Monday, July 28, 2014

OkCupid, This Caviar Has Been Eaten Before

Many, many years ago, when I worked as a tour guide, somebody told me a joke that goes kind of like this:

    A Western tourist is on a tour of the Soviet Union. At the hotel restaurant, he asks for ikra (Russian for "caviar"; pronounced eek-rAh). 

    "Excellent choice, sir," says the waiter and leaves the guest to salivate alone in anticipation of something like... this:

    Soon, the waiter comes back and brings... this:
FYI: This stuff in Russian is called "zucchini ikra".
Obviously, it has nothing to do with fish eggs.

    "Is this ikra?" asks the puzzled tourist.
    "Yes, sir. Ikra," assures him the waiter. 
    "It looks like it has been eaten before."

Today, Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OkCupid, having not posted anything on his OkTrends blog since April 2011 (I believe that's when OkCupid was acquired by, wrote We Experiment On Human Beings!, a post that sort of defends Facebook's scandalous psychology study and then describes a few OkCupid's own -- somewhat manipulative -- experiments.

I have to say that I kind of liked the post. It honestly admits that, while advertising their "sophisticated algorithms", computerized matching services most of the time have no clue what they are doing (this is true not only for dating sites). It has some interesting ideas (in theory, at least). It's kind of funny in a somewhat self-deprecating way. You can tell that Christian Rudder is a really cool guy.

Still, the timing of the post (about a month before his book is supposed to come out) left me with a feeling that Mr. Rudder is trying to "recycle" and ride the stale wave of the scandal stirred up by Facebook last month.
That may be a smart PR move, but its coolness is a little questionable.

No comments: