No more new features please

This is going to seem like an odd request but I would personally love it if
you guys would flatten your UVI graph for a little while and just tweak the
existing stuff (sorry… by “tweak” I mean “discuss and maybe fix”… but I
didn’t want to make it sound like everything is broken; it’s not). Maybe
also create a few “this is how this feature works” paragraphs we could read
when we’re lost. I find I’m often running across behaviour I don’t expect
and into new changes where things don’t work the way they worked last week
or they work in a way I would not have guessed in a hundred years of
guessing and so on, and I’m kind of dizzy from it.

I’d love to talk a little more in Ak.An. and maybe test (and figure out)
some of the changes to the features I’d become so used to before having to
learn any new features or any new changes to the old features on which I
was depending.

Am I just overwhelmed by outside considerations and taking it out on
Beeminder, or does anyone else feel like they need a bit of a second to
regain their balance where it comes to catching up with the changes?

Cranky and taking it out on others,
Essy

(PS - I was one of the worst “Hey can we have this new feature and then
that new feature and then…” perpetrators of the bunch, but I recant. I
cry “uncle”. I would like to get used to all the changes that have happened
and try to figure out how to use them.)

Hey Essy,

Anything you’re finding particularly confusing and would like a write up
about? I agree that an ever changing product is hard to keep up with.
Sometimes is it hard to do support when they launch new features that I
haven’t tried myself.

-Jill

On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 11:38 AM, Essentiae essentiae@gmail.com wrote:

This is going to seem like an odd request but I would personally love it
if you guys would flatten your UVI graph for a little while and just tweak
the existing stuff (sorry… by “tweak” I mean “discuss and maybe fix”…
but I didn’t want to make it sound like everything is broken; it’s not).
Maybe also create a few “this is how this feature works” paragraphs we
could read when we’re lost. I find I’m often running across behaviour I
don’t expect and into new changes where things don’t work the way they
worked last week or they work in a way I would not have guessed in a
hundred years of guessing and so on, and I’m kind of dizzy from it.

I’d love to talk a little more in Ak.An. and maybe test (and figure out)
some of the changes to the features I’d become so used to before having to
learn any new features or any new changes to the old features on which I
was depending.

Am I just overwhelmed by outside considerations and taking it out on
Beeminder, or does anyone else feel like they need a bit of a second to
regain their balance where it comes to catching up with the changes?

Cranky and taking it out on others,
Essy

(PS - I was one of the worst “Hey can we have this new feature and then
that new feature and then…” perpetrators of the bunch, but I recant. I
cry “uncle”. I would like to get used to all the changes that have happened
and try to figure out how to use them.)


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Essy and I have started discussing specifics of this off-list but I
don’t mind it all being public so I’m repeating my responses here:

  1. As Bethany immediately pointed out, UVIs != features. Features
    should be a tiny fraction of UVIs. I agree that lately the
    features-to-fixes ratio has been high.

  2. Problems with Retroratchet

We should probably get a specific bug report here. Anytime you have
more than a day of safety buffer it ought to let you retroratchet.
When you do retroratchet the effect should be to reduce the number of
safe days. If you point us to specific examples where it’s not doing
that that would be hugely helpful.

  1. Problems with Scheduled Breaks

Scheduled breaks has a fundamental problem in that there’s not enough
transparency about how you’ve changed the yellow brick road. More on
this below.

  1. Problems with Autoratchet (max safe days) for Do Less goals

I think autoratchet has some brokenness and probably especially so for Do Less.

  1. Better online help

Agreed. I think we should add more tooltips to things, but I think
Bethany and Andy disagree with that. It is tricky with tablets where
mouseovers don’t work. Maybe more question-mark icons to click on?

  1. Discuss changes on akranon before implementing

Agreed. Yell at me when I fail to do that. (Not that this is a
democracy but it’s very much worth our time to explicate what we plan
to do and to understand other points of view.)

  1. Fix things before adding new features => wait on generalized road dial?

Here’s a question for Essy and everyone. I’m pretty excited about the
generalized road dial – the spec is taking shape at
expost.padm.us/dial – and have high hopes that it’s going to fix
brokenness (if we do it carefully) and remove confusion about
retroratchet, autoratchet (max safe days), and scheduled breaks. It
should be a single, transparent interface for making the YBR do
whatever you like.

The question: Am I delusional and we should slow that shit down and
fix up and clarify the existing features? Or does that indeed sound
like a solution to a lot of the problems you’re having?

Thank you so much for the help here. It’s occasionally the case that,
with you (Essy) using Beeminder more intensely than pretty much anyone
else, you run into bugs or issues that pretty much no one else does.
But, as Jill pointed out when we discussed this, for the kinds of
things you’re talking about here it’s mostly the opposite. If you’re
confused/frustrated by recent changes then others will be even more
so.

Another thing Uluc brought up when we were discussing this: The other
recent highly constructive criticism here from Brian Crain about
categorizing goals and avoiding inbox-style overload… Essy has
solved that beautifully with her custom interface (OK to point to
that again?) and we should definitely be incorporating those ideas.

Thanks again, everyone, for pushing us toward ever greater
awesomeness! For real.

On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 8:38 AM, Essentiae essentiae@gmail.com wrote:

This is going to seem like an odd request but I would personally love it if
you guys would flatten your UVI graph for a little while and just tweak the
existing stuff (sorry… by “tweak” I mean “discuss and maybe fix”… but I
didn’t want to make it sound like everything is broken; it’s not). Maybe
also create a few “this is how this feature works” paragraphs we could read
when we’re lost. I find I’m often running across behaviour I don’t expect
and into new changes where things don’t work the way they worked last week
or they work in a way I would not have guessed in a hundred years of
guessing and so on, and I’m kind of dizzy from it.

I’d love to talk a little more in Ak.An. and maybe test (and figure out)
some of the changes to the features I’d become so used to before having to
learn any new features or any new changes to the old features on which I was
depending.

Am I just overwhelmed by outside considerations and taking it out on
Beeminder, or does anyone else feel like they need a bit of a second to
regain their balance where it comes to catching up with the changes?

Cranky and taking it out on others,
Essy

(PS - I was one of the worst “Hey can we have this new feature and then that
new feature and then…” perpetrators of the bunch, but I recant. I cry
"uncle". I would like to get used to all the changes that have happened and
try to figure out how to use them.)


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http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

1. UVIs != features.
I don’t really mind new/changed features as long as there’s somewhere for
me to look to get clarification on how they’ve changed and they’re working
in a predictable fashion. I’ve been having trouble with the last of that
list and when I look to figure out what I’m doing wrong, there isn’t really
anywhere to check other than emailing support.

2. If you point us to specific examples where it’s not doing that that
would be hugely helpful.

Will do. It’s over 40% of the time that I hit the retroratchet button that
I get the “hellz no” response, so I’ll start sending them in more
frequently.

3. Scheduled Breaks: not enough transparency about how you’ve changed the
yellow brick road

That, and that it has been outright going wonky, especially after a few
changes in a row (yup, waited for the graph to be done refreshing each
time). Trying to take every Saturday off by trying to add a bunch of
Saturdays off in a row resulted in mayhem.

4. Autoratchet (and retroratchet) for Do Less goals
No idea what’s actually happening with these b/c sometimes when I request a
retroratchet with 2 days left it denies me that. Then I ask for a
retroratchet with 1 day of buffer left and it agrees, does it, and the time
now says I have 2 days left. Confused

5. Online info and tooltips
Just a flat page I can command-f or ctrl-f my way through would be great
for the “wth is this?” moments (maybe question marks could link to sections
of that page or something. And then perhaps make any recent changes to that
document (2-3 weeks) in red font so we can see what’s different when we run
for help, too?) And warnings about new features that are visible (like a
red star beside a recently altered or new feature (1-2 weeks for things on
the graph itself and 2-4 weeks when it’s a change you might not be as
likely to see, like one that’s in the settings) with an
information/instruction tool-tip about the changes that we could mouseover
(or, better yet for us tablet junkies, click on) to get more info about how
it’s going to be different now. (Like the retroratchet changes that were
being made. For a while that feature changed almost daily it seemed. It
stopped changing the slope, it starting requiring a larger buffer, it
stopped using units for do-less, etc. All great changes, but it makes what
you’re about to do less predictable if you aren’t keeping up in the threads
and emails and blog posts. (That’s probably why I’m feeling a little lost
now, actually. I rarely have the time to follow those now so I’m lost about
what’s happening when and would like to find that in the interface when I
need it, rather than keep up with all of it as a skill-set/knowledge-set in
its own right. When I went from being obsessed with Beeminder to just
relying on it, my ability to keep up with the changes dropped, I think. (But
make no mistake, no matter how whinny I am this weekend, I rely on
Beeminder so heavily that I feel like I will owe you a full paragraph on
the acknowledgements page of an upcoming project, at the very least. I’m
cranky, not disgruntled. This is still the bee’s knees to me… get it?..
cause… dorky…))

*6. Discuss changes on akranon before implementing *
Actually, I was thinking mostly about after, cause you guys talk about
changes you’re thinking about all the time to get feedback. I think that
getting a bunch of testers to deliberately test the crap out of a feature
and discuss odd results could be helpful once the change has happened.
Maybe you could even get a group of volunteer testers on a mailing list to
deliberately put new features through quirky testing. As soon as you get a
"hmm… what happened here?" email from someone, you could get those of us
on the list (opt-in) who currently have the time to test the crap out of
whatever seemed off? I don’t know. I’m certain this is an area in which
you’ll have way more ideas than me. But whatever leads to more
predictability = best.

*7. Fix things before adding new features => wait on generalized road dial?
*
As with all this other stuff, and every single thing that comes out of my
mouth (keyboard), this is just my opinion but I think that if you think
this new feature (not really sure what it is as I’m out of the loop a
little) will fix a lot of other broken things, I would still do some kind
of instruction info/page first. After showing a few people Beeminder, I was
surprised at how many questions they had for which answers were collected
from my use, mistakes, and emails to support. I was able to pass some of
that on to them, but they couldn’t find anything for themselves.
Personally, I think being able to answer the “wth does this do?” question
is a huge priority in the way people are talking about interacting with the
site when they’re new. (And I’ve lost an attempted convert to a rival site
who’s name shall remain unmentioned b/c they were able to understand what
to do easily. That made me sad!)

"Or does that indeed sound like a solution to a lot of the problems you’re
having?"

I think you’ll probably know that best cause you have a clearer idea of
what that change will cause as upshots. I love control and predictability.
Whatever gives me that will make me happy. Whenever I lose that, I become a
frantic, hysterical, cranky mess!

when I look to figure out what I’m doing wrong, there isn’t really anywhere
to check other than emailing support.

Just a reminder that it’s massively helpful to us when you email
support to ask a question (ideally one question per email – and don’t
hold back on sending multiple emails). Our heads are in this so deep
that we don’t know what’s obvious and what’s confusing, so if
something happens that you didn’t expect or you forget some rule of
rerailing or something and a quick search doesn’t immediately answer
it, ASK US. Hopefully we can give you a quick answer but more
importantly, it teaches us about what’s wrong with Beeminder that you
had to ask in the first place.

I know most people won’t listen to me on that, so let me also point
out something that’s becoming a seed for useful online help, namely,
the Beeminder glossary: blog.beeminder.com/glossary
You probably don’t want to read all that or even remember to go search
there but it hopefully means that you can google for things like
"beeminder pessimistic presumptive" and land on a concise bit of
documentation. Possibly also add “glossary” to the google search.

I feel like I will owe you a full paragraph on the acknowledgements page of
an upcoming project, at the very least. I’m cranky, not disgruntled. This is
still the bee’s knees to me… get it?.. cause… dorky…

blush giggle

And I’ve lost an attempted convert to a rival site who’s name
shall remain unmentioned b/c they were able to understand what to do easily.
That made me sad!

Oh come on, I want to know which rival! StickK? Gympact?


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com