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Group goals are alive! Multiple people can all commit to a single goal! Find it in the Settings tab below your graph:

A screenshot of the groupie settings for a goal

Backing up, this has been in private beta for over a year. Then this past weekend I was at Manifest (which was pretty amazing, btw, highly recommended, and tons of Beeminder fans) where I gave a talk called “Homo Economicus Wannabees”. It was about all the crazy decision mechanisms we use in our family — many based on auctions, and one based on prediction markets. And of course Beeminder featured prominently, since our whole family uses Beeminder extensively. But mostly Beeminder is a tool for individual goals, which didn’t fit the theme of the talk.

Group goals, however, did fit the theme, and we decided it would be nice to be able to announce the public availability of group goals as part of the talk. Which we did, thanks to clutch hacking by Bee behind the scenes.

Backing further up, we were very unsure at first if it was a good idea, since it sounds like the kind of the thing that could have a fatal diffusion-of-responsibility problem. What if everyone thinks/hopes someone else will dispatch the beemergency?? Well, our personal experience is that that’s not a problem in practice. The way we’ve implemented it, a group goal shows up on everyone’s dashboard just like any other goal, and there doesn’t seem to be a temptation to ignore a goal in the hopes that another groupie will deal with it. Or maybe there’s a liiiitle bit of a game of chicken but as the deadline bears down, you talk to each other and someone does the work before Beeminder charges everyone.

Because — did we mention? — the monetary stakes are in fact duplicated for everyone. So when the goal derails, every member gets charged the full pledge amount. Probably that helps with diffusion of responsibility.

We personally use this for:

  • various household chores,
  • Bee and I use it for things like doing math together, and
  • our son has several of his homework and workout goals set to group goals with either me or Bee.

That last one is just as a way to help hold him accountable and make sure he notices when he’s about to derail.

Questions and Caveats

At this point I’m handing the keyboard over to Bee to tell you about all the corners we cut in the rush to get this out in time.

1. Can everyone customize their reminder settings individually?

Alas! The owner of the group goal has all the usual reminder settings, but the groupies have bupkis. Worse, the groupies only get email reminders — no SMS or smartphone notifications or Slack or webhooks. But, again, everyone sees the goal on their individual dashboards. If lack of non-email reminders are a deal-breaker, this feature isn’t ready for you yet. Hopefully you can coordinate with the goal owner on when email reminders should be sent to everyone and mostly go by what’s red on your dashboards.

2. Do the groupies have to agree on whether a derailment’s legit?

Yeah. The legit check email has everyone copied, so if anyone wants to say it wasn’t legit, reply-all and support will apply common sense and make sure there’s consensus. We do have the restriction that either everyone should be charged or no one should.

3. How do you leave a group goal?

You thought you could leave a group goal? Welcome to the Hotel California!

Ok, but for real, we decided to launch this without that sub-feature initially. Maybe people will love this so much that no one ever wants to leave a group goal? Or maybe one of these workarounds will suffice:

  • The owner can archive the goal and then make a new one with whoever still wants to be a groupie.
  • Just let support know and we’ll work our admin magic — maybe applying the standard akrasia horizon constraint.

Definitely let us know if you’re put off by the lack of an easier way to drop out of a group goal.

4. What if I need to re-send the invite?

If the person you invited hasn’t confirmed yet, they’ll still be in the “pending” section. So you can just delete and re-add them.

5. What about autodata?

Autodata group goals make more or less sense depending on the autodata source. For something like Duolingo, adding someone to your Duolingo goal will only track the owner’s Duolingo account that the goal was set up with. You might still want to do this as additional accountability or moral support. (We do this with our teenage son.) Other autodata goals might be more truly collaborative. Examples:

  • an RSSminder goal for a joint blog,
  • an URLminder goal on a document, minded with all your co-authors,
  • a Trello goal for beeminding a group project,
  • a YNAB goal for a joint loan account, and
  • probably lots of other things if you look through our gallery of integrations and get creative.

And yes, it would be super cool if you could set up, say, a steps goal with all your friends which pulled in each member’s steps from whatever data source they used, etc etc. But that’s a project for the future, because it will involve a fair bit of refactoring and rearchitecting in how autodata goals get set up.

6. What if a groupie already has a goal with the same goalname?

We don’t allow that.

7. But then I can find out if someone has a “lessporn” goal by creating one and trying to invite them!

No, we thought of that. Sweat-smile-emoji. If you, as a truly awful person, create a “lessporn” goal in your own gallery and then try to invite your enemy, Alice, to it (and she actually has a lessporn goal) then everything happens like normal except that instead of a confirmation link in the email, Alice sees this:

[Normally you’d see a confirmation link here but there’s a problem: you already have a goal named “lessporn”. Please either rename yours or ask $AWFULPERSON to rename the group goal and then invite you again. We’re not revealing this problem to $AWFULPERSON in case the existence of your lessporn goal is secret.]

(So if you invite a friend and they don’t accept, either they have a conflicting goalname, or they just hate you.)

The awful-person scenerio is highly unlikely and this almost always will be innocuous name collisions, in which case Alice can just let the goal owner know and the two of them can coordinate amongst themselves on disambiguating their goalnames.

(Do let us know if you spot any other potential security concerns with any of this!)


We’ve found group goals to be pretty powerful. Social accountability! Shared ambitions! Collaboration! And of course there’s also our ulterior motive: more reason to evangelize Beeminder to your friends and family.


PS: And if you’re curious what else was in that “Homo Economicus Wannabees” talk, Bee and I are mulling a new blog about it and have a placeholder at yootles.substack.com where you can subscribe and be emailed if/when we do.