Beeminder Forum

I need a second opinion on legitness


@dreev what have you done?! :astonished: :wink:

Seriousness aside, this is A LOT of great input with very diverse views on the subject. Thanks everyone!
If anything it shows that maybe it wasn’t completely unreasonable for me to be so conflicted about what to do.

I didn’t mean to imply it was poor planning on anyone’s part at all. In fact there was basically 0 planning involved. It was a spontaneously call to meet up if I got time. That’s all there is to it. I could have simply said nope, no time. Like a normal person :smiley:
I can’t picture myself ever asking someone in such a situation to cover my Beeminder costs. That just feels alien to me. It’s not like she asked for, I dunno, fixing her printer in the middle of the night or something.

YMMV but outside of work I don’t normally have people queuing up throwing money at me just so they can see me :wink:

Haha! I figured you’d like it :wink: Speaking of which, I love both this…

…and that title! I’ve grown up with cats, so maybe that’s why.
And this brings me to some other quote of yours, @dreev:

This is exactly what I had in mind here:

When I set up this goal I was basically living on YouTube and other similar time sinks. This goal helped at combating that. Really well in fact.
Spontaneously meeting up with a deer friend whom I had to dismiss the past 4 times already (as I learned on that evening) is not what this goal was initially set up to combat. That’s where my motivation comes from to classify it as non-legit. At least for me watching just one more video and then I’ll get started is something different than meeting someone.

On the other side, I wondered what would the Beeminder people do in that instance because they arguably have been beeminding for a longer time than me and maybe been in this spot already.
So it was super interesting to read @dreev’s take on this.
And of course reading the war stories of everyone else here who has had a similar struggle is super insightful and reassuring, thanks again!

So as stated in an earlier post, I did barf up the $30. And I realised that $10 was already motivation enough. So now I’m slowly reducing the pledge from $90 back to $10.
And next time I ma either again shell out the $10 or maybe call non legit and dial up the road afterwards for a bit and then take a step back and see if I feel any different about the goal than I did before.

Thanks for reading so far :slight_smile:
I want to leave you with two things:

German has the idiom “päpstlicher sein als der Papst” (= to be more catholic than the pope) which crossed my mind a few times during this endeavour.

The Struggle is Real


What’s the second thing?
Don’t just leave us trembling in antici…


Well, this is.
And I want to see that in the top left corner of the website :wink:


A/ next time make it an actual poll so people are forced to make an actual decision and you get hard data to drive your choice / learning experience

B/ poor planning leads to hard choices. Cough it up and learn to build buffer, treating orange as red, because flexibility is what buffer is for

C/ or put in your goal rules the clear-cut ‘if someone I didn’t see in 3mo+ asks for my time, I get to weasel out’ (or make an explicit list of the people who can trigger this, effectively saying “I stick to my schedule except for those people”)

B+/ on the beeminder side, it would be a nice extra functionality to ‘bank and hide’ a bit of buffer instead of retroratchetting, effectively setting yourself an artificial deadline, with the proper deadline colors (something like this).


Sounds like she was guilting you a little. Were the last 4 times also last-minute with no notice? What does she expect if she doesn’t let you know ahead of time?

Something about this whole thing is frustrating me. This whole situation could have been prevented if your friend had planned a little better by letting you know ahead of time that she would be in town, yet it sounds like you are getting the blame here and you are out $30.

If you’re only going to make last minute plans, you shouldn’t expect others to juggle their schedule and goals around for you. Here her poor planning ended up costing you $30 and that is NOT FAIR.

Yeah, that’s pretty much my point. There was no thinking ahead of you, just this expectation that you’d jump at the chance to see her, enabling her lack of advance communication and costing you $30 to boot.

No one else finds this frustrating or thinks there’s something upsetting or dysfunctional about this dynamic? No one else thinks it’s unfair or that payment is not being properly allocated here?

And it’s not just about money. In my mind, while this is a non-legit derailment, it’s still a good idea to pay because of slippery slopes. So her failure to let you know in advance, combined with the apparent guilting, could have started you down a dangerous slope.

I really like @olimay’s suggestion that there are two types of goals: “never fail” increasing pledge goals and “ok to pay to fail” capped pledge goals. But that second type of goal can end up unfairly costing you when someone else’s failure to give you advance notice ends up putting you in a position where you have to turn them down or pay for derailing.

So the moral is, when setting up a goal of the second type, beware that it puts you in a situation where you might have to pay when it should be someone else’s responsibility.

I see three options here:

  1. Suck it up and pay. This just seems unfair and enables someone else’s bad behavior. But maybe having to pay when this happens is good motivation not to enable.

  2. Call it a legit derailment. The bright line here is “I should have known earlier but I didn’t because someone else didn’t plan ahead - if they had, I would have made time and kept my goals.” I think this is reasonable, but the concern is that it’s too easy to slide down a slippery slope here - that is, maybe this isn’t a bright enough line.

  3. My preferred option - properly allocate the penalty. The penalty should properly be paid by the person who was in a position to be aware of the issue and plan for it (in the US, this is a general principle of tort law).

So if you’re in a situation where someone asks you for something, and their failure to think ahead puts you in a position where you might derail, consider telling them you’ll only agree if they pay the costs of their failure to let you know earlier.

Since apparently some people find discussion of money and payments in situations like this unusual or socially unacceptable, another option might be to ask them to help you out in a non-financial way by helping you with a task or doing some kind of favor. I feel like this kind of casual bartering is fairly normal.

Also see the “notorious example” of @dreev and @bee allocating household tasks by making payments:


I begin to see why it’s called “Messy Matters” :wink:


If I were in an analogous situation, I wouldn’t be frustrated with another person for asking to get together, I would be frustrated with myself for not working ahead enough that I couldn’t get together with a friend without impacting my progress.

Not to “yuck your yum” (as I tell some of my students), but I wouldn’t ask a friend to split a Beeminder pledge with me. I don’t use Beeminder to make other people awesomer, I use it to make myself awesomer.


As I understood OP, this wasn’t a situation where working that far ahead would have been possible, but rather a situation where any spontaneous request to get together would have required derailing.

In that case, it strikes me that the best thing to do for you in an analogous situation would be to call the derailment non-legit (option 2 in my post above), since it was someone else’s failure to let you know in advance that caused you to derail.


Some people are just like that. You can choose not to be friends with them, but you can’t choose for them to plan ahead more. You can make sure they’re aware of the consequences of their lack of planning, but I don’t think it’s all that likely to make them change, and who knows, maybe they are actually using the appropriate amount of planning for their personality and their lifestyle. Other than that, you kinda have to take people as they are.

(There are other reasons for this kind of thing to happen as well, of course, like last-minute flight changes due to weather / cancelations / etc.)