Beeminder Forum

Ratcheting to zero doesn't actually ratchet to zero?

Apologies if you get this question a lot, but I couldn’t find any answers. For Do Less goals, the auto-ratchet feature seems to work just fine. But for Do More goals, it’s not working how I expect. For instance, my sleep goal has a commitment of 8 hours per day, and I cap the safety buffer at 0 days. What I would expect, then, is that if I get 9 hours of sleep one night, I’ll still need to get at least 8 hours the next night, not 7 hours. But that’s not what’s happening. The past three nights, for example, I’ve spent 08:16, 08:46, and 08:13 in bed. And instead of just ratcheting back to 08:00 due every morning, the surplus times have added up to ~75 minutes, and now I only have 06:44 due tomorrow. So it hasn’t auto-ratcheted to 08:00, and I can’t ratchet manually either—it says I’m already at zero days, when I’m really at more like 0.16 days. Is this intentional? Seems like I should be able to require 8 hours of sleep every night regardless of how many hours I got the previous night.

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My recollection of the ratcheting mechanism is that it only ensures that today is an emergency day, which means you might have some benefit from past activity and it is just a very small emergency.

It doesn’t reset to zero accomplishment as you were expecting. Rather it sets the number of days-on-which-I-need-not-do-anything.

By its nature, Beeminder enforces the average daily progress over time, rather than a daily minimum. Do More is it’s natural mode.

Do Less is surprisingly hard to implement and, as I recall, ratcheting for Do Less had to be expressed in terms of Units rather than Days, which creates two different mental models and can be confusing.

Clearer explanations probably exist.

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I endorse @philip’s answer here! At the other extreme is our blog post from last year when we did a big overhaul of ratcheting: Road Ratchet Revamp Redresses “Ratcheting Breaks Breaks” Bug | Beeminder Blog

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So you want a goal where you succeed if you’ve slept over 8 hours or more and fail if you haven’t, regardless of what you did before (i.e. no building a buffer). Wouldn’t you be better served with 0/1 datapoints representing nights with and without 8 hours of sleep? This could even be automated, based on your current goal.

This wasn’t what you were asking though and sorry if this was obvious to you.

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That’s a good idea, thank you!

Wait a second. How would I automate that exactly?