Feature Idea! Give some money back every now and then.

tl:dr; Can I receive money for doing well in a goal?

In operant conditioning Beeminder is using active avoidance as a negative reinforcement of the behaviour. “I’ll lose money if I don’t do it”. There is one other option which would also provide the same outcome namely positive reinforcement. “I’ll gain money if I do it”.

Combined with a variable ratio reward schedule, people would be more likely to stick to their goals.


Hmm, interesting idea! What would you do in the case where someone never derailed? Would they earn money by using Beeminder?

It doesn’t necessarily need to be a large amount. Let’s say 50p per incentive on a variable ratio schedule. Of course, a formula needs to be figured out such that the user is not paid more than the price of their subscription.

This mechanism could be built into the feature set one of the two following ways that I can think of. On non derailment and as per the variable ratio schedule:

  1. Pay the user 50p originating from their subscription fee.

  2. Pay the user 50p reducing the next future ‘sting’.

Strictly these are not rewards originating from an external source, however they may mimic it well enough that the user modifies their behaviour in expectance of the next ‘win’.

Wouldn’t this give a kind of pressure to make goals easier? Like the current setup of Beeminder is definitely built around the idea, regardless of whether people always use it this way, that your goals should be ambitious or difficult enough that you need the threat to push you over the motivational line.

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