Pessimistic Presumptive Reports (PPRs)

Pessimistic presumptive reports (PPRs) are a feature of Do Less goals, designed to ensure that you can't just walk away from your goal. They can be disabled if you don't find the feature useful, but it's worth reading about the rationale behind it before you do!

What is a PPR?

If you have a Do More goal and you just walk away without entering data, then you derail. But if your goal is to Do Less, and you add no data, we'd assume you did nothing... and you'd never derail. That makes it extremely tempting to just walk away and forget about your goal -- which would make it pretty difficult for Beeminder to stay on your case and sting you if you don't stick to your commitment contract. So if you have a Do Less goal, you'll find that when you don't enter data, we enter a datapoint for you: a Pessimistic Presumptive Report (PPR).

Basically, we assume the worst and enter a datapoint that will always be bigger than your current rate -- meaning that if you don't add your own data, the PPRs will sooner or later force your data across the line and derail you. This happens very quickly if you're close to the line.

This means you can never just walk away from a Do Less goal, planning to enter your data later or even totally avoid the moment when you have to enter the awful numbers into your graph. One way or another, we're gonna find you, we're gonna get you get you get you if you're not sticking to your goal! (Cue that Blondie song... yep, that's in our heads now.)

How do I avoid a PPR being added if I don't have data to add?

If you haven't done any of the thing you're trying to avoid (go you!) then you just need to add a 0 to avoid a PPR being added. That 0 tells it that you have checked in for the goal on that day, and no PPR will be added. Whew!

How can I get rid of a PPR that was added when I forgot to add data?

You can just delete it from the Data tab under your graph, on the web version. But, even easier, you can just overwrite it by adding your own data! As soon as you submit a datapoint which is dated on the same day as a PPR, the PPR automatically self-destructs and gets removed from your graph and data tab.

I want to turn this feature off!

No problem! PPRs can be turned off from the Settings tab on the goal's page. As soon as you do that, we'll stop adding them, so if you don't add data, you won't derail.

This won't remove past PPRs, but you can easily get rid of them by deleting them or adding the correct data for those days.

I didn't know this was going to happen and now I've derailed. How can I fix it?

Yikes, we're really sorry that caught you out! Just reply to the legitimacy check and let us know what happened. We'd also love to talk it over and figure out how you got tripped up and how we can make the feature better in future. And we'll cancel the charge, of course!

How can I take a break if I have PPRs on?

Taking a break doesn't work in quite the same way as a Do More goal, because PPRs always work towards derailing you no matter what. If you increase your rate, the size of the daily PPR also increases to match! That means breaks need to be handled a bit differently.

You could turn off the PPRs to be sure no data will be entered while you're away... but maybe you're worried that you'll forget to turn them back on!

One solution to this works if, while you're away, you know you won't be doing the thing you're trying to avoid anyway (e.g. you know you'll be offline, so you won't be spending any hours on Youtube). You can set the rate to 0 for the break so you don't gain any extra buffer, and then use the email entry bot, the mobile apps, or the Advanced Entry option on the goal's page to submit 0 datapoints dated for each day that you won't be able to enter data. Once the flat spot in the graph ends, your red line will slope up like before and PPRs will continue automatically catching you out if you haven't entered data!

If entering 0s would be inaccurate and spoil the truthiness of your graph, then you may want to use the visual graph editor to set a big cliff in your graph, like this:

Screenshot of a graph with a big jump added as safety buffer

Make sure you give yourself lots of leeway — better too much than too little! PPRs based on your rate will eat into that while you're away, pushing towards the bright red line the whole time. As long as you have enough buffer, they won't derail you. As a rule of thumb, PPRs are always twice your daily rate, or 2 if your rate is 0.

When you get back, you can submit the data for the time you were gone and replace those PPRs, or just accept that those PPRs are pretty close to the truth, ratchet away any extra buffer, and get back underway.

Keywords: pessimistic presumption, PPR datapoints, automatically derailed, Do Less goal

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