Announcing the COLING 2020 conference buddy scheme

In order to strengthen the sense of community and connection for participants of our remote-only event, we invite registrations for the COLING 2020 buddy scheme. At in-person conferences, there are many ways to find a conference buddy - the coffee break, small workshop sessions, recognizing each other at the airport, running into other attendees at the hotel breakfast… Our virtual buddy scheme is meant to approximate this type of relationship by matching small groups of registered participants in advance of the conference. Buddy groups will be able to get to know each other before the event starts, chat about papers that they’re excited about, advertise their own presentations or posters to each other, and stay in touch during the conference and later on. And who knows, maybe you will even end up collaborating in the future!

We particularly encourage junior members of the community and first-time conference attendees to participate in this program, since interacting online with thousands of people is far less intimidating when you already have a friend or two that you can hang out with. However, more senior conference attendees are of course also welcome.

To sign up for the buddy scheme, enter your information in the following form by November 25 (UTC-12, “anywhere on Earth”).

Please note: Since we will be matching you with someone you may not know yet, only enter information that you are comfortable sharing with a stranger. The COLING 2020 organizers will delete all stored information from the forms after the conference.

After the sign-up deadline, we will connect all members of a buddy group with each other and share the information that the group’s members have entered into the form. We recommend that each group meet at least once before the conference in a video call software of their choice. During the conference, you can stay in touch using the conference chat on Whova, join the same live sessions if you’re interested in similar topics, or spend the coffee breaks together in the lounge on Underline. Since this is meant as a networking aid, you are also invited to introduce your buddy group to anyone else you know at the conference, as you would at an in-person event.

Buddy groups are expected to follow the anti-harassment policy of the conference, available at

The COLING 2020 conference buddy scheme is being coordinated by the virtual social chair, Esther Seyffarth (she/her). You can reach Esther at