Feature Unannouncement: Auto-Widening Yellow Brick Roads Have Gone Manual

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
By bsoule

Wide load farm equipment

In which we explain how a big feature of early Beeminder, auto-widening yellow brick roads, was wrong-headed and what we’re doing now instead. This is Part 1 with Just The Facts and the probably-very-safe-assumption that you don’t care about the convoluted history and just want to know how your graphs will work starting now. In Part 2 we’ll philosophize about the value of bright lines and give elaborate arguments for how wrong you are if you think that the auto-widening feature had merit.  

We’ve finally officially, fully killed off the monstrosity known as auto-widening yellow brick roads! If you’ve encountered this it was probably in the context of weight loss goals, though there are a tiny number of you who turned this Terrifyingly Advanced Setting on for some of your custom goals. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, that’s totally fine! You can probably skip this both parts of this two-part post.

But since this is the just-the-facts part, here’s what it means in practical terms for us to remove this feature.

What do I need to know about beeminding weight now?

What we’re doing now (actually what we’ve been doing for a long time for new weight loss goals) is giving you a generous buffer when you start the goal to account for day-to-day weight fluctuations. The road itself actually has zero width, foreshadowing some additional upcoming changes in all yellow brick roads. Then it is up to you stay well below that bright line.

What if I already have an old-style weight road?

Existing roads are getting assigned a fixed road width. In other words, whatever width your road is currently, it will stay put, with no more changes. If you restart a frozen weight goal, then we’ll collect the max fluctuation from you and convert your goal to a new-style weight road. Otherwise we predict you won’t even notice this change.

What if I’m one of the elite few who turned on auto-widening for some other purpose?

As for weight loss goals, any active goal with auto-widening turned on will get a fixed road width (we’ll use whatever it currently is), and the road width will no longer change with the data. You can manually change the road’s width in the custom settings, where you turned it on in the first place. (It was called “noisy” — referring to goals with randomly fluctuating data.) Unfortunately, you’re probably the users most affected by this, but at least we’re on the hook to justify ourselves to you! (In Part 2 of this post.) Any archived goals, should they be restarted, will act as any ordinary Beeminder goal with a road width based on the rate of the road.

Tags: , , , , ,