Feature request: a lock-me-in button to dismiss goal deletion

The announcement of No-Excuses Mode (also the announcement of the death of weaselproofing) included this parenthetical near the end:

([Being able to turn No-Excuses Mode on or off at any time] does defeat some of the point, like locking yourself in on a newly created goal. We have a solution to that coming: You’ll be able to instantly archive and delete any goal that has $0 pledged on it. If you want to lock yourself in, just bump it up to a non-zero pledge. Again, that’s not the status quo yet, just what we have planned. We’ll likely prioritize it based on how many people tell us they really need a way to lock themselves in on new goals.)

That was @bee’s stroke of genius, that if you wanted to lock in a goal – remove the ability to delete it even if it’s less than a week old – that we could just make pledgelessness be the criterion. Any $0 goal, no matter how old, is instantly deletable. Any >$0 goal, no matter how new, you have to schedule it to archive in a week (and then can delete fully if you want, as in the status quo).

That has at least 3 advantages:

  1. It pushes people to add a pledge to fully commit to a goal.
  2. It uncouples No-Excuses Mode from locking in a newly created goal. Maybe in the future No-Excuses Mode is on by default sometimes, or you’re encouraged to opt in as part of goal creation. No-Excuses Mode shouldn’t necessarily mean losing your grace period for deleting a miscreated goal. It’s a different beast.
  3. It’s simple and elegant and minimizes if-statements since $0 goals are already special-cased in various ways.

I was convinced enough to say it was our plan to implement it. But then I thought of this slightly longer list of disadvantages:

  1. It pushes people to stay at $0 out of fear of (full) commitment.
  2. It entangles $0 goals with locking in a newly created goal. That could back us into corners, like if we wanted to nix $0 goals or have those be something you unlock by derailing or godknowswhat. And philosophically, deletability is strictly about having time to make sure you set the goal up correctly, not about how much you’re pledging.
  3. Beeminding for months at $0 and then deleting the goal when it gets hard would be… unimpressive, and arguably unbeemindery to allow it.
  4. The one-week window seems to work great in practice.

Basically, we prefer to entangle the locking in of a new goal with neither No-Excuses Mode nor pledgelessness. So let’s make it its own thing! Namely, a “lock me in” button next to the “delete now” button that just dismisses the whole DELETE GOAL interface. For anti-magic, the DELETE GOAL section should not totally disappear but collapse to a blurb that says “This goal is either more than a week old or you explicitly locked it in, so you first have to schedule it to archive before you can delete it.”

(That transparency also may mean we could experiment with other criteria for expiring deletability. Maybe to be deletable a goal should be less than 1 day old AND have a $0 pledge AND not have No-Excuses Mode turned on AND not have had the lock-me-in button pressed. Probably not all that, but we’re free to experiment, is the point.)

Similarly, the ARCHIVE GOAL section is never missing and you’re free to use it to schedule an archive even in the first week. (@shanaqui has a nice use case for this.)


I think that satisfies literally every use case we know of in a pretty elegant way?

  1. You can lock in a newly created goal
  2. You can schedule a newly created goal to archive
  3. Nothing magically disappears or changes too much in the UI based on confusing conditions
  4. We retain the battle-tested delete-this-goal-cuz-it’s-still-new interface
  5. Deletability is not entangled with no-excuses mode in any way that might back us into any corners
  6. Deletability is not entangled with pledged-vs-pledgeless goals in any way that might back us into any corners

One thing it misses out on is a proposal from @alys to simplify deletion-vs-archiving. Namely, make deletion only work for already-archived goals but whether archiving happens with a one-week delay or not can be conditional on the goal being more than a week old, like in the status quo. That’s indeed much more elegant than having a choice between archiving or deleting (or, worse, the status quo of having one vs other conditionally available). But even though disagreeing with @alys is historically a terrible idea, I’m thinking her idea is incompatible with CON3 and CON4 above. Or at least a bigger redesign would be needed to make it compatible?

In conclusion, I think we should have an explicit lock-me-in button that makes the whole goal deletion interface go away, decoupling it from No-Excuses Mode. But maybe only if any of you (@mary?) tell me you’d use it…


So to clarify on the last point… As things stand, it doesn’t appear that you have the option to archive a goal in the first week, only delete. If this change was made, would that mean that archiving a zero-pledged goal is impossible? That seems more likely to be an issue since you’re not likely to have a lot of data you want to save in a less-than-one-week-old goal, but you may have a lot of data you want to save in a 6-months-old zero-pledged goal.

Ah, yeah, to review the possible things we may do, assuming we conclude that we need a way to lock yourself in in the first week at all (which y’all should chime in about!):

  1. you lock in a goal by bumping its pledge above $0
  2. you lock in a goal by turning on no-excuses mode
  3. you lock in a goal with a separate button

Now that I’m thinking it through more carefully, thanks to your question, I think option 1 is off the table for now because we don’t want to mess with the interface we have for deleting a goal in the first week. Unless @bee or anyone has ideas for getting the best of all worlds there.

Otherwise, if we need a way to let people lock themselves in, then it’s between (2) leaving the lock-me-in feature as part of No-Excuses Mode and akrasia-proofing the No-Excuses Mode checkbox and (3) adding a lock-me-in button.

I like the idea of decoupled lock-in and Excuse Mode behavior. I’m a newer user so it’s harder for me to conceptualize the long-term consequences of this plan. As a new user, I tend to lock myself in prematurely, so I like having an option to seriously lock myself in or to just excuse proof myself until I feel confident in the parameters and entry method I selected for the goal.