Email notifications philsosophy

Continuing the discussion from Revamped Reminders:

I am aware of what goals I have and what the deadline is, I get (silent) zeno notifications on my phone to keep me reminded.

If I am planning my day on an eep day, I know that I have an eep to dispatch and choose to do it in the evening, I don’t need to be bugged about it all day.

I do not want to also be receiving emails I just ignore/delete it is needless clutter.

It is possible to cause the reminders to not be sent if you know the correct incantation, so it should be more explicit about it.

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Just an idea. Maybe it would make sense to modify the phone apps so that one can acknowledge the reminders. The idea would then be to only send an email reminder if the user did not acknowledge the corresponding push notification on their phone. This way one’s inbox would not get cluttered if the user saw the reminder on their phone.

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It might also be useful if one could snooze the reminders when acknowledging them. For instance, when getting a Zeno poll on the phone, let the user acknowledge the Zeno poll (to avoid unnecessary emails) and also allow them to snooze any further polling for a certain amount of time.

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I also have a “turn off reminders” request/question. I have several goals that need to be updated daily, one of which I had set to sent me daily email reminders (the others have no reminders). It’s now set to send me the maximum reminders.

What used to happen is that if I had already updated that goal on a certain day (before the reminder time), I would not get the reminder email. Now I get that email anyway.

Is there any way to turn it back so that it won’t “remind” me when I’ve already updated the goal?

If not, I’ll dial down the reminders and use other methods (Habitica) to make sure I check in with my beeminder goals daily, but that’s less convenient.


I realize this is not exactly what you are looking for, but will let you archive any/all Beeminder nag email for goals which have data submitted today.


This should be how it works! And may have been fixed very recently:

If you’ve got a very recent example, please email support so that @bee can investigate.

Of course, if you’ve added data to the goal but not got back on the road, reminders would continue…

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That’s the absolute best case scenario when it comes to reminders: when you’ve already planned the doing into your day.

If that’s always the case for a particular goal, then setting that goal’s reminder start time to later in the day may work well. I’ve got all of mine starting at 4pm, so that I get a late-afternoon reminder of things that I haven’t got around to.

Maybe there’s a sub-case of the Uncle button that should silence reminders for the day.

If, like me, you almost always look at your gallery early in the day in order to know what needs doing, then there’s a case for turning reminders off altogether. (Currently achieved with a hack of entering –1 in the days box.)

Some of my goals are always on eep, others rarely so. It’s the latter that are most helpful to be reminded about.

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This is the point of the thread, @dreev seems to be saying that you should not turn reminders off and thus is making it difficult to do so.

My point is that it should be easy to tell beeminder not to send me unwanted emails and it should respect my decisions.

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I think we’re mostly agreeing:

  • the current hack of entering –1 to permanently disable reminders is needlessly opaque
  • on eep days when I’ve got the activity planned, I’d like to be able to silence Zeno

The first is a UI #UVI. The second strikes me as a special case of the Uncle button (however it gets exposed), but for folks with fairly regular habits there may be possible solutions with the currently available settings.

Most of the time, when I find Zeno emails annoying it’s because I’ve annoyingly (and often inexplicably, akratically) not done the thing.

So I also firmly agree with Danny:

Aside: when I read his response (this morning!) in that thread, I thought it had missed the point at hand and not addressed the quotes that it was replying to. So I’m glad that we’ve got this side-thread to thresh it out.

I have an unverified hypothesis that there are appropriate goal settings to achieve both aims. Reminders arriving when you need them and minimising unwanted emails.

There are three settings that come to mind:

  • the ability to disable reminders, albeit with the not-very-visible –1 hack. No unwanted emails, but no potentially useful emails either. Handy for goals that are always eeping.

  • the ability to specify the time of the first reminder. Handy for reminding me of things that I would like to have done earlier in the day, but may have forgotten about.

  • the ability to specify the deadline time. Unless you’ve got the habit of going right to the wire, pushing this to later than my ideal-target time will usefully reduce the number of Zeno emails without impacting productivity.

Zeno emails become increasingly frequent as the deadline approaches. That’s a bit micro-managery, repeatedly telling you something that you’re already all-too-aware of. I hope that changing the deadline will eliminate a lot of those. And the ability to silence or derail a goal (i.e. uncle!) that’s planned-for or planned-not.

The levers that we have access to have changed, but we knew that any ‘revamp’ of reminders was unlikely to leave [the subset of levers that we’d become comfortable with using] unchanged. I’m going to experiment a bit and see whether my hypothesis holds up for my own goals.


I wonder if part of the problem here isn’t a bit of skew due to the lack of the Uncle Button making Zenos more annoying than they would be.

For example, suppose you have 10 eep!s. You want to declare Uncle on one of them and do the other 9. You get (say) 4 of them done in the morning and 5 in the evening. If the goals derail at midnight, you’ll get 0 Zenos for your morning goals, and 1-2 each for your evening goals. So that’s 5-10 legit Zeno emails plus 7 Zenos for the goal you let run all the way to midnight. So roughly 50% of your Zeno emails are spam even though you only want to give up on 10% of your eeps!s.


Thank you–I expect that would fill my needs perfectly if I had any idea how to apply it!

Well, the thing is that I’ve never been off the road. Or anywhere near it, really (at least not for a while). This goal is part of a group of goals in which I am working to increase my safe days, and when I reach my goal amount of safe days I will retroratchet and reward myself (and increase the goal), with the intention of continual improvement without overwhelming myself.

So I’m still getting the emails, because they never were eep! emails.