Group Goals finally out of beta!

Ta-da! Check out the Settings tab on any goal page:

Bethany and I (sometimes with our teenage son) have been using this for over a year now – namely, letting multiple people commit to a single goal. We were very unsure at first if it was a good idea, since it sounds like the kind of the thing that could have a fatal diffusion-of-responsibility problem. But our personal experience is that that’s not a problem in practice. The way we’ve implemented it, a group goal shows up in everyone’s gallery just like any other goal, and there doesn’t seem to be a temptation to ignore a goal in the hopes that another member of the group will deal with it. Or maybe there’s a liiiitle bit of a game of chicken but as the deadline bears down, you talk to each other and someone does the work before Beeminder charges everyone.

(Because the monetary stakes are in fact duplicated for everyone, which I think helps with diffusion of responsibility.)

We use this for various household chores, Bethany and I use it for things like doing math together, and our son has several of his homework and workout goals set to group goals with either me or Bethany just as a way to help hold him accountable and make sure he notices when he’s about to derail.


Some caveats / FAQs:

  1. how do we handle non-legits? can only one groupie call non-legit on their own?
    1a. If you cancel the pending charge on a group goal it cancels it for everyone, so there’s no “partially non-legit” or anything like that. Policy-wise, we’ll probably start with the maximally generous thing?
    1b. Refunds on the other hand are annoying, because you have to refund individually for each groupie, so, uh, maybe we strongly discourage refunds?
  2. a way to leave a group goal?
    2a. yeah, that and “resend conf”, and viewing your own pending invites all got shoved below the mendoza line in my mad scramble to get things deployed in time for Danny’s talk on Friday. So those are on the stack.
  3. a fallback for if a groupie invite is lost?
    3a. the owner can delete a pending invite, so in this case if it’s the invite that got lost, the owner should delete the invite and then re-add the person.
  4. can groupies click through to a group goal on beemios and beedroid?
    4a. works almost normally on beedroid, so i assume on beemios too. a couple things – at the moment alerts won’t come through to groupies in the apps. In fact the only notification that’ll get to the groupies is email. Emails we send to the group goal will include all the members in the cc.
    4b. the other thing i’ve noticed with beedroid, is that group goals are much more inclined to be stale… i think the push notifications of “hey, i got new data” don’t go out to groupies (same as alerts don’t), so they only get updated when you manually refresh, or on whatever other internal schedule the app has.
  5. disallow autodata goals? for now?
    5a. autodata group goals make more or less sense depending on the autodata source. for something like duolingo, adding someone to your duolingo goal will only track the owner’s duolingo account that the goal was set up with. But you might still want to do this as additional accountability or moral support or whatever. (We do this with our teenage son). Other types might truly be collaborative (e.g. rssminder for a joint blog, or urlminder).
    5b. we should document the different types more thoroughly in the blog post or a help doc.
    5c. i could certainly imagine an extension / generalization of autodata + groupgoals where it would track data from multiple sources, e.g. pulling in everyone’s step count from any source they use… but that’s a distant future project.
  6. how annoying are non-legits?
    6a. i guess i kind of answered this already, but to spell it out again, non-legit before the charge has happened is exactly the same for admins, but if the non-legit is late and the charge has already occurred, then we’ve made a bunch more work for admins. So don’t do that?
  7. A short list of other buggy / questionable things:
    7a. typo in the email,
    7b. the use of underscores is confusing,
    7c. be consistent about username case-sensitivity,
    7d. badness if the user already has a goal with the same goalname as one they get added to

Double-:tada:, we dispatched several of the things in Bee’s caveats/FAQ there and blogged about the new feature:


Thanks for an incredible wedding gift for two Beeminder users getting married next week! :smiley:


Holy cow, congratulations!! :confetti_ball: :revolving_hearts:

PS: And for those whose life partner doesn’t already use Beeminder, ongoing discussion in another thread about finding people to start group goals with: