A question about Zeno reminder frequencies

For reminders, if you start receiving them 3 days before your deadline, will you receive fewer, more, or at the same frequency shortly before your deadline? (Let’s say 3 hours before.)

Does the fact that it started earlier mean there will be more (because it’s had time to be divided into more segments and perhaps presumes that it’s a goal that requires more notice) or does it mean there will be fewer towards the end?


The way it works now is that on non-emergency days, you’ll get one reminder per day at the time you specify. The Zeno-ing only applies to the emergency day. I don’t think this is particularly intuitive however.

One alternative would be to let you just specify the number of hours ahead of the deadline when you want the reminders to start. This has the advantage of letting you start getting them the night before a mid-morning goal is due, for example. Potential downside is that some might arrive overnight that way, but in general I think that would be more clear and less magical behind the scenes.


I was initially really attracted to the simplicity of eliminating the special case of “is it an emergency day?” (especially given potential confusion about the concept of “day” – how Beeminder treats any time after the deadline as the next day). That would mean no separate specification of zeno start time and lead days, just say how many days/hours ahead of the deadline you want to get reminded. That’s when the first reminder would happen and it would zeno from there.

As @bee and I hashed it out, though, we decided that reminders coming at inconsistent times, seemingly randomly, possibly in the middle of the night, was worse. If you wanted a week of lead time you probably don’t really want the next reminder 3.5 days later and the next 1.75 days after that, etc.

But I agree it’s no good how you can’t choose to start getting reminded the night before for a morning deadline.

I think the best of both worlds is for you to be able to pick any time of day for your zeno start time. Every day, if it’s within the number of lead days you picked, you get one reminder at that time. If it happens to be within 24 hours of your deadline then zeno’ing begins. For example, if you set your initial remind time (aka zeno start) to be a minute before your deadline then you’d just get a single reminder right before derailing. If you set it a minute after your deadline then you’d get essentially a full 24 hours of zeno polling. (And we’d probably avoid the confusing boundary case by just not letting you set your remind time exactly equal to your deadline.) #UVI

SUMMARY: Currently you can’t pick a zeno start time before midnight the previous day if you have an earlybird deadline. That’s an unnecessary restriction. You should be able to pick any time of day for reminders. Then you’d get reminded at that time plus zenoing between then and the deadline if it’s within 24 hours of the deadline.

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