beeminder epiphany: auto re-pledge with easy opt-out

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]

  2. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0] http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3] http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth (nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4] http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind (“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5] http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia (inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

I love this. #1 brought a little tear to my eye.

(I know this is brilliant because it comports perfectly with my own
judgment and prejudices!)

On Apr 30, 2012 1:12 AM, “Daniel Reeves” dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]

  2. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0] http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3] http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth (nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4] http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind (“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5] http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia (inaugural post on the beeminder
blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

I agree, this feels like the most natural way to capture a user’s
commitment and to build a sustainable business model (subscriptions never
felt right). I think the epiphany should be named: “Keeping the dream
alive.” One intuition I have is that it is better to only raise their
payment one level from their previous one (so if you fall off a 5 dollar
road you set up and never do anything with beeminder again, beeminder just
keeps charging them (level after 5) continuously, rather than having it
exponentially grow). You want to either continually keep them subscribed,
or get them back into it, but if it grows and grows, they’ll be forced to
exit with a bad impression.

That’s the genius of Godaddy and gym memberships - I’d rather pay $9 a year
than admit that I’ll never execute on the domain of [mydryspell.com
junxxion.com etc etc etc].

David

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 4:58 PM, Michael J.J. Tiffany <
michael.tiffany@gmail.com> wrote:

I love this. #1 brought a little tear to my eye.

(I know this is brilliant because it comports perfectly with my own
judgment and prejudices!)

On Apr 30, 2012 1:12 AM, “Daniel Reeves” dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]

  2. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0] http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3] http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth (nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4] http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind (“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5] http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia (inaugural post on the beeminder
blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]

  2. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0] http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3] http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth (nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4] http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind (“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5] http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia (inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

David’s point seems like a good one to me. Maybe the tripling isn’t such a good idea for those people.

I agree that tripling seems about right for people who actively want you to help them stick to their goals, though. Hmmm.

David

On Apr 30, 2012, at 5:57 PM, David Yang wrote:

I agree, this feels like the most natural way to capture a user’s commitment and to build a sustainable business model (subscriptions never felt right). I think the epiphany should be named: “Keeping the dream alive.” One intuition I have is that it is better to only raise their payment one level from their previous one (so if you fall off a 5 dollar road you set up and never do anything with beeminder again, beeminder just keeps charging them (level after 5) continuously, rather than having it exponentially grow). You want to either continually keep them subscribed, or get them back into it, but if it grows and grows, they’ll be forced to exit with a bad impression.

That’s the genius of Godaddy and gym memberships - I’d rather pay $9 a year than admit that I’ll never execute on the domain of [mydryspell.com junxxion.com etc etc etc].

David

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 4:58 PM, Michael J.J. Tiffany michael.tiffany@gmail.com wrote:
I love this. #1 brought a little tear to my eye.

(I know this is brilliant because it comports perfectly with my own judgment and prejudices!)

On Apr 30, 2012 1:12 AM, “Daniel Reeves” dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:
(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]

  2. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0] http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3] http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth (nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4] http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind (“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5] http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia (inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


My home page: http://www.davidreiley.com

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]

  2. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0] http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3] http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth (nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4] http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind (“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5] http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia (inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]
  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

I think Philip has a point.

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]
  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

Perhaps a good compromise would be that entering a new data point after
derailment would automatically re-pledge. That way no one who went MIA
would get hammered.

On Wed, May 2, 2012 at 8:32 AM, Alexander Schwarz miro23@gmail.com wrote:

I think Philip has a point.

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com
wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]
  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you
    derail.

I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder
users

who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and
be

done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the
beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify
their

data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels
of

omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not
unfreezing

derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if
those

penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone
starts

a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


Isaac Schankler, composer | www.isaacschankler.com
Artist in Residence, Music Computation and Cognition Laboratory (MuCoaCo) |
www-bcf.usc.edu/~mucoaco/
Artistic Director, People Inside Electronics (PIE) |
www.peopleinsideelectronics.com

Resurrecting this thread about pre-commit-to-recommit (as we now call
it) which we’re almost ready to deploy, after testing it on ourselves
a bit more.
The idea is you just have a checkbox on your goal page and if you
happen to have had it checked when you derail then it just
automatically rerails you.

Let us know if any of you want to start guineapigging it as well! (You
can’t see the checkbox yet but we can, so you can just tell us to
check it for you.)

We might wait to publicly deploy till we have some kind of “no mercy”
option. Some people really hate it when they accidentally rerail with
a flat spot. People who check precommit-to-recommit probably
especially so.

There are actually 2 auxiliary binary choices to make with pre-to-re:

  1. flat spot? 2. rerail at same or higher pledge level? (Current
    defaults are Yes and Higher.)
    The 2nd choice isn’t as important now that we let you move up and down
    the pledge schedule (though not easily!)…
    blog.beeminder.com/shortcircuit

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM, pjh philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]
  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

Hi Akratics! The precommit-to-recommit feature is live now!
If any of you can read this draft of our blog post before we publish
it, we’d be grateful:
http://blog.beeminder.com/recommit/?secretpreview

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Resurrecting this thread about pre-commit-to-recommit (as we now call
it) which we’re almost ready to deploy, after testing it on ourselves
a bit more.
The idea is you just have a checkbox on your goal page and if you
happen to have had it checked when you derail then it just
automatically rerails you.

Let us know if any of you want to start guineapigging it as well! (You
can’t see the checkbox yet but we can, so you can just tell us to
check it for you.)

We might wait to publicly deploy till we have some kind of “no mercy”
option. Some people really hate it when they accidentally rerail with
a flat spot. People who check precommit-to-recommit probably
especially so.

There are actually 2 auxiliary binary choices to make with pre-to-re:

  1. flat spot? 2. rerail at same or higher pledge level? (Current
    defaults are Yes and Higher.)
    The 2nd choice isn’t as important now that we let you move up and down
    the pledge schedule (though not easily!)…
    blog.beeminder.com/shortcircuit

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM, pjh philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that; just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
    that. [1]
  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

Just read through it, couldn’t spot any typos or anything, and it generally
reads very well!

Also, I’m definitely voting yes on the ‘no mercy’ option!

On 13 February 2013 00:12, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Hi Akratics! The precommit-to-recommit feature is live now!
If any of you can read this draft of our blog post before we publish
it, we’d be grateful:
http://blog.beeminder.com/recommit/?secretpreview

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Resurrecting this thread about pre-commit-to-recommit (as we now call
it) which we’re almost ready to deploy, after testing it on ourselves
a bit more.
The idea is you just have a checkbox on your goal page and if you
happen to have had it checked when you derail then it just
automatically rerails you.

Let us know if any of you want to start guineapigging it as well! (You
can’t see the checkbox yet but we can, so you can just tell us to
check it for you.)

We might wait to publicly deploy till we have some kind of “no mercy”
option. Some people really hate it when they accidentally rerail with
a flat spot. People who check precommit-to-recommit probably
especially so.

There are actually 2 auxiliary binary choices to make with pre-to-re:

  1. flat spot? 2. rerail at same or higher pledge level? (Current
    defaults are Yes and Higher.)
    The 2nd choice isn’t as important now that we let you move up and down
    the pledge schedule (though not easily!)…
    blog.beeminder.com/shortcircuit

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM, pjh philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves <
dree...@beeminder.com> wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest
Beeminder

epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that;
    just

tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will abuse
that. [1]

  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you
    derail.

I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the
definition

of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder
users

who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now and
be

done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a
goal

is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is
beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the
beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify
their

data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels
of

omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not
unfreezing

derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if
those

penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone
starts

a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging
them

exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can
start

flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only
re-rail

if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
“Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an
email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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I second the yes on the ‘no mercy’ option, as well as the lack of clearly
visible typos.

On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM, Roman Duda romanduda@gmail.com wrote:

Just read through it, couldn’t spot any typos or anything, and it
generally reads very well!

Also, I’m definitely voting yes on the ‘no mercy’ option!

On 13 February 2013 00:12, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Hi Akratics! The precommit-to-recommit feature is live now!
If any of you can read this draft of our blog post before we publish
it, we’d be grateful:
http://blog.beeminder.com/recommit/?secretpreview

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Resurrecting this thread about pre-commit-to-recommit (as we now call
it) which we’re almost ready to deploy, after testing it on ourselves
a bit more.
The idea is you just have a checkbox on your goal page and if you
happen to have had it checked when you derail then it just
automatically rerails you.

Let us know if any of you want to start guineapigging it as well! (You
can’t see the checkbox yet but we can, so you can just tell us to
check it for you.)

We might wait to publicly deploy till we have some kind of “no mercy”
option. Some people really hate it when they accidentally rerail with
a flat spot. People who check precommit-to-recommit probably
especially so.

There are actually 2 auxiliary binary choices to make with pre-to-re:

  1. flat spot? 2. rerail at same or higher pledge level? (Current
    defaults are Yes and Higher.)
    The 2nd choice isn’t as important now that we let you move up and down
    the pledge schedule (though not easily!)…
    blog.beeminder.com/shortcircuit

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM, pjh philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves <
dree...@beeminder.com> wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s
an

insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all
the

stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest
Beeminder

epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that;
    just

tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will
abuse

that. [1]

  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you
    derail.

I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the
previous

pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany…
For

those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the
definition

of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than
tweet

something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder
users

who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves
to

high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now
and be

done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a
goal

is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is
beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the
beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify
their

data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y
acts

– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely
weasels of

omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not
unfreezing

derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if
those

penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone
starts

a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging
them

exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can
start

flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only
re-rail

if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
“Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an
email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

I don’t see any typo’s…
On the other hand, since money is here at stake, I want to be able to
understand each and every sentence, and I must admit that I still don’t
have a clear picture what is going to happen when I would check the ‘commit
to recommit’-checkbox.
I guess this is explained in the sentence: “It rerails you with a week of
flat spot so you can get yourself back off the hook even after the
auto-rerail happens by flattening your road again the same day.” But
this doesn’t give me a picture that’s completely clear.
(English isn’t my primary language after all…)

“It rerails you with a week of flat spot…” I guess this means that the
YBR becomes flat for a week?
But then it comes: What is ‘getting back off the hook’? (My dictionary
tells me it means ‘escaping from a difficult situation’. And which is that
difficult situation? Having derailed? having to pay? I guess someone who
chooses Beeminder, did so because ‘the hook’ is the paying, but in that
case I don’t see how I might be able to get myself back off the hook:
checking the checkbox means that I agree to pay, even if I choose to
abondon my goal.)

Because I don’t know exactly what to make of that expression, I don’t know
how to understand the rest of the sentence.
Does it mean that, even after the auto-rerail happens, you can get yourself
back off the hook by flattening your road again the same day?
Or is it because the auto-rerail happens by flattening the road (…) that
you can get yourself back off the hook?
I guess it is the second possibility, but I’m not completely sure…

I can see the rationale behind this ‘precommit to recommit’-feature, but as
long as I’m not sure that I do understand every sentence in this article, I
will never check that checkbox…

Vriendelijke groeten,
Ann

mailto:ann.van.roy@annetanne.be

On 13 February 2013 01:19, Ben Goldhaber goldhaber.ben@gmail.com wrote:

I second the yes on the ‘no mercy’ option, as well as the lack of clearly
visible typos.

On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM, Roman Duda romanduda@gmail.com wrote:

Just read through it, couldn’t spot any typos or anything, and it
generally reads very well!

Also, I’m definitely voting yes on the ‘no mercy’ option!

On 13 February 2013 00:12, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Hi Akratics! The precommit-to-recommit feature is live now!
If any of you can read this draft of our blog post before we publish
it, we’d be grateful:
http://blog.beeminder.com/recommit/?secretpreview

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Resurrecting this thread about pre-commit-to-recommit (as we now call
it) which we’re almost ready to deploy, after testing it on ourselves
a bit more.
The idea is you just have a checkbox on your goal page and if you
happen to have had it checked when you derail then it just
automatically rerails you.

Let us know if any of you want to start guineapigging it as well! (You
can’t see the checkbox yet but we can, so you can just tell us to
check it for you.)

We might wait to publicly deploy till we have some kind of “no mercy”
option. Some people really hate it when they accidentally rerail with
a flat spot. People who check precommit-to-recommit probably
especially so.

There are actually 2 auxiliary binary choices to make with pre-to-re:

  1. flat spot? 2. rerail at same or higher pledge level? (Current
    defaults are Yes and Higher.)
    The 2nd choice isn’t as important now that we let you move up and down
    the pledge schedule (though not easily!)…
    blog.beeminder.com/shortcircuit

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM, pjh philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the
off-

the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com
wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious” feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves <
dree...@beeminder.com> wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s
an

insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all
the

stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest
Beeminder

epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that;
    just

tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will
abuse

that. [1]

  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you
    derail.

I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the
previous

pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick
road

means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany…
For

those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment
contract

[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the
definition

of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than
tweet

something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder
users

who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves
to

high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now
and be

done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a
goal

is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is
beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the
beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify
their

data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y
acts

– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely
weasels of

omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not
unfreezing

derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if
those

penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone
starts

a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging
them

exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can
start

flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only
re-rail

if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
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Answers here first, and we’ll figure out how to amend the post or the
hover text. Thanks for asking this stuff, Ann!

  1. Yes, when you auto-rerail you will have a flat week before the
    yellow brick road starts sloping up again. (Until we add a “no mercy”
    option, but that will be a separate opti-in feature.)

  2. Being on the hook means having money pledged on a goal. Without
    precommit-to-recommit, you’re no longer on the hook once you derail,
    unless you explicitly rerail yourself. With precommit-to-recommit,
    you’re automatically back on the hook again after you derail. But in a
    pretty gentle way, since it’s with that week of flat spot. So if you
    flatten the road right after derailing then you’re totally safe – the
    road starts flat for the first week and flattening it makes it flat
    starting in a week. So it would be flat forever. Which makes you
    effectively off the hook.

So I think it’s the first interpretation you suggested.

There’s probably a more straightforward way to describe this stuff.
It’s really just automating what you ought to do anyway: immediately
dust yourself off and get back on your yellow brick road when you
derail! And it’s all undoable so it shouldn’t be scary. It just means
that if you do nothing, you’ll automatically be put back on your road.
So it’s just a question of defaults. With precommit-to-recommit you
have to say so explicitly if you want to give up on a goal and walk
away. By default you’ll be minded indefinitely.

Is that helping? Should we say more of that on the site or in the post
somewhere? Maybe I’ll repeat this in the comments of the post at
least. [done]

On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 1:15 AM, Ann Van Roy ann.van.roy@annetanne.be wrote:

I don’t see any typo’s…
On the other hand, since money is here at stake, I want to be able to
understand each and every sentence, and I must admit that I still don’t have
a clear picture what is going to happen when I would check the ‘commit to
recommit’-checkbox.
I guess this is explained in the sentence: “It rerails you with a week of
flat spot so you can get yourself back off the hook even after the
auto-rerail happens by flattening your road again the same day.” But this
doesn’t give me a picture that’s completely clear.
(English isn’t my primary language after all…)

“It rerails you with a week of flat spot…” I guess this means that the YBR
becomes flat for a week?
But then it comes: What is ‘getting back off the hook’? (My dictionary tells
me it means ‘escaping from a difficult situation’. And which is that
difficult situation? Having derailed? having to pay? I guess someone who
chooses Beeminder, did so because ‘the hook’ is the paying, but in that case
I don’t see how I might be able to get myself back off the hook: checking
the checkbox means that I agree to pay, even if I choose to abondon my
goal.)

Because I don’t know exactly what to make of that expression, I don’t know
how to understand the rest of the sentence.
Does it mean that, even after the auto-rerail happens, you can get yourself
back off the hook by flattening your road again the same day?
Or is it because the auto-rerail happens by flattening the road (…) that
you can get yourself back off the hook?
I guess it is the second possibility, but I’m not completely sure…

I can see the rationale behind this ‘precommit to recommit’-feature, but as
long as I’m not sure that I do understand every sentence in this article, I
will never check that checkbox…

Vriendelijke groeten,
Ann

mailto:ann.van.roy@annetanne.be
http://annetanne.be

On 13 February 2013 01:19, Ben Goldhaber goldhaber.ben@gmail.com wrote:

I second the yes on the ‘no mercy’ option, as well as the lack of clearly
visible typos.

On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM, Roman Duda romanduda@gmail.com wrote:

Just read through it, couldn’t spot any typos or anything, and it
generally reads very well!

Also, I’m definitely voting yes on the ‘no mercy’ option!

On 13 February 2013 00:12, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Hi Akratics! The precommit-to-recommit feature is live now!
If any of you can read this draft of our blog post before we publish
it, we’d be grateful:
http://blog.beeminder.com/recommit/?secretpreview

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Resurrecting this thread about pre-commit-to-recommit (as we now call
it) which we’re almost ready to deploy, after testing it on ourselves
a bit more.
The idea is you just have a checkbox on your goal page and if you
happen to have had it checked when you derail then it just
automatically rerails you.

Let us know if any of you want to start guineapigging it as well! (You
can’t see the checkbox yet but we can, so you can just tell us to
check it for you.)

We might wait to publicly deploy till we have some kind of “no mercy”
option. Some people really hate it when they accidentally rerail with
a flat spot. People who check precommit-to-recommit probably
especially so.

There are actually 2 auxiliary binary choices to make with pre-to-re:

  1. flat spot? 2. rerail at same or higher pledge level? (Current
    defaults are Yes and Higher.)
    The 2nd choice isn’t as important now that we let you move up and down
    the pledge schedule (though not easily!)…
    blog.beeminder.com/shortcircuit

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM, pjh philip@hellyer.net wrote:

I’ll stick my hand up and call it stupid, then. I don’t want to sign
up to a runaway re-commitment train!

Beeminder is a gentle mistress, more or less, reminding me of what my
lucid past-self had decided, nudging me toward progressing on my
valued goals, etc.

When I fall off the road, as hard as it might be to start up again, I
want it to be positively my decision to re-commit, not an automatic
enrolment. And I don’t want to resume with a flat road, but with a
highly-achievable slope to nudge me into rebuilding momentum.

While on the road, Beeminder lets me take a pause or slow down,
subject to the horizon delay. I can immediately stop and fall off
the
road, so there’s a defined cost to shortening the horizon. What’s
missing is a nudging cost to control the length of time before I
decide to either positively re-commit or to abandon the goal.

That’s why my fine print carefully states:

If I fall off this road I will give the nice folks at Beeminder an
extra $50 if I don’t reinstate it within 48 hours of receiving the
off-
the-road email, plus $10 per day delay. Alternatively I can walk
away
for $100.

(Daniel & Bethany have kindly agreed to charge me on this basis, so I
don’t need to worry about the enforcement angle.)

I will already have paid the pledge for falling off the road, and in
re-committing will be obliged to re-pledge a higher amount. What
this
clause does for me is gently encourage me to do what I’ve already
decided is the right thing.

Important, I think, is that the length of time before the decision is
under my own control. If I want a week’s respite, I can re-commit
immediately to a flat start. If I don’t want to even think about
thinking about it for a week, that’s got a defined cost. And it’s a
cost that slowly & gently increases, nudging me toward making a
decision.

The disproportionate $100 for calling ‘uncle!’ re-inforces the goal’s
importance independently of the current pledge level. (Might need to
adjust it upwards over time, but I’m currently on a $10 pledge for
this particular goal.)

I’ve used the word ‘nudge’ rather a lot, and maybe that’s because
anything stronger than a gentle encouragement is going to set loose
my
inner weasel, whereupon Beeminder becomes worse than useless to me…

Philip

On May 1, 5:07 am, Daniel Reeves dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

nice. :slight_smile:
now we just need a couple people to chime in that this is stupid and
we’ll know we’ve nailed it!
(great ideas always seem obvious or stupid, right?)

still mulling david’s idea. i want to solve the procrastinating
quasiweasel problem but stay unambiguously not-evil. so i don’t want
to profit off of people putting their head in the sand.

it’s ironic because prima facie our whole business model is to
profit
off of people’s failure. but it’s actually quite the opposite: we
get
paid at the conclusion of a long string of awesomeness that
beeminder
induced.

fun fact: 70% of people who pay us $5 do eventually re-up. and the
more you pay us the more likely you are to re-up. 100% of people
who’ve coughed up $90 have put $270 at risk. (nb: small n on that
one!)

still, there’s something compelling about the godaddy model where
you
have to explicitly break up with us and admit that you just aren’t
going to achieve this goal.

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 17:59, Jake Hofman jhof...@gmail.com
wrote:

sounds like a great idea.

funny enough, i actually thought this was such an “obvious”
feature
that i assumed you had, of course, thought of it and intentionally
decided not to do it!

-j

On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Daniel Reeves
dree...@beeminder.com wrote:

(Belying the relative silence here on Akratics Anonymous, there’s
an
insane amount going on with Beeminder right now. API, device
integrations, Android app, Gmail plugin, front end work, and all
the
stuff for Portland Seed Fund.)

This is just a quick braindump / sanity check of the latest
Beeminder
epiphany. It has 2 parts:

  1. Scrap the whole “contract” and “sos clause” [0] and all that;
    just
    tweet your excuse to get off the hook. Essentially no one will
    abuse
    that. [1]
  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you
    derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the
    previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick
    road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany…
For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

(And I guess the Zeroth was the whole idea of a commitment
contract
[5], which of course we can’t take credit for. Not that it
matters
where any of these ideas come from.)

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]
Or maybe:
Auto Re-Railment [7]

Footnotes:

[0]http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

[1] It’s kind of like how we don’t have to worry about the
definition
of a “User-Visible Improvement” for our high-stakes
beeminder.com/meta/uvi goal. A UVI is whatever we’re not too
embarrassed to tweet as a UVI. We’d rather pay that $1000 than
tweet
something that reeked too strongly of weaseliness. For Beeminder
users
who didn’t, y’know, found Beeminder, the numbers might be a
little
different, but it’s the same principle. Our users hold themselves
to
high standards.

[2] Note you can always set the goal date to be a week from now
and be
done. The rationale here is that procrastinating on unfreezing a
goal
is the biggest failure mode of the whole lifehack that is
beeminding.

[3]http://blog.beeminder.com/roadwidth(nitty gritty of the road
width algorithm)

[4]http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind(“Flexible Self-Control”)

[5]http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia(inaugural post on the
beeminder blog)

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify
their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y
acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely
weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not
unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if
those
penalties were automated.

[7] One loose end before we can implement this: what if someone
starts
a road and then goes completely MIA? We can’t just keep charging
them
exponentially more and more money. The auto-re-railed roads can
start
flat but then we miss the whole point – you’ll procrastinate on
dialing up the steepness. I’m thinking we only charge or only
re-rail
if you’re actually entering data points.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com

http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road –http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 4:49 PM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.comwrote:

So if you

flatten the road right after derailing then you’re totally safe – the
road starts flat for the first week and flattening it makes it flat
starting in a week. So it would be flat forever. Which makes you
effectively off the hook.

What you say makes sense for to-do goals like exercise or gratitude
journaling. But how does it work for a weight-loss contract? Does the
precommit idea bind me to never losing weight again unless I remember to
change my goal to allow a bigger safety buffer?


David Reiley is a Research Scientist at Google
Learn more about me at http://www.davidreiley.com

What you say makes sense for to-do goals like exercise or gratitude
journaling. But how does it work for a weight-loss contract? Does the
precommit idea bind me to never losing weight again unless I remember to
change my goal to allow a bigger safety buffer?

No, it should jump to your new weight at the time of derailment, be
flat for a week, then continue at your previous rate.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

Ahem. I meant “never gaining weight again.” But I see. With the akrasia horizon set at one week, this should not be a problem.

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 13, 2013, at 7:08 PM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

What you say makes sense for to-do goals like exercise or gratitude
journaling. But how does it work for a weight-loss contract? Does the
precommit idea bind me to never losing weight again unless I remember to
change my goal to allow a bigger safety buffer?

No, it should jump to your new weight at the time of derailment, be
flat for a week, then continue at your previous rate.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Ahh! I can identify with the meta contract idea, I had not come up with it
myself but I knew I needed something.

For me this ties in with having a continue option when restarting
a derailment, as restarting is too cumbersome at the minute imho, and so I
have let some slide.

I would suggest the next level each time is adding another increment of the
initial pledge rather than a double/triple.

Tom.

On Monday, 30 April 2012 06:12:03 UTC+1, Daniel Reeves wrote:

  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.

So, I have a question that will reveal my tendency
towards hyper-vigilance… I really like the idea, but am nervous about the
implications of something like a major personal crisis on my credit card
(…or if you turn “major” up quite a lot, on my estate!). What kind of
safety features are in place if someone just stops entering data? This has
been the reason that I’ve avoided ever checking that box.

On Tuesday, March 12, 2013 6:36:26 AM UTC-4, boardtc wrote:

Ahh! I can identify with the meta contract idea, I had not come up with it
myself but I knew I needed something.

For me this ties in with having a continue option when restarting
a derailment, as restarting is too cumbersome at the minute imho, and so I
have let some slide.

I would suggest the next level each time is adding another increment of
the initial pledge rather than a double/triple.

Tom.

On Monday, 30 April 2012 06:12:03 UTC+1, Daniel Reeves wrote:

  1. You automatically advance to the next pledge level when you derail.
    I.e., by default you automatically re-pledge (at triple the previous
    pledge) unless you explicitly opt-out. Starting a yellow brick road
    means you’re committed till you reach the goal or explicitly cry
    uncle. [2]

We’re thinking this may be the Third Great Beeminder Epiphany… For
those keeping track:
First Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Yellow Brick Road [3]
Second Great Beeminder Epiphany: The Akrasia Horizon [4]

Tentative name for this one:
The Weasel Principle [6]

[6] So called because the heart of the epiphany is that Beeminder
users are distinctly unweasel-y (for example, they won’t falsify their
data to avoid coughing up a pledge). They don’t commit weasel-y acts
– they’re not weasels of commission – but they are surely weasels of
omission. The lightbulb moment was when a user set up a meta
commitment contract to impose penalties on themself for not unfreezing
derailed goals. I realized that that would probably only work if those
penalties were automated.