Beeminder Forum

New UI date/total/rate pain point

Hi folks!

I tried to schedule a long break on a goal, and was told that it went over the end date of the goal so it couldn’t be scheduled. I know exactly where to change the goal three-way in the old UI, but it took ~3 minutes for me to find it in the new setup.

Just a heads up.

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Agreed, I don’t want this to be “simplified”.

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Yeah, lots of people have been stymied by how subtle that link is. But maybe it’s fine once you know where it is? And it’s something we don’t want newbees confusing themselves with so this is probably an improvement, but probably we could find a way to get the best of both worlds.

Oh, but I think we need the exes and pencils back in the road dial.

Account-level setting “I always want the advanced version”? Or actually you could just make it a sticky toggle (it would need a way to switch back) that applies across all goals.

Admittedly that wouldn’t have helped with OP’s problem (which was confusion trying to find it for the very first time)…

Maybe we could be clever based on the goal date value. I think we default new goals to ‘forever’. If a goal’s end date is before that magic date, we could show the three-field view by default.

Could also do with a change-to-forever link to automatically change goals to be of the endlessly striving variety.

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I did not know endless striving goals were possible. Is there a way to turn them on for a goal where it currently has an enddate?!?!

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Oh, that’s @pjh’s proposal, not current reality! I agree it would be nice to have simple open-ended goals but it’s complicated because the assumption that all goals have end dates is baked in pretty deep in the code and in the UI. There may be something simpler we can do to minimize confusion and especially with avoiding accidentally bumping into unintended end dates, which is quite bad.

Conversely, there’s also a general assumption that the goal’s rate dominates, whether it’s explicit or implied. So arguably, endlessly striving is the current default, apart from the minor niggle that there is, um, an end date.

In the new UI, we get asked to set a rate, and the end date gets set to sometime in 2027. (At least, that’s what just happened for me, can’t swear that it’s the default.) But it’s far enough out that we’re unlikely to trip over it for a while. So I think that is the simpler thing, code-wise, and that we’ve done it.

The next simple thing would be to show or hide the three-field road dial (a.k.a. ‘commit to’) depending on the value of that end date. At a minimum, we should show the three field version if the end date is imminent; it’s too mysterious otherwise when the countdown isn’t related to the safety buffer.

Those of us who try to set explicit real-world end dates on goals have encountered all sorts of trouble, depending on which of the fields we used to specify the goal’s slope. (To be clear, not trouble in the day-to-day sense, but after a derailment or a ratchet, etc.)

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re goal rate vs goal quantity after derailment: honestly and realistically,
I think the right thing to do is to remind users to look at their rate and
dates for their goal after a derailment. Even if there is a way to specify
it in the goal settings, I predict many users don’t care/don’t predict/have
different needs than when they set it up last.

A technological solution might not be the right one here.

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For any given goal, think about which fields have carefully chosen values:

  • none: pure quantified self
  • just rate: endlessly striving, e.g. my goal to test my glucose often enough
  • just date: “after this date I won’t care about this anymore” (e.g. a goal to visit your favorite spots again before you move away from a city)
  • just total: “I need to finish this eventually”
  • rate + total: like rate, but with a checkup each N achieved; or like total, but with teeth
  • rate + date: like rate, but with a checkup every so often (seems more useful to me than rate + total, at least for goals that are likely to be restarted)
  • total + date: a traditional deadline
  • rate + date + total: better hope the numbers line up!

My personal default is rate + date, not just rate, because I use the goal date as a chance to reassess the goal, and I allow myself to decrease the pledge then. I still usually recommit.

When I use total, it’s because there is an actual total, after which the goal will be over. Any time I’ve manually set total, it’s nonsense for Beeminder to change the total for any reason (including derails, ratchets, take-a-break, etc.) other than me telling it specifically that I want the total to change.

I actually kind of like the idea of being able to start a goal with just a total, or even no numeric choices at all, and have it start out as pure QS (rate of 0) but then Beeminder slowly, conservatively dials the rate up based on the data I’ve entered. If it has a total, it could give me a projected end date, which I could edit if that seemed too far away (or too close!) and it would determine a new rate for me. It would solve a problem I’ve had a few times of not creating a goal because I didn’t know a reasonable rate to start at (yes, I could do what I described manually, but it’s obnoxious and I’d probably decide not to bother).

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