Some changes to the standard Beeminder contract. Exciting!
- Abandoning the “Abandonment Clause”
We originally had a clause that said that for small-stakes goals –
less than $50 at risk – if you stop replying to the bot or reporting
data then you don’t lose even if you technically drove off the road.
We only want your money, we said, if we’re providing something so
valuable that you want to interact with it continually. Plus we don’t
want you to have to worry that you’ll lose money just by forgetting
about your goal.
Well, now that your first attempt at staying on your yellow brick road
is always free, we think that clause is unnecessary. It’s very sweet
of us and all, but it’s too much complexity in the contract and in the
code. Also, we have SMS reminders now and it just doesn’t seem like
this is an issue in practice.
- Official Weight of the Day for Weight Loss Goals
It’s absurd how long we spent hashing this out. We had settled on the
mean of all the unique readings you get for the day as your official
weight. We were worried about people doing unhealthy things to get
their official weight on the road. The uniqueness qualifier was to
close the loophole where you sweat out some weight or whatever and
then get on the scale 20 times in a row to bring down your average.
Well, we’re jumping back out of that rabbit hole. Your official weight
is just the min of all the readings you report on that day. Being the
most generous possible rule, we don’t even have to mention it in the
contract that way. It also seems to make sense: your most consistent
weight is first thing in the morning after you’ve gone to the
bathroom. But sometimes you forget to go to the bathroom first, so
now, no problem, just get another lower weight and that’s the new
As for fears of people dehydrating themselves or whatnot to eke back
on to the road, see the last clause in the contract:
Here’s the new synopsis of the rules:
- Be on your yellow brick road every single day or you lose.
- If you’re in the right lane today you’re guaranteed not to lose
tomorrow. (Clause 1 and Clause 2)
- If you don’t report then Beeminder assumes no change from
yesterday. (Clause 3)
- You can change the steepness of your road at any time for any
reason, with one week notice.
- You can pause your road immediately in case of emergency. (Clause 4)
- Most important: Safety first. No intentional dehydration or
powering through despite an injury or any violation of medical advice.