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Ask HN: Am I addicted to HackerNews?
77 points by mithunmanohar1 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments
I keep checking hackernews every now and then be it at work or when I am at home. I come here at least 10-15 times a day. Is that normal ?

Wikipedia defines addiction as "a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences"

I think it's important to realize that addiction is not just doing something often (e.g. we all drink water often, that's not addicition). It has to have a detrimental consequence in your life for to be addiction.

Is your checking of HN causing you some problems?

For me, I think, we all need to have a break every now and again, whether it's listening to music, going for a walk in the park, getting a coffee, whatever. I think looking at HN during your breaks is an entirely unproblematic way to spend your breaks.

So unless you are having some problems in your life due to checking HN, you are not addicted to HN, even if you check it often.

Everytime I compile and it takes longer than usual I check HN. Sometimes I forget to check the new build and 20 minutes have passed.

Is there no way to add a notification when the build is finished?

In my case, for python scripts that take a little more time to run, I add a `tput bel` at the end of the script. By doing this iTerm gives me a visual and a gentle sound notification that things are ready.

For a little more obvious notification, I like noti.


Well, it is not actually the compilation but rather the build and reload of a webpage that takes time. But I get a small visual feedback in Vivaldi when its done.

However, sometimes I miss it due to my focus being elsewhere.

losing time doing something better. time is the most valuable ressource. so yeah it's detrimental

No, you have a habit that you don't like but it isn't an addiction. You have developed a default response, any time your brain is bored the new default is "time to check HN".

Try and swap that for a new default, something that is more productive. I use it as an excuse to correct my posture, have a walk or get a drink of water. You could get the DuoLingo app and spend those minutes learning a language.

Don't get rid of your habit, just turn it into something positive.

This would imply HN is not positive. There are far worse habits.

I would say checking anything 15 times a day isn't a positive habit. HN is certainly not destructive but being here 15x a day isn't any more useful than just visiting 1-2x.

But if you would otherwise be checking reddit or your prefered news website it is better to check HN 15 times.

You might not know, there are features on your profile page to help control this: enable "noprocast" and set a "maxvisit".

I think that 10-15 times a day is quite normal for a large chunk of frequent visitors.

Instead of worrying about the frequency, perhaps try to turn it into a positive thing. Try to make it a rule that whenever you visit HN, you also add a constructive comment on a story.

Show/Ask HN submissions that don't have many comments can be a great place to do this. Try to thoughtfully answer someone's question, or check out the project they've shared with the world and offer your thoughts and some encouragement.

By turning your HN visits into HN contributions, you'd be both helping yourself grow and contributing to the community. When you go out of your way to write thoughtful responses, you'll often find that they serve as good starting points for blog posts, if blogging is your thing (or you've been meaning to start a blog for years and years, but feel like you never have any good ideas). Your HN responses can serve as great writing prompts.

Dealing with the same issue and was thinking of deleting. I consume a lot of content and learn a lot from but I don't feel myself retaining the information. Maybe I am subconsciously? As such, I think it contributes more to anxiety which leads to stress etc. than being a benefit to my life. Do others feel the same? Does the vast amount of interesting content and curiousisty to want to consume it all make you anxious? I like the comment about retraining idle time, so instead of hackernews something else ... but I'm addicted.

I've found it far rewarding to keep many ebooks and ecourses on my phone and whenever i feel the urge to read hn i open up that instead. I think browsing hn is our way to distract ourselves from whatever we're currently doing and after a while reading an ebook for 10 mins somewhat gives the same feeling but far less boring because there is an element of continuity involved.

Does it matter if your behavior matches the definition of addiction? If this is causing you problems, consider a website-blocking program such at https://selfcontrolapp.com/, https://getcoldturkey.com/, and https://freedom.to/

If you feel ashamed of this, ask yourself: would you advise a trying-to-lose-weight person to keep a plate of cookies on their desk?

I think you are confusing addiction with eagerness or interest to learn about things, your curiosity. At least that's the reason i typically visit HN, i don't have time to visit all the sourced pages that were once featured on HN because they had a nice article or other sort of information. But i do want to read about new things, explore, for this HN is a great source.

For social 'exploring'/learning or just simple entertainment 9gag.com is a nice website to spend your 'idle minutes' at, the minutes you want to spend on non technical things.

Anyone willing to list additional summary tools for those hoping to reduce their time on the site?

minimum point threshold: https://twitter.com/newsyc100

daily: http://www.daemonology.net/hn-daily/ | http://www.hntoplinks.com/ (configurable duration)

weekly: http://www.hackernewsletter.com/ | http://www.daemonology.net/hn-weekly-show/ | http://www.daemonology.net/hn-weekly-ask/

weekly, ultra-cynical edition: self-censoring to avoid a "violation of the prime directive" (with 68 patrons!)


[semi-obligatory self-promotional spam]

If there's enough interest, I will record an "Unofficial HN Audio Summary" commutecast and also link anyone else doing it.


Same frequency here. But I still find it better than checking the news/tw/fb/yt.

I treat HN like nicotine patches. It's still addictive but much better than the alternatives.

I came across HN just because the HN bot on Twitter had the most interesting links in my feed.

You're addicted to HN but it's probably only part of a larger problem to do with the internet/devices in general.

If my own experiences are to go by anyway.

I've found it's less addictive on my phone than on my laptop. I can dip in skim a couple of articles and dip back out.

On my laptop it's easier to up vote and comment so I get more involved. I also then spend more time reading the articles.

Somehow this manages to satiate my HN thirst and I don't feel the need to go via my laptop.

Addiction normally requires:

* tolerance

* seeking

* preoccupation

* continuing even when you know it's causing you harm

Your use of hackernews might meet one of those (preoccupation) and maybe meet another (seeking -- what would you do if it was taken away from you?) but I don't think it meets the tolerance or the continuing after harm requirements.

In today's world, consuming interesting content on the Internet without ads or fancy UI's, just plain text... it's like taking a steam locomotive every day to go to work. Enjoy it before they take it away from us!

If you use Google Chrome, try Waitblock (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/waitblock/kcnjfepp...).

This will help shut down the neural pathway that you have built.

HN has this built in, with the "noprocrastination" setting

If you're asking the question then the answer is probably yes. You're asking this question for a reason.

Be 100% honest with yourself and ask "what would the optimal version of me be doing instead of reading HN".

If you're doing all these things and being the best version of yourself you won't feel bad going on HN 100 times a day.

It is an addiction. But it is a good one, at least to me. Because otherwise I would be surfing around useless stuff on the internet, at least here I gain new insights everytime.

Only 10-15?

I check it at least 90-100 times a day, and I don't know how to quit!

You are addicted, but there are worse things.

Block it for a month as an experiment.

I check HN every couple of hours. :P

Me too.

I learn so much.

better than addicting to facebook or twitter

It is a case of FOMO, it is treatable.

I don't think it's FOMO, I visit frequently because I want to read interesting things. I'm not trying to catch every thing that might make the top page, rather I'm trying to fill each minute of boredom.

Anytime I'm unsure what to do or waiting on something to download/build/install/whatever, I reflexively hit "ne[Enter]" in my URL bar.

Same goes for me, HN, Quora, Reddit.

I check HN 3-4 times an hour. :P


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