Let people delete goals after the first week?

Letting people delete goals immediately in the first week is great for experimentation. And you can weaselproof the ability away if you want.

But @bee just reminded me that @chelsea’s been arguing persuasively for letting people delete goals after the first week as well, subject to the akrasia horizon. I agree, and think it should work like this:

As in Trello, you have to first hit archive and then, when archived, the button becomes a delete button. In Beeminderland, both of those are subject to the akrasia horizon so it takes 2 weeks to delete a goal. That may seem excessive but (a) 2 weeks is a big step up from never, (b) removing choices (“archive or delete?”) and UI clutter are both super important for keeping the overall cognitive complexity of Beeminder under control, and © I really hate it when people delete goals and this is my last stand in discouraging it. :slight_smile:

I’ve dragged my feet on this in part because I kind of like how in the status quo we sort of make you get married to the goalname, which adds to the commitment. Otherwise you could delete a goal every time you derailed and start it over. In the status quo you have to resort to the old “weight”, “weight2”, “weightforreal” thing (please don’t do that!). But waiting the extra week is plenty discouragement from such shenanigans, which we probably shouldn’t worry so much about discouraging anyway. Shenaniganers gonna shenan, after all.

So, good plan? Option to delete archived goals with another week-long countdown?

1 Like

Up front disclaimer: I have Strong Opinions on this.

This is what I do and will almost certainly continue to do. I find restarting an archived goal is what I want to do precisely 0% of the time. If the goal was working, I generally wouldn’t have archived it! If I’m trying again, it’s probably a long time afterwards and with a different goal structure. The archived goal is useless baggage that gets in the way and I have absolutely no interest in reusing it, even if restarting an archive goal worked flawlessly (which I have not historically found to be the case but don’t know if it currently does).

So basically huge +1 to letting me delete goals.

Also, please make delete available immediately on archiving. If you require me to go find the archived goal and manually click delete on it and then apply an akrasia limit to it, all that will happen if you do that is that I will forget to click delete because it’s now out of sight, out of mind, and when I come to create the new goal I will find that there’s this old goal in the way that I have to wait a week for.


This, in exactly these words.

I am beginning to suspect that @drmaciver is actually the brilliant half of my brain.


Yes please! I agree with the other two posters. If I archive it, I’m probably done with it forever. Beyond what others have said, I just hate having a cluttered archive. I have no desire to see how I did on my situp challenge 2 years ago, and would love to have the option of deleting it. I’ve considered just abandoning my current account and reregistering just so I can have a fresh start.

Sometimes it takes me longer than a week to figure out how I structured something isn’t working, or that the goal I created isn’t as important as I originally thought. To be honest, if that is the case I’m not just going to keep working on a bad goal for a week just because - I’m going to hit archive and lie.

Deleting makes sense in a lot of cases. I like my archive as a proud home for successfully completed challenges and valiant attempts (that I ultimately abandoned).

I’d prefer it not to be intermingled with poorly formulated monstrosities of goals. Please let me bury those forever.

You might insist I could still learn from them. I would be okay with that if there were some kind of _under_archive to act as a museum of doomed to fail from the beginning. Or separate “good” and “bad” archives. Deletion seems simpler, though.


I think you’re overthinking this. Just let people delete goals when they are archiving with no extra week. My arguments echo some of what’s already been said above. (Disclaimer: I personally don’t care much about deleting goals, I just think it’s silly to make it overly complex or not allowed at all.)

Argument #1: I have gone back to look at my Archive of goals maybe once ever? I’m definitely not going to want to go there just to delete goals.

Argument B: If I want to reuse a goal name, I’m going to want to reuse it right away, while I’m thinking about making the new goal with the old name. If you make me wait a week to reuse the name I’m probably going to not make the new goal at all. That is bad for me and bad for Beeminder.

Final Argument: Having the Archive button turn into a delete button, Trello-style, makes me think hard at the moment that I’m deciding I’m done with a goal about whether I’m ever going to want to restart that goal and whether I will ever want to reuse that goalname. Making me think about that stuff again a week later is going to feel like a greater cognitive burden. And having to go into the archive to find the goal I want to delete adds more to the overall complexitiy of Beeminder. Encourage people to make the choice in the moment so they never have to think about it again.

Here’s what I think it should look like: The moment someone clicks on Archive, a Delete button appears. If the person chooses to click on Delete during the week wait for archiving, the goal will delete at the end of that week. If not, the Delete button remains with the goal indefinitely and takes effect immediately. Obviously if the goal is reactivated the Delete button disappears.

Like you said, shenaniganers gonna shenan, so you should focus on making it easy for the non-shenaniganers to use Beeminder the way that is most helpful to them.


Some finished goals are trophies, others are dross.

This proposal is nicely related to the goal-creation limit before you are obliged to subscribe; if you can stay below the wire by deleting goals, more power to you!

Like @drmaciver, any time that I’ve resurrected an archived goal, I’m pretty sure that the meaning and intent has changed. I may have revived the slug/URL, but the goal itself is operating under the rules that are relevant now.

1 Like

I’m with philip and Dr. M on this one. When I archive a goal it’s because it’s not part of my life anymore. And if I want it to become part of it again, then I will almost certainly not resurrect a zombie goal without altering it beyond recognition, adjusting it with what I’ve learned from my past experiences.

Similarly, it takes a bit of fiddling around to get a goal to work to do what you want it to do in your routines. Sometimes a goal seems like a good idea and it only takes a day or two to realize you were just drunk (metaphorically).

So - deleting goals to weasel out of commitments - bad. Deleting goals to be able to make new and more pertinent goals - vital.

There’s another side to this which has to do with the amount of ‘sting’ in a goal. If I archive a goal that is now dross and it had a high-ish penalty associated with derailment because of its long history, is it fair/reasonable/prudent/scientific to attach that baggage to a goal that I’m restarting? The old me deserved that stingy sting for he was a miserable akrasiatic coward, but the new me is just a greenhorn with a good heart who deserves a chance to screw up for 0$ to start.