Zeno reminders on do-less goals and generalizing the "Uncle!" button


Thanks to @danlucraft and @brax for feedback and bug reports about do-less zeno reminders.

There are cases where Beeminder will send excessive reminders. For example, if accepting the pessimistic presumptive report (PPR) won’t derail you then you shouldn’t get zeno’d (unless you’ve opted for more than one lead day for your reminders).

If you’ve entered data but are skating the edge then we intentionally zeno you, which is sometimes pretty annoying if you know perfectly well that you can’t eat another jelly bean but Beeminder keeps incessantly telling you so.

And all the rules are different depending on if it’s a manual do-less goal or an autodata goal, so that’s another source of complexity and confusion and potential bugs…


We’re talking about an “Uncle!” button for do-more goals where you can just be like “I’m not going to do any more by the deadline so just derail me now.” Maybe the right answer with do-less is to generalize that. In the case of do-less it’s not “derail me now” necessarily (unless you’re over the limit already – which makes sense for some do-less goals where negative datapoints are allowed) but just “I’m done!” or “Fin!”. Clicking it means you won’t be entering any further data and Beeminder can stop zeno’ing. (Maybe it’s grayed out if you haven’t entered a do-less datapoint and PPRs are turned on, since that contradicts the “there will be no more data” intent of the button.)

What do you think?

2017 log (dev hours, derivatives & becoming fit)

Haha where’s my credit for reporting this last year? Spurious Zeno emails for Do Less :stuck_out_tongue: (I’ve been on two accounts for almost a year to work around this.)

The Uncle Button doesn’t fix the bad Zeno reminders for Do Less unfortunately. It helps for the true-positive case of Zenoing, but I think we still need a real fix for the false-positive case.


Oops! Thanks @drtall! That’s actually part of the do-less loophole bug which is higher priority to fix. Especially thanks to @chipmanaged for keeping that on our radar.


I reported this because at moment I spend most of my time in the yellow brick road for two Do-Less goals, so I get about 16 “Emergency!” emails and push notifications every single day. This means the notifications are basically useless. If every day is an emergency then none is.

So yeah, the Fin button makes sense just as a way to shut them up. I guess it’s a way of saying “I’m aware that I will derail if I do any more, no need to continue to notify me”.

I was thinking some more about what constitutes an “Emergency”, and needs Zeno polling.

For Do More it’s obvious: you will derail unless you perform the action specified in your goal by midnight. Zeno polling and “emergency” wording makes perfect sense here.

For Do Less it seems to me that the only real “emergency” is that I’ve forgotten to add data. And indeed this is what I worry about and would appreciate reminders about. If I’ve added data and haven’t derailed I’m good. If I’ve added data and have derailed I’m good too!

In general if I’ve added data today then I’m already aware of how close I am to derailing, so the notifications are redundant. It’s when I completely forget to input into Beeminder for a day that I get into trouble.

If you’re worried that people won’t be aware that they’re close to derailing (even when there will be no PPR derailing because of existing data) and so will eat more chocolate than they should do, then instead of 8 Emergency! notifications I’d suggest a single “Be careful, you’re close to derailing” message earlier in the evening. (But still have Mergency! if I will derail if I do nothing, e.g. the PPR will derail me due to no data.)

I’d prefer this to a Fin button.