Improving Dating Sites to Rein in Asshole Men

CMtJjNPU8AEHmqtI’m not surprised at all, and I’ve been guilty of over-messaging in the past.  There’s a fine line because I know that as a spacey individual there are numerous times when I’ll see some sort of message or notifcation and file it away for later answering only to have my brain send the filing cabinet over a cliff or something.  Sometimes additional messages really help me out.

But that’s not what this is.  This is men assuming that women are interested until proven otherwise.  This is a problem.  Ben Schoen (harassment) provided a pretty good example earlier in the month assuming that as long as Grace Spelman didn’t explicitly tell him off or block him, that she was still potentially interested.  Ironically Spelman did provide what the men in the above are requesting, an explicit ‘no’, but all that did was make Schoen’s tone more menacing.

This is hardly the only example of men acting like assholes on dating sites.  (Although let’s be honest here, Facebook and Twitter are not dating sites and no one has any reasonable expectation to be able to use them as such.)  If you’re a woman, your average dating site experience is probably akin to having a bucket full of hotdogs dumped on your head.  I’ve seen the inboxes of my female friends and they’re innundated with absolute garbage, predominatly one-worders (“hey”), one liners, or suggestive messages that come way too early.

The problem in the image above isn’t that women don’t respond often enough, it’s that the sheer amount of trash wears them down to the point where it barely seems worth it to respond to the few messages that are decent and engaging.  Gay and bi men aren’t that different from their straight counterparts so I often have this same problem.  Yesterday someone opened with “Damn you look hot”, to which my response was “no.”  Hopefully he’ll learn something.

There are actually a lot of solutions that don’t blame women for not wanting to deal with every single asshole that pops into their inbox.  Let’s instead try to curb some of this shitty male behavior (some of these may already be in effect on some sites in a limited or even full capacity):

Make blocking simple and effective.  Permanently ban users that circumvent blocks with sock puppet accounts.  Notify law enforcement of users circumventing blocks with additional accounts as this is harassment and stalking.  Work with other dating and social networking sites to keep these people from finding another place to stalk and harass.   We’ll get the no brainers out of the way early.

Don’t let users download other users’ photos unless they have specifically been marked as acceptable to download.   I realize this can’t be stopped entirely, but at least make it hard.

Don’t ban users that publicly accuse someone of rape on the site.  For fuck’s sake, seriously FetLife?

Ban users that try to flag other users for not responding.  You are not entitled to anyone’s attention.

Implement a minimum character requirement for all first messages.  Simple enough, makes guys at least try.

Give users the ability to report accounts for overly sexual or suggestive messages.  If you start talking about banging right away and the other person is into it, great!  If not, they can flag your account and users can see dudes that are going to ask for nudes two messages in.  Allow users to filter accounts that get flagged for this.  This is great because if you find that gross, you don’t have to see those people, but if you want to send out nudes, you can go right ahead and do that.  The internet is awesomse!

Show a public posting of how many first messages someone is sending in a given period of time.  Think someone is just blasting out form messages hoping for a hit?  Now you can see.

The ability to filter out messages that don’t contain a keyword.  I see a lot of women who will put something like “use ‘bustier rose garden taco’ in your first message” in their profiles to try and limit their inbox to guys that have actually read their profile and want to interact with them as a human being instead of as genitalia.  Give users a “filter out messages that don’t contain ______” option.

Give users as many filters as they could possibly want actually.  Why not?


About Alex

I am awesome.

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