Spec: SafeSum blurb for telling you how safe you are today

By: dreev and adam
Last updated: 2020-07-15
Gissues: #830, #1285, #1518, #1538
Forum discussion: Replacing Beebrain’s limsum with safesum

It’s important for Beeminder to be Opinionated Software. Here’s our Opinion:

Your daily rate needs to be prominent and obvious. If you know that rate then you know that you’ll get another day of safety buffer by doing that much. You might be able to get an extra day of safety buffer by doing less than that, but unless it’s an eep day you shouldn’t care about that exact number. Just keep doing your daily rate amount each day and you’ll maintain the buffer you have. Do any less and you’re eating into your buffer.

So telling you “+.23 needed in 3 days” in huge text above the graph is bad bad bad. That level of information should be hidden ~1 click away in the due-by table. The information that should be prominent is something like “you’re committed to +2 such-and-suches per day and have 3 days of safety buffer”. Or simply “omg +.23 such-and-suches by midnight!” if it’s a beemergency.

The plan: We deprecate Beebrain’s limsum output field and add safesum.

Here are examples, for each of the Four Platonic Goal Types, crossed with whether it’s an eep day or not, crossed with whether it’s auto-summed (kyoom) or not:

gtype eep Σ limsum safesum
MOAR y y +1 in 0 days +1 pushups due by 12am
MOAR y n +1 in 0 days (12345) +1 pushups (12345) due by 12am
MOAR n y +1 in 1 day safe for 1 day (commitment: +5/day)
MOAR n n +1 in 1 day (12345) safe for 1 day (commitment: +5/day)
PHAT y y -2 in 0 days hard cap -2 pounds by 12am
PHAT y n -2 in 0 days (150) hard cap -2 pounds (150) by 12am
PHAT n y -2 in 1 day hard cap +2 pounds today
PHAT n n -2 in 1 day (150) hard cap +2 pounds (150) today
WEEN y y +3 today hard cap +3 servings by 12am
WEEN y n +3 today (12345) hard cap +3 servings (12345) by 12am
WEEN n y +3 today hard cap +3 servings today
WEEN n n +3 today (12345) hard cap +3 servings (12345) today
RASH y y +4 today hard cap +4 cigarettes by 12am
RASH y n +4 today (12345) hard cap +4 cigarettes (12354) by 12am
RASH n y +4 today hard cap +4 cigarettes today
RASH n n +4 today (12345) hard cap +4 cigarettes (12345) today

Originally we wanted to make sure we had a concise string for the goal units but decided that the longer gunits string is ok.

The due-by table is super nice and makes sense to people and probably doesn’t want to be as hidden away as it is. It’s the thing you want to look at if you want to know more than just “safe for N days”.

Yet another related thing: how much I dislike click-to-toggle on the website


For later: Eep days for WEEN/RASH are weird. It kind of ought to be too late, you went past the limit! (Now that the infamous do-less loophole is closed, that’s even true. Unless negative datapoints make sense for your goal.)