I had a Tinder account for a couple of days. Mostly because soon prior of that I acquired an experimental Facebook account, and thought that now that I have Facebook credentials, why not have a look at that Tinder thing.
By now, I cannot use it anymore because the authentication code step no longer works for me. I think that my phone number was flagged as "problematic" due to the fact that my Facebook profile is not set up, and I had to reset the app several times, prompting their defence system to reject me as likely being a bot.
The app itself is all right, even though it is absurdly buggy, above all for something so popular. You would think that having such a simple user interface would be a cause for perfection, but it's not (at least the Android version). In particular the chat system is awful (but I guess that anything looks awful compared to WhatsApp).
I wish that Tinder could let its users specify what they are in for: friends searching, casual hookups, or serious relationships, and let you see only people of the category(ies) you selected. In fact, why not having a separate profile for each category ?
I could share stories about my profile, the (often interesting) women (at least things that looked like women) I interacted with, the nice effects of the search filters, etc. But none of that really matters (not today anyway). Today I will talk about how I would use Tinder if I had to do it again...
I think that after A/B testing I have found the correct pictures for my profile. No problem here. Same for the app profile description text (which has to fit in 500 characters). This one took a lot of iterations, but I managed to state the essential, including my height which really seems to be the most important thing women on Tinder want to know about a guy... (weird!). I could also talk about my "long profile", which I got into the habit of sharing after matching, and what it created; but this would need an entire new weblog entry....
So there are essentially two things I would do:
1. Upon match, make it very clear to the person (woman) who matched me, that due to fake profiles and a huge amount of time wasters on the app, that it is mandatory that we have a phone call within 24 hours and do sit for a coffee within 3 days of matching. Refusal will be met with a shoot-first-ask-questions-later unmatch of that profile. No exception (even if, and above all if, you are cute). None. Zero. You don't want to talk on the phone with me and you find excuses why you cannot reach your nearest Starbucks, you are gone from my chat list.
2. The way I did it the first time was to have strict age and location requirements (the two filtering options the app provides). Because of this I ran out of profiles to look at, which I found was great. This means that my swiping process ended (and only restarted few profiles at a time, as myself or people were moving within London). That being said, I would do it differently. I would have relaxed filters but I would have a mental deal with myself to only swipe right ("like" in the Tinder universe) less than 5% of the profiles. So I would have a running counter of left versus right swipes, and never let the right swipes be more than 5% of the past, say, 100 swipes. The reason for this would be to force myself, my mind, to make better choices. Then I would happily apply an adaptation of the hiring algorithm I talked about recently.
The first condition obviously helps fighting fake profiles and trolls but also forces (real) women to stop doing what the second condition is meant to prevent: Accumulating more and more people in your collection of matches and not being able to make a choice, because of the feeling that "maybe I should try more profiles". This results in women who cannot make a freaking move because of Death by Choice (tm). They spend so much time getting new guys in, that the mental process of matching new people takes over any other mental operations (including calling the guy to agree on a coffee break, or a date). Tinder, in fact, preys on women natural feature of choosing a partner among a small collection of suitors by giving them millions of guys to choose from; then predictably: stack overflow, frozen system, blue mental screen of death...
The problem with Tinder is actually not Tinder, it's the fact that the human mind is not designed to deal with Big Data; because this leads to DBIO: Death By Information Overload. Instead, let a program deal with the data, use your mind for what really matters: smiling to the guy sitting in front of you, the lucky one who passed all your automated tests :)
ps: This is actually a big problem across all dating apps and websites. No matter if they are simplistic (like Tinder) or complex and ran by maths genuises (like OKCupid used to be), they do not enforce actual real life interactions, even phone calls, and in the end women are rendered mentally incapacited due to DBIO. A dramatic way to solve that problem would be a variation of Tinder with the additional rule: "You match somebody, you need to have a real life contact with that person, even a phone call (but preferably a coffee break), as long as this has not happened, you won't be matched with anybody else..."