Beeminder Forum

Data is getting logged with the wrong date?!


#1

I just added 5 minutes to my goal via the web UI, https://www.beeminder.com/adba/ja#data

Weirdly, the dropdown (Enter data -> Date:) insists that today is December 2nd, and that yesterday was December 1st.

The timezone in my profile is set correctly and matches the timezone on the device I entered the data on. It won’t be the 2nd for several more hours.

I manually changed the date of the entry, but it’s extra friction to have the default date be wrong.


#2

Weird indeed. I assume that you’ve refreshed the webpage, so that it’s not just some leftover cruft from when the page was first loaded…

One thing that is always confusing is if you set a custom deadline on a goal, the goal’s idea of the date is usually different than my own. e.g. the goals that I’ve set to have a noon deadline are now on the 2nd of December, even though the calendar and my mental state are still on the 1st.

Something similar can happen for people who habitually stay up past midnight, on goals that strictly use the calendar day instead of the experienced day.


#3

I’m not sure if I’d refreshed the page, but I just force-refreshed it in firefox and it still thinks that today is the 2nd. (I’m also not sure why it would be leftover cruft, as it thinks it’s the future rather than the past).

Your comment about strict calendar days had me figure it out, though. I’d set a daily deadline of 5pm (to force myself to favour doing the goal earlier in the day instead of being encouraged to stay up until midnight), and then tried entering data after 5pm for today.

I’ve changed the goal to use strict calendar days, as I find logging what I do today as happening tomorrow disconcerting.


#4

Me too! Though I’ve got a bunch of goals set to a noon deadline and a bunch set to midnight.

For people who usually stay up past midnight, it makes sense (to me) for ‘today’ to stay as the 1st for longer than the calendar thinks it does, until the sleeping time.


#5

Having days last longer can seem like a workable compromise - a system that logs a goal to a perceptual day that doesn’t match a calendar day because someone stays up past midnight is a common kludge.

More fundamentally, the abstraction of logging in terms of days (as opposed to a combination of date and time) with non-midnight goals breaks down in an ugly way as a user for goals with deadlines before midnight. As a user, I want anything I do after a 5pm goal deadline to still be logged to the actual day and not a future one. I simply don’t want it to stop me from derailing if I otherwise would derail that day.

In short, I’m much more comfortable with logging to ‘the past’ (technically-yesterday when it’s after midnight) than I am in logging to ‘the future’ (eg, December 2nd when it’s still December 1st in my timezone), but ideally I’d always log to the current day and have the system know what side of the goal time limit the log happens to be on for non-midnight deadlines.


#6

Nicely expressed! If there’s enough interest maybe we can separate these two concepts, the deadline-time vs the day-end. (I’ve often thought that the day-end should be tied to the user’s subjective experience of a ‘day’ rather than to the arbitrariness of an externally-imposed calendar.)

Apart from the changes to the database design, I foresee some challenges with redesigning the data entry UX, particularly for folks who forget to enter a datapoint in time to avoid a derailment. So I’m not holding my breath, but in my view it should go on the list for the next datapoint/roadmatrix revamp…


#7

On the UX side, I see a few options.

a) A checkbox, “This data point was after my day end of 5pm” (with the text based on the user’s settings).
b) An extra character in the shortcut, such as !. So, you’d be able to do something like ^^, ^^!, ^, ^! for “yesterday before the deadline, yesterday after the deadline, today before the deadline, today after the deadline”.

On the database side, just switching to using a datetime rather than a date field should go a long way. Old data could be migrated to some arbitrary time. New data would just need to be on the right side of the deadline boundary - having it correspond to actual times would be a bigger UI change, though might be doable for non-manual data. Changes to day ends should presumably also only happen after the akrasia horizon, to keep people from extending days indefinitely.


#8

I’m pretty sure the datapoints are tracked by datetime, but are combined into a single day via the aggday functions.