This Is How Tinder Rates Your Desirability

Everyone that’s used Tinder has wondered about the app’s inner workings. Why do I see these people in my queue? How do I appear to others? Why does everyone have a picture of themselves next to a sleeping tiger?

An article in Fast Company helped pull back the curtain just a crack on the way the app rates its users. That’s right, you are rated, but it’s not as simple as “hot or not.” The company refers to the ratings as an “Elo score” — just like is used to rank chess players — and it’s not just a rating of attractiveness. Other factors that are included are listing workplace or education, and how many people on whom you swipe right return the favor.

"It’s not just how many people swipe right on you," Tinder CEO Sean Rad told Fast Company. "It’s very complicated. It took us two and a half months just to build the algorithm because a lot of factors go into it."

So why should you care? An app rating your desirability affects who you see and, more importantly, who sees you. If you’re highly rated, you’re more likely to be pushed to the top of high-rated people’s queues. Low ratings could mean not many people see your profile. Think of it like the difference between sitting near the front of the bar versus standing in a back corner.

We can’t help but scour the article for more hints of how the algorithm works. Like this from Jonathan Badeen, Tinder’s VP of product, who compares the rankings to World of Warcraft.

"I used to play a long time ago, and whenever you play somebody with a really high score, you end up gaining more points than if you played someone with a lower score," he tells Fast Company. "It’s a way of essentially matching people and ranking them more quickly and accurately based on who they are being matched up against."

Even if your rating seems now (not that you’d ever find it out), it’s helpful to think of the Elo score as a generic rating of how you appear to the Tinder populace.

“People are really polarized on even just a photographic level: Some people really favor facial hair, while some do not. Same thing with tattoos, photos with pets or children, excessive outdoors shots, or photos of you with a tiger,” Tinder data engineer Tor Solli-Nowlan says.

Ultimately, the rating score probably isn’t telling you more than what you instinctively understand. Also, you’ll match with the people you would match with regardless. That’s just how the app works. We’re all beautiful on the inside, never forget that.

Whatever you do, don’t become one of those people who goes to the app store page to complain that they don’t get matches.
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