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This is brilliant! I've been suffering from work related anxiety for years which I've learned to douse with Youtube, Reddit or HN. This became a huge problem for me recently and so I had to try to break my habit loops (Cue -> Action -> Reward).

I cannot quit cold-turkey because all the methods that I can think of to block the websites I can undo in the mania of anxiety.

Youtube always gives you an option to look for more content, either on the side of the video you are currently watching, on the screen immediately after you are done watching or by going to the home page and giving you the options. Using Origin ad-blocker I removed all the immediate suggestions. And also the youtube home button, the only red element of the Youtube gui that catches your notice, that you click on to reduce your anxiety. That you then develop a habit on, just like the suggestions. On mobile I uninstalled the app and used the ad-blocker to render it useless. All external links play videos and the search still works.

For reddit I force the old view, without the infinite scroll, just like the author. I also removed the 'all' link from all the pages as I had formed a habit with that as well. And I limit the number of posts visible at any given time.

I have, other than the author's solution, no counter for HN.

For other websites, I've similarly blocked such habit forming gui features. And the most important bit has been deleting websites from the auto suggest feature of firefox. I've deleted a good number of the common offender websites form it, but I still don't know how to disable those ~10 websites that show up when you go to type something.

The Key has been disrupting the 'cue' of the habits. It leaves you a little confused when you don't find your habit enabler on the websites, but then it gets better. Or like me you form other new habits. The solution author suggests will definitely be of help.

Edit: Words. Also, does anyone know how to disable the dropdown suggestions in the address bar? The one you get when you haven't typed anything, because I've got a habit with the dropdown button as well. There is nothing in the options, but what about the developer options?






Most of my Youtube consumption is via youtube-dl run on my server via cron job, with the videos then synced from there to the relevant devices by Syncthing. For things that don't have ready-made playlists I can put in cron jobs, I run youtube-dl manually. Then when I'm ready to watch it, I open the video in VLC and then delete it after I'm done.

I set this up for my convenience, since I often like to consume this media in contexts where I don't want to use mobile data, and because back when I set this up my internet speed was inconsistent enough to cause frequent buffering. However, I'm now realizing it has a lot of benefit in preventing me from ever seeing any of Youtube's "keep watching more things" UI, and it adds substantial latency and effort to any "impulse" watches, since the process is now: decide to watch: copy URL, paste into terminal command, wait up to 10s of minutes for download, go to videos folder, open video.


On Android, through f-droid, there is app called 'NewPipe'. It uses youtube-dl to let you search and watch videos. It can use your exported subscriptions to show you their videos. But the gui is so not interested in keeping your attention, no immediate suggestions and no 'home' page, that it feels rudimentary. You get the bare minimum you need, and no more.

not every video works on newpipe tho. i much prefer its features, but when i want lazybrained intertainment i do find i have to open some links in creepy tracky youtube

Caution: NewPipe may cause your entire Google account to get locked.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21247759



> my Youtube consumption is via youtube-dl run on my server via cron job, with the videos then synced from there to the relevant devices

Crazy -- I have the exact same setup. Good to know other people out there have solved this issue in the same way. Having to watch things on actual youtube is such a terrible experience compared to the downloaded media.


Very interesting solution!, I will do it someday!

And since I only watch selected channels, I will find a way to automatically fetch new videos from channels' RSS feed.


Youtube-dl can already do that, I believe. If you pass it a channel URL, it downloads all the videos for that channel. Use that with the "--download-archive" to keep track of which videos you've already downloaded, and perhaps "--max-downloads" to avoid filling up your hard drive, and you're about 90% of the way there.

HN has a no-procrastination mode that might be useful. On the settings page, turn on `noprocrast` and then configure `maxvisit` and `mindelay` - HN will force you to wait `mindelay` minutes whenever you have been on there longer than `maxvisit` minutes.

Maybe you knew about this already, but posting this anyway as it might be useful to someone else.


I don't know about you, but my anxiety-habits are a beast. If I overtly stop myself from doing something, then I can very easily undo it. The trick is to stop the habit from triggering. My trigger for HN is stress and I can't stop it, other than the proxy delay method the author mentions. If I block myslef, then I can un-block myself. In youtube, I have multiple habits. I've curtailed the most egregious ones using the steps above. Haven't yet got one like that for HN. Real easy to type news.ycobinator.com in the address bar.

Reminds me of a thread I saw the other day about coping with procrastination. One person said something to the effect:

“Self-inflicted deadlines don’t work because I know the person who set them and he’s full of shit.”


> Real easy to type news.ycobinator.com in the address bar.

Not that easy I guess!


Quick, someone purchase ycobinator.com and make it redirect to the real site only with a 3-25 second delay!

> If I block myslef, then I can un-block myself.

Only beforehand. In the moment, when you're jonesing for your fix, HN won't let you in to undo the noprocrastination election (at least, that's how it used to be)—and that's good.


I can figure out how to unblock Youtube videos unavailable in my region, I can probably figure out how to access this site again.

Probably, but since Youtube wants you to access their site and imposes region-based restrictions only as necessitated by content providers, I suspect they make it less hard to get around region-based blocks than they might.

I think using the incognito method works? I wont bother with that though, i'd just pick up my phone. I suppose it depends on what you're here for. I just come for the links and discussions.

There's always incognito mode.. or another browser on your device.

If you use macOS check out https://selfcontrolapp.com/

It's quite hard to unblock once started


I do this exact kind of blocking. On Reddit I blocked the entire bar at the top of other subreddit suggestions.

YouTube, I got rid of suggestions on the side, at the end of the video, and at pause.

Call me crazy but I even got rid of typing suggestions in the Firefox address bar.

On Android, I like the Niagra launcher because I can customize my entire home screen and hide everything else so that I only see it when I'm looking for it. No recommendations!


The crazy thing about addiction-forming parts on websites is, that even stack overflow has it, with their hot networks box. Great (/s), when your metric as a provider is not how helpful you've been but user engagement...

Luckily they're easily blocked with uBlock Origin.


> Call me crazy but I even got rid of typing suggestions in the Firefox address bar.

If that makes you crazy, than I may be worse. I turned off all auto-suggest, auto-correct, auto-complete, and search in the address bar. I turned on the seperate search box, so I only search when I intend to, and I get exactly what I type, even if I msipel it.


I’ve found that getting rid of the clock on my desktop helps me. I don’t find myself constantly looking at what time it is anymore, and can get work done until the end of the day, or before meetings. It’ll notify when a meeting is happening anyway.

Please outline how you accomplished those things.

> I cannot quit cold-turkey because all the methods that I can think of to block the websites I can undo in the mania of anxiety.

I had this same problem, and I found a solution that worked for me: I gave up sudo. I use my computer with an unprivileged account, and I have to ask my partner to get the admin password. (And then I have all these access rules etc that I can't modify.) This isn't feasible for everyone's usage patterns, but it is for me, and has really helped me manage different addictive behaviors.


Regarding disabling the search suggestions: in Firefox, at least, it's called that ("Search Suggestions") and disabling them is just a checkbox in Options.

I have deleted the 'more' link at the bottom of the HN homepage with Stylus, somewhat limiting my daily timewasting.

I wrote a long piece about escaping information addiction, based on my own decade plus spent climbing out the hole, including some of my own interventions. Sounds like you might find it helpful :)

https://www.defetter.com/


I have a YouTube enhancements extension that also lets me customize the theme - I've changed the whole site to a dark mode with blue highlights instead of red... It makes a big difference!

Thank you for your info on Youtube. I'm really trying to quit this permanently.



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