I decided to give YNAB a try at the start of this year after hearing about it on Beeminder. I find myself wanting to check forums daily or more often because their Journals section really stands out. That’s an area of the forums where people make separate threads and talk about their situation and update as months go by. Other people comment, give advice and commiserate. You start to recognize names and want to check in to see how they are doing and get some daily inspiration. This is all in spite of the fact that there has been a kerfuffle over in YNAB land as they have released a new version which requires a subscription. The community is divided over it with all the usual forum drama you might expect.
I have used My Fitness Pal in the past and they had something similar. Fitocracy accomplished the same thing in a different way - you would see people accomplishing new things in their workout logs and encouraging each other.
This is almost completely missing from the Beeminder Forums. I guess I check in once a week maybe. It’s useful to read about the dashboard view, but that doesn’t inspire me. I recognize the frequent posters and there have been some great blog entries, but the blog is separate from the forums. There are many inspirational ideas, like the goal of doing something to show affection for your spouse that I remember reading about somewhere, and there are all these great ways in which people are making their lives better, but you hardly see any of that from checking in.
The forums don’t have a separate section for this, and while I like to read about the goals that other people have and I think others would as well, but most of the posts are technical questions or feature requests. When someone does post their tips on how they are Beeminding something I really like reading it, but then it drops off of the forum page. I wonder how hard it would be to encourage more of this and build a community. It feels like if there was a content like this people would add more, but since there is none there is more of a barrier to adding it. It should be a good fit with Beeminding in general. Publicy committing to things and looking to others for encouragement and support is a well known way to help make lifestyle changes fit.
Or maybe the type of person who is drawn to Beeminder is different from the more general population who frequents the other sites? It’s definitely more of a technical crowd here. I wouldn’t even be writing this if not for the other “Mildy panicked” post and that I get use out of Beeminder and would like to see it grow rather than die off.
Maybe there’s still some sort of internal stigma that is harder to get past when dealing with Beeminder goals? People will open up and get support around having tens of thousands of dollars of debt and then celebrate their tax refund or bemoan an unexpected vet bill. However setting a Beeminder goal to make progress on a PhD dissertation and then derailing is probably harder to talk about.
Maybe Beeminder’s a tool applied to so many different things that there’s no nucleus to bond over? Or that there’s already a community for a topic?
For myself, I have a ‘complete to-dos’ goal for my Habitica, but I discuss those with my Habitica party. I have a Duolingo goal but I discuss it with the Duolingo Guild, also on Habitica. Sleep and fitness I have goals for, but those are through Fitbit.
Going back to my first paragraph, I’d say the current forum is meta-focused; that the community is about tool discovery, tool use and troubleshooting, and expanding current tools to new areas.
You encourage it, but I think the way the forums are structured doesn’t. I was thinking about the triangle beeminding post when I wrote this, and had forgotten about the 2016 planning post. I guess the issue is those posts drop off the page; a new user won’t see them.
They fit in the Akrasia category. When I tell the forums to show me the Akrasia category I do see a couple of posts along these lines that I missed (yay!) but there’s a lot of technical discussion about Zapier and IFTTT integrations I just gloss over. So many of the posts that I think new users really should see aren’t that accessible to them.
Well, I guess the thing to do is to start a thread tonight and see if I keep posting to it and feel I get any use out of it.
Yeah it’s definitely a troubleshooting/brainstorming/no-news-is-good-news kind of community.
Personally I’ve never used Beeminder to accomplish a large, finishable task. That’s partly because I most need help with forever-running, cron-jobby types of things, and partly because short-term Beeminding is a hassle. The point being I don’t know when I should make a forum post about how awesome it is that I’ve flossed 314 times since June 2014. It really is awesome! But it’s not a milestone
The mere fact that you’ve used cron as metaphor says a lot.
Rule of Silence: When a program has nothing surprising to say, it should say nothing.
OTOH, I tend to agree. When I have some time, I might start some threads. (BTW, I’ve recently used Beeminder to shift my bioclock some two hours. Instead of going to bed around 1 and waking up around 7-8, I now go to bed around 23 and wake up before 6. Yay!)
Actually it was easier than I thought. (I always thought of myself as of an “night owl” and not an “early bird”. Turned out it was BS all the time. (I’ll write more details later, I don’t have much time now.)
As I read this, i find peculiar that while by default goal pages are quite public (you have to take action to make a goal private), there are no other features for more extensive blog-like notes/“progress report” entries, etc.
My writers’ community has a separate forum area called “author threads” where anyone who so desires can start a single personal thread (thread title is their name, by custom) and post about anything they like, without worrying about being on-topic or off-topic or too personal or boring or anything else. Other people can also post in that thread, like any thread, but the eponymous author is its understood “owner.” We’re a very close-knit community, thanks in part to that forum area.
How about adding a category like this here?  Call it “User Threads” or “Journals” or …
Having one thread per user titled with the user’s name  makes the purpose of the category clear, so there’s less chance of contamination with other categories. (Pretty much every category in the BM forum has posts that belong in a different category, because the definition of what belongs there is left up to the user to interpret.)
 The “Life” category would seem to fit this purpose, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to have much traction.
 Which can be anything, from IRL name to BM login to Master of the Universe Bow Before Me; as with any thread, the user picks it when they create it. But something other forum visitors can easily map to your Beeminder presence is probably advisable.
I endorse this! Shall we follow your lead, @grayson?
PS: And really cool idea to attach arbitrary blog-like entries to datapoints. I’ll definitely keep thinking about that. There’s not actually a low limit for the datapoint comments but ever since the redesign we make it seem like there is. Here’s an old goal of mine where each comment is like a mini blog post, which you can only tell in the old design: https://old.beeminder.com/d/grate/datapoints
For what it’s worth, I definitely got benefit out of starting my journal thread in the Life category last year. I thought there were some useful discussions at the start, and a few months ago I started using the Anki integration that was mentioned in that thread again.
I realized I’m more of an introvert than a chatty person, so I am less likely to make cute posts that draw people in and have them comment so after a while it became me talking to myself and updating it started to become more of a chore that I was postponing. Then I kind of fell off the wagon for a while, and it didn’t feel right to keep posting when I wasn’t using it as intended.
I still would like to read threads about what goals other people have and how they are using the tool, so I can affirm that any posts people make will be appreciated even if they don’t get a lot of comments.