zeno intensity

I’ve had a few times since I’ve used beeminder where I wished I could turn up the zeno polling intensity, especially when i’m trying to create a new habit. Like, getting reminded 2x or 3x as frequently as the deadline approaches feels like it would really help.

I imagine it as a per goal setting with default of 1.0 for the default frequency, and you could set the value higher or lower on a per goal basis just to allow for some randomness and variance to spice up the reminders.

What about others? Would anyone else use something like this?


Thanks for this idea! We have a pretty strong anti-settings bias, not to say that it can’t be overcome by an important enough setting.

But for a while now I’ve wanted to move in the opposite direction, and replace zeno-polling altogether. Reasons:

  1. It’s wolf-cry-ish
  2. It makes us look spammy to email service providers
  3. It costs us money, when used via SMS

I’d actually love to hear what you think of this idea currently sitting on the shelf:


I love this, actually. I wonder if there’s a way to generalize the scoochy algorithm to accept the necessity of sleep–if the sum of all beemergency qtimes gets longer than about 16 hours, then you’ll probably start to be notified while you’re asleep and can’t make meaningful progress. But if you start to consider possible beemergency days tomorrow, and the sum of qtimes for those and today’s adds up to more than a day’s worth of work, you’ll find yourself in a situation where it’s impossible to make progress on everything in the time you have awake.

Maybe that’s a feature–if you’ve backed yourself into a corner that badly, perhaps you deserve to have to pull an all nighter or write off some pledges as unavoidable–but I think some people use beeminder with many goals with low pledges in an edge-skatey fashion.

Anyhow, that’s an aside. But if you are in that situation where you have more things to dispatch than waking hours, I think the scoochy algorithm can deal with the need for sleep like so:

You just add an additional element to the list of beemergencies with its deadline at 6am, a qtime of 8 hours, and a fictitious low pledge so it isn’t pushed forward too much. Then I think you can run the scoochy algorithm as written. You wouldn’t fire off an alert for the sleep task, but everything else should binpack itself nicely into tomorrow and today, separated by an 8 hour window which possibly forces you to get up early in the morning but allows time for resting.


I use a custom zeno schedule. I get notifications on the zeno schedule but only for the single Beeminder goal due next. So no overlapping schedules. As soon as one beemergency is dispatched, my notifications start arriving on the zeno schedule for the new closest-deadline. I have my phone set up to trigger manually-dismissable alarms on these notifications, but only during waking hours.


Or maybe just make an actual Beeminder sleep goal with deadline at 7am or whatever and qtime of 8 hours and then the algorithm works unchanged. I like the nannybotty direction this is headed!

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I thought about this a lot. I like it better, especially the combination of all 3 with the zeno polling.

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