Flowchart to My Heart

July 7th, 2009 by Chris Coyne

Christian and I have been sorting through stats requests from last week. “Are Some People’s Lives More Valuable Than Others?” will be getting graphed soon, among other match questions, and we’ll also break down last week’s graphs by gender. Some of the new graphs will be global, too. Or even Canadian.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a toy we’ve been working on: a chart generator that converts your match questions into a printable pdf file, a visualization of your dating decision process. It takes potential suitors on a path from “Hello” to burning rejection. Or to a first date. All using the questions you marked as “mandatory” on OkCupid.

Here’s my graph, the flowchart to my heart, generated by my answers and preferences. Click through to the pdf or larger image to see the full glory.

chriscoyne’s flowchart

view larger | see the pretty pdf

Now you know how I determine if I’ll go on a date with someone, though I have to say that because I’m married and I wanted my match percentage with my wife be as high as possible I’ve asked to match with other married people—that’s not really my general dating m.o.

Anyhow, it’s interesting to see these important questions all in one place. I (like most people) don’t consider myself a collection of opinions about radically divergent issues, but these questions are all crucial for me. I’m allergic to cats and catlike beasts. I fully expect someone to know that $1.00 plus 50% then minus 50% is $0.75. And I can’t deal with religious people. If I were still single and found someone who navigated this graph successfully I’d have certainly said yes to at least a first date. And then it would’ve been up to chemistry and the wine.

OkCupid Rules

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them. If you post a comment, please start by saying where you ended up on my flowchart, the one above. OkCupid users can expect this toy to be available to them in the next couple weeks. Until then, here’s another example from someone on the site.

The below chart is from a girl in London who proclaims herself “a tough ass to crack.” Indeed. She allowed me to post the image, but not the full pdf, so I can only give you an arm’s length view of a very complicated personality. This is what “dying alone” looks like as a png.

user X’s flowchart

Printed at a pleasant and readable resolution, this graph is 10 feet tall. And the best wallpaper ever. We’ve printed out a couple of these things and they look really cool—definitely frame-worthy. Do you think yours will end up this complicated?

OkCupid Rules

In other news: 32,000 people read our first blog post! Sadly, Diggy still rejected it because I used the word “rape” in the title.

Also, OkCupid co-founder Sam has started tweeting site news. If you find these blog posts interesting, add him on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/okcupid. He’ll let you know when Christian and I post new findings.

187 Responses to “Flowchart to My Heart”

  1. Tom says:

    This is actually really cool! It’d be interesting if there was an option to just view a persons flow chart right from there profile, but thats just me.

  2. Chris says:

    I ended up with Success! under the first graph.

    Looking forward to this toy!

  3. chris says:

    hey Tom, the flowchart exposes what someone wants in a date, which we assume is private. So users have to decide to share them. Requesting a flowchart will (1) email you a pdf, and (2) give you a permalink to a page where you can view it. So you can spread that link around or post it on your profile if you like.

    We have a concept of answering questions “publicly” on OkCupid. We could use those as a source for autographs. We’ll be thinking about it.

  4. Ned says:

    Success! Also, can’t wait for this to come out, it looks like a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to make one.

  5. Gabe says:

    Well, it looks like we won’t be dating unless I get a hypoallergenic cat, but what a cool toy! Looks like quite an undertaking. Nice work!

  6. Justin says:

    Will this be the NEW WTF? I like this.

    Of course, I have zero mandatory questions (much like I’ve never rated someone 1 or 5) so I might have to redo some questions in order to get an interesting graph.

    Also, damn, only if I’m paying. Stupid cat is more trouble than he’s worth.

  7. chris says:

    hey Justin – for lack of mandatory questions, it will fall back on very important ones. It won’t be the new WTF because it’s a one person chart. I think I have an idea of how we can do WTF differently, so more people use it and it’s less confusing. But it’ll be at least a few weeks before we get to it.

  8. Me says:

    I like the charts, but if users decide to publish them, won’t people be able to game the match % system? Simply look up the chart for someone you like, answer the relevant questions according to the chart, and voilá, OKC tells you you’re a perfect match.

  9. chris says:

    “Me” – that’s correct. The charts won’t be public. They’re a lot of fun to look at and share with friends, but I don’t think most people would want to post them. On the other hand, someone would have to like you a lot to change their answers just for your chart. They’d be screwing up the accuracy of their own matches.

  10. Jeremy Gillick says:

    This is incredibly interesting. How does it cascade the questions like that? For example, I’d think answering “Yes” to the first question about God in your graph would lead directly to “No Date” but instead it directs to another, logical, question before dismissing the person.

    Also, the question on marriage (“Are you married, engaged to be married, or in a relationship…”) seems confusing, since answering “Yes” leads down the path to Success. I’m sure you’re not looking to date married people, so how does that question fit in the graph?

  11. bornyesterday says:

    we’d get along well if it weren’t for my wanting to own a cat. i ended up at “only if you’re paying”

    I am definitely looking forward to getting to play with this

  12. Ashley says:

    I got “no date” after I said I’m not engaged, married etc.
    Anyway, this seems like a neat idea. I like it. I definitely miss the WTF reports though, it’s pretty important when someone seems awesome that I know where we may clash. It was one of my favorite parts of the site. Still, I like this chart idea, it’s entertaining.
    Cool, this is why this is the only dating site I use. :)

  13. Ben says:

    Hey Chris, you people have great ideas, look forward to these.

    Let’s get this straight:

    “If I were still single and found someone who navigated this graph successfully I’d have certainly said yes to at least a first date. ”

    So let’s for example say you were single a moment, so it doesn’t include your special someone taking the test and passing everything (maybe you’re married or intend to be):

    Your chart then says:
    You will *only* date married people or people who intend to be married?

    Interesting choice, but OK!

    This is where I fell off the chart and didn’t get a date, by the way. (I’m single)

    It’s interesting that you’re anxious that people who comment tell you where they end up succeeding/failing. I’m sure we’d all like to know too, so for people who choose to display this publically, maybe they could be interactive in some way to feedback to us some of our hardline traits which are preventing us getting dates, a suggestion for which follows:

    Perhaps an interactive option could be that in addition to ‘displaying/not displaying’ these flowcharts to other users: There’d be the option that they could be put into quiz form for other people, where the answer to one determines and reveals the next question (but the person answering doesn’t get an entire overview as in the flowchart), once they answer incorrectly then *bang* that’s it. Maybe people would only be allowed one bash at it each too so they couldn’t ‘game’ it. The results could be fed back to you to find out how many ppl succeed (and which ones!), and at what question most people tend to fall off the ladder, might lead to quite some self-examination!

  14. Sean says:

    “No date” for me.

    Can we get a link to the “dying alone” image in full size so we can read it?

  15. Different Tom says:

    This blog is awesome, again. Can’t wait to see this available.

  16. Johhny says:

    Only if I’m paying, apparently because I like cats.

    I’m curious how long mine would be, if I’m able to compete with the 10 foot tall graph lady at all. Although, I would guess mine would barely reach three feet.

    Shame we can’t read her flowchart, boy do I love flowcharts and that looks quite fun to follow along.

  17. lemamastone says:

    Apparently, only if I’m buying.

    This is a neat toy :)

  18. jadedone22 says:

    This is extremely cool!

    I am probably one of the few people who does not miss the WTF reports. The results usually scared me into not wanting to date the person I exchanged it with….

  19. Medlir says:

    This looks really awesome. I look forward to it being available to users!

  20. Ben says:

    Entirely up to you Chris, I don’t mind, I’m only being pedantic 😉 Does open the can of worms on how our even ‘mandatory’ answers to questions change depending on various conditions and over time though…

  21. Jon says:

    “This is what ‘dying alone’ looks like as a png.”

    that had me laughing for a solid 5 minutes.

  22. BobOm says:

    No date for me (I like cats and marriage too much).

    This is extremely cool. I look forward to seeing my own chart. But it also reminds me of a measure that may be related and that I’ve always wanted to see here: a “convolusion” scale.

    For example, Miss Dies Alone UK has an extremely long chart and very few ways to reach “success,” but Mr. Wants His Ex Back NY has a very simple chart. She seems more convoluted. However, he’s seeking only committed people (something quite rare, I’d guess), so the percentage of people reaching success on his chart may be just as low. So he may be as or more convoluted.

    That might be something that could be added to the chart or available separately, but I’d have to think about whether it should be public.

  23. Cyn says:

    “Only if you’re paying.”

    Mm, interesting. Devout membership in a very liberal religion got me there, methinks.

    I’d love to have the ability to do something like this, and it reflects something that matching itself doesn’t make clear: a lot of the time I marked a question as “mandatory” because one answer was a dealbreaker and the other three were fine.

  24. Kevin says:

    This is awesome! Bring it on!!!! I can’t wait!

  25. Nico says:

    i’m wondering if there’s any use in making the flowchart live so one can edit/update their questions. opinions/tastes/feelings change and upon viewing a flowchart, one might want to find ways to streamline their individual paths. :)

  26. A says:

    So much as liking cats is grounds for rejection? Jeez, you guys are fuckin’ hard to please.

  27. WelshEmz says:

    OMG – Where can I get one?? I shall make sure any potential ‘chatters’ have a copy before bothering me hahahaha

  28. capt_carl says:

    So when will OKC users be able to make a dating flowchart for themselves?

  29. Lorenzo1988 says:

    This is fantastic! Where can I get one?

  30. Lorenzo1988 says:

    Oh, and we should totally be doing it. 😛

  31. Erica says:

    I ended up at “only if you’re paying” (cats, again.) I don’t quite understand how this works, though. How is something kinda-sorta a dealbreaker, or a reversable dealbreaker? If I’m OK with victimless crimes and splash out on a nice enough restaurant you’ll learn to love my cats?

    My mandatory questions are all truly MANDATORY – if someone has tortured animals, is married, or doesn’t believe in evolution, he’s outta there – no matter what other compensatory traits he may have.

  32. chris says:

    Erica – the chart assumes the questions are all mandatory. The only way to get to “Yes” is by not getting any wrong at all. “Only if you’re paying” is a nice, playful way of saying no. We thought the graph would be more fun with that possibility. Note that the graph doesn’t necessarily contain ALL your mandatory questions, although it will be able to, at your request.

  33. J.R. says:

    Chris, your flowchart graphic is not at a high enough resolution for me to see the boxes, even if I save it to my HD and open it up seperate.

  34. misti says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing this as an actual option. I love me some graphs!

  35. soleculo says:

    This is incredible stuff! I’m no statistician, but if I were, I’m sure I’d have to wash my underwear right now.

    You are sitting on such a gold mine of psychological and sociological data! If I were the owner/president/god of OKCupid, I think I’d hire someone to do nothing but this sort of thing. Wow.

    You’re a good writer, too.

  36. Randello says:

    Aw, and I was hoping the ‘only if you’re paying’ translated to a maybe. So does the chart become more complex the more questions you’ve answered? This and your google trends mashup are both brilliant and hilarious, keep up the good work.

  37. Bush256 says:

    Wow, when will this be available to the layman? Unfortunately, I expect mine to be rather simple, but still, it’d be cool to see it action.

    Will there be the option to see other people’s or will we have the option to publish/hide our own?

  38. LithAmoniel says:

    I can’t wait to see what my chart looks like, I’m sure my boyfriend will be interested to see which questions lead him to doom.

    And as for the issue of publishing this, if someone is that desperate to get a date with you, and you don’t notice the inaccuracies in their speech, then it’s your date rape. Also, when planning to meet up with someone from online or similar, aren’t you a little wary if they have the exact same preferences and views you do? This provides hardly any room for conversation and discussion, and most of the best couples that I’ve come across have stark differences between them. The guy I’m dating and I have tons of things we are on opposites about, and it leads to some great conversation, and for our passion on the topics taken to other activities, if you catch my lack of subtlety.

    Oh, and only if I’m paying because I dig cats. Insert obvious ‘man who doesn’t like pussy’ joke here. :-p

  39. Dan says:

    This is very nifty. I can’t wait to use it!

    BTW, you’d only date me if I was paying. Fuck you I love my cat. 😉

  40. r-ant says:

    Looks like I’m buying. That cat question cuts a lot of people I bet. I think my graph would look much more like the second. Dying alone, here I come!

  41. Cavalary says:

    Great “toy”, now let’s just see it implemented so all users will actually have full use of it… (And WTF reports were handy for people you already knew at least somewhat. It’s nice to be able to identify any “problem areas” like that.)
    As for mine, I think it might even top that 10 ft one. I also think it’d be realistically impossible to get to a “yes” (even ignoring the fact that I reject the whole concept of dating and also the idea of anyone new in that sense). I’m weird.
    But I don’t really understand how they’re made, how the questions are linked together like that, especially when it includes “saving” questions that more or less logically pop up after wrong answers to others.

  42. Leah says:


    We would have gone on a date if i paid, but it would have been definite if I didn’t own a cat. I really like this!

  43. Michael_Darkness says:

    This “toy”, by itself, made me go back to OKC and revise EVERY SINGLE question that I had under Mandatory (163).

    My Mandatory questions are up there (~150), but, I’d be REALLY interested to see how mine’s will look. I’m also REALLY interested to see how EVERYONE ELSE’s will look!

    This might increase the match rate in OKC substantially!

    If this is a “toy”, then, I’d REALLY like to play with it!

  44. Ciara says:

    I ended up with a success. Very very cool toy. I’m gonna keep a copy of mine in my wallet.

  45. Becca says:

    This was awesome! I ended up at the “Only if you’re paying” because I’m a fan of cats. I can’t wait to see my own preferences mapped out like this.

  46. marblegatherer says:

    How can I see my own? Publish this toy, even in beta! It is so super cool!

  47. UniqueMaterial says:

    Intriguing. You wouldn’t date me. LOL. That’s okay – you’ve just showed me what my own mind process looks like in a flow chart. Bravo.

  48. trixie_nonyobiz says:

    For what it’s worth, we should indeed do it…doubtless the straightest path to success I’ve ever enjoyed. So I’m eager to see my own flowchart when it’s available—until then, I think this will be good fun to introduce this at the next Psychoanalytic Society meeting.

    Incidentally, is it a function of presentation or does the chart for “User X” closely resemble the helix? By extension, do you find the graphics are more tightly wound as the “ass becomes tougher to crack?”

  49. cyniccat says:

    Are you sure you didn’t get the “are you in a serious relationship you believe will lead to marriage” question backward on the flow chart? Unless you only date married or engaged people… which doesn’t logically make sense to me.

  50. LZA says:

    I also was disqualified by the cat question. Okay I’ll pay, but you have to understand that wherever I go Precious Princess Flufferkins goes with me.

    Is TATC’s chart so long because she has many more questions marked mandatory, whereas only 15 mandatory questions are used in your chart?

    (And why is Back Door Man stuck in my head now?)

    Great idea! Making a quiz out of the flow chart that any user can take sounds like another one. I wonder if anyone, anyone at all, would be able to honestly find the golden date on the other side of Dying Alone’s labyrinth of requirements.