Online Dating:

It turns out that I met my lovely wife through I also found our dog, Toby, through And our two kids we got through Well, no, not the last one, but the other two are right. And I'm a big believer in online dating; it has its minuses as well as its pluses, but (1)

E(m) = pn

which is to say the expected number of suitable mates you'll meet (m) is equal to p (the probability that any particular candidate is suitable) times n (the number of people you meet), (2) in my experience, as we get older, more settled, and more educated, we tend to get pickier and the p thus becomes quite low, and therefore (3) one easy solution is to increase the n. And the best way I've seen of doing that is through online dating. (Yes, the equation is an oversimplified model, among other things since the p may vary depending on the source through which you meet people, but I actually didn't find the p to be much less for online dating than for other contributors to n.)

In any case, I was just talking to an acquaintance of an acquaintance, a woman in her thirties who is interested in doing online dating, and I realized that my own store of online dating advice is pretty old -- five years old, which is 35 in Internet years.

So what can our readers, especially women, who have more recent experience recommend? Are there any services that you've found especially useful or useless? Are there any tips that worked for you? Any approaches or practices to stay away from? (Not people to stay away from, approaches or practices to stay away from.)

Please post your answers below. Please limit your answers, though, to useful advice on the subject, rather than (for instance) debates about the morals or social utility of various modern dating practices. I'm trying to collect some useful tips for people, and digressions will decrease the thread's utility.