This Bwogger made it their mission to review Marriage Pact using the most thorough of research methods.
For the uninitiated, Marriage Pact was an algorithm-based romantic matching service that circulated around during the Fall 2020 semester. According to one email from the service it “uses psychology, market design, and computer science to formulate the best possible automated matchmaker… [that] takes into account much more complex interactions for more nuanced matches.” This was primarily produced through a questionnaire that evaluated relationship styles, shared values, and personality. Eventually, all participants received a single match, with a percentage score based on compatibility.
While many people were excited about the project, it wasn’t without its controversy. There was some critical attention directed particularly at the questions that asked about racial preferences. Others criticized the scope of the project entirely, mainly on the basis that it reinforced class barriers by keeping only within the Columbia community.
Partially due to this criticism, we want to know how effective this system was in producing matches that lead to real relationships. Can this sort of system create real connection? Essentially, did this actually work for anyone?
Alright, I must confess that I have a personal stake in this story. My own Marriage Pact match had no social media presence, was not in the Columbia directory, and also their last name is the same as my first name. If we had gotten married and I took their last name, my name would be Jeffrey Jeffrey.
Nevertheless, I reached out to them via email and didn’t receive a response. I decided this means not that I got rejected, rather that the person was not a person, but in fact a ghost. As we all know, ghosts don’t know how to respond to emails.
So I decided to talk to some of the people that are the most (or least, depending on your perspective) qualified to speak on this matter: My fellow Bwoggers. The following are the stories of Bwog staffers’ experiences with Marriage Pact, anonymized to protect them from total embarrassment.
- I reached out on Instagram. They said they weren’t looking for a relationship anymore. They said they hope English becomes the dominant world language… I also think they voted for Kanye. I’m not too disappointed it didn’t work out.
- Texted my marriage pact and realized that we are from towns approximately 45 minutes away from each other so we just discussed Regional Matters. I accidentally ghosted her because I was working on a midterm. I feel bad but I feel like it’s also too late to text her now, two months later? Anyway, she seems nice so I guess I’m not opposed to marrying her in 15 years.
- I emailed my marriage pact match immediately introducing myself & telling her that I was cuffed but wanted to at least say hi & maybe be friends. She messaged me back enthusiastically & we ended up going on a really lovely walk!! We both put very little thought into the questionnaire & think the questions were not at all relevant to characterizing us (we thought there would be much better questions for that) but we did have a 99.99% percentile match and had a lot in common so maybe the algorithm was on to something???? She is super cool & we have tentative plans to hang out again & make crafts :)
- lauren if you are reading this text me
- I got matched with someone I had awkward interactions with during NSOP. Not that I disliked them but it was just that stiff, we’re only talking because we’re new and want friends, type of conversation. So neither of us ever messaged the other and their name just haunts me occasionally.
- I emailed him first because I have been feeling Bold lately and we texted for maybe a day. I told one of my good friends who it was and realized they’re in the same frat! Truly a small world but apparently he is still in love with his ex so </3 He seemed like a really cool person so if he ever proposed I wouldn’t think about it for Too long.
- She followed me on Twitter and Instagram the day after we matched. We never interacted directly but based off of following her on Twitter, I now know a lot about her. I don’t think that we are compatible but she seems like a nice enough person. I just don’t think we have any common interests.
- I got matched with someone on the Marriage Pact board!! They didn’t use their last name anywhere (including their Columbia email)!! This meant I could not do a preliminary stalk to figure out if I should even reach out at all. My fruitless research led me to just rip the band-aid off and email them. I wrote a fairly flirty email. They responded with the most polite and courteous of language. We actually ended up having very similar interests and spoke for a while but it never felt like anything that would go anywhere. The emails became further and further spaced out until I just kept forgetting to respond and now it’s late January.
Based on this very scientific sample size and research methods, it seems that no actual relationships or other romantic connections have been formed due to Marriage Pact. Could I have done more research to find people not directly in my social circle to make this a more balanced review? Perhaps, but scholars remain divided.
To save my own ego, I declare that absolutely no one has benefited from Marriage Pact. I will not be taking questions at this time.
Did I mention I’m single?
Vanilla Wedding Pic via Pixnio