Single Adults Website

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derickso
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Single Adults Website

Postby derickso » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:29 pm

Hello-
One of the major goals of the church is to support and assist its single adult population in finding a spouse so they can enjoy the blessings of a temple marriage. This is probably the major reason the church has wards and branches specifically for single adults, world-wide.

However, there are large areas of the world where the population of church members, and correspondingly, single adults, is very small. In these areas, the dating pool for a single adult is very, very small. As a case study, I have a sibling at a major University on the east coast of the US, he is in a singles branch, with on the order of 10-20 people total in the branch. If is future spouse is not amongst these people, his options are to try and visit other singles wards, or use third party websites dedicated to connecting single LDS individuals, such as ldssingles.com, or ldsmingles.com. Unfortunately these and other similar websites suffer from two major problems:

1) There are many such services, each with an increasingly smaller subset of the population, making it time consuming and frustrating to locate people in your area.

2) They are commercial businesses, and to actively communicate with people you must subscribe. Which an even smaller subset of people do.

If the church wants to help its single adults to find a spouse, then I believe it should do everything in its power to facilitate this goal. It is long overdue that the church uses technology to aid this goal.

My suggestion is that the church uses the existing technology that has been developed with LDS accounts, and picture posting, and supplements this with additional text fields to allow single adults to present profiles of themselves, find other single adults, and communicate with them. Most importantly, this should be encouraged by Bishops and Branch Presidents, so that a high percentage of the LDS single community uses it, so that individuals know it is a first class service, and useful tool to aid in finding a spouse.

I am sure people will have concerns about privacy, abuse, or even liability. I believe these can all be handled satisfactorily. One possible way to ensure the right individuals are using it would be to require the Bishop or Branch President to grant access to individuals to use the system, much like dance cards for youth. And perhaps these would need to be renewed periodically.

In summary, I believe as a church we are not doing everything we should be doing to assist our single adults in attaining the opportunities and blessings they desire. We certainly have the capability to create the services that can help them, and I hope that we seriously consider doing so.

-David Erickson

tyjoti89
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby tyjoti89 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:08 am

I really want to help create something like this! I have used several of the modern online dating websites including ldssingles, ldsplanet, and most recently Zoosk. I have created profiles but have never really used them because I refuse to pay $15-30/mo for a subscription to talk to people. I have thought of making a completely free version all by myself, but I want to limit it to people who are seeking quality relationships with people who have similar standards. Whatever I develop, I don't want it to turn into a "hook-up" site.

@derickso you make many excellent points. Even in our dense Utah communities young single adults get frustrated. The church universities and those with large institute and FHE programs are awesome because they provide so many opportunities to meet so many people. During my four years at BYU-I I met new people every day. If I didn't graduate high school early and complete 2 years before my mission, I might have left myself enough time to find a wife there after. But unfortunately, I hear of so many graduates who move into dense LDS communities, either for work or to live at home, who date many people in their ward and find no luck and then have no where to turn. We don't go hang out at clubs or bars to meet people, and I don't think I am going to ask someone I meet at Walmart. Of course Ward, Stake and multi-Stake activities help, but for the most part we graduates are stuck with the same 100-150 active (50-75 opposite gender) people until we either move or someone new moves in. And those numbers reflect only who comes to church. It seems to me that only about 10% of those people make it to ward activities where the real "getting-to-know-you" takes place. Ward-hopping is increasingly frowned upon which I completely understand, and so what do we have?

I have the skills and desire to create such a website. I might even start working on something this week (I am very frustrated with other services right now). What I really would like is to be able to authenticate using LDS Accounts. I know the church has many good reasons not to attach itself to a dating web-site - they are notorious for inappropriate behavior, but I think that a matchmaker.lds.org would be pretty amazing!

derickso
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby derickso » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:17 am

Thanks for the response and the enthusiasm! Ideally it would be *really* helpful to get church support on something like this, but perhaps a proof of concept would help get them interested.

ryanwbrown
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby ryanwbrown » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:45 pm

I think this would be great. As a single guy something like this could be helpful.

tyjoti89
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby tyjoti89 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:00 pm

I have started drafting up a design/plan document with some specifics. I plan to do a poll of my friends asking how many would use a dating website created by/run by the church. I know I would but I may be odd. As for a "proof of concept", what exactly would we need? I mean I could just develop the entire project and then present it to them and ask if they would like to integrate it into singles wards. If they decline I could ask what changes might make them change their minds. What do you think it would take to get their approval without a working prototype? I have some ideas about user management and access controlled by YSA bishops. There would have to be content filtering and a moderating system even still. I like the idea of a user moderated site where users can report inappropriate behavior or even rate a person using a dating etiquette rubric so that the users can get feedback about themselves but can also watch out for users with bad ratings. Violators of rules can "clear their names" by speaking with their bishops and receiving counsel. Does anyone know if there is an official channel for presenting such ideas? My cousin works in the church's software development center and I could feed it through him but I don't know how effective that would be. Maybe it would be most effective, I don't really know. Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

lajackson
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby lajackson » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:32 pm

tyjoti89 wrote:Does anyone know if there is an official channel for presenting such ideas?

The official channel for presenting an idea such as this one is through your bishop to the stake president. Your stake president is part of a coordinating council composed of a number of stakes in your region and presided over by an area seventy. He reports to the area president or a member of the presidency of the Seventy, depending on where you live in the world.

The challenge of helping single members is a real one, whether they are young single adults or older members who are single. It begins with your ward and the ward single adult committee. Each stake also has a young single adult and a single adult committee. Our area has a regional single adult council that functions under the direction of the chairman of our coordinating council (the area seventy I mentioned).

Our single members are actively involved in furthering this work. Our coordinating council has been authorized to do much in the way of using modern-day social and electronic media to assist these members according to the guidelines that are already in the current Handbooks and under the direction of the general authorities who oversee this part of the vineyard. Every suggestion is carefully considered, and many are passed on to Church Headquarters for their consideration.

And we use the ones we like while we are waiting. [grin]

tyjoti89
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby tyjoti89 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:40 pm

Thank you. I don't think I would have thought to talk to my bishop about this but I think he would absolutely love the idea and would be happy to pass it on. I am excited to get this thing going! Partly because I love projects like this and partly because I want to use the finished product. :]

russellhltn
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:48 pm

tyjoti89 wrote:rate a person using a dating etiquette rubric so that the users can get feedback about themselves but can also watch out for users with bad ratings. Violators of rules can "clear their names" by speaking with their bishops and receiving counsel.

The church is very sensitive to the kinds of information they collect. I think that's well over their comfort level.


tyjoti89 wrote:Does anyone know if there is an official channel for presenting such ideas? My cousin works in the church's software development center and I could feed it through him but I don't know how effective that would be. Maybe it would be most effective, I don't really know. Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

I'd ask your cousin.

I do know this - the developers can't work on anything they like. The effort has to be sponsored by a church department. You need to figure out which department(s) are the best bet and pitch it to them. As far as I know, there is no "Single Member" department. So it's likely you're going to have to appeal to the Priesthood Department.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

tyjoti89
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby tyjoti89 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:13 pm

russellhltn wrote:the developers can't work on anything they like.


This makes sense if I were wanting to hand the project off to someone else to develop, but this is a project I would like to manage. I don't expect the church to allocate resources to this. I am considering it a service project that I will thoroughly enjoy. I haven't worked in a team development environment yet, but I would love to get some experience by setting up a volunteer crew.

Are all of the projects on this site official church projects? I thought that they were more like beta projects. Looking at the list of projects now though, it looks like they are all pretty official. Did it use to be this way? I thought that there were a lot of "my kind" of projects on this site in the past. Just cool ideas that warranted a group effort and provided an opportunity for service, putting skills to use, only being accepted as church official after proving themselves in some way or another.

russellhltn wrote:The church is very sensitive to the kinds of information they collect. I think that's well over their comfort level.


Is there a place in the handbooks or elsewhere where I can find more specific information on this topic? I think it would be useful to know what kinds of information we need to avoid "collecting" to make this an acceptable application. I know quite a bit about data coarsening to protect private data. My internship was all about that. I see on Mormon.org profiles we can probably collect gender, age, and ethnicity, but the ages are grouped quite broadly. That might be a problem as age matters quite a bit to most people in the realm of dating. If people can't provide information about themselves for others to view, it might make this an impossible task. I wonder how the church would view the use of screen names, or allowing users to set visibility settings on each piece of data. There are obviously a lot of risks with online dating and I have and plan to spend much more time thinking of ways to keep people safe and their information secure.

eblood66
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Re: Single Adults Website

Postby eblood66 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:27 pm

tyjoti89 wrote:Are all of the projects on this site official church projects? I thought that they were more like beta projects. Looking at the list of projects now though, it looks like they are all pretty official. Did it use to be this way? I thought that there were a lot of "my kind" of projects on this site in the past. Just cool ideas that warranted a group effort and provided an opportunity for service, putting skills to use, only being accepted as church official after proving themselves in some way or another.

Yes, all projects are official. See Introduction to LDSTech Projects on the wiki for more information. The page Internal leadership on project teams has additional information on how LDSTech projects are run.

There have been refinements in how the process works but projects have always been official even from the start.


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