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Ask HN: Is there a 12-step program to cut down on reading HackerNews?
9 points by Floopsy 1669 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite
I think I'm addicted.

Make yourself busy with truly interesting things. HN is a cheap shot of dopamine but there are far more potent sources. If you're procrastinating on HN it's probably because you don't have yourself mind buried in something engaging enough.

I think you're right. When I'm not working on a challenging/interesting enough project, I tend to spend most of my time on HN/Quora.


When I cannot find the interesting bit in what I need to do, I start to crave. Its like reading - I think certain people find having your brain stimulated, by reading, ideas, games, is a real fix.

If you think you're browsing a particular site too much, here's what I do.

Block the site on your work computer. You can use any method you want, I just edit my computer's host file, so the site won't load.

You can still access these websites on any other computer, your phone, your tablet, or whatever, but then your work computer becomes used for work, and if you want a distraction, pick up a different device.

I find the separation of work from easily accessible distractions quite helpful.

I actually do the exact opposite. Being one of the corporate workers on HN and a non-programmer to boot, I browse the site at work while there's no work to be done. In systems administration, we do get downtime where nothing is happening. When something needs to get done, I cannot let HN distract me or I lose my job, which is a pretty good incentive.

At home, however, I have HN, Facebook and reddit null-routed, only accessible through my phone on 3G. Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant are only accessible after 9pm and only on my HTPC in the living room according to my firewall rules. There's no strong disincentive to me sitting at home browsing all day instead of doing more productive things, so I create a barrier that keeps me from visiting. I can easily reverse the block, but that's admitting defeat.

I guess after writing it out, it's not that different. The only difference is, I have a corporate office and a bit of downtime here and there that I fill with semi-work-related HN.

This made me chuckle but with so much interesting content, it really can be a genuine problem. I found myself spending a bit too much time on HN so enabled the maxvisit and minaway settings in my profile. I find that 20:20 is good enough to break up my sessions.

1. Go to your HN profile page.

2. Set noprocrast = yes

3. Set maxvisit and minaway to your personal (dis)liking

HN will now stop you procrastinating.

I will make a product to limit your reading. What would you pay for such a service?

You can subscribe to http://hackernewsletter.com. I hear that it helps some folks with the HN addiction.

Yes, but you get "Unknown or expired link." at step 9.

Maybe start by removing all shortcuts, bookmarks to HN. Make it as inconvenient as possible to access HN.

Put news.ycombinator.com in your /etc/hosts file, pointing to

Step 1: Stop browsing HackerNews.

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