This is what I’m pondering right now: Are accurate graphs worth the trouble? Are 98% accurate graphs good enough? It seems I’m fine with having some fake data in there… and I have been beeminding for years at this point.
I think I know about the bright lines argument: If you are (too lenient) with yourself and cheat Beeminder, Beeminder will lose its power as a commitment device. So do not do it.
The only exception to the rule is for those people who use Beeminder (more) as a data visualisation tool. But those people don’t see or use Beeminder as a commitment device. So they don’t count.
I think the argument is pretty good. But my question is how important are accurate graphs in this? In Beeminder circles akrasia is thrown into the ring as soon as there could be a discussion about productivity resources like time and attention.
It’s true, I could call not legit on all the goals that would’ve been made impossible (impossible? really?) by having spilled a glass of water on my laptop. I would get emails I would have to archive, work up the nerve to write the damn non-legit email answers, maybe have to retroratchet some goals (which would have been impossible with some), etc. A kind of a lot of maintenance to keep bright lines in an area that shouldn’t occupy that much of my time and attention.
So I’m asking myself if my focus is not “being the ideal beeminder user” and also not “doing meta work is my hobby”, but instead “I have life goals for which I’m using Beeminder and doing some meta work”, then isn’t it more sensible to use my time and attention on my actual goals (which can mean not going over my “attention budget” for Beeminder and Co., or at least not as much…) instead of having perfect graphs?
To me, this aligns better with my actual priorities while still being truthful to the bright lines idea in spirit: Fake data is just a quicker method of dealing with non-legit derails, for which I pay by having somewhat less accurate graphs.
As an illustrative example: I could see having a Beeminder goal to not spend more than this many hours a month dealing with Beeminder in total. Something like the water spillage happens at the end of the month. Would I go with two minutes of fake data or 15 minutes of non-legit derails?