Please let us set the starting pledge without subbing the $50/month package!

It’s so annoying and defeats the whole purpose for some of us :frowning:


I feel like the reasoning behind it is to prevent rage quitting. As I could see someone creating a Beeminder account and deciding to start at a high pledge derailing and the quitting because they started it to high.

I subscribed to the top plan for a month. I ended up short circuited it too high and was very tempted to quit. I feel like the progressive increase helps find the amount that motivates you or your motivation point.

Everyone is different though so maybe this doesn’t apply to you.


Just to add to this I also feel that it helps you dial in your motivation point as you can tell if the sting hurt enough.


@dreev has said a big part of the reasoning behind it is because if you set the pledge to a point where you’re “too” motivated you’ll never derail and beeminder won’t make money (I don’t think this is true FWIW)

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Yeah, of course everyone is different, but my experience is it’s easy to derail due to confusion / forgetting about goals / not setting things up correctly (…I still do it after using beeminder for like 6 years) so personally I think it’s a good thing to discourage newbees from making large pledges.

This maybe contradicts the entire “rational human” model beeminder is supposed to be based on, and maybe most people are more consciencious than me, but…

I have personally spent a LOT more money on “I let the pledge get to $30, and then one day I forgot beeminder existed” than “$5 wasn’t enough to motivate me”.

Plus even if you believe the rational human model, I don’t think the complaint is really internally consistent. If you think you’re going to derail twice when it’s at $5 and $10, say, then evidently you believe you don’t really care that much about losing $15. But if you really don’t care, then why wouldn’t you just intentionally derail yourself twice immediately and spend the $15 to raise your pledge up to a higher amount? I’m not saying you should, just that if you’re thinking “what bullshit, why would I waste that money?” when I say that…then maybe you’ll find a small pledge more motivating than you think.

At any rate most goals I have created in beeminder have turned out to be super long-haul goals. So the cost of one or two derailments at a low pledge (both in lost progress and in money) is small, I think. Obviously opinions may differ.


That’s fine, but again, they’ve said multiple times (last time it came up @dreev said he’d “defend it to the death”) you can’t do because if you’re too motivated they don’t think you’ll fail as much and that impacts beeminder’s revenue.

If the real reason is newbies will mess it up, it seems like they’re are better ways to address that (put it in an advanced setting or don’t let people do it on the free plan or whatever).

Yeah, same which is why I think BM would make more money if they allowed people to set their starting pledges to what they want.

See discussions on the this other thread about jumping through hoops (not to mention non-aligned incentives) and how it turns some people off.

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I think it could be interesting to shift this conversation away from “yes/no” - either beeminder allows higher pledges or it doesn’t, into curiousity about the wider universe of possible options. Here are some examples:

  • What if you could set a higher starting pledge, but only up to $40?
  • What if your starting pledge could be as high as the pledge on any existing goal?
  • What if you could ramp up the pledge once a week, without needing to derail?

Philosophically, I think once you pay Beeminder some non pledge amount (either monthly, lifetime, whatever), it should be in the business of helping you achieve your goals. To have it otherwise undermines its purpose. Ideally it would price that at some level (projecting pledge revenue too) where it can operate as a successful business. If this is actually $50/month then so be it, but I don’t think it is (esp if they don’t actually make much money on non-short circuiting).

If you keep this philosophy in mind, I think it implies the user should be able to set it at whatever they want, unless there’s reason to think BM has some special insight (maybe true for certain types of users or goals) where it knows better than you. Seems like a high bar though. Obviously “whatever you want” should be subject to people understanding what they’re getting into, staying within actual cc limits etc. It’s not good for anyone if people accidentally charge themselves hundreds or thousands of dollars then have to go through support or file bank disputes to get it back.

How Forfeit does it – you can pledge up to $200 right away unless you go to settings and enable “baller mode” which allows you to pledge up to $2000. I think something like that is reasonable.

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Really appreciate this feedback and ideas, y’all! Quick replies so far while I’m mulling it:

  1. I really like how @theospears thinks about this stuff. And of course I strongly agree with @linux535 and @poisson’s perspectives.
  2. We do have experience suggesting that baller mode (as Forfeit calls it) on day 1 is a bad idea. I’d like to compare notes with them about this!
  3. A lot of the agonizing we did in Strategy Memo: Beeminder Is Pledge-Focused | Beeminder Blog is very relevant to this question. Especially relevant excerpt: " With pledge-focus, we still have to make sacrifices for the sake of revenue but they’re much smaller than with premium-focus. Namely, we have to have pledge floors and no pledge short-circuiting. These are restrictions you can pay to get out of if you really want, but we believe they work well, especially for new users, in guiding you to the maximally motivational use of Beeminder."

Those both sound double plus good to me.

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I feel like this method feels the most Beeminder like. As I feel it would keep people from impulsively increasing it, as they have to actual agree to it and think about it for a week. But it does give the option. As a note I am quite impulsive.


To me this feels like another hoop to jump through. I think it’s missing the point too – the problem isn’t that we’re worried about losing the small pledges, it’s that we have to wait longer/do a bunch of messing around to be awesome.

This is better I guess. Sort of struggling to see the why here though (vs letting just letting people set it at what they want, say under $100) – Is it so newcomers don’t go crazy or what?


Yes, I really don’t like the idea of the wait-a-week fix. I already feel that the fact that you have to wait a week in between dropping pledges down, remembering to come back and do the next drop-down if you want to get it down multiple levels, is a pretty bad accessibility issue. I’m using Beeminder because I’m bad at executive function–don’t make me plan and execute a multi-weeks process, with a week between each action, in order to get my goal to where I need it.

Hmm, I guess that could be me arguing myself into agreeing with OP… except that OP’s concern doesn’t require me to remember to come back after the week and take another action. :wink:


Just confirming that the frustration with pledge step-downs is extremely correct. Quoting myself from an internal ticket:

Everything about the interface for pledge caps and current pledge is very bad and even :money_with_wings:, in my opinion. There exists some kind of elegant, intuitive interface that lets you set both current pledge and pledge cap at once. Something like two slider handles on the same slider where one is the current pledge and one is the cap and all the constraints are just enforced naturally. I haven’t figured it out, but I’m certain something much better exists!

I also think it could be drastically improved even without inventing new UI elements. Maybe something as simple as severely downpopping the pledge cap so it’s clear that when you’re new and nervous it’s the current pledge you want low and if you have any faith in us at all then you don’t have to worry your pretty head about the pledge cap part. This is all related to the schedge revamp project.

Possibly there’s a straightforward pareto-dominant improvement here where we just let your pledge cap be lower than your current pledge and do the right things (like automatically scheduling a stepdown to have your current pledge match your pledge cap?). But I think we need to spec this to assess that.


I would definitely appreciate the feature described in the last paragraph there.