Beeminder Forum

Let's never say "Yellow Brick Half-Plane" again

In the recent thread about jargon, Danny made a promise:

oh my goodness, yes of course “yellow brick half-plane” is just a codename, not something newbees ever need to see. … So when the transition is done there will be no concept of “yellow brick half-plane”. It will just be how Beeminder works. Again, the name is only needed for the transition.

Then he went and wrote a blog post about the yellow brick half-plane, right where the newbees can see it :stuck_out_tongue: To celebrate our new technological world order, I propose peer-pressuring Danny et al into adopting a new terminology and never saying YBHP again!!

I personally see this as an exciting moment to adopt a whole new metaphor that accurately embraces what the line on the graph really is. I personally oppose “yellow brick road” because, 1, it’s a US-specific cultural reference; and, 2, you’re not supposed to follow the line, you’re supposed to avoid crossing it, so it’s a US-specific cultural reference that doesn’t even make internal sense.

I propose “bright line” as a starting option. Boring, but gets the job done, and accurately describes what it is. Then we have “right side of the line” and “wrong side of the line” for the zone, and “crossing the line” for derailing.

How would you describe “how Beeminder works”?


I like “Half-Plane of Death” or “Half-Plane of Doom.”

Or we could make it the “tracks” and you want to avoid the “wrong side of the tracks.”


Glorified Golden Halfpipe

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Half-Plane of Doom has my vote!

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Ha! Thank you, @oulfis! Yeah, it’s pretty silly how I can’t keep myself from saying “yellow brick half-plane” all over the place but absolutely correct that as soon as everything’s converted and there’s no such thing as non-YBHP (we’ve gotten through all users starting with A so far! plus all the daily beemail subscribers) then the term will have thoroughly outlived its usefulness.

Great idea to focus on “bright line” as a metaphor.

In fact, inspired by you, here’s the email we’re now sending to people when we convert them (active users only):

Subject: we just converted your beeminder goals to be more bright-liney

Quick heads up that we just converted your goals to use our snazzy new graphs where there’s no longer such a thing as so-called lanes of the yellow brick road. We worked hard to make this change as minimally impactful as possible and predict you’ll mainly notice some aesthetic changes to your graphs. If not (or if you don’t like those aesthetic changes, or have any other feedback) please hit reply on this email to let us know! Actually we’d love to hear from you either way, even if it’s just “thumbs up” or “all good” or “wouldn’t have noticed but thanks!”.

For the gory details:

Thanks for all the beeminding!
Danny and Bee and the rest of the Beeminder team

I’m still attached to “yellow brick road” though. I can’t tell if that’s irrational. Maybe it still works to think of the yellow region that hugs the bright line as the yellow brick road?

One other relevant recent thread:

That other thread proposed calling the line “the rail”, which works with the lingo of “derail” and “wrong side of the tracks” / “going off track”. I think rail/track/road all imply a little more width than the line actually has but they have some more metaphorical whimsy to them than “the line.”

Another term that I see is the idea of a “razor”, like this is the “razor’s edge”, though I think that lends itself less well to useful metaphors. Is there a correct side of a razor to be on??

I remember once someone proposing a whole new set of metaphors where the two zones are land and sea, and you don’t want to end up “out at sea” by crossing the shoreline. I like trying on a whole new framework for thinking about it, but again I’m not sure that the metaphor is really helping…?

I wonder if there’s metaphorical value in the idea of scaling a mountain. That’s sort of the point of the cumulative graph: to show how incremental actions build up into Success. So the line is… the cliff face? And you can build buffer and get above the cliff face by… ??

I grow more and more attached to the simplicity of just calling it “the line,” especially since that’s what I find myself falling back on when I want to be clear about what I’m referring to. The only downside seems to be blandness. Maybe there’s room for a whimsical adjective, something more charming than “bright” line? The… beeline?


Ooh I like beeline. And when you cross the beeline you enter the Sting Zone!

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I realised, all of the colors on the graph also kind of look like laserbeams! So it’s kind of like you’re in a heist movie and you can’t cross the red laser :stuck_out_tongue: Though, unlike in a heist movie, you can cross the red beeline for most of the day as long as you get back on the safe side before the deadline. So, maybe it’s a heist where your accomplice has deactivated the alarms for only a brief period of time.


Are you sure?

I’m in the UK, the 1939 film used to be on every Christmas :slight_smile:

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Ideally you want it pointed towards the other guy, not you…

UK and US are pretty close culturally, though. In Poland we never had that; we had endless Home Alone reruns.

I like “the bright line”; “the rail” sounds nice as well.