When a new Harvard-specific dating program came up with a comprehensive survey promising a marriage match, many students quickly offered their personal information. It turns out it was just a prank, but when the MIT student behind it saw how successful it was, he decided to make it legitimate.
In mid-October, a website called “Harvard Marriage Pact” circulated on campus, inviting students to fill out a pairing survey with extensive questions, The Harvard Crimson reported. It was modeled on a “Marriage Pact,” a service launched at Stanford and active on 64 campuses, including Tufts University, which equates students with “backup” spouses. (To date, the service has made 93,834 matches and 1 “actual crazy” wedding.)
Students filled out the survey and waited for a match – promised before October 15 – but the website and social media disappeared after the people behind the original “Marriage Pact” were sent to stop and give up.
“We tried to contact, all sorts of different ways,” Liam J. McGregor, who administers Marriage Pact, told the Purple. “We told them, ‘Hey, we love the enthusiasm, but this is not okay.'”
According to the Purple, the site reappeared on October 31 as ExExEx, and those who filled out the survey received their matches.
The website was created by MIT student Liam Kronman, and an unidentified second contributor, Jason Seo, according to the website. In a statement to the Purple, Kronman said he wrote the survey as a fun experiment.
“One afternoon I thought, ‘How many Harvard students could I convince to fill out a long questionnaire to find the love of their life in less than a week?’ Kronman wrote. “We didn’t intend to match people or use their data maliciously (we keep the latter). Instead we wanted to send a joke match.”
It may have started as a joke, but Kronman ended up matching respondents using an algorithm he wrote based on the “stable marriage problem”. The idea behind his service – which someone might get out of the name – is that your ex’s ex is your perfect match.
Students seem to be into it, and don’t care much about the data they shared.
“I don’t know if any of the data I would have given would have been culpable, or if it had appeared to be a serious matter,” first-year Will McKibben told the Purple.
“The freshman group chat was like,‘ This is a scam, ’” freshman Bethany Wiebold told the Purple. “We were tricked – they took our information and ran with it.”
However, she is messageed with her match and would fill out a survey again.
“The concept is very, very interesting,” Wiebold said. “I’d probably use it.”
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