I know a number of folks on the Fediverse have depression or other mental struggles.

What about something like a reverse tamagotchi that does things like remind you to take your medication and remind you of how great you are. In order to keep it healthy and grow, you need to acknowledge it and do what it asks.

Is this a crazy idea?

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The idea is that it would function nearly identically to a normal tamagotchi, except that by doing its suggestions, it thrives if you thrive.

It could even be based on something like

@emacsen I expect for daily reminders most people will use other things - like the clock app on Android - but it's not a bad idea.

You could perhaps define a format for the tamagotchi and then have them customisable as a sort of plugin.

Also as per clippy, there could be a fine line between helpful and irritating. So long as the user is always in control it would be ok though.


According to a friend, this apparently already exists.

But my thought was to externalize self-care, essentially.

@emacsen I read a Tumblr post roughly: pretend you're a demon possessing a human body, and you want to stay out of hell as long as possible. Do the things that keep your human body as healthy and fit as possible.

@emacsen No, but you’ll want serious consultation with social scientists when realizing this to make sure you do not accidentally create the opposite effect.


I was thinking this might be something people would create for themselves, and choose to use.

I know different people are motivated in different ways.

@emacsen doing this right could be pretty hard. I think it is a good idea, but even building a framework for this needs to take into account how to help people create things whose real effects fit their intentions.

This could be a starting point to find people with experience:

@emacsen this is an awesome idea! It needs a cute character that grows along with you.


I don't have many of the skills to make this happen, but maybe if the Arduono code was updated just a tiny bit, it would be easy.

Perhaps it's time to dust off some C to make this easy to update? Hey @Lofenyy would this interest you at all?

@emacsen @paperdigits I've definitely thought of making a Tomagochi type game, but I honestly never could find the time for anything like it. I also know that different things work for different people when it comes to mental health. I think there's potential somewhere in this idea though, maybe more like a computer-app-based platform for providing guided therapy sans therapist. I've heard this idea be tried before but I don't know how well it works. It'd be really cool to have a GPL version of this idea.

@emacsen @paperdigits I'd say, if it could help people, why not? My general belief when it comes to free software is that more never hurts. If a proprietary version exists and it's helpful, why not attempt a libre version? If they can do it, we can do it better!

On the other hand, I wonder if therapies and their applications are best described in a Wikibook first, in such a way that it makes it easy for someone to help themselves, and then creating software based upon that.

@emacsen @paperdigits To give an example, there's an excellent concept described in a book called Self Esteem. Everyone has an inner critic, it's generally known as the pathological critic. For some people, their critic is actually very toxic and don't serve the constructive purpose they serve for others.

@emacsen @paperdigits Being slapped with the CBT self help handbook is better than nothing, but being described the critic, being told its intended purpose and how it's developed, and how it can get out of hand is a lot more helpful. It then goes on to describe techniques that have helped others in the past tame their inner critic, many of the ideas you'd never think about or are even hinted at in the CBT book, yet it all counts as an application of cognitive behaviour therapy.

@emacsen @paperdigits I speak about these things from experience, by the way. I definitely believe that describing CBT is an excellent first step, but being able to talk about very specific problems and then explaining how therapy has helped others in their very specific situation, and then maybe providing app-based guides can be the way forward. The thing is though, I think applications have limited potential here, whereas things described in text, like a Wikibook, would be a far better project.

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