Beeminder Forum

Commitwall is live! (credit card required to create goals)


I think everywhere in Europe you get a debit card just with opening an account. I didn’t realise they were not as used in the US.
So there are probably more debit cards (most are VISA-like for online use) than credit cards in the EU (posting this without googling)

These days you can connect PayPal in the EU with a credit card, debit card or a bank account as a source.

And yes , people in some countries like Germany don’t like the idea of debt and use of credit cards is not as widespread as in the US.


Germany is a bit special.
For instance in Sweden and Denmark paying via card is very common (from personal experience) which suggests that credit cards are less alien there as well. In the short time I was in the UK my experience was similar.
Italy however is quite similar to Germany when it comes to paying via cards. You better have some cash on you when you go to enjoy your café or gelato.

There is one place in Germany where people with a credit card use it all the time though and that is at the fuel station. For whatever reason :man_shrugging:

(All videos with Rachel in that list are just great btw.)


I’m unlikely to ever recommend Beeminder to anyone again with a commitwall. Asking for payment info before you have any kind of relationship with Beeminder or a chance to try it out is too sketchy. If I weren’t already familiar, I’d assume it was some kind of a scam.

(Not that I necessarily would have referred a lot more business to you over my lifetime, anyway, and it won’t affect my use of Beeminder.)

Edited to add: sorry for necroposting, but I figured better late than never.


Thanks for sharing how that makes you feel about recommending us. (We’re bummed that it makes some people feel that way, but we still want to hear it!) We’re convinced you can’t really try Beeminder if there’s nothing at stake, since having something at stake is what it’s all about, but it’s good to hear how people think they would have responded to it when they joined up. And we’re glad that you joined us before the commitwall then, if you wouldn’t have joined up after!


I think this is a “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Okay, I can’t “really” try Beeminder with nothing at stake, but whatever I can do with nothing at stake is a very meaningful part of understanding what Beeminder is and why I would want to use it.

That said, I was too harsh in my previous post. Though what I said is my honest opinion, I said it in a way that was unnecessarily upsetting and didn’t even explain my point all that well, and I apologize for that.


I don’t think it is a no true Scotsman fallacy. It’s a claim about the essence of Beeminder. The claim might be true or false, but it’s not fallacious.

I think the claim is true. Beeminder is like poker - it ends up being pointless with nothing at stake. I made an account without a card for a bit to try to get a feel for the interface, but it just never clicked for me until I actually had something at stake, and then I could really use it.

By the way, would you think something like Paypal would be a scam? or ebay or amazon? You need credit cards for those things too. You make it sound like it’s totally bizarre to require a credit card.


To me that’s just restating the fallacy. I deny that there is or could possibly be an essence of Beeminder. Beeminder is just a website, and a company, and perhaps a community. This is why I think it fits the no true Scotsman structure:

A: No one can try Beeminder with nothing at stake.
Someone like me: But I’ve had one goal with a zero pledge for a year, never entered payment info, never derailed, and have quantitative proof that I do more of what the goal was trying to get me to do than I did in the previous year.
A: Fine, no one can really try Beeminder with nothing at stake.

Now, Beeminder didn’t make any money off of this person (until and unless they create a lot more goals, derail sometimes on some of them, pay for a premium plan, etc. etc., as I did) but claiming they didn’t “really” experience Beeminder is just silly. There’s no such thing. There’s just this website…

Everyone has heard of those many, many times before they actually sign up, and they are all companies that offer payments to 3rd parties as a core part of their business. The number of companies that can do that is by definition limited, though, and Beeminder doesn’t qualify (and I don’t think it wants to). (PayPal is IMO a borderline scam, based on some horror stories I’ve heard about them, but that’s neither here nor there.)


That was pretty persuasive, @kenoubi! Let me see if I can salvage the claim…

Trying Beeminder without a credit empirically doesn’t work out well. Tons of counterexamples (including you, of course) but the following generalization has enough truth in it: People half-ass it, quickly derail, then stick their head in the sand and ignore us forever. They even often have uncertainty (the half-assing applies to reading the webcopy) about whether putting in a credit card after derailing means they’ll be charged for the derailment that already happened, and which doesn’t feel to them like it even really counts because, again, they were half-assing it. So they avoid us or procrastinate indefinitely on trying again.

So, yeah, no philosophical claims about the essence of Beeminder required (though we do like to think that way)! Hugely valuable to have you arguing the other side of this, btw. Thank you!


All the following is IMO: I don’t see much problem with requiring a payment method to have a nonzero pledge. The pledge on your first goal the first time you try Beeminder should clearly be zero. (If that’s currently not true by default, or especially if it’s currently not even allowed… then I have a bone to pick with that too.) This is the point where you’re trying to see what the heck Beeminder even does and why you might want to use it. Thus, the first derail actually shouldn’t count (but not because of half-assing, just because the pledge should be zero). When the pledge escalates, if the user doesn’t decide to totally abandon Beeminder at that point, asking for payment info is reasonable, since they might actually have to pay something.

By the way, it’s especially suspicious to ask for payment info up front (with no existing relationship) when you aren’t actually selling anything to someone. The only time I can remember seeing that is on porn sites, for “age verification” (but really your info is probably going into a database to be sold for $0.25 to someone who knows how to turn CC numbers / names / addresses / etc. into actual money).


This is really odd - so if they charged a monthly fee for using the service, you would find it less suspicious, but because they offer limited free accounts (Core Beeminder), it’s more suspicious? If they didn’t offer free accounts, new users would have to start at Infinibee level and pay a monthly fee, and then Beeminder would be selling something.

So beeminder just needs to advertise more so that people have heard of it more, then.

And beeminder charges you when you don’t meet your goals as a core part of the business - how is that different than a company that offers payments to 3rd parties as a core part of the business?


I have to disagree with this profoundly.

Beeminder is not a website (though there is a website that helps you use it).
Beeminder is not a company (though there is a company that provides it).
Beeminder is not a community (though there is a community for people who use it).

Quite simply, Beeminder is a service.

The service consists of charging you money for not meeting your commitment. You can’t experience that or use the service if there is no way of charging you.


I get that you deny that (though I’m not sure why). @mary and I disagree.
But my point is that it’s not a True Scotsman fallacy, even if you’re right.

By your logic any statement about the essence of something is a True Scotsman fallacy. The whole point of the TS fallacy is that you’re shifting the goalposts by changing your definitions so that your claim is always true. First someone claims all Scotsmen like porridge, then any counterexample X is dismissed as not counting as a true Scotsmen, even when all parties agree that X is in fact a Scotsman.

That didn’t happen here. From the beginning Mary’s claim was:

In other words, you don’t get the full experience without something at stake (@dreev explained why in more detail), though of course you’re correct that you can still use it.

The disagreement is over your claim:

I disagree with this claim. Whatever you can do with nothing at stake may be useful to you, and that’s awesome! But you’re simply not using the core part of beeminder. Which is totally fine, if you prefer not to.

So there’s no shifting of definitions. We all agree (correct me if I’m wrong) that

  1. People could previously use one part of beeminder’s functionality without putting a card in (and can still use it with nothing at stake until they first derail, or by using the Beemium plan) and some people might find this useful and helpful
  2. Another part - the commitment contract, which the creators believe to be the core part - cannot be experienced without something at stake.

There’s no TS fallacy here, just a disagreement over what the core of beeminder is.

(In other words… it’s not a true True Scotsman fallacy.)


Zed, I’m not going to respond to you any more on this thread, because the form of your arguments indicates to me that you aren’t interested in figuring out what’s actually true, just defending this statement, and I’m not really interested in participating in that. I mean seriously… “Beeminder is not a website”? So “I opened Beeminder on my web browser” is incorrect? “Beeminder is not a company”? So “Beeminder is incorporated in California” or whatever is untrue? “[B]eeminder just needs to advertise more so that people have heard of it more”—on the same scale as people have heard of Amazon? eBay? PayPal? I was distinguishing based on TYPE of business (Beeminder is not, and is not trying to be, a payment processor or facilitator of trade with 3rd parties), but even ignoring that, that’s absurd. It would bankrupt Beeminder if they tried to do it now (see, I just used “Beeminder” as something other than a service, again), and I doubt Beeminder could ever get THAT kind of market penetration (not that I wouldn’t be happy if it happened), and it doesn’t need to to be wildly successful, whereas it does need to have people actually sign up for the service.


Sorry, I can’t keep from replying one more time.

My wife has a lifetime Beemium membership because I gave it to her as a gift. She has repeatedly, strenuously stated that she gets no value from the part of Beeminder that charges you money, though she’s had a few goals that did in the past at my insistence.

She currently has 2 goals, both of which have pledges capped at $0 (which she’s allowed to do because she has Beemium). She updates both of them regularly and tells me she finds Beeminder useful for tracking her data and progress (her roads are a legitimate representation of what she wants to achieve, she just doesn’t pay anything if she derails).

Is she not “really” using Beeminder? If not, what is the point of this concept of “really” using Beeminder? Because it’s actually quite insulting, so you’d better have a really strong reason for insisting that her usage is somehow fake or imaginary.


Curious. This is not the first time I read this on the forums and I still don’t understand it. There is this really concise text on the landing page and this very likeable video of @bee explaining in great detail and even showing a screencap of what it looks and feels like. (Which is maybe a little bit outdated, now more than ever.).

So please explain how this:

leaves any doubts to how Beeminder works. In my book the only thing missing there is a big fat “hey, our support is made of really chill humans and you can talk to them and they will listen”.

Yes I know people don’t read webcopy. But they watch videos, don’t they? And if they are not willing to read nor to watch nor listen – is Beeminder the correct tool for them? Is this Beeminder’s target audience? I think not.


Different people do different things. I believe I neither read the copy nor watched the video. I signed up because of something somebody said on Less Wrong, I think (I only very dimly remember this). Anyway, for many people (but not everyone), it is IMO not possible to understand how Beeminder will fit into your life without actually using it, no matter how many videos you watch or how much text you read.


Hey! You can’t fight in here, this is the war room!

I liked @zedmango’s philosophical points about the “no true scotsman” claim (and thought the conclusion – “not a true true scotsman fallacy” – was delightful) and of course am biased in @zedmango’s favor since they’re taking my side on the underlying commitwall question.

I’m also failing to find anything actually false in @kenoubi’s claims either, but I think the real point is that this wants to branch into a thread like “Philosophy question: what is the true essence of Beeminder?” or something.

My previous reply tried to route around the philosophical question and replace it with an empirical one.


I did not read the copy, and I did not watch the video.

We have multiple threads going on right now about how people use Beeminder in completely different ways from each other. I think there was a list of 13 categories of reasons to have a Beeminder goal, and I’m certain it isn’t exhaustive.

I have achieved many goals here that I struggled to achieve without Beeminder, and many of them I did not come close to derailing on. We even talk about it here:

I’m seconding Kenoubi here. I think I spent a year or two Beeminder without a derail, or maybe one or two, but I got immense personal value out of it.

I do not think I would have stopped at a commitwall, but I really understand that I may be unusual. (For instance, people saying they trust Paypal more than giving their credit card information out? I work with Paypal on the business side and I’d do a chargeback on my credit card 20 times in a row before touching Paypal. I do not understand the consumer trust, but it’s obviously there! (Doubly parenthetically, I know multiple creators who have had Paypal take and hold $20,000+ of their money for months with no recourse since Paypal isn’t a bank!))

On the other hand, I totally get the struggle Danny’s going through here. When a new user derails, they’re probably pretty sad about it, and honestly, what percentage of them are confused about it? Imagine any other service where the company asked you to enter your credit card information only at a time when you’re sad and confused!

If I had a good answer at all, I’d sing it from the rooftops.


I agree with this, and my point was just that I didn’t seem to be able to “actually use it” without money at stake, because that’s what gives me the kick in the pants I need to actually do things.


I use beeminder a lot like kenoubi’s wife does, and find it hugely beneficial.

I also don’t like being repeatedly told that that’s “not real” in various ways! :slight_smile: