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. Sherrod says:

    This is really really cool. Innovation at its finest. I can’t wait to see what my and my friends’ flowcharts look like!

  2. Alias Temple says:



    How many really want it and what is there perception of it”LOVE”? I Think that People think quite differently about it One persons love is when they are happy and comfortable in there surroundings,there job there home or mate they sometimes may complain about but when it’s gone they would say “they loved that job”…..another perception might be worship…. a god,goddess, or an object they value highly…..there are plenty more views I’m sure like a state of ecstasy,nirvana, or for instance…There was one point in my life I was in a special place at a very special time surrounded by nothing but the highest vibrations of happiness surrounded by tens of thousands of people all on there feet all screaming making as much noise as there body’s could in appreciation of this time and this place we were in I was dead center of that huge mass of people there energy was focused in my direction and right in front of me the source and reason for this gathering the source was also in this ecstatic state of awe at the mass hysterical joy of it all so it bounced right back at me …,all of that energy…. and for a few minutes ..I saw a mandala in front of me a moving multi colored mandala doorway or portal with the symbol of a heart in the center of this translucent “doorway” is the best way I can now describe it but it WAS indescribable no words could capture its elegance and mystery and oh so obvious simpleness it was just so easy and just like always there but we cannot see it it’s all knowing “LOVE” I think I needed to capture it to describe it so I think I would say it is a doorway into another dimension that IS around us constantly but we cannot perceive with our rationality.The Door of Perception…….I was in bliss for days and felt a massive load had been taken off of my back I had been carrying for many years.
    My back IS now breaking with a far heavier load and many more years have past since that glorious revelation. I need to loose it.soon……………………………………………………………..

    The problem is we cannot make this happen….I know the cure….I cannot make it happen….it just has to come on it’s own naturally.



  3. sassinak says:

    i have cats and ended up with ‘only if you’re paying’ but without cats you lurved me.

    in other words, we have the same flowchart. want to play!

  4. Eliza says:

    I got “only if you’re paying”… what can I say, I’m a cat lover.

    I soo want this to be a OKC feature!

  5. sleeplongtime says:

    That is pretty cool and I would be curious to see what the 4,118 questions I’ve answered would look like. If it ever became an option that was availiable to us, I hope that it would be one that we would have an option of selecting who gets to see what we’ve chosen.

  6. Rhamphoryncus says:

    Success. Waiting to see this become available.

  7. BobMcGee says:

    I think you made a mistake…

    If someone’s bad at math, you’d only date them if they were married or in a serious relationship headed towards marriage? That makes no sense.

  8. omny says:

    this is genius

  9. Cormorant says:

    I would have ended up as either green or yellow… I like cats but I’m allergic to them, however if I lived in the country (as I once did), I’d have an outdoor cat. Somehow, graph or no, I don’t think you’re my type, though. :)

    The issue I have with this idea is that I don’t remember what I’ve said was mandatory and why. I’ve answered a fair few questions, and sometimes when I’m in a different mood than earlier series of answers, I think that my results have gotten skewed. It would be interesting to see – but only if I could reference past questions to change as necessary.

  10. Erich Riesenberg says:

    Hello – There is one fatal flaw, there needs to be the opportunity for the charts to explain themselves, perhaps with footnotes. For instance, I think Chris’ chart contradicts itself when it mentions being super logical and thinking homosexuality is not a sin. I am gay and was raised Catholic and literally think homosexuality may be a sin, in the same way polyester is a sin, at least for people who read the Bible. I am agnostic so would probably go with the no, being gay is not a sin, but still might answer yes in a Christian sense although personally I don’t think it is a sin.

    So, an opportunity to add footnotes could be helpful for those of us who are super logical.

  11. Punk Patriot says:

    I like it.

    One flaw, that i see though– how do you know which questions are secondary?

    Like– if there’s somebody who NEVER SHOWERS but answered your questions in a way that they never encountered that question in the flow of the chart?

    It seems far from perfect.

    Still super interesting.

  12. azureai says:

    I definitely want one! Oh, and I got all the way to the end, then flunked out. Sorry, Chris…we’re not a match.

  13. John says:

    I ended up with “Only if you’re paying” because of the cat question. I definitely would love to see what mine looks like!

  14. Jesse says:

    I WANT TO KNOW HOW TO MAKE THIS FLOWCHART WHERE DO I GO TO ACTUALLY MAKE IT ! !! ! Its the best thing since sliced bread !

  15. Ricky says:

    Wow, this is amazing! I ended up as SUCCESS! Would love to be able to make one of these charts for myself. BrazReis on okcupid.

  16. Lisa says:

    No Date because of the cat question :(

  17. Gretchypooo says:

    I got; No > No, creationism has no place in public schools > $1.00 > Yes > No > No, I dislike cats > No > No, it’s not a sin > SUCCESS.

    This is pretty cool. When this becomes available, will we be able to view others? ie, a WTF request sort of thing – “Show me your Flowchart” requests, so that we can see where things go wrong or just how right they go with other users?

    Awesome idea, I can’t wait!

  18. vettechinohio says:

    If not for my penchant of collecting cats, as is the nature of my work, I would have been prime date fodder for you. Alas, due to my being owned by several cats, it’s only if I pay (:

    I think the flowcharts are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see mine and compare it with my boyfriend of four years, who found me through OkCupid.


  19. Dave says:

    Ahahahahah, I am SO glad I’m not the only one who makes the apple price question mandatory for potential suitesses.

  20. divinitywitheld says:

    I totally want to see this as an option in okcupid i would love it!

  21. Peter says:

    I am quite pleased with the fact that you added in that question about the sale! Never before have I witnessed something that would have rewarded me for being “geeky.” Of course the fact that I like cats ended up killing everything, but it was interesting while it lasted!

  22. utoughi says:

    For all of those who thinks homosexuality is a sin… well, strictly logically speaking, it is not.

    In the Bible – and only in the Old Testament: no trace of that at the times of Jesus, which is quite reassuring to think about, since he was hanging around with twelve apostols, homosexuality was quite spread amongst Romans and he refused to mate with women… – the only thing that really upsets Jeovah (God) is the _practice_ of certain sexual intercourses. Which is, by the way, absolutely not reserved to gay couples, of course!…

    Just being homosexual itself it is never mentioned as a sin. The Church itself has never condemned that, coherently – only the sexual practice, which in their vision (which is not mine, absolutely) must be only reserved to procreation.


  23. Adrian says:

    Well, I’m a guy, but that notwithstanding, I’d get a date with you!

    Anyway, I think this would be great. I also think that we should have the option of forcing people to go through our flowchart, by answering the relevant questions, before they’re allowed to talk to us.

    And how is the order the questions appear in determined? You could end up with different results depending on which questions get asked in which order. Also, why is it that it seems like your whole flowchart is double-elimination, meaning you need to answer two questions “wrong” before getting sent to “no date,” except the homosexuality question?

    Oh, and the super-logical person in me wants to point out that since all these are mandatory questions, the flowchart should basically be linear, with each and every “wrong” answer leading to no date, and only by correctly answering each and every question should someone get to a date. Otherwise, some questions are “less mandatory” than others.

    This could be a very interesting way to let people edit their answers to previously asked questions, in a visual sense, rather than having to go back and look at them in normal question format. At the very least, when viewing my own flowchart, I should be able to click on a question and be taken to a page where I can re-answer said question.

    Last, yes, I think my flowchart will be more complicated than user x’s, since I (apparently) have more mandatory questions than she does (87 vs 74).

  24. Kutaly says:

    I so want this on a Tshirt!

  25. Shy at First says:

    I think this flowchart idea is pretty cool. I wonder what mine looks like.
    I’d get “No Date”. I’m “religious people”… but that’s okay. You’d get “No Date” for me because you’re male (not to mention already married, hehe).

  26. Atg336 says:

    I like the way this flowchart actually visualizes all the profile characteristics and date requirements of a user, sort of like seeing a favorite book become a movie.

  27. sublibrarian says:

    I like this new feature, but i still liked WTF reports better. Where are they? it was by far the best feature on the site.

  28. Todd says:

    Erich: This is an ongoing problem with the way questions are structured on OKC. For example – I love cats, but have no desire to own one.

    It’s unavoidable with a system that allows users to submit the questions. Eventually you just have to ask yourself, “do I want to meet the kind of person who would want me to answer (a) or (b),” I think. Part of how you make that decision is ultimately itself part of the selection criteria.

  29. dancingirl222 says:

    I think this is a great idea, can’t wait to see mine!
    Oh and for the record I got the option of only if you’re paying. Basically we seemed to agree on everything, but I have cats.

  30. RawCode says:

    Totally epic idea. Looks to be a must have for the site.

  31. name says:

    “For instance, I think Chris’ chart contradicts itself when it mentions being super logical and thinking homosexuality is not a sin or that humans evolved from monkeys”


  32. Adam says:

    First off: I went seamlessly through to “Success: Let’s Do It!”

    And I want this flowchart business soon. Please.

  33. Carfly says:

    If I’d answered all of your mandatory questions, I’d have gotten the green light. I skipped a couple of them because they weren’t that important to me when considering someone to date. Which raises the question, where does the flowchart end up if some of your mandatory questions haven’t been answered?

    I love the idea! Will it be the replacement for the WTF reports? I’ve been very disappointed for a while that there is no longer a way to request a WTF report.

  34. SimNimbus says:

    I soo want this to be a OKC feature!

  35. negativeKay says:

    I came off as no date on yours several times…though I wouldn’t date a married man anyway. 😉

    I think it’s interesting. I’d love see my flowchart….I’m not entirely sure how I feel about other people seeing it… it could probably out run die alone girls…though I guess that would depend on how loosely you’d define the word “date”. I’ve had offline meet ups/hung out with several okcupid guys who I knew (and was clear upfront with them) had no long term potential.

    Looking at other people’s comments, I’m wondering if gender and/or age, religion….basic stat type things should factor up top. Some of those like gender and religion are pretty important to me on the dating scale…other things like income not so much (but might be important to someone else who didn’t find religion or gender important).

  36. Sing_le says:

    WTF Reports CAN be requested,if you follow instructions in the relevant topics of the Help & FAQ forum.There was much agitation over this.I’m now over 130 Mandatories among over 7800 questions answered,my flowchart would probably make Miss Dying Alone’s look minimal.

  37. Artsy_Urbanista says:

    About the self-confidence by state — I think that you may find that it correlates well with depression prevalence by state. New Englanders have a much higher rate of depression due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which of course takes a toll on their self-esteem.

    Love the posts: you have a gold mine of info here!

  38. beijonaboca says:

    I would be interested in seeing a graph/map that looks for trends on the questions with “correct answers”. For example, $.75 is the only correct answer to the above math question. I wonder what gender/age/location/”claimed education level” trends there might be with people who marked it as important but answered incorrectly. Are there any other similar math/geometry questions that are popular?

  39. Dave says:

    I want this flowchart so I can post it in my office…when will we expect this?

  40. karin says:

    I’m afraid my flowchart would look like the 10-foot one. I’m pretty easy to get along with, but there are so many deal-breakers for me on the way to love. I would love love love to be able to do this so I can spot my inconsistencies and work on improving myself and my matches.

  41. David says:

    I got as far as we won’t be having an abortion if you get me pregnant. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen because, as a dude, that birth would really hurt me.

    When will any user be able to access this new feature? This is one ofhte coolest things I’ve seen in a long time.

  42. julia says:

    you and i ended up dating. but i think i can hold back the tears of realizing that you’re totally unavailable.

    that said, why are you only considering the mandatory questions? just to simplify it? a lot of the time i say things are irrelevant to me because most questions are so heavily opinion-based and i don’t think someone having opinions different from my own is such a bad thing… hmm… still a nifty idea, though. maybe i should go answer more question…

  43. iduru says:

    oh god I hope my flow chart is not that complicated…if so yes I suppose I will in fact die alone….

  44. Bertolt says:

    I got “only if you’re paying”, but I guess it doesn’t really matter since I don’t -date- guys. Hanging out for a beer though would be ok :)

    Anyhoo… I think it’s a really fun toy to play around with, so definitely should be in there. It would be good though if you could arrange the order of questions yourself. And then there could be something like a widget on your page, that you can include if you like, where you go through each of these questions, one at a time, and then get your results. This way it might actually encourage people to write to someone, or to actually do the whole thing.

    Congrats to being very inventive at that :)

  45. L says:

    Oh wow, I can’t date you because I’m not married/taken!

    I tried making my own flowchart toy and it’s pretty neat! It gets messy after 20 questions though.

    SUGGESTION: let users define one or two “deal-breaker” questions to be set at the beginning of the flowchart. I’ve seen some charts that rendered the user virtually un-dateable because of a somewhat political question at the top of his chart. :)

  46. Durandal says:

    In these charts, you can arrive in either the “Sure!” or “If you’re paying” end state by passing through only half the questions. Missing any two dumps you into “No”, but you can bypass large sections of questions you’d get wrong.

    In all the charts I’ve seen so far, there is a straight shot path from “Would I go on a date with you?” to “Sure!” that passes through half the questions, and requires you to get each one “right”. There’s also a second tier of questions below that path, which leads to “If you’re paying” provided you don’t miss any more after getting dumped into it. Imagine that a potential date gets all the top-tier questions wrong, and all the bottom-tier questions right. You would expect getting half the questions wrong would lead to “No!”, but instead they bypass everything along the top and end up in “If you’re paying”. Likewise if they get all the top-tier questions right and all the bottom-tier questions wrong.

    Maybe this is working as intended, but it’s not working as described.

  47. Emily says:

    I got “no” and I’m pretty sure it’s because I said evolution and creationism should both be taught in schools. I can’t tolerate religious people either, but I think having both sides of an issue is important, especially in an educational setting.

    The flowchart has the same problem the match questions have: sometimes things aren’t so cut and dry.

    But regardless, I love the flowcharts! So fun! I made my boyfriend follow three of them. He got the date every time.

  48. alexis says:


    and a great way to weed out nut jobs. Of course, nut jobs will ignore the obvious and persist anyway-because they are nuts. I would need to work mine to screen for crazies and the emotionally reticent, for sure.

  49. green_zebra says:

    Is it possible to get one of these yet? Do you take bribes?

  50. Jess says:

    This is fantastic. I would have to pay, since I have a cat…

    I cannot wait to see mine. Also, do you think that “super-logical” one is necessary? I mean, you made love into a flowchart.