You remember our friends over at Beautiful People? They are the dating site that only accepts beautiful people. Acceptance of prospective members is contingent on them being voted sufficiently beautiful by the existing membership.
They made news a while ago when they whacked about 5,000 members who had posted updated pictures of themselves. Based on those pictures, the arbiters of beauty decided that the members in question had put on too much weight to justify continued status as beautiful people. The founder of the site famously pointed out, “letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model.”
A few months later, the site made news when they decided to diversify and set up a sperm and egg bank which would be a repository of beautiful DNA. They had a moral dilemma when the question of whether non-members (i.e., ugly people) would be able to access the repository. In a move which was undeniably a big step forward for the human race, the same guy this time famously said, “Initially, we hesitated to widen the offering to non-beautiful people. But everyone — including ugly people — would like to bring good-looking children into the world, and we can’t be selfish with our attractive gene pool.”
Well in spite of them clearly being altruistic, they have run into a small problem. Somebody hacked into their system and disabled the module that makes the yes/no decision after the members have voted on a potential new member. As a result, 30,000 people were erroneously accepted into the Beautiful People fold!
Talk about a cruel hoax. Imagine being accepted into the rarefied world of Beautiful People one day and the next day being turfed out. Because of a computer glitch!
The problem was discovered in two ways. First, someone in management noticed that the acceptance rate was running at an unheard of 100%. Second, and more heart-warmingly, there was a raft of complaints from the existing members who, upon seeing the pictures of their new colleagues, complained about eroding standards.
All 30,000 people have been summarily removed from the rolls. Not only has their membership fee been cheerfully refunded, they have also been offered free counselling to help them deal with the emotional trauma. According to the article I read, 400 people have taken advantage of that offer.
The people who were delisted have also been given the option of re-applying to see if they are, in fact, beautiful after all.
No one knows exactly what caused the problem. The Beautiful People management claim it was a computer virus, and are calling it, no surprise here, the Shrek Virus. But computer experts say there is no known computer virus that would be so selective. They suspect either a disgruntled person who had previously been rejected or more likely a disgruntled employee, hard as it is to believe that the people running Beautiful People could have rubbed someone the wrong way. After all, the founder claimed to be “very sorry” and sympathized with the losers “who believed, albeit for a short time, that they were beautiful.”
As scary as that statement is, what is scarier is that 400 people needed counselling because they believed it.