The future of rate-me sites: amismartornot?

dunce

I have about a million ideas in my head for web sites I’d make if I had infinite resources. But since I don’t have infinite resources, I’m going to advertise my ideas publicly in the hopes that someone will steal them. I’m not possessive about ownership, I just want to play.

Recently I’ve been mulling over the (albeit nebulous) details of one of the web sites I’d most like to see. It would be a cross between a “how well do you know yourself” site and a ratings community, but with a twist— it’s all about perceived intelligence. Here’s how it works, in general:

Step 1. The first thing that happens when you sign up is you takes a test to measure your intelligence. I personally like the IQ test at snopi.com because it doesn’t require the user to understand English, but really it doesn’t matter what test we use providing that everyone is measured with the same ruler (my rants about the uselessness of IQ tests will come later; for now let’s just have fun). Then, after the test is finished, you are not notified of your score, but rather that score is stored on the database and you’re taken on to

Step 2, where you’re presented with a list of various potential essay titles (“in a language of your choice” would be great). You can click on any essay title that interests you, at which point you are prompted with a form window to write a short essay (no longer than 500 words) on the subject you chose. After you’re finished, you can go back to the list as many times as you want and write as many essays on different subjects as you care to. The more essays each user writes, the more fun it is for everyone (and perhaps more accurate as well?).

Step 3. Now, the fun part. After you write at least one essay (you can go back to step 2 later, as many times as you want), you can then go to the “ratings” section of the site, where you are randomly presented with an essay written by another (anonymous) user. After reading the essay, you then have to decide whether you think the author of the essay is

  • more intelligent than you,
  • not as intelligent as you, or
  • about as intelligent as you.

Once you’ve clicked on the appropriate rating button, you’re given another essay, and so on, until you choose to stop.

I haven’t really thought too much about the statistics part of the site, but I’m sure one of you out there could come up with some great ideas— perhaps as a user you have to wait a while before you find out how smart you are compared with the other people on the site, or perhaps you never find out. Maybe you only learn the percentage difference between how smart you think you are and how smart you actually are. There could be charts and graphs comparing users by country or other criteria. The possibilities are endless.

Now, of course an idea like this has problems, and there would have to be a huge disclaimer on the site that “this is for entertainment purposes only.” For one thing, some people are going to argue that whatever IQ test you give them isn’t fair to them because [insert reason here]. And they probably have a point. But again, if you make it clear that it’s just for fun, I think the right people with the right coding skills could turn it into a popular site. For my money, it would certainly beat rating photos of people who are desperately trying too hard to find someone who wants to have sex with them. But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I’m curious to hear your modifications or additions. Fire away.

  • http://www.collectiveheartburn.com/ Jonathan

    So this would be better because it’ll give people a chance to measure intelligence instead of looks from photos, in hopes to find people to have sex with based on smarts and witt. The old, “I’m hot for your brain” scenario. And with all that built tension of, “does she think my brain is sexy? Should I have used a better metaphor? Did I spell check? Maybe some find misspeleng sexy?”

    Love it.

  • http://www.collectiveheartburn.com Jonathan

    So this would be better because it’ll give people a chance to measure intelligence instead of looks from photos, in hopes to find people to have sex with based on smarts and witt. The old, “I’m hot for your brain” scenario. And with all that built tension of, “does she think my brain is sexy? Should I have used a better metaphor? Did I spell check? Maybe some find misspeleng sexy?”

    Love it.

  • http://melissamaples.com/ Melissa

    *laugh* You could even turn it into a dating service… a neurotic, self-doubting dating service.

  • http://melissamaples.com/ Melissa

    *laugh* You could even turn it into a dating service… a neurotic, self-doubting dating service.

  • http://www.collectiveheartburn.com/ Jonathan Bauer

    True that.

  • http://www.collectiveheartburn.com Jonathan Bauer

    True that.

  • http://manyetikmavi.com/ Magnetic Blue

    If user decides who’s smart or intelligent we’ve a problem with user’s ego.

    Your essay title pick up method reminded me another one,
    which you think about what can you do more with a paper clip…
    More you create ways of using paper clip, you’re more intelligent.
    Usually they give 20 minutes for this exercise.

    Assuming that you’ve a Mac, is it true?

  • http://manyetikmavi.com/ Magnetic Blue

    If user decides who’s smart or intelligent we’ve a problem with user’s ego.

    Your essay title pick up method reminded me another one,
    which you think about what can you do more with a paper clip…
    More you create ways of using paper clip, you’re more intelligent.
    Usually they give 20 minutes for this exercise.

    Assuming that you’ve a Mac, is it true?

  • http://melissamaples.com/ Melissa

    Ah, but the user is not deciding on who’s absolutely intelligent; we’re only talking about the user’s perceptions of relative intelligence. Many shy people think that most other people are smarter than they are; many narcissists think no one could possibly be smarter.

    If we talk about measuring absolute objective intelligence, then we’re back to the boring problem that each test measures one set of skills, and not necessarily intelligence across the theoretical range of possibilities. My brother, for instance, probably couldn’t think of even two things to do with a paper clip– in fact, he’d think the whole idea was idiotic and throw the paper clip out the window. But you put him in front of a complex differential equation and he’s right at home. He’s one of the smartest people I know in that department. I can probably do 100 things with a paper clip, but if you put me in a kitchen with a clear recipe and all the ingredients, I can’t make anything but a mess.

  • http://melissamaples.com/ Melissa

    Ah, but the user is not deciding on who’s absolutely intelligent; we’re only talking about the user’s perceptions of relative intelligence. Many shy people think that most other people are smarter than they are; many narcissists think no one could possibly be smarter.

    If we talk about measuring absolute objective intelligence, then we’re back to the boring problem that each test measures one set of skills, and not necessarily intelligence across the theoretical range of possibilities. My brother, for instance, probably couldn’t think of even two things to do with a paper clip– in fact, he’d think the whole idea was idiotic and throw the paper clip out the window. But you put him in front of a complex differential equation and he’s right at home. He’s one of the smartest people I know in that department. I can probably do 100 things with a paper clip, but if you put me in a kitchen with a clear recipe and all the ingredients, I can’t make anything but a mess.