Beeminder Forum

Fine Print, reimagined

I was thinking about this forum thread on No-Excuses Mode and a discussion with @dreev in the community discord, and I wanted to get my thoughts about Fine Print together into a more concrete proposal.

The tl;dr of the discussion in Discord was well summed up by “Storm”: “a certain type of user enters excuses in a goal’s fine print then refers to them when fighting a derailment charge”; and that causes problems for general awesomeness-of-product but also creates nontrivial support burden.

Personally, I feel like the term “fine print”, on its own, has a negative, lawyer-y connotation that subtly encourages the “use it to weasel and annoy support” strategy - I tried to put my “goal specificity” stuff in Description originally but it’s an input, not a textarea, and the UI of the website and app aren’t useful for that.

By “goal specificity”, I mean things like specifying for myself how much buffer to ratchet each goal to when I go through every week for my meta-dialcheck goal to set breaks, adjust slopes, and ratchet goals as needed. I also have a few goals that, while their deadline is at 22:30, when I’m not in a beemergency I consider to be due at “bedtime”, and if I happen to stay up past midnight, I put the data point on the previous date. I also have some “beenary” (a-heh) goals that are just +1 for “success day” (e.g. cardio, the aforementioned sink-zero); details like that are what I use Fine Print for.

I just created a new semi-fun goal for sewing and found the “be specific about what this goal means” flow a little fiddly and annoying: the actual impetus for this forum post.

My ideal situation: a field called “Notes” or “Details” that wasn’t hidden in Settings (or was hidden in Settings, but also had a page like the breaks summary so I could see all my Notes/Details at once and fiddle for consistency), and that showed up next to Description during goal creation so I don’t have to create the goal, go to the new goal page, go to settings, and finally then be specific about what I’m actually targeting and how much to ratchet it, what my max input per day is, etc.

Now, moving autoratcheting to a less premium tier would remove part of my use case for a good story around Notes/Details, but noting down the beenary goals and less meta details like (on sink-zero, again)

To get a +1, when you go to bed, every dish in the house* must be clean, in the drying rack, in the dishwasher, or soaking if truly needed. This includes annoying handwashing like ziplocs.

*does not include renters’ room or wife’s office or lunchbox

are still, IMO, a useful thing to be able to do.


This sounds pretty perfect to me. Thanks for articulating this!