It makes sense to me, and I understand your frustration at recording a <169 star when your nearly at 20, but the sequences for many stars are embedded into the DB, so if you report a negative value of <196 when the listed sequence ends at 169, then that observation might be rejected. Not all stars sequences are entered into the DB, and I’m not sure about SV Ari, but it might be. If it isn’t, and you enter <196 with a sequence code for a sequence which ends at 169, then that observation will be accepted but will cause some confusion when the data is looked at.
You might report such an observation with a different sequence number (one which you have designed yourself). This would then be flagged as an unknown sequence, but it would make it into the DB. Then in 20 years time or so when SV Ari wakes up again, you could monitor the outburst using the recognised sequence of the day – by which time the limit might be in the 20’s.
The less confusion in the DB, the better for all concerned.