Thanks to @skorytnicki for proposing this in the forum thread about a custom Beeminder iOS widget. The question is why not beemind the sum of your safe days across all your goals (but capped at 7 for each)? The original reason was that we thought it might be perverse if you could improve your Total Buffer by adding new edge-skatey goals.
But, to repeat myself from the other thread, maybe that’s actually ok? Maybe it’s a bit like an ice cream truck loophole. Realistically you’re not going to be tempted to dispatch your “get more safety buffer” meta goal by creating a new Beeminder goal. Unless you want a new goal anyway, in which case, so bee it?
To review, here’s the explanation of Urgency Load in its current form:
The idea of Urgency Load is to construct a single number that captures how edge-skatey you are across all your goals. One way to do that would be to sum up how many safe days you have on all your goals. So the higher the number, the more safety, the better. But it’s not great how adding additional edge-skatey goals adds more total safe days across all your goals. More goals means more (potential) urgency; that shouldn’t improve the metric! So Adam cleverly flipped it around: Every day of safety buffer less than 7 is a day of urgency. Sum those over all your graphs and you have an urgency metric that you want to keep as low as possible. A beemergency adds a full 7 to your urgency load, having 6 days of safety buffer on something adds 1, etc. And adding new goals can at best leave your urgency load unchanged, if you keep them at 7+ days of buffer.
Here’s the official Urgency Load formula:
where m_g is the number of days till goal g ends and b_g is g's safety buffer.
The formula for Total Buffer would be this:
In words, just sum up your safe days on all goals but you can never get credit for more than 7 safe days nor credit for more safe days than there are days till the goal ends.
What do you think? Is it worth the added confusion of the Urgency Load metric in order to close the loophole that additional goals can create more urgency but also create more total buffer?