Beeminder Forum

Great example of corporate policies encouraging you to optimize for the wrong thing

This is brilliant:

Google’s horrible promotion polices discourage important work and encourage optimizing for the wrong thing.

A good thing to remember when setting up your Bee-goals.

A great example of Goodhart’s law!

3 Likes

This is absolutely true. I have been targeting for a certain number of hours of study per day for many years now. And I agree that at times, I am just unnecessarily spending a lot of time on things that can be done quickly. A good reminder for me. Thanks.

3 Likes

Definitely good to have Goodhart’s Law in mind but I believe Beeminder is pretty robust to it:

https://blog.beeminder.com/unintended/

Also related: “loopholes you can drive an ice cream truck through”. I think the existence of ice-cream-truck loopholes proves that Beeminder can be robust to Goodhart’s Law. Of course not everyone (and I vaguely recall from previous discussions that @zedmango may be one such user) can relate to ice-cream-truck loopholes and if that’s you then Goodhart’s Law may be a particularly apt warning.

1 Like

So Goodhart’s law is tool-agnostic. It applies to the goals you set and it doesn’t matter what tools you use to help you achieve those goals.

Example: I want to be happy, I think X will bring me happiness, so I make a Beeminder goal to get X. I successfully use Beeminder (or any other tool) to get X, but in fact X didn’t make me happy.

So it’s not really meaningful to say that any tool can be more or less robust to Goodhart’s Law - Goodhart’s Law is a warning about setting the right goals for you and you can’t blame your tools on that.

One possible protection might be to Beemind a regular review of your goals and see if they’re actually getting you what you want - that is, why did you originally think the goal was a good idea, and does it still serve you?

3 Likes