On privacy vs expectations


from today’s beemail:

If we’re like Twitter where everyone understands that everything’s public by default then it’s fine. If you assume everything will be private then it’s bad to bury the “make goal private” checkbox in advanced settings.
I think I just convinced myself to move that back to Basics (also to better shape expectations that goals default to public). In which case the public data checkbox should go with it.

I think Beeminder is going against the trend where services that handle personal data such as weight or to-do lists or anything that Beeminder can handle know through IFTTT and Zapier are by default private 100% to any access without a login and even without a “person is my friend” connection. I would do some survey on newbies on what their perception was when they signed up.


  1. on “what are the chances someone will stumble on your goal”
    Here’s a nightmare scenario - A stalker that follows you on Twitter can Google your username, finds out the Beeminder page where you use the same username and now has a good view of your habits (I think I just scared myself into making all my goals “secret” :))

  2. “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.” doesn’t really explain anything

  3. A global setting for all goals would be handy. In fact, nearly all settings should have a global equivalent that you can massively set for all goals. :slight_smile:

  4. If you want to have people easily share with friends, you can always add a “share with friends” feature that allows access on a special link (see Google Drive, Apple Photos, etc)


The chances that someone will stumble upon an active page are minuscule if they just try random strings for usernames, but those chances will increase as the number of users increases.

I see that you have followed through on that thought.

Back to stumbling onto goal pages. If you log into Beeminder and post to the forum, it appears that anyone can find your Beeminder page from your username. Whether or not they can trace it back to you as a person is another matter, I suppose, but I still think it’s creepy. So creepy, I made a separate account just to post this response.


LOL it’s contagious :slight_smile: :smiley:

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In my case, you can trace my use of my username in the last 20+ years and an uncounted number of services… :slight_smile:

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I don’t tend to be paranoid (not even after reading this), but I also don’t generally feel that I have to share everything (I believe that is a need constructed by Silicon Valley companies :wink: ). Also, for Beeminder specificially - other people don’t come into play in terms of the value I get out of the service. Most of my goals don’t have particularly sensitive data (for me) of any sort, so I don’t really bother making them secret, except one that is business related.

I think that a privatish default is much better than a public.


I’m pretty convinced of this. You can expect some action on it soon; we’re thinking something along the lines of defaulting to private but having a gentle reminder that it can be super helpful to have a goal be public to show off progress.