weight loss contracts, peeking

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 05:41
Subject: weight loss contracts, peeking

We’ve been arguing recently about whether “peeking” should be allowed
in a weight loss contract.
Peeking refers to checking your weight but choosing not to report it
to Beeminder.
Beeminder certainly works better if peeking’s forbidden. [1]

The debate is whether it’s realistic to forbid it. It’s certainly not
enforceable.

Bethany had a great idea to minimize the damage of peeking:

Any day you don’t report, your official weight is simply whatever it
was yesterday.
We assume you’re flatlining if you don’t report, just like with
non-weight-loss graphs.
If that takes you off your road, you lose.

That means you can potentially go a long time without reporting if
you’re below your road, but that’s fine.
If you’re in the wrong lane, you’ll typically have less than a week.
(“Safe Days” in the Goal Stats tells you exactly how long you have.)

I just turned this on for the weight loss graphs of a few of you so we
can get a sense of it:
http://bmndr.com/jill/ambish (5 safe days)
http://bmndr.com/jill/weight (32 safe days!)
http://bmndr.com/mo/weight (2 more safe days)
http://bmndr.com/laur/weight (would’ve lost 7 days ago under this rule!)

(Note that all of the above have serious money at stake.)

This rule simplifies things in the code and in the contract [2] so I’m
thinking we should go with this.
Eager to hear other opinions though…

Danny

PS: Here’s a teaser for the Akrasia Horizon post we’re working on, in
tweet form:

Akrasia Horizon: quantifies ‘immediate’ in the def’n of akrasia, the
distortion of decision-making in the face of immediate consequence


Footnotes:

[1] Here’s how I put it to some friends and family recently:

The reason to care about peeking is that it’s kind of core to the
yellow brick road’s value proposition. Recall our taglines and other
promotional copy about turning long-term commitments into daily
commitments and adding immediate consequences to solve the fundamental
problem of akrasia.

With peeking it’s just not immediate. It’s like, mmm, this yummy pie
is staring at me. If I eat it it might push me off my road tomorrow
but that’s ok because in that case I’ll just not report and I have a
week to get back on. And I know I’ll be good starting tomorrow so,
ok, get in my belly, pie!

When that was 3 weeks instead of 1 week it was a total disaster. One
week may be ok. We’ll find out, I guess.

But with no peeking, eating the pie is just out of the question if
you’re in the wrong lane. You can’t take the risk of what that will do
to your weight in the morning.
(If the risk still seems too high – maybe you know you’re bloated –
then you can just not get on the scale at all. That’s allowed, but
that’s super scary, so now you’ll be super careful for an additional
24 hours and you’ll quickly get back to safety.)

Remember Rule #1 of Beeminder, as Jill put it:
Anything that makes staying on the road easier makes reaching your goal harder.
There’s no free lunch. Any leniency today will get paid for down
the… Road. [slaps knee]

(Seems so obvious when put that way. Crazy how much time we spent
tweaking rules about 3 strikes and whatnot!)

So just solemnly promise not to peek! Jill and Bethany never peeked,
even with $600 and $5k on the line, respectively. You know it’s in
your best interest to commit to no peeking so just make that part of
your commitment and stick to it because you’re honest.

[2] Current draft of the Beeminder Contract Template: http://bmndr.com/contract


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

From: Josh Jordan josh@joshjordan.name
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 08:06
Subject: Re: weight loss contracts, peeking

Also, “peeking” isn’t easy define precisely, because there are
measurements other than weight that still let you estimate your weight
pretty accurately. For instance, it’s probably not “peeking” to see
how well you fit into a certain garment. But is it OK to measure the
circumference of your waist with a tape measure? How about to measure
your body fat percentage with calipers?

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 6:41 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

We’ve been arguing recently about whether “peeking” should be allowed
in a weight loss contract.
Peeking refers to checking your weight but choosing not to report it
to Beeminder.
Beeminder certainly works better if peeking’s forbidden. [1]

The debate is whether it’s realistic to forbid it. It’s certainly not
enforceable.

Bethany had a great idea to minimize the damage of peeking:

Any day you don’t report, your official weight is simply whatever it
was yesterday.
We assume you’re flatlining if you don’t report, just like with
non-weight-loss graphs.
If that takes you off your road, you lose.

That means you can potentially go a long time without reporting if
you’re below your road, but that’s fine.
If you’re in the wrong lane, you’ll typically have less than a week.
(“Safe Days” in the Goal Stats tells you exactly how long you have.)

I just turned this on for the weight loss graphs of a few of you so we
can get a sense of it:
http://bmndr.com/jill/ambish (5 safe days)
http://bmndr.com/jill/weight (32 safe days!)
http://bmndr.com/mo/weight (2 more safe days)
http://bmndr.com/laur/weight (would’ve lost 7 days ago under this rule!)

(Note that all of the above have serious money at stake.)

This rule simplifies things in the code and in the contract [2] so I’m
thinking we should go with this.
Eager to hear other opinions though…

Danny

PS: Here’s a teaser for the Akrasia Horizon post we’re working on, in
tweet form:

Akrasia Horizon: quantifies ‘immediate’ in the def’n of akrasia, the
distortion of decision-making in the face of immediate consequence


Footnotes:

[1] Here’s how I put it to some friends and family recently:

The reason to care about peeking is that it’s kind of core to the
yellow brick road’s value proposition. Recall our taglines and other
promotional copy about turning long-term commitments into daily
commitments and adding immediate consequences to solve the fundamental
problem of akrasia.

With peeking it’s just not immediate. It’s like, mmm, this yummy pie
is staring at me. If I eat it it might push me off my road tomorrow
but that’s ok because in that case I’ll just not report and I have a
week to get back on. And I know I’ll be good starting tomorrow so,
ok, get in my belly, pie!

When that was 3 weeks instead of 1 week it was a total disaster. One
week may be ok. We’ll find out, I guess.

But with no peeking, eating the pie is just out of the question if
you’re in the wrong lane. You can’t take the risk of what that will do
to your weight in the morning.
(If the risk still seems too high – maybe you know you’re bloated –
then you can just not get on the scale at all. That’s allowed, but
that’s super scary, so now you’ll be super careful for an additional
24 hours and you’ll quickly get back to safety.)

Remember Rule #1 of Beeminder, as Jill put it:
Anything that makes staying on the road easier makes reaching your goal harder.
There’s no free lunch. Any leniency today will get paid for down
the… Road. [slaps knee]

(Seems so obvious when put that way. Crazy how much time we spent
tweaking rules about 3 strikes and whatnot!)

So just solemnly promise not to peek! Jill and Bethany never peeked,
even with $600 and $5k on the line, respectively. You know it’s in
your best interest to commit to no peeking so just make that part of
your commitment and stick to it because you’re honest.

[2] Current draft of the Beeminder Contract Template: http://bmndr.com/contract


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 11:29
Subject: Re: weight loss contracts, peeking

I disagree! The line is bright enough: you can’t step on any kind of scale.
Or construct a pendulum out of yourself and measure the period.
Ok, fine, it’s not perfectly bright, but I’d say bright enough.
Measuring size is ok, weight not.

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 08:06, Josh Jordan josh@joshjordan.name wrote:

Also, “peeking” isn’t easy define precisely, because there are measurements
other than weight that still let you estimate your weight pretty accurately.
For instance, it’s probably not “peeking” to see how well you fit into a
certain garment. But is it OK to measure the circumference of your waist
with a tape measure? How about to measure your body fat percentage with
calipers?

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 6:41 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

We’ve been arguing recently about whether “peeking” should be allowed
in a weight loss contract.
Peeking refers to checking your weight but choosing not to report it
to Beeminder.
Beeminder certainly works better if peeking’s forbidden. [1]

The debate is whether it’s realistic to forbid it. It’s certainly not
enforceable.

Bethany had a great idea to minimize the damage of peeking:

Any day you don’t report, your official weight is simply whatever it
was yesterday.
We assume you’re flatlining if you don’t report, just like with
non-weight-loss graphs.
If that takes you off your road, you lose.

That means you can potentially go a long time without reporting if
you’re below your road, but that’s fine.
If you’re in the wrong lane, you’ll typically have less than a week.
(“Safe Days” in the Goal Stats tells you exactly how long you have.)

I just turned this on for the weight loss graphs of a few of you so we
can get a sense of it:
http://bmndr.com/jill/ambish (5 safe days)
http://bmndr.com/jill/weight (32 safe days!)
http://bmndr.com/mo/weight (2 more safe days)
http://bmndr.com/laur/weight (would’ve lost 7 days ago under this rule!)

(Note that all of the above have serious money at stake.)

This rule simplifies things in the code and in the contract [2] so I’m
thinking we should go with this.
Eager to hear other opinions though…

Danny

PS: Here’s a teaser for the Akrasia Horizon post we’re working on, in
tweet form:

Akrasia Horizon: quantifies ‘immediate’ in the def’n of akrasia, the
distortion of decision-making in the face of immediate consequence


Footnotes:

[1] Here’s how I put it to some friends and family recently:

The reason to care about peeking is that it’s kind of core to the
yellow brick road’s value proposition. Recall our taglines and other
promotional copy about turning long-term commitments into daily
commitments and adding immediate consequences to solve the fundamental
problem of akrasia.

With peeking it’s just not immediate. It’s like, mmm, this yummy pie
is staring at me. If I eat it it might push me off my road tomorrow
but that’s ok because in that case I’ll just not report and I have a
week to get back on. And I know I’ll be good starting tomorrow so,
ok, get in my belly, pie!

When that was 3 weeks instead of 1 week it was a total disaster. One
week may be ok. We’ll find out, I guess.

But with no peeking, eating the pie is just out of the question if
you’re in the wrong lane. You can’t take the risk of what that will do
to your weight in the morning.
(If the risk still seems too high – maybe you know you’re bloated –
then you can just not get on the scale at all. That’s allowed, but
that’s super scary, so now you’ll be super careful for an additional
24 hours and you’ll quickly get back to safety.)

Remember Rule #1 of Beeminder, as Jill put it:
Anything that makes staying on the road easier makes reaching your goal
harder.
There’s no free lunch. Any leniency today will get paid for down
the… Road. [slaps knee]

(Seems so obvious when put that way. Crazy how much time we spent
tweaking rules about 3 strikes and whatnot!)

So just solemnly promise not to peek! Jill and Bethany never peeked,
even with $600 and $5k on the line, respectively. You know it’s in
your best interest to commit to no peeking so just make that part of
your commitment and stick to it because you’re honest.

[2] Current draft of the Beeminder Contract Template:
http://bmndr.com/contract


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

1 Like

From: Bethany M. Soule bsoule@gmail.com
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 12:45
Subject: Re: weight loss contracts, peeking

I think the line is plenty bright enough, but since it’s entirely
unenforceable and apparently doesn’t seem like cheating to people,
it may be a problematic for beeminder in the long run beeminder relies
on people not to cheat. If it all breaks back down into the honor
system (I’m honor bound to report if I weigh), then we’re kind of back
at square one. You could even frame akrasia as a failure to follow
through on promises made to yourself.

B

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 11:29, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

I disagree! The line is bright enough: you can’t step on any kind of scale.
Or construct a pendulum out of yourself and measure the period.
Ok, fine, it’s not perfectly bright, but I’d say bright enough.
Measuring size is ok, weight not.

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 08:06, Josh Jordan josh@joshjordan.name wrote:

Also, “peeking” isn’t easy define precisely, because there are measurements
other than weight that still let you estimate your weight pretty accurately.
For instance, it’s probably not “peeking” to see how well you fit into a
certain garment. But is it OK to measure the circumference of your waist
with a tape measure? How about to measure your body fat percentage with
calipers?

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 6:41 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

We’ve been arguing recently about whether “peeking” should be allowed
in a weight loss contract.
Peeking refers to checking your weight but choosing not to report it
to Beeminder.
Beeminder certainly works better if peeking’s forbidden. [1]

The debate is whether it’s realistic to forbid it. It’s certainly not
enforceable.

Bethany had a great idea to minimize the damage of peeking:

Any day you don’t report, your official weight is simply whatever it
was yesterday.
We assume you’re flatlining if you don’t report, just like with
non-weight-loss graphs.
If that takes you off your road, you lose.

That means you can potentially go a long time without reporting if
you’re below your road, but that’s fine.
If you’re in the wrong lane, you’ll typically have less than a week.
(“Safe Days” in the Goal Stats tells you exactly how long you have.)

I just turned this on for the weight loss graphs of a few of you so we
can get a sense of it:
http://bmndr.com/jill/ambish (5 safe days)
http://bmndr.com/jill/weight (32 safe days!)
http://bmndr.com/mo/weight (2 more safe days)
http://bmndr.com/laur/weight (would’ve lost 7 days ago under this rule!)

(Note that all of the above have serious money at stake.)

This rule simplifies things in the code and in the contract [2] so I’m
thinking we should go with this.
Eager to hear other opinions though…

Danny

PS: Here’s a teaser for the Akrasia Horizon post we’re working on, in
tweet form:

Akrasia Horizon: quantifies ‘immediate’ in the def’n of akrasia, the
distortion of decision-making in the face of immediate consequence


Footnotes:

[1] Here’s how I put it to some friends and family recently:

The reason to care about peeking is that it’s kind of core to the
yellow brick road’s value proposition. Recall our taglines and other
promotional copy about turning long-term commitments into daily
commitments and adding immediate consequences to solve the fundamental
problem of akrasia.

With peeking it’s just not immediate. It’s like, mmm, this yummy pie
is staring at me. If I eat it it might push me off my road tomorrow
but that’s ok because in that case I’ll just not report and I have a
week to get back on. And I know I’ll be good starting tomorrow so,
ok, get in my belly, pie!

When that was 3 weeks instead of 1 week it was a total disaster. One
week may be ok. We’ll find out, I guess.

But with no peeking, eating the pie is just out of the question if
you’re in the wrong lane. You can’t take the risk of what that will do
to your weight in the morning.
(If the risk still seems too high – maybe you know you’re bloated –
then you can just not get on the scale at all. That’s allowed, but
that’s super scary, so now you’ll be super careful for an additional
24 hours and you’ll quickly get back to safety.)

Remember Rule #1 of Beeminder, as Jill put it:
Anything that makes staying on the road easier makes reaching your goal
harder.
There’s no free lunch. Any leniency today will get paid for down
the… Road. [slaps knee]

(Seems so obvious when put that way. Crazy how much time we spent
tweaking rules about 3 strikes and whatnot!)

So just solemnly promise not to peek! Jill and Bethany never peeked,
even with $600 and $5k on the line, respectively. You know it’s in
your best interest to commit to no peeking so just make that part of
your commitment and stick to it because you’re honest.

[2] Current draft of the Beeminder Contract Template:
http://bmndr.com/contract


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


What are you beeminding?
http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

From: Jill Renaud veganjill@gmail.com
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 12:54
Subject: Re: weight loss contracts, peeking

I like the idea of “safe days” where it assumes that your weight has
stayed constant if you haven’t reported for the day. This makes it so
that people who are peeking can’t cheat themselves for too long. I am
against peeking, but since it isn’t something that can be enforced,
the safe days idea seems like a nice compromise. Also, it makes it
such that you could go more than 3 weeks without reporting if you
build up a sizeable buffer (ex: if you are taking an extended
vacation).
That said, if you are above your midline it increases the pressure
much more than if you have 3 weeks to get below your road. Right now
I don’t have very many safe days on my ambitious road, and that should
give me more of a kick in the ass the get below my midline NOW as
opposed to me “driving blind” for three weeks (which apparently people
haven’t been doing in good faith) and then reporting.
-Jill

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM, Bethany M. Soule bsoule@gmail.com wrote:

I think the line is plenty bright enough, but since it’s entirely
unenforceable and apparently doesn’t seem like cheating to people,
it may be a problematic for beeminder in the long run beeminder relies
on people not to cheat. If it all breaks back down into the honor
system (I’m honor bound to report if I weigh), then we’re kind of back
at square one. You could even frame akrasia as a failure to follow
through on promises made to yourself.

B

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 11:29, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

I disagree! The line is bright enough: you can’t step on any kind of scale.
Or construct a pendulum out of yourself and measure the period.
Ok, fine, it’s not perfectly bright, but I’d say bright enough.
Measuring size is ok, weight not.

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 08:06, Josh Jordan josh@joshjordan.name wrote:

Also, “peeking” isn’t easy define precisely, because there are measurements
other than weight that still let you estimate your weight pretty accurately.
For instance, it’s probably not “peeking” to see how well you fit into a
certain garment. But is it OK to measure the circumference of your waist
with a tape measure? How about to measure your body fat percentage with
calipers?

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 6:41 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

We’ve been arguing recently about whether “peeking” should be allowed
in a weight loss contract.
Peeking refers to checking your weight but choosing not to report it
to Beeminder.
Beeminder certainly works better if peeking’s forbidden. [1]

The debate is whether it’s realistic to forbid it. It’s certainly not
enforceable.

Bethany had a great idea to minimize the damage of peeking:

Any day you don’t report, your official weight is simply whatever it
was yesterday.
We assume you’re flatlining if you don’t report, just like with
non-weight-loss graphs.
If that takes you off your road, you lose.

That means you can potentially go a long time without reporting if
you’re below your road, but that’s fine.
If you’re in the wrong lane, you’ll typically have less than a week.
(“Safe Days” in the Goal Stats tells you exactly how long you have.)

I just turned this on for the weight loss graphs of a few of you so we
can get a sense of it:
http://bmndr.com/jill/ambish (5 safe days)
http://bmndr.com/jill/weight (32 safe days!)
http://bmndr.com/mo/weight (2 more safe days)
http://bmndr.com/laur/weight (would’ve lost 7 days ago under this rule!)

(Note that all of the above have serious money at stake.)

This rule simplifies things in the code and in the contract [2] so I’m
thinking we should go with this.
Eager to hear other opinions though…

Danny

PS: Here’s a teaser for the Akrasia Horizon post we’re working on, in
tweet form:

Akrasia Horizon: quantifies ‘immediate’ in the def’n of akrasia, the
distortion of decision-making in the face of immediate consequence


Footnotes:

[1] Here’s how I put it to some friends and family recently:

The reason to care about peeking is that it’s kind of core to the
yellow brick road’s value proposition. Recall our taglines and other
promotional copy about turning long-term commitments into daily
commitments and adding immediate consequences to solve the fundamental
problem of akrasia.

With peeking it’s just not immediate. It’s like, mmm, this yummy pie
is staring at me. If I eat it it might push me off my road tomorrow
but that’s ok because in that case I’ll just not report and I have a
week to get back on. And I know I’ll be good starting tomorrow so,
ok, get in my belly, pie!

When that was 3 weeks instead of 1 week it was a total disaster. One
week may be ok. We’ll find out, I guess.

But with no peeking, eating the pie is just out of the question if
you’re in the wrong lane. You can’t take the risk of what that will do
to your weight in the morning.
(If the risk still seems too high – maybe you know you’re bloated –
then you can just not get on the scale at all. That’s allowed, but
that’s super scary, so now you’ll be super careful for an additional
24 hours and you’ll quickly get back to safety.)

Remember Rule #1 of Beeminder, as Jill put it:
Anything that makes staying on the road easier makes reaching your goal
harder.
There’s no free lunch. Any leniency today will get paid for down
the… Road. [slaps knee]

(Seems so obvious when put that way. Crazy how much time we spent
tweaking rules about 3 strikes and whatnot!)

So just solemnly promise not to peek! Jill and Bethany never peeked,
even with $600 and $5k on the line, respectively. You know it’s in
your best interest to commit to no peeking so just make that part of
your commitment and stick to it because you’re honest.

[2] Current draft of the Beeminder Contract Template:
http://bmndr.com/contract


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


What are you beeminding?
http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu
Date: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 16:50
Subject: Re: weight loss contracts, peeking

Yeah, we’re definitely nixing the 3-week allowance. That was to
accommodate vacations but with the new road dial that will be
unnecessary.
So the no-reporting allowance is either fixed at one week, or we do
Bethany’s safe days thing (we flatline you while you don’t report and
show you how many days that gives you before you lose by default, just
like non-weight-loss graphs).

I’m inclined to go with Bethany’s proposal. I like how it simplifies
the contract. Just watch this road. If you don’t report we report for
you. Regardless, all you have to do is be on it every single day.

I’m also inclined to keep the no-peeking clause even though flatlining
mitigates the peeking problem. To have a really high-stakes contract
you probably need a friend to actually buy your contract. In that case
you don’t cheat because that would be cheating your friend. If it’s
just Beeminder as the beneficiary it may be hard to feel motivated to
take every rule seriously. But at least there’s your graph which
you’re proud of and don’t want to mess up by cheating. And just not
feeling like a scammy loser.

But the bottom line is that it’s in your own best interest to commit
to not peek. If that’s a promise you can’t keep, it’s your loss in the
long run. It’s still a good rule.

Here are all the rules for weight loss:

  1. Be on your yellow brick road every single day.
  2. Safety first, no ridiculous tricks like wrestlers use to eke into a
    lower weight class.
  3. No peeking.
  4. You can change the steepness of your road at any time for any
    reason, with one week notice. (Road dial!)
  5. You can pause your road immediately in case of emergency.

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 12:54, Jill Renaud veganjill@gmail.com wrote:

I like the idea of “safe days” where it assumes that your weight has stayed
constant if you haven’t reported for the day. This makes it so that people
who are peeking can’t cheat themselves for too long. I am against peeking,
but since it isn’t something that can be enforced, the safe days idea seems
like a nice compromise. Also, it makes it such that you could go more than
3 weeks without reporting if you build up a sizeable buffer (ex: if you are
taking an extended vacation).
That said, if you are above your midline it increases the pressure much more
than if you have 3 weeks to get below your road. Right now I don’t have
very many safe days on my ambitious road, and that should give me more of a
kick in the ass the get below my midline NOW as opposed to me “driving
blind” for three weeks (which apparently people haven’t been doing in good
faith) and then reporting.
-Jill

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM, Bethany M. Soule bsoule@gmail.com wrote:

I think the line is plenty bright enough, but since it’s entirely
unenforceable and apparently doesn’t seem like cheating to people,
it may be a problematic for beeminder in the long run beeminder relies
on people not to cheat. If it all breaks back down into the honor
system (I’m honor bound to report if I weigh), then we’re kind of back
at square one. You could even frame akrasia as a failure to follow
through on promises made to yourself.

B

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 11:29, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

I disagree! The line is bright enough: you can’t step on any kind of
scale.
Or construct a pendulum out of yourself and measure the period.
Ok, fine, it’s not perfectly bright, but I’d say bright enough.
Measuring size is ok, weight not.

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 08:06, Josh Jordan josh@joshjordan.name wrote:

Also, “peeking” isn’t easy define precisely, because there are
measurements
other than weight that still let you estimate your weight pretty
accurately.
For instance, it’s probably not “peeking” to see how well you fit into
a
certain garment. But is it OK to measure the circumference of your
waist
with a tape measure? How about to measure your body fat percentage with
calipers?

On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 6:41 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu
wrote:

We’ve been arguing recently about whether “peeking” should be allowed
in a weight loss contract.
Peeking refers to checking your weight but choosing not to report it
to Beeminder.
Beeminder certainly works better if peeking’s forbidden. [1]

The debate is whether it’s realistic to forbid it. It’s certainly not
enforceable.

Bethany had a great idea to minimize the damage of peeking:

Any day you don’t report, your official weight is simply whatever it
was yesterday.
We assume you’re flatlining if you don’t report, just like with
non-weight-loss graphs.
If that takes you off your road, you lose.

That means you can potentially go a long time without reporting if
you’re below your road, but that’s fine.
If you’re in the wrong lane, you’ll typically have less than a week.
(“Safe Days” in the Goal Stats tells you exactly how long you have.)

I just turned this on for the weight loss graphs of a few of you so we
can get a sense of it:
http://bmndr.com/jill/ambish (5 safe days)
http://bmndr.com/jill/weight (32 safe days!)
http://bmndr.com/mo/weight (2 more safe days)
http://bmndr.com/laur/weight (would’ve lost 7 days ago under this
rule!)

(Note that all of the above have serious money at stake.)

This rule simplifies things in the code and in the contract [2] so I’m
thinking we should go with this.
Eager to hear other opinions though…

Danny

PS: Here’s a teaser for the Akrasia Horizon post we’re working on, in
tweet form:

Akrasia Horizon: quantifies ‘immediate’ in the def’n of akrasia, the
distortion of decision-making in the face of immediate consequence


Footnotes:

[1] Here’s how I put it to some friends and family recently:

The reason to care about peeking is that it’s kind of core to the
yellow brick road’s value proposition. Recall our taglines and other
promotional copy about turning long-term commitments into daily
commitments and adding immediate consequences to solve the fundamental
problem of akrasia.

With peeking it’s just not immediate. It’s like, mmm, this yummy pie
is staring at me. If I eat it it might push me off my road tomorrow
but that’s ok because in that case I’ll just not report and I have a
week to get back on. And I know I’ll be good starting tomorrow so,
ok, get in my belly, pie!

When that was 3 weeks instead of 1 week it was a total disaster. One
week may be ok. We’ll find out, I guess.

But with no peeking, eating the pie is just out of the question if
you’re in the wrong lane. You can’t take the risk of what that will do
to your weight in the morning.
(If the risk still seems too high – maybe you know you’re bloated –
then you can just not get on the scale at all. That’s allowed, but
that’s super scary, so now you’ll be super careful for an additional
24 hours and you’ll quickly get back to safety.)

Remember Rule #1 of Beeminder, as Jill put it:
Anything that makes staying on the road easier makes reaching your
goal
harder.
There’s no free lunch. Any leniency today will get paid for down
the… Road. [slaps knee]

(Seems so obvious when put that way. Crazy how much time we spent
tweaking rules about 3 strikes and whatnot!)

So just solemnly promise not to peek! Jill and Bethany never peeked,
even with $600 and $5k on the line, respectively. You know it’s in
your best interest to commit to no peeking so just make that part of
your commitment and stick to it because you’re honest.

[2] Current draft of the Beeminder Contract Template:
http://bmndr.com/contract


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


What are you beeminding?
http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com