nature of speech a site may contain.”

    In testimony Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chief Will D. Johnson, chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Human and Civil Rights Committee, highlighted the reach and threat of hate on the Internet.

    “The internet provides extremists with an unprecedented ability to spread hate and recruit followers,” he said. “Individual racists and organized hate groups now have the power to reach a global audience of millions and to communicate among like-minded individuals easily, inexpensively, and anonymously.

    “Although hate speech is offensive and hurtful, the First Amendment usually protects such expression,” Johnson said. “However, there is a growing trend to use the Internet to intimidate and harass individuals on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, or national origin.”

    Anglin appears quite comfortable with his arrangement with Cloudflare. It doesn’t cost him much either — just $200 a month, according to public posts on the site.

    “[A]ny complaints filed against the site go to Cloudflare, and Cloudflare then sends me an email telling me someone said I was doing something bad and that it is my responsibility to figure out if I am doing that,” he wrote in a 2015 post on his site. “Cloudflare does not regulate content, so it is meaningless.”

    Representatives from Rackspace and GoDaddy, two popular web hosts, said they try to regulate the kinds of sites on their services. For Rackspace, that means drawing the line at hosting white supremacist content or hate speech. For GoDaddy, that means not hosting the sort of abusive publication of personal information that Anglin frequently engages in.

    A former Cloudflare employee, Ryan Lackey, said in an interview that while he doesn’t condone a lot of what Auernheimer does, he did on occasion give technical advice as a friend and helped some of the Stormer’s issues get resolved.

    “I am hardcore libertarian/classical liberal about free speech — something like Daily Stormer has every right to publish, and it is better for everyone if all ideas are out on the internet to do battle in that sphere,” he said.

    Vick at the ADL agrees that Anglin has a right to publish, but said people have the right to hold to task the Internet companies that enable him.

    #idéologie_californienne #cyberlibertarianisme

  • OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils of Big-Data Science

    On May 8, a group of Danish researchers publicly released a dataset of nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid, including usernames, age, gender, location, what kind of relationship (or sex) they’re interested in, personality traits, and answers to thousands of profiling questions used by the site. When asked whether the researchers attempted to anonymize the dataset, Aarhus University graduate student Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, who was lead on the work, replied bluntly : “No. (...)

    #OkCupid #hacking #données #Big_Data

  • Les manipulateurs - Los Angeles Review of Books

    Nicholas Carr pour la Los Angeles Review of Books revient sur les expériences de #manipulation des émotions de Google, Facebook et OkCupid… et conclut : 

    "Nous avons du mal à avoir une pensée claire sur des sociétés comme Google et Facebook, parce que nous n’avons jamais eu jusqu’à présent à traiter avec des sociétés comme Google et Facebook. Elles sont quelque chose de nouveau dans le monde, et elles ne rentrent pas dans nos modèles juridiques et culturels existants. Parce qu’elles fonctionnent à une ampleur si inimaginable, réalisant des millions de transactions d’information chaque seconde, nous avons eu tendance à les considérer comme de vastes machines sans visages, sans passions - comme des machines qui traiterait de l’information en dehors des domaines de l’intention et de la volonté humaine. C’est (...)

    #régulation #réseaux_sociaux

  • OKCupid Publishes Findings of User Experiments -

    La comparaison avec les expérimentations sur les médicaments est très intéressante. Les pharmaciens expliquent que prendre des individus comme cobayes permet d’améliorer la santé de tous, et qu’il s’agit d’une démarche éthique non pas sur la personne considérée, mais sur l’ensemble de l’humanité... ce qui les conduit d’ailleurs à préférer les expériences dans les pays pauvres mais dotés d’infrastructures comme l’Inde.

    Donc, expérimenter en détournant les algorithmes des réseaux sociaux est un bienfait pour l’humanité... indépendamment des effets sur les personnes concernées. CQFD.

    “If you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site,” Christian Rudder, president of OKCupid, wrote on the company’s blog. “That’s how websites work.”

    The test also illustrates how easy it is for a website to manipulate users without their knowing. The small number of users who received changed compatibility scores, some to 90 percent from 30 percent, were not told about the change before the experiment began. After the test ended, OKCupid sent emails revealing the true compatibility scores.

    “I understand that that experimentation is part of the process,” said Zaz Harris, 37, a user of the site from Redwood City, Calif. “But I do think that experiment is a lot more invasive than the others because it could affect outcomes in a meaningful way.”

    She added: “I would probably never see someone that the site said was a 30 percent match when we were actually 90 percent, so that is not cool, really.”

    He likened them to medical experiments where some participants in a study received a placebo they believed was a drug that might improve their health. “Social science is becoming subject to the same problems,” Dr. Piskorski said in an email interview.

    He recommended that sites use so-called “natural experiments” — that is, observational studies that occur naturally, and from which data can be gleaned.

    “We use natural experiments to overcome ethical problems that arise in randomized experiments,” he said. “I think the websites should consider more of these natural experiments even though they are harder to pull off.”

  • You are more than a sexual fetish — but online dating sites might not think so -

    In his first post on the blog, titled “Rape Fantasies and Hygiene by State,” which showed a state‑by‑state breakdown of people who answered questions about their willingness to act out rape scenarios in bed at a partner’s request, OKCupid cofounder Chris Coyne boasted about the utility of OKCupid as a living social-science lab: “Old media could only get 3,050 people to answer a poll about Obama. And it was enough to call the election with confidence. OKCupid, on the other hand, can ask the world’s most personal questions and get hundreds of thousands of answers.”

    article plus intéressant que son titre ne laisse à penser

    #surveillance #data-mining #sondages

  • How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love - Wired Science

    First he’d need data. While his dissertation work continued to run on the side, he set up 12 fake OkCupid accounts and wrote a Python script to manage them. The script would search his target demographic (heterosexual and bisexual women between the ages of 25 and 45), visit their pages, and scrape their profiles for every scrap of available information: ethnicity, height, smoker or nonsmoker, astrological sign—“all that crap,” he says.

    To find the survey answers, he had to do a bit of extra sleuthing. OkCupid lets users see the responses of others, but only to questions they’ve answered themselves. McKinlay set up his bots to simply answer each question randomly—he wasn’t using the dummy profiles to attract any of the women, so the answers didn’t mat­ter—then scooped the women’s answers into a database.

    McKinlay watched with satisfaction as his bots purred along. Then, after about a thousand profiles were collected, he hit his first roadblock. OkCupid has a system in place to prevent exactly this kind of data harvesting: It can spot rapid-fire use easily. One by one, his bots started getting banned.

    He would have to train them to act human.

    He turned to his friend Sam Torrisi, a neuroscientist who’d recently taught McKinlay music theory in exchange for advanced math lessons. Torrisi was also on OkCupid, and he agreed to install spyware on his computer to monitor his use of the site. With the data in hand, McKinlay programmed his bots to simulate Torrisi’s click-rates and typing speed. He brought in a second computer from home and plugged it into the math department’s broadband line so it could run uninterrupted 24 hours a day.

    After three weeks he’d harvested 6 million questions and answers from 20,000 women all over the country. McKinlay’s dissertation was relegated to a side project as he dove into the data. He was already sleeping in his cubicle most nights. Now he gave up his apartment entirely and moved into the dingy beige cell, laying a thin mattress across his desk when it was time to sleep.

    For McKinlay’s plan to work, he’d have to find a pattern in the survey data—a way to roughly group the women according to their similarities. The breakthrough came when he coded up a modified Bell Labs algorithm called K-Modes. First used in 1998 to analyze diseased soybean crops, it takes categorical data and clumps it like the colored wax swimming in a Lava Lamp. With some fine-tuning he could adjust the viscosity of the results, thinning it into a slick or coagulating it into a single, solid glob.

    He played with the dial and found a natural resting point where the 20,000 women clumped into seven statistically distinct clusters based on their questions and answers. “I was ecstatic,” he says. “That was the high point of June.”

    He retasked his bots to gather another sample: 5,000 women in Los Angeles and San Francisco who’d logged on to OkCupid in the past month. Another pass through K-Modes confirmed that they clustered in a similar way. His statistical sampling had worked.

    #Amour #data #okcupid

  • Hacker un site de rencontre pour contourner l’algorithme qui est censé présenter les bonnes personnes. D’où l’on remarque (rien de nouveau) que bien que ces sites roulent, et font de la pub sur leur mécanisme, leur réelle valeur ajoutée se situent dans la communauté qu’ils rassemblent ; ce qui peut amener à se demander où se situe la masse critique qui fait passer l’attrait du site de l’un à l’autre (question sans réponse).
    D’où aussi une interrogation sur le degré d’activité qui est attendu de l’usager du site (il est pourtant question de « chercher l’amour »), et surtout le niveau d’activité : le site est un produit fini, avec un système de défense qui empêche de descendre dans la structure ou même de repérer les récurrences.
    A part ça, belle ironie ou absence de retour critique, le journaliste place quand même « He’d already decided he would fill out his answers honestly—he didn’t want to build his future relationship on a foundation of computer-generated lies. »

    #dating #OKCupid #hacking #maths_appliquées

    How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love - Wired Science

    Chris McKinlay was folded into a cramped fifth-floor cubicle in UCLA’s math sciences building, lit by a single bulb and the glow from his monitor. It was 3 in the morn­ing, the optimal time to squeeze cycles out of the supercomputer in Colorado that he was using for his PhD dissertation. (The subject: large-scale data processing and parallel numerical methods.) While the computer chugged, he clicked open a second window to check his OkCupid inbox.

    McKinlay, a lanky 35-year-old with tousled hair, was one of about 40 million Americans looking for romance through websites like, J-Date, and e-Harmony, and he’d been searching in vain since his last breakup nine months earlier. He’d sent dozens of cutesy introductory messages to women touted as potential matches by OkCupid’s algorithms. Most were ignored; he’d gone on a total of six first dates.

    On that early morning in June 2012, his compiler crunching out machine code in one window, his forlorn dating profile sitting idle in the other, it dawned on him that he was doing it wrong. He’d been approaching online matchmaking like any other user. Instead, he realized, he should be dating like a mathematician.