Auto-Ratchet Weasel Speculation

I recently had an interesting though about the Auto-Ratchet system, and I’m not sure if it’s been discussed here or elsewhere yet, apologies if it has!

Let’s start with an example: You have a Beeminder set up for 50 push-ups/day, and you use the Auto-Ratchet to automatically cap the safety buffer to 0 days. That means no matter how many push-ups you did yesterday, the required amount will always be 50 the next day.

With that all set, let’s say that today in particular you decided to do an extreme workout and did 150 push-ups!

You then go to your Beeminder and, feeling exhausted, change the Auto-Ratchet’s safety buffer cap from 0 to 2 days. Since you did 150 today that means, with the new settings, you wouldn’t have to do any tomorrow, or the next day!

So my question is this: Is this fair, or is it weasel behaviour?

And perhaps a follow-up if it is considered weasel behaviour: Should there be a 7-day period before changes to the Auto-Ratchet take effect?

I agree that there should be a 7 day wait on all changes that change the road.

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I think there are likely things that are objectively “weasel behavior”.

I think there are many, many things that folks can do that are counterproductive to their goals that are not “objectively” counterproductive.

Is this a habit you’ve gotten into? When you do it, do you usually regret it later? Is it something you’re worried about becoming a problem?


I personally like that I can change that when I’d like (but I can imagine being in a situation where I wouldn’t want to be able to, if my goals were different). I sort of think of the main criteria for the road (two of the three of rate, date, and value that we set at the top of the commitment tab) as the hard commitment and think of the other settings as things that I’m fine to have shift and change as my days and workloads shift and change. Sometimes I want to get further ahead more quickly than my commitment requires and other times I want to fall-back to the “main” goal. BUT I design my road rate with that in mind so that my goals aren’t hurt or slowed by this and I also have a second system for goals where I don’t want to be able to do this.

When I want to make sure that I do at least a minimum of X on something every. single. day. regardless of past progress or demands of the moment, I usually create a second goal that tracks progress on that first goal, locking in a do-it-every-day +1/day rate in for the length of the akrasia horizon. (I use IFTTT to automatically add data to that second goal so that I don’t have to think about it.)

That said, my workflow wouldn’t be badly harmed by those settings requiring a waiting period, so if that’s what’s better for everyone overall, that’d work fine for me. (The one exception, for now, might be with weekends off since a lot of other settings can mess with my upcoming weekend off and as long as that’s the case, I’d want to be able to restore it without having to wait a week.)


I find the opposite is true as well - there are things that might seem “objectively” counterproductive, but are actually helpful.

Beeminder itself could be seen as falling into this category. Sometimes the hacks that help your brain are counterintuitive.

It’s perfectly fair - your goal was 50/day, and you did the 50 for tomorrow and the next day in advance.

Since the auto-rachet setting only operates to force you to do work above and beyond the goal you’ve already committed to, it’s the kind of thing that you should be able to change without having to wait 7 days, and it often takes a lot of experimenting to figure out how to set it.

I personally tend to change it a lot - sometimes I want to force myself to do more, and sometimes I want to fall back on my previously set goal.