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Tinder revolutionized the dating world when it was launched five years ago.

The dating app’s unique design inspired a surge of location-based “swipe” apps which collectively morphed online dating from an odd, secretive habit into an acceptable way to meet partners.

Like many singles, I had created an online dating profile. Now I decided to take it more seriously—these days, I seem to hear fewer and fewer stories of real life meet-cutes.

Meanwhile, online, I could decide between sites with free memberships, such as Plenty of Fish; paid sites with an older, more earnest clientele, such as e Harmony; niche sites such as and Gluten-Free Singles; and many others, all slightly differentiated by price, demographics, and objectives.

Of the messages that did make it to my inbox, many were from men who were not a good match for me.

My filter settings are pretty generous—if you have a compatibility rating of higher than 70 percent, are of at least “average” attractiveness, and send more than a three-word message—“Hey” and “Yo girl” are not acceptable—your message will make it to me.

I would take the time to read a guy’s profile and then mention common interests or things I found interesting, posing an easy question for him at the end—but I still received few responses.

It was a year later when OKCupid founder Christian Rudder published , a book which collects illustrated data visualizations with stats from OKC user profiles.

The book offers incredible insight into topics like our habits, our political beliefs, our speech patterns — and the assumptions many people still make about entire populations.

The algorithm-based sites of the early 2000s now look obsolete, and for millions, dating has been boiled down to one essential question: “Is this person hot?

”But, in drastically streamlining the attraction process, and entirely by accident, Tinder became the skeleton key to unlocking data on racism in America.

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