DoILikeYou.com: Are We Moving Towards “Rank a Human Being” Websites?
Sadistic entrepreneurial idea of the day: DoILikeYou.com.
Here’s how it would work. DoILIkeYou.com would be just like anonymous teacher evaluation websites like Rate My Professors.com, or anonymous doctor evaluation websites like Healthgrades.com. These websites allow students and patients to post feedback about professors and doctors, presumably to help others make a better informed decision about what political science class or orthopedic surgeon to avoid.
Certainly, these websites can be helpful. These days, everyday people take the time to rank everything imaginable online, from restaurants to books to movies to potential employers. As consumers, the amount of information we can gather about, let’s say, sushi restaurants within 20 miles of our homes, is astounding.
The troublesome part of these websites is that it’s not just products that are being evaluated. It’s people. When I was a professor, I understood the potential value of sites like RateMyProfessors.com, but they also felt like an invasion of privacy. Was it really fair that everyone on the planet could read about a student’s opinion of me? Sure, as a professor, I evaluated my students every semester with grades– but those grades were private. I couldn’t post online, “Ashleigh got a C in my class. Fellow teachers be warned: she’s got a wicked sense of self-entitlement and doesn’t have an original thought in her meticulously-styled blonde head.”
(Even though I haven’t taught in a classroom since 2007, you can still see what four of my students thought of me on K0ofers.com.)
It used to be that only people in the “public eye,” like celebrities and politicians, could expect to be scrutinized publicly. Now, in the era of the Internet, more and more people find themselves being evaluated publicly on their job performances or other criteria. Moreover, thanks to cyberbullying, now kids (and grownups?) can post extremely hurtful jabs that used to remain in the schoolyard all over the Internet. A few years ago, I experienced something like this. An acquaintance came across something I’d written, and posted on her blog about how much she didn’t like me, and one of her friends wrote that he agreed. Much to the blogger’s surprise, I responded and said how hurtful and unfair I felt her comments were — and she removed the post and later gave me a heartfelt apology.
But all of this has gotten me thinking. Have we reached an age where no one has anonymity anymore, and we’re all given the same evaluatory treatment as sushi restaurants on Yelp? Are we moving towards websites that allow us to rank fellow human beings — like DoILikeYou.com?
DoILikeYou.com doesn’t exist — at least not yet. Like restaurants on Yelp, every human being would have their own entry. Users could rank “Glenn M. Jorgerson from Hopkins, MN” or “Carolyn J. Cohen-Green from Cherry Hill, NJ” on a 1 to 5 scale. In addition to the overall ranking, users can rank people on assorted qualities, such as kindness, generosity, originality, open-mindedness, personal hygiene, and, of course, attractiveness. Just like they do on Yelp, people could writer lengthy evaluations of their fellow human beings, and just like Yelp, people could post pictures.
Obsessive people could check their daily approval rating. “Naomi Rockler-Gladen,” my page would say. “68% approval rating from fellow human beings.”
Would DoILikeYou.com be a positive contribution to humanity? Of course not. Cyberbullying would flourish. Every human being with an ex-spouse or ex-lover or ex-friend or angry neighbor would be subject to public wrath. I suppose there are some people out there who would appreciate the honest feedback, and/or who have a thick enough skin to laugh it all off, but my guess is that most human beings don’t really want to be evaluated in the same manner as a sushi joint.
So is DoILikeYou.com going to exist eventually? I certainly hope not, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if someone attempts this. And if DoILikeYou.com is ever born, this may well be a profitable venture. Look at how much time people spend evaluating restaurants on Yelp and books on Amazon and movies on IMDB. If we’re given a chance to evaluate each other, I can only imagine the results.
So what do you think? Would you post on DoILikeYou.com (or be tempted to do in certain cases)? How would you feel if you were evaluated on a website like this? And are we indeed moving towards a world where we’re all evaluated like sushi joints on the Internet?