Hi everyone! Benjamin Skubi and I are excited to announce a beta-test for an EA Pen Pal service. Users will be randomly matched, given each others’ contact information, and provided with a discussion prompt. You can then schedule a video call or exchange emails and get to know each other. (For those who remember it, this is EA Chats 2.0)

We are hoping this project could especially benefit EAs without local community, like those living in smaller countries/cities or rural areas meet EAs and get connected to the community. This is aimed to be a peer-to-peer connections but we hope EAs from all different backgrounds and experience levels within EA will participate.

If you are interested in participating, please sign up here.

The test round itself will last for 4 weeks, and during that time you can be matched with as many people as you wish (instructions will be given on how to do so). We will be running it manually for this period, and will aim to match people as soon as they sign up. We will be collecting feedback from users after their first match, and at the end of the four weeks. For more information, please see our full project proposal. We welcome feedback!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us (Benjamin and Vaidehi) at EACommunityProjects@gmail.com.

Update 31st Oct 2019: Our full project proposal has the results of our beta test. We are currently in the process of talking with people and figuring out next steps to take the project forward. If you are interested or would like to be matched, we still match people every week or so, and you can sign up here.

Update 9 April 2020: We are applying for funding to make this service automated and sustainble, and are waiting to hear back on funding.

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I suggest randomising in two blocks: people who strongly prefer video calls vs people who strongly prefer text, with abstainers assigned to either. Should prevent one obvious failure mode, people having an incompatible medium.

Thanks for your suggestion - we are planning on incorporating it into our beta-run.

Update: We were unsuccessful in seeking funding to automate this project, and for the time being we do not have capacity to maintain it manually. The project is closed.

Really interesting project. I'm curious about what restarting it might look like...

Nice initiative!

If it works well and reliably, you could ask CEA if they want to add to the "get involved" part of the EA website ( https://www.effectivealtruism.org/get-involved/ )

Thanks Manuel, we are planning on doing that. We are currently in the process of applying for funding to fully automate the service and are in talks with the EA Hub to host it there.

This is a really cool project! Just want to plug this as a really good opportunity to rigorously study how EA ideas spread: a quick 5-minute pre- and post-survey asking participants Likert-style questions about their positions on various EA-relevant topics and perhaps their style of argument/conversation would be potentially high-value here.

Since assignment will be randomized, there's a real opportunity here to draw causal conclusions about how ideas spread, even if the external validity will be largely restricted to the EA population.

Just want to follow up to acknowledge that I see that you're already conducting a survey and that I'm proposing you add a set of questions about personal beliefs/stances/positions.

The sign up link appears to be broken. Is this project still active?

The sign up link appears to be broken

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Curious to know what the outcomes of the beta test were?

Please ignore - see that the linked report has the test results.

No worries - I've added an update in case anyone else stumbles upon this. Thanks!

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