Does signing up with an online dating site have a connection with Reddit membership? Many men and women head to Reddit after signing up for two popular dating web services, a new study has found.
The study found that users on OKCupid and mobile-based Tinder aren't able to determine social norms or effective match-making techniques on the services, so they use Reddit to learn tips about online dating.
"We found that participants used these Reddit forums to share experience and to offer advice, and the forums played a major role in shaping how participants used the dating sites," said researcher prof Keith Edwards of Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing.
"There are two thriving subreddit groups for OkCupid and Tinder that are vital to helping users understand dating techniques, both on the sites and in general," Edwards added.
Researchers interviewed participants on the subreddits and observed the public forums, which collectively have more than 95,000 members and 1,400 new posts a day at any given point.
Many subreddit discussions centred on what not to do, with users providing cautionary examples of harassing or unwanted messages and other anti-social behaviour.
Others warned users against risking their own privacy by sharing their own photos from other social networks on the dating sites, which might allow others to determine the user's real identity.
A more benign problem on the dating sites: boring or generic profiles.
"As one user commented 'everyone is always fun-loving, loves to laugh, loves to travel and hangout with friends,'" Edwards revealed.
The authors suggest design changes that could bring dating sites more in line with modern user expectations of socialising on the web.
One possibility is developing online dating sites to be more community-centric, as shown by the value of outsourced communities on Reddit.