straw poll on freebees, facebook

Skip to first unread message

Daniel Reeves

Aug 2, 2014, 7:06:18 PM8/2/14
to akratics
As an experiment I'm trying out asking this in the new Beeminder
Facebook group:

Question of the day: We need freebees (goals that start with $0
pledged) so people can get up to speed with Beeminder before putting
in a credit card. But once you get it, your credit card is in, and
you're beeminding for real, is there still value in having freebees?
Do they just water down the point of Beeminder, or do they help in
lowering the activation energy for starting new goals and lead to more
goals with real pledges in the long run?

If you're amenable to participating in a Facebook group, please answer
there. If you're not then answer here! (The ratio of answers here vs
there will serve as a meta straw poll on the value of a Facebook
group. We also have a forum almost set up but are
procrastinating on some loose ends with it. That will be a separate

Bottom line: What do you think of freebees, and, as an experiment,
please answer on Facebook unless you dislike Facebook. Thanks

-- -- search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts ==

A Jolly

Aug 2, 2014, 10:53:23 PM8/2/14
Free lets you use beeminder as a quantified self tool, and then commit $ when you feel the need to add teeth to your commitments.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Akratics Anonymous" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
For more options, visit

Tom Nicholls

Aug 3, 2014, 7:01:34 AM8/3/14
I find the QS aspect of Beeminder more valuable for achieving my goals than the commitment contract aspect, and have in fact recently taken a premium membership specifically to allow myself to run more of my goals at $0.

For weight-loss goals in particular, I think the not-quite-direct link between input work and results leads me to feel more unhappiness at $ loss than with do-more and do-less type goals with closer control. On the last couple of derailments of my weight loss goal I was beginning to feel disgruntlement at the contract cost without a corresponding increase in motivation for achieving the task.

I suspect each of your users are different. I find the self-committing nature of the pledges, together with the intangible nature of committing to someone beyond myself sufficiently motivating. I don't find that I respond to the financial commitment in the way that economic theory suggests that I should.

So yes, there is still value in freebees (for some people) after committing to a credit card. To link back in to the previous thread, though, this does seem like a paradigmatic case for a premium membership plan of some kind.

Adam Mesha

Aug 3, 2014, 2:37:52 PM8/3/14
On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 2:06 AM, Daniel Reeves <> wrote:
If you're amenable to participating in a Facebook group, please answer

That's like saying to a group of alcoholics, "if you're amenable to going to a bar, come and say hi". (I kid.)

Ondrej Svitek

Aug 4, 2014, 12:39:45 PM8/4/14
I would go even further, and argue for "eternal freebees" and pledge downgrading back to $0.

Usecase: given my daily-habit usage of Beeminder, it is natural for me to track finance expenses with finance goal (private of course).

Usually it works pretty well for day-to-day operation, but there are problems with a) unexpected payments (things happen in life...) b) payments to Beeminder itself (exponentially increasing pledge schedule on Finance goal could trigger infinite sequence of derailments). In fact, I anticipated these problems at start and unchecked "Increase pledge" in goal settings, hoping to create "eternal freebee". Unexpectedly, pledge increased from $0 to $5 after first derailment which surprised me, because in my mind, freebees are limited resources belonging to the user, who should have full freedom in their utilization. This view is likely in contrast with your perception, where freebee is more like "gateway drug". But Beeminder is already expecting high levels of honesty and self-consistence of it's users so putting them in full control of freebees seems like respectful and right thing to do.

In general, I would welcome addition of "personal analytics" facet to Beeminder - tracking with guiding lines, but without commitment (sounds almost like a heresy :)).

Jill Renaud

Aug 4, 2014, 12:44:17 PM8/4/14
to, Daniel Reeves
Ondrej -

I think that would undo our business model a bit.  (everyone gets unlimited freebees!)  Did you know that you can sign up for plan bee (at a fixed monthly cost) for unlimited freebees?   In that case if you have the don't increase pledge checked you can stay pledgeless.  This is how you could use beeminder if merely for analytics without a sting for falling off of your road.



Daniel Reeves

Aug 4, 2014, 5:50:46 PM8/4/14
to akratics
Adam, yeah, I didn't think that one through so well. :) (In all
seriousness though, if you find facebook sucking up too much time,
beeminding it via rescuetime is a pretty brilliant solution.)

This also reminds me of someone I know who's writing a novel and
replied thusly when I proposed

"For a mega-akratic/ADD case like me, keeping my writing tool on the
web is like an alcoholic writer keeping his typewriter inside a bar
inside a brewery inside a liquor warehouse. I open the browser and in
the unlikely case I manage to get the typewriter, I end up stepping
out for a moment, just to look around at the brewery. I mean, what
could be the harm? And the next thing I know I'm in a gully covered in
my own vomit. The Internet is such a problem that most days my wife
takes our router with her to work. So... Yeah. I love Draftin and it's
useless to me."

Btw, some pretty good discussion is happening on facebook:
> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
> "Akratics Anonymous" group.
> To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an
> email to
> For more options, visit

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages