Posted by Realsociology on 4th January 2013
Plenty of Fish is one of the world’s most popular dating sites. There’s an interesting thread of videos on youtube consisting of disgruntled guys who have used this site moaning about their lack of responses from girls.
One ex-user of the site (Steve Sanders) even conducted what can be termed a ‘layman’s field experiments’ to establish why he was getting zero response from POF women.
It struck me that this is a great way to introduce some of the limitations of the experimental method in the social sciences (it’s a pretty bad experiment!) Teachers can cut and paste the questions onto a worksheet if they have the time…
Watch the details of the experiment below – Answers below… (NB – You only need watch up to about 4 minutes in, then you can skip to just before 6 mins to get the conclusions)
Q1 What hypothesis does he start off with?
- ‘Girls will only respond to hot guys’ on plenty of fish
Q2 What does Steve do in order to test his hypothesis?
- He set up an alternative profile with the same details as his, but with a picture of a hot guy rather than a
- He then emailed 6 women from each account – from his own he sent a ‘well crafted email’ and from the fake ‘hot guy’ account, he sent a basic email saying only ‘hey girl, want to party’
Q3 In what ways did Steve stratify his sample?
- He split them into with and without children and then into three different age groups.
- In fairness to Steve, this is actually a good example of a ‘stratified sampling’ technique that enhances representativeness
Q4 What did all of the women in his sample have in common?
- They all stated in their profiles that they wanted a relationship
Q5 What were the results of Steve’s experiment?
- The hot guy received 4/6 return emails, and dozens of unsolicited emails
- Steve using his original email received only 1 reply
Q6: What conclusion does Steve draw from the results of his experiment? (about 6 minutes in)
- Plenty of fish girls only look for hot guys
Q7: What further conclusions does he draw?
- Because all of the women in his sample say they are looking for a relationship yet respond to a guy who says he only wants to party he concludes that ‘women are idiots’
- He goes on to say that if you’re a hot guy, you should go on Plenty of Fish because you can get laid every night because ‘women are fucking idiots’, although this is somewhat contradiced by his opening frame (1 second in) which claims that ‘Plenty of Fish Girls are whores’.
Q8: In the light of this experiment are Steve’s conclusions valid?
There are a few limitations of Steve’s field experiment
- A more sensible conclusion (other than all women are fucking idiots) would be that the women in his sample do want a relationship, but they also want sex with hot guys too.
- There may be other reasons why Steve gets no responses – He may just be very ugly, and a ‘well crafted’ email from a 4/10 rather than a 1/10 may get as many responses as the hot guy.
- He is quite a bitter individual, this may come across in his emails – he may think he’s writing a ‘well crafted’ email, but it in fact it could come across as creepy.
- Obviously the sample size is too small to generalize from.
- And are these ‘girls’ or ‘women’???
Oh and one final thing, Steve, I’m sorry to tell you that not all women on POF are ‘fucking idiots’. I met* a fearsomely attractive, intelligent woman through POF just this week in fact, so maybe there are some ‘whores’ on the site, but there’s some precious gems too.
(*Mind you, I am pretty hot, so maybe that’s to be expected!)