Definitions (what is...?)
What is Hiveminder?
Hiveminder is a webservice that helps you keep track of all of your to do lists in one convenient place. It's easy to make new lists quickly or to share tasks with anyone in your hive of friends, family, and co-workers. Hiveminder makes it easy to see only the tasks you're looking for and to sync your lists with your life. Whether you're planning your honeymoon, streamlining your business, or just trying to make it through the semester, Hiveminder has the tools you need to get busy!
What is a "braindump?"
We realize that no to do list springs fully-formed from your head, like Athena from Zeus'. We provide the opportunity to spit the things you have to do into Hiveminder quickly and painlessly on pretty much every page. These "braindump" boxes allow you to quickly type out tasks as they occur to you so that you don't forget them, and the tasks are then added to your To Do list. You can always add information to or organize them later, but at least they're out of your head.
What is this "5H4" thing?
When you're trying to talk about tasks with other people, it can be hard to be clear which task you're talking about. To help make things clearer, we created 'Task IDs' like the ones used in airline ticketing, composed of numbers and letters (i.e. "5H4") to make it easier to get specific. These identifiers are unique across all of Hiveminder, so no two tasks in our entire system will have the same Task ID. They may take a little getting used to, but you'll thank us later.
What are "tags?"

Tags are a really great way to label your tasks. They're just a list of words you choose to associate with a task. This makes it easier to find your tasks and to find tasks that are alike or in the same category. If you are trying to file anything, say your DVDs, you instantly run into some issues with how to categorize things. Does the 1974 TV thriller Killer Bees go under 'K?' Or '1970s?' Or 'Television Thrillers?' Maybe it should go under 'Gloria Swanson?' With tags, you could file it under all of those categories.

Let's say you have a task called "Take the camera to work for Frank's going-away party." You could tag it with [work] because you're going to the office and [home] because that's where the camera is. You can also tag it with [camera], [Frank] and [parties]. If you search for any of those tags, or make a list using them, that task will show up. Then you'll remember to take the camera to work, and you won't miss the opportunity to get pictures of Frank in a paper hat.

In other words, tags will give your tasks context. You can apply [phone] to all of the phone calls you need to make. Likewise, you can imagine how tags like [shopping], [bills], [car], [kids], ["book club"] etc. might be used. If you wanted to include [shopping] and [bills] in a larger [money] category, then you can apply [money] to all of those tasks. You can then search for the broader context or the narrower context. If you have a project, say to build a clubhouse, attach [clubhouse] to all of those tasks. Then you can get increasingly specific for each part of the larger project - for example:

  • find a tree [clubhouse planning]
  • create plans [clubhouse planning design]
  • create a budget [clubhouse planning money]
  • buy materials [clubhouse shopping money]
You can then find all of those tasks by searching for [clubhouse], the first three by searching for [clubhouse planning], the last two by searching for [clubhouse money] and so on and so forth. Use however many tags you need to create as specific a context for your task as you wish.

What is the "tag cloud" and how does it work?
The tag cloud shows you which tags you're using, and how much you're using them. It indicates how much you use a tag by making that tag bigger or smaller, relative to the other tags, so if your "work" tag is bigger than your "fun" tag, we would suggest you find more fun things to do. If you select "all," the tag cloud will reflect the tags of all your tasks in Hiveminder. If you select "page," then the tag cloud will reflect only the tags for the tasks on that page. Similarly, selecting "group" will show the tags for everyone's tasks in only that group.
What are groups and how do they work?
Groups allow you to share tasks for a given project, party or anything else you're doing with a group of people. Groups are created by an 'Organizer' who has the power to add and delete members of the group. Groups can also have more than one Organizer. 'Members' have the ability to change tasks (add them, cross them off, commenting on them etc.), as do Organizers. 'Guests' can see what goes on in a group, but they have no ability to change anything.
What are "unaccepted" tasks?
Unaccepted tasks are tasks which someone else has assigned to you that you haven't accepted or declined yet. Make a decision about whether you're willing to do somebody a favor and accept or decline them.
Procedures (how do i...?)

Many of these answers to these procedural questions are very well documented in our help page, but if you can't find an answer there or here in the FAQ, please write us at, and we'll try to get you what you need ASAP.

What do I do if I get an email saying I have a task?
Lucky you! You have several choices to make. First, you must decide whether to accept the task or refuse it. There should be links in the email that allow you to choose. If you would like to become a member of Hiveminder, you can do that by going to our sign up page and following the directions there. You don't have to become a member of Hiveminder to accept the task, though. You can accept the task with the link in the email you received, and you can let the person know that you have completed the task by replying to that email when you're done. If you would like us to buzz off, follow the opt-out link in the email or on the task's page.
What if I change my email address?
Like bees, Hiveminder users may need to migrate from time to time. We've made it easy for you. When logged in, pick "tools" from the menu bar, then click "preferences." On the preferences screen, change your email address. When you're sure it's correct, hit "save." You're done!
Why can't I sort my tasks by hand?
Part of our philosophy with Hiveminder was that everything should be a search, not a sort. Our Searches are extremely powerful and allow you to reorder your To Do list constantly to see all of the different lists in your life. You can be looking at all of your high priority tasks one moment, everything due tomorrow the next, and soon again after that you're looking at all of the tasks you have tagged "work" to get the big picture of where things are going at the office (or wherever). If you need a really specific order, you can use all of the pieces of info Hiveminder lets you attach to your tasks to get the list you need.
How can I sync my tasks outside of Hiveminder?

You can subscribe to an Atom feed of your tasks by clicking the feed icon . Right now, Hiveminder only supports one-way syncing with your iCalendar applications like Apple's iCal or Google Calendar , but we've got a couple aces up our sleeve and should be able to support round-trip iCalendar syncing in the near future. We do provide full round-trip to text files for all you lifehackers - just click on the page icon . If you're a little more old-school and would rather have a paper list to work from during the day, click the printer icon . Your printed list will include a URL so you can get back to that same list later on and check stuff off for good.

Your iCalendar and Atom feeds work something like a saved list. If you search for a list by a tag, then all future tasks with that tag will be sent to the feed you generate from that list. It is important to keep the feed URLs private though, because otherwise people can see your tasks. If you run into that situation however, we have given you an out. You can go to the "Security" tab on the Preferences page. By pushing the "Generate new feed links" button, you can destroy all of your feeds. You'll have to re-create all of your feeds, but the compromised feeds will go away.

How do I use email to create tasks?
To begin, go to the "Tasks by email" tab under "Preferences" (under "Tools" in the top bar). Here, you can get a Hiveminder email address, where you or anyone else can send you a task. If there's not an address provided, click "add a new address." Just write the summary of the task in the subject line and the full description of the task in the body of the email, and then send it! You can hand that address (or other randomly generated addresses) to other people so they can send you tasks, too. Each email address can also add arbitrary tags, due dates, and the like - so you can have one address which tags incoming emails with [work], and another which tags them with [home].
How do I find tasks?
Always start with "Search," in the top bar, or with the "Search" link at the top of task lists. If you're still having trouble, there may be a "But First" task (another task that must be completed before the task you are looking for) in the way. If your task is next in line, there will be a hyperlink reference to your task on that task labeled, "And Then..." It's also possible that your task is hidden until some date in the future, so make sure you work with the date fields in "Search."
How do I send a task to someone else? Do they need to have a Hiveminder account for me to do that?
First of all, the people you are sharing tasks with don't have to have Hiveminder account. They will receive an email that explains the task, and they can accept the task, refuse it, and otherwise manipulate it via email. To send a task, just enter the email address of the person you're sending the task to into the "owner" field when you're creating it, or change the address in the "owner" field of an already existing task and then save the change. The task will then be emailed to that address.
Can I send a task to more than one person?
No, you can't. This is a feature, not a bug, though. We believe in getting these tasks accomplished, and if more than one person is responsible for a task, then neither one is necessarily responsible. We allow only one owner for a task so that no one can use that ambiguity to hide from responsibility. If you want to give the same task to a bunch of people, send it to each of them and then they can all work in series (or even better, compete!) to finish your task. If you want to let them know that they are sharing the task, you can do so in the notes. If the task is for a group, you can create tasks with no owner ("nobody"), and the task will wait for someone who to pick it up from the "Up for grabs" tab.
I marked a task as done, but now I want it back. How do I find it?
Use the "Search" tool, and check off the "Done" box. This will show you all of the tasks that you have marked as "done." Uncheck the checkbox, and you should be all set.
How do I change my timezone?
It's located on the "Preferences" page, which is under "Tools" on the top bar. Go to the "about me" tab, and find your matching timezone in the dropdown menu.
Can I use SMS or my PDA to add new tasks?
If you can send email from those devices, then absolutely. The person you're trying to send a task to will need to have a Hiveminder account though so that they can have a "Tasks by email" address.
Can I do recurring tasks?
Yes! All you need to do is to click on a task's title from the tasklist and set the appropriate fields under the "Repeat" heading of the edit form. Tell us how often to nag you and we'll take care of the rest.
Please stop sending me emails about my tasks!
You can manage your own email preferences on your preferences page. If you have any trouble, send us an email at and we'll take care of it.
Why not just use a piece of paper?
Well, if you feel more comfortable using paper, go for it. Unlike a paper list, Hiveminder won't get lost, though. If you have a Hiveminder account, you can print any list to paper using the icon on your "To Do" List.
How do I get Hiveminder for my company?
You can either use it right off of the Internet or check out RT, which is sort of like Hiveminder's big brother.
How can I delete my account?
While we're sorry to see any user leave Hiveminder, we understand it may not be the best for everyone and so we make it easy to delete your own account. We would really appreciate hearing why you're leaving before you do so!
Security and Privacy
Can other people see my tasks?
People can only see your tasks if you invite them to do so in a group setting. Or if they steal your login.
Can you see my tasks?
Yes. But we have better things to do than spy on your tasks. It is difficult for us to casually see your tasks, but we keep the option open because we may need to access the place where your tasks are stored in order to fix something.
You're not using SSL; how do I know my password is safe?
If you have a Javascript-enabled browser (most of them are these days), then your password will be encrypted when logging in, before being sent to us over the internet. But we also offer SSL encryption as a feature to pro users.
How do I know you won't sell my information to a marketing company (or anyone else)?
Because we promise not to. And because our information is also collected in Hiveminder. And our friends' information. And our families'. We'd hate ourselves even more than you hate spam.
About Us
Do you use Hiveminder yourselves?
What does Best Practical use Hiveminder for?
We've been using Hiveminder for the development of Hiveminder for almost a year. We have been distributing tasks, tracking bugs, and figuring out new things we want to try with Hiveminder. We take care of many of the basic, day-to-day operations at Best Practical with Hiveminder, and most of us use it to get our personal lives together, too. If you're looking for something more heavy-duty, consider RT, which we also make.
What tools did you use to build Hiveminder?
Much of our development was done with Jifty, an internally-developed web development kit that is especially good at the AJAX-y mojo that people are so excited about these days. It's opensource, so you can download it for free at CPAN.
Is Hiveminder in Beta?
Hiveminder is still a young service, but we think you're smart enough to see through any label we stick on it to help us get out of trouble if it doesn't work right. We're always going to do our best to make sure it works right for you, even if it doesn't read Beta, Gamma, Pi, Rho, 1.0 or "2006 Premium Executive Edition, now with Concierge Service."
How do you guys plan to make money off this? (You are a business, right?)
You can upgrade your account to a pro account, which gives you all sorts of nifty extra features! Hiveminder will remain a free service forever, though. You will never be forced to pay for Hiveminder.
Is Hiveminder for sale?
No, but we will consider ridiculously lucrative offers. Like, "Notorious B.I.G. in the Hypnotize video" lucrative.

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