I suggest you ...

Let me enter data retroactively even after an "emergency" day

Currently an "emergency day" -- when your graph is red -- means that you have to enter new data by the end of the day or you lose (ie, you're officially off the road, and you get charged if you had money at risk).

But what if I actually did the workout or whatever I was beeminding by the end of the day and just didn't have a chance to enter it?

The current answer is to just not let that happen. It's normally fine to wait till the next day to enter data for the previous day (or any day in the past). UNLESS it's an emergency day in which case you have to get it entered by midnight. (Actually it's 3am in whatever time zone you specify that your graph automatically refreshes so you have a 3 hour grace period for entering it.)

This proposal is to be a bit kinder/gentler about that. Your graph would still freeze at the end of an emergency day but there's a 24-hour buffer before you get charged (if you have money at risk). Within that 24 hours you could still enter data and *iff* that data is for the previous day (or any day in the past) then your graph is reprocessed and, if appropriate, unfrozen.

That might be the best of all worlds, though it arguably sacrifices the simplicity of what exactly an emergency day means.

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    dreevesAdmindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    under review  ·  dreevesAdmindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) responded  · 

    We’re actually finding it works surprisingly well to have a bit of human intervention when you derail. We can easily grow 10x before we have to automate this for our own sanity. And it seems to be an amazing deterrent to weaseling/cheating when you have to explain yourself to actual humans to get your graph unfrozen.

    We’re still inclined to try the slightly kinder/gentler version but it has fallen down the priority list a bit, given how well the more human-moderated version is working.

    More thoughts on this welcomed!

    16 comments

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      • HughHugh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @dreeves, looking back at the text of the legitimacy check email, I don't see how it could be improved. It's not even spelled out that a reply to that email is going to be read by a human, although I knew that was part of the anti-weasealing policy.

        The more I think about it, the more I think that my biggest problem with Beeminder is that I haven't given you enough money. At least, I haven't put enough at stake to bind myself to the concept of beeminding and commit wholeheartedly. That's partially why I think "precommit to recommit" is such a good idea. I stand by your Third Great Beeminder Epiphany!

      • dreevesAdmindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Hugh, damn, that's a really good point about ugh fields! We've been thrilled with how effective an anti-weasel filter it is to make you go through a human when you derail. You're pointing out that it can be *too* effective. Any ideas for better striking a happy medium? (Not that this is a general enough solution but for anyone reading uservoice comments here, it really is very low overhead for both us and I think you, the user, to reply to a legit check with something like "didn't enter data in time; entered now; please hit unfreeze on this one!" you can even cc bot@beeminder.com and include the missing data in that very response.)

        As for precommit-to-recommit, we're so happy with that revelation that, well, you can see our over-the-top self-congratulations here: http://blog.beeminder.com/recommit

      • HughHugh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @dreeves, I've gotten all the legitimacy check emails.

        1) If I'm getting daily check-in emails, I just tune out all beeminder emails. I've turn email off on goals, but I sometimes I forget when creating a new goal, and it reinforces tuning out email (by the way, auto buzz-off is great!)

        2) I'm terribly embarrassed by this, but I have enough of an ugh field built up around admitting failure & asking for help that it's easier to give up on a goal than to talk to a real person. Paying at the next level would also be easier, but then pride gets in the way ("but I didn't actually fail yet!").

        I signed up for the "precommit to recommit" options on a few of my current goals, and I think that will help me a great deal.

      • dreevesdreeves commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Hugh, are you getting the legitimacy check emails? A quick reply to that to say you were late on getting your data entered (make sure to actually enter it retroactively as well) and we'll unfreeze you.

      • HughHugh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        There have been a few times when I did my workout (or whatever) on an emergency day, but didn't enter it, and since my graph was frozen I just gave up on the goal. If I had enough money at stake, I guess I wouldn't, but it's definitely been a disincentive.

      • MichaelMichael commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would just like to throw in my $0.07 << my two cents + inflation...

        Having to go through a human is _brilliant_. If you can only grow 10x, let us know and you could easily get volunteers to take some of that load. I would recruit beeMinder junkies as 'Jr. sting surgeons' before giving up this feature.

      • dreevesAdmindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @jamuraa, unfroze you! Until we get this implemented we're doing that manually for people. Just try to get your data entered within 3 hours of the end of an emergency day for now but you can already treat the real deadline as midnight the following night. That's the deadline for *entering* it, not doing it. :)

        And just to emphasize, this is all moot if it's not an emergency day.

      • jamuraajamuraa commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I just ran into this with 12in12: Meditation, I ended up doing the meditation yesterday, and it still let me put in my results, but it looks like I'll still have to reset my graph in order to keep tracking the daily meditation on Beeminder.

      • remediosremedios commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I love this idea! Actually, it wasn't clear that this wasn't allowed... which is why I kept getting frozen (thanks beeminder for unfreezing me several times after retroactive data entry)!

        One way to educate people would be to send a different quick tip with every data entry reminder. In this case, a "be sure to enter data by midnight on emergency days" would help! :)

      • remediosremedios commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I love this idea! Actually, it wasn't clear that this wasn't allowed... which is why I kept getting frozen (thanks beeminder for unfreezing me several times after retroactive data entry)!

        One way to educate people would be to send a different quick tip with every data entry reminder. In this case, a "be sure to enter data by midnight on emergency days" would help! :)

      • EricEric commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        My problem is related but slightly different: what happens when I go on vacation. I still may meet my goal but I don't have access to a computer with internet to enter it!

      • BenBen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I like the proposal (24 hour window would be awesome) ... my one thought is to make all of this more clear upfront (what an emergency day is ... how, exactly one enters data in a text or email form, how one enters data in the web browser, when one should enter data, the particular way that the graph will track your progress and help you work towards your goals, even the way that the graph evolves over time). A good way to do this would be a simple tutorial that people HAVE to go through when setting up their first graph. As a rule of thumb, users wont read something unless their forced to (get me to the action!) but then react negatively when that imprudence comes back to bite them later on.

        A good example of this was my reaction to the smoking graph ... I plugged everything in but was thrown off when a graph tracking something I was supposed to quit was pointed unintuitively up (is my goal to smoke more?). After I inquired, I quickly recieved a very simple email telling me why I was misreading the graph (the goal is to end up on a straight line). Everything became clear.

        A quick, five step tutorial (when the budget allows for one) would probably help avoid any of that confusion and the subsequent confusion with the emergency day and such.

        This is an awesome product though. Excited to continue to use it.

      • dreevesAdmindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is now partially done. The 24-hour delay is in place, just have to allow for for unfreezing of the graph based on retroactive data entry. Slightly easier said than done but we'll get to it. Upvote this suggestion if you're in a hurry for it!

      • IsaacIsaac commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I fully support this proposal. It's more intuitive to enter data after the day is done. How will I know how many hours I've put in until then?

      • dreevesAdmindreeves (Cofounder, Beeminder) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If you want that safety buffer, you can always do a color shift: panic when your dot is orange instead of red and then you'll have an extra 24 hours to get your data entered.

        Or, more generally, just pay attention to the number of safety buffer
        days and make sure that number is always enough for any internet
        hiatuses.

        (Speaking of which, reminders from the bot -- both email and sms -- now give the number of safety buffer days in the subject line.)

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