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I Add 3-25 Seconds of Latency to Every Site I Visit(howonlee.github.io)

1564 pointscuruinor posted 8 months ago447 Comments
Antwan said 8 months ago:

I ran a website for youngsters several years ago. One of the duties to maintain it was to moderate discussion boards. Some kids were difficult to manage and would not accept to be banned (via email/IP/or whatever solution) and would keep recreating profiles.

Ultimately I dealt with those ppl by “greylisting” them. Added a sleep() prior each page rendering of 5 to 25 secs (actually it was more sophisticated and would stream chunks over TCP so the slowness feeling was even more real).

Worked like a charm. Few days after the recalcitrant would no longer come on the website.

I called this “moderation by degradation of user experience”, and was pretty effective like the solution described in your post.

Think about page load if you need to restrain visits.

anw said 8 months ago:

This reminds me of the old VBulletin plugin "Miserable Users"[0].

We also had a community suffering from this problem (during the early 2000's). Bans would take care of a lot of problem users, but would just give energy to those truly out for blood, troll, bored, or very immature.

We had one user get banned over a dozen times while we tried banning IPs, name regex or anything else we could think of. Finally, like you, we found that if we annoy them first, they get bored and shuffle off to some other, lower barrier place.

Some of the nice features from that plugin (via the site) were:

1. Slow response (time delay) on every page (20 to 60 seconds default).

2. A chance they will get the "server busy" message (50% by default).

3. A chance that no search facilities will be available (75% by default).

4. A chance they will get redirected to another preset page (25% & homepage by default).

5. A chance they will simply get a blank page (25% by default).

6. Post flood limit increased by a defined factor (10 times by default).

7. If they get past all this okay, then they will be served up their proper page.

* [0] https://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=93258

hinkley said 8 months ago:

Kinda reminiscent of advice I’ve overheard for breaking up with a narcissist: make them break up with you by being boring.

oska said 8 months ago:

This is the 'Grey Rock' strategy:

> So, how do we escape this parasitical leech without triggering his vindictive rage? Gray Rock is primarily a way of encouraging a psychopath, a stalker or other emotionally unbalanced person, to lose interest in you. It differs from No Contact in that you don’t overtly try to avoid contact with these emotional vampires. Instead, you allow contact but only give boring, monotonous responses so that the parasite must go elsewhere for his supply of drama. When contact with you is consistently unsatisfying for the psychopath, his mind is re-trained to expect boredom rather than drama. Psychopaths are addicted to drama and they can’t stand to be bored. With time, he will find a new person to provide drama and he will find himself drawn to you less and less often. Eventually, they just slither away to greener pastures. Gray Rock is a way of training the psychopath to view you as an unsatisfying pursuit you bore him and he can’t stand boredom.


dghughes said 8 months ago:

One of the first things I recall my parents telling me is a bully wants attention. Don't react, don't engage, and they'll lose interest.

I did this at my old workplace where people would get enraged. I learned not to interrupt and not even try to be empathetic no engagement at all.

People are like cats they only react to stimulation.

Even for love today being Valentine's Day I recall a saying, "the opposite of love isn't hate it's indifference".

mikk14 said 8 months ago:

I didn't know this, but I knew it as what I came to call the "Pattinson Defence": https://i.redd.it/yukn5zrxm9t31.png

It worker really well -- although not perfectly -- when I was being constantly annoyed by someone. I explicitly told them I didn't want to deal with them, but they kept coming. They stopped once, to their "how are you?", I replied with how I really was.

jdc said 8 months ago:

Sounds effective, but I wonder where the author got that definition of "psychopath".

kubanczyk said 8 months ago:

The author was concerned with true psychopaths (in the clinical sense), but I guess this timid tactic is as usable towards the narcissistic types.

DanBC said 8 months ago:

Psychopath doesn't have a clinical definition. It's strictly pop-sci bollocks. (EDIT: "psychopath" does not appear as a diagnosis in ICD10 or DSM IV or DSM V. Other disorders have some overlap with the concept of psychopathy, but there isn't any dx that has a clear mapping.)

That's a good thing, because it avoids stigmatising a real diagnosis that's given to a group of people who are already deeply stigmatised.

oska said 8 months ago:

Yes, agree that using the word 'narcissist' instead would have been better. Psychopaths don't necessarily feed on drama or crave attention.

wastedhours said 8 months ago:

Can confirm this worked with an ex-friend. She was such an emotional drain, that just not responding just generated more ire. In the end, just gave a lot of boring responses and she grew tired, eventually allowing me to no-contact simply and easily.

hnuser123456 said 7 months ago:

Interesting that this language is gendered.

justinjlynn said 8 months ago:

> his mind is re-trained to expect boredom rather than drama

> he will find a new person to provide drama and he will find himself drawn to you less and less often

> he can’t stand boredom

Unnecessarily gendered language is jarring for the reader and also, (possibly) unintentionally, sexist. The singular they/them/their is generally acceptable to use in cases such as these.

randomchars said 8 months ago:

Should all previous content be rewritten on the internet to be PC? This is from 2012, and as far as I've noticed, this gender neutral thingy started coming up a few years after that.

toxik said 8 months ago:

In the same way that you wouldn't quote somebody on the whimsical nature of the feeble woman, you shouldn't propagate ideas that paint men as perpetrators.

In 2012, this was already well-known. The language is jarring and sexist for no apparent reason. It is not undue revisionism.

winkeltripel said 8 months ago:

> It is not undue revisionism.

Any level of revisionism is undue.

toxik said 8 months ago:

I think you need to brush up on what revisionism means in the historical context, so let me help you:

> In historiography, the term historical revisionism identifies the re-interpretation of the historical record. It usually means challenging the orthodox (established, accepted or traditional) views held by professional scholars about a historical event, introducing contrary evidence, or reinterpreting the motivations and decisions of the people involved. The revision of the historical record can reflect new discoveries of fact, evidence, and interpretation, which then provokes a revised history. In dramatic cases, revisionism involves a reversal of older moral judgments.

In other words, it is historical revisionism that reinterprets history through modern values where slavery is wrong, and women can vote.

DagAgren said 7 months ago:

Perpetrators are most often men, though. That's not good, no! But you do not fix that problem by pretending it does not exist.

The point of not using gendered language is to compensate for discrimination, not to hide problems.

Hnrobert42 said 8 months ago:

I disagree. I did not find it jarring nor did I perceive it as sexist.

zadokshi said 7 months ago:

Perhaps we need a browser plugin for people to detect when ‘he’ is being used as the default gender and convert it?

‘He’ worked as the default pronoun for a long time in many languages all over the world. (And still does in many languages) I find it curious how many people can be sold into the idea that a language can be considered sexist.

leshenka said 7 months ago:

> browser plugin

They exist. I'm not sure that they can de-gender language, but they can swap word A for word B

hnuser123456 said 7 months ago:

It's not that English is sexist, it's that the passage is sexist. Using "they" as gender neutral has been around for decades.

vraivroo said 8 months ago:

Oh, well then that settles it everybody. Hnrobert42 doesn't think sexist language is sexist.

Hnrobert42 said 7 months ago:

How is my point any more or less valid than the one to which I was responding?

I was simply offering that I don’t perceive the language as sexist. You do. That’s fine.

Similarly, I would offer that I don’t find your sarcasm productive in a civil discussion.

oska said 8 months ago:

I noticed the same thing. Maybe I should have got a quote from elsewhere as it's not particularly well written. Nevertheless, it still gets the concept across.

greendestiny_re said 7 months ago:

I didn't notice the gender at all.

corobo said 8 months ago:

Yeah, sounds good.

aweiland said 8 months ago:

This brings back memories. I loaded this plugin as well to deal with some problem users.

cbd7f73 said 8 months ago:

This sounds pretty terrible when you think about how arbitrarily websites can determine you're a "bad user", but then again I like the idea of doing this programmatically for sites I myself want to stop using.

Either that or a plugin to encourage productivity.

Don't block social media sites, just turn them all into slow ineffective shitty websites.

300bps said 8 months ago:

If you don't already, you should browse HN with ShowDead turned on. There are people who have been banned for years and blissfully post comments several times per week completely unaware that almost nobody is seeing their comments.

Often, the comments they're posting into the black hole are indicative of why they were banned in the first place but if I see a comment that is dead and it does add to the conversation then I vouch for it which un-deads it.

yesenadam said 8 months ago:

I don't think many people are unaware. Sometimes when I see dead comments I trace their comment history back to the point they were banned. Cause I'm curious how those subterranean dwellers got that way. Almost invariably they were reprimanded by dang, repeatedly, and refused to change their ways, or to write to HN saying they'd change their ways. I don't recall seeing someone just mysteriously banned without an obvious refusal to behave decently/put some effort into their comments. The white dead comments don't start at some random point, they start with the person being told they are banned, and what to do about it.

Although I did see a fairly new account the other day with every comment dead, from the very first one, with no visible mod intervention; I figured it was from being a sockpuppet or someone with a track record.

p.s. I wouldn't want showdead on all the time! I use this "HN ungrey" bookmarklet to see whited-out comments on a page. Also it's useful to read comments that have just been voted down enough to be hard to read:

  javascript:(function(){var i,x=document.querySelectorAll(".commtext");for (i=0;i<x.length;i++) x[i].className='commtext c00'})();
For other sites–on the topic of useful bookmarklets–this one, "Kill Element", is a lifesaver. On any site with an annoying fixed window thing on the screen, like a "cookies?" popup etc, just click on the bookmarklet then on the offending element and it disappears! Hugely satisfying, and instant. Enjoy!

  javascript:for(var i=0; i<(document.getElementsByTagName('a')).length; i++) {(document.getElementsByTagName('a')[i]).style.pointerEvents = 'none';}function handler(e) {e = e || window.event;var target = e.target || e.srcElement;target.style.display = 'none';document.removeEventListener('click', handler, false);cursor('default');for(var i=0; i<(document.getElementsByTagName('a')).length; i++) {(document.getElementsByTagName('a')[i]).style.pointerEvents = 'initial';}}document.addEventListener('click', handler, false);cursor('crosshair');function cursor(cur) { document.body.style.cursor = cur; }
rottweiler33 said 7 months ago:

> 'Almost invariably they were reprimanded by dang, repeatedly, and refused to change their ways, or to write to HN saying they'd change their ways.'

'Almost invariably'? Dude, I created my first account here a few months ago and was "shadow banned" within 15 comments, simply for expressing honest opinions, which somebody somewhere took anonymous offense to and then SHADOW BANNED ME. Is that fair? Do you expect to attract new faces here with such an attitude? I'm a Slashdot poster going way back, with a mid-6-digit UID there.

yesenadam said 7 months ago:

Do you have evidence for that? I was sceptical about the "simply for expressing honest opinions" part. I looked at your comments on this account. It seems your most recent comment was downvoted, then you replied to yourself beginning with

> Who the fuck downvoted this post, and what is your issue, asswipe? Seriously.

I stopped reading it at that point.

Your comment before that ends with

> Take me, for instance. Made my first account a few months ago, posting my opinions innocently. Shadow banned in less than 15 POSTS. Holy shit! Talk about being shocked. Did you care, when I brought this to your attention? Does it matter to you that you are driving good people away from here every day? Of course not. You're too self-absorbed to care. And you even sit around having these long discussions, thinking up clever and creative ways to be even more of a hellspawn against these people whose opinions you hate so much. New ways to separate people from society and trap them inside a cage where you don't have to hear their thoughts or opinions. Has there ever been a more sick or contemptible society in the history of man?

> Go ahead and ban/shadowban this account also, please. I will just make another. And another. And another. And another...........and another......... from now until the end of time. Eventually I will automate the process, and submit my comments in batches, at a far higher rate than your mods can find and hide them. In my irritation at your unchecked fascism, my comments will ALL be as sharp as a knife, to keep driving the truth home as frequently as possible, until these "mysteries" you "just don't understand" are finally and definitely solved in your mind.

Ok, so.. That sounds pretty insane. Please find something better to do with your life and/or get help.

adrianN said 8 months ago:

I browse HN with showdead. I encounter very few hidden comments and I regularly vouch for comments by new accounts that were apparently caught in some kind of spam filter.

eru said 8 months ago:

Perhaps different people get shown different dead comments?

tripzilch said 8 months ago:

I browse with showdead too, the few really bad ones are also usually at the very bottom of the thread, which I don't see often ;)

ufmace said 8 months ago:

I've had it on for a while. IMO, there aren't that many dead comments, and most are clearly dead for good reason. I suppose I like it, as a check that the mods aren't doing anything funny.

Then again, it's always possible that there's another, deeper "dead" in there, and only the really lousy spam shows up on "showdead". But that way lies paranoia.

baddox said 8 months ago:

I just checked, and I have ShowDead on, so I must have had it on for a rather long time since I don’t at all remember hearing about it or turning it on. I also don’t recall seeing a dead comment, or perhaps I don’t know how to identify them.

elbear said 8 months ago:

It just says [dead] next to the time when the comment was posted or something like that.

kcvv said 8 months ago:

How do you turn on the ShowDead settings? I don't see that in my settings page..

Gracana said 8 months ago:

Between email and noprocrast?

majewsky said 8 months ago:

It may be that you need a certain amount of karma to get that option.

GoblinSlayer said 8 months ago:

It will be nice if there was an option to post underground comments on per comment basis that aren't subject to moderation :)

nebalee said 8 months ago:

Another sinister way of doing this is having users solve captchas in order to comment and keeping a badness score of the troublemakers. Then pretend they failed the captchas at a rate proportionally to their score.

hanoz said 8 months ago:

If that's going on then what on earth have I done to offend Google?

baq said 8 months ago:

you use a vpn and have anti tracking features enabled in a browser. actually it's sometimes impossible to win the puzzle, they just keep serving you new ones to keep you busy. maybe it's effective against 3rd world click farms.

Hitton said 8 months ago:

Just having anti-tracking features without vpn is enough. I suffer from it all the time.

cascom said 8 months ago:

Yup - it’s a great way to lose real customers - but I suspect it’s a trade off they’re ok with

Tenoke said 8 months ago:

Not using Chrome?

jjoonathan said 8 months ago:

Is it just me or has the web's compatibility with Firefox taken a nosedive recently? It used to just be my employer's HR software that was chrome-only, but in the last year my power utility website, apartment complex website, and even major websites like https://www.deviantart.com/ (which I was trying to visit just 10 minutes ago) have broken in Firefox but not chrome. Badly, too. These aren't "the layout is different in FF and nobody noticed" bugs, they're "site infinitely redirects" bugs or "login button doesn't submit" bugs.

Debug steps: turn off bitwarden, my only extension. Never helps. Ctrl+Shift+Del cookies. Never helps. Sigh, open chrome. Works first time.

Is it just me or did the web up and dump firefox just when it started to get good?


JoshuaDavid said 8 months ago:

I've noticed some of this lately - in a significant fraction of cases, it comes from Firefox honoring X-FRAME- OPTIONS while chrome ignores them, so e.g. payments work on chrome on sites that don't work on FF.

ornornor said 8 months ago:

At my current employer, the web apps are only ever tested on chrome. If it works on chrome, it ships. I think I’m the only one using Firefox and making sure it works there before chrome.

jjoonathan said 8 months ago:

Thanks for fighting the good fight.

zo1 said 8 months ago:

We recently had some "FE devs" make a spiffy new SPA for some internal product. When I got to testing it on Firefox cause that's my main browser, I got a blank white page.

I asked them and they're like "yeah, it only works on chrome-based browsers". Or something to that effect. It's not like some CSS was wonky, or a bug somewhere... No, the default process of them building the SPA somehow yielded a completely non-functioning app for Firefox.

lemax said 8 months ago:

Services with absent engineers should be breaking left and right this month due to changes to SameSite attributes on cookies that hit browsers in early Feb. The intention of the change is to provide some long overdue changes to defaults on cookies with better privacy.

This is a change that’s been underway for years but came as a surprise when it actually shipped. I coordinated updates to ~40 packages owned by 5 different teams at my company, and had to put aside a good amount of other critical product work for about a week to ensure we didn’t encounter any customer issues.

The crux of the issue for maintainers is that Auth flows that require cookies to be sent around different origins (e.g. OAuth with form_post) will no longer work unless they update the cookies to explicitly be SameSite=none and Secure=true. Chrome led the pack on shipping the changes to browsers, but also implemented a special timeout rule that temporarily allows cookies that don’t meet the new spec to be set anyway to try to ensure auth flows don’t break. Eventually they will lift this timeout. Firefox has shipped support but has not implemented such a timeout.

bootsbootsboots said 8 months ago:

At one place i was at, people were completely aware but firefox issues were always deprioritized because the analytics showed low percentage of users affected. I wouldnt be surprised if a higher proportion of users with firefox also have adblock which further skew these usage stats

chrisweekly said 8 months ago:

I've unexpectedly had precisely the opposite experience; as of recent changes to cookie handling and 3rd party content in Chrome, several sites / webapps have either stopped working at all in chrome, or have serious issues -- while rendering and performing just fine in FF.

1_player said 8 months ago:

Some tech demo sites are Chrome only but I’ve yet to encounter a broken site on Firefox. The only issues I have are mostly due to adblock or my Pi Hole. I haven’t used Chrome in years.

laktak said 8 months ago:

Have you tried turning off ublock/etc. first?

For me it's usually extensions.

kubanczyk said 8 months ago:

Consider submitting a bug ticket. You are the customer after all.

kempbellt said 8 months ago:

> Not using Chrome?

A truly deplorable act...

I also added about 30 seconds of latency to every page I visit, but for completely different reasons as op. Switching to Brave and blocking all cookies and JS by default made me have to manually enable it for nearly every site that I actually wanted to use.

About a week later, Chrome was reinstalled. Maybe I'll try it again once I level up my willpower.

aabbcc1241 said 8 months ago:

I'm using nextdns.io and no-script with firefox, it works quite smooth when you accumulate the settings. You can export/import the no-script settings and merge with meld to keep the setting in sync between your PCs and laptops

aabbcc1241 said 8 months ago:

Also "Privacy Badger" which smartly block scripts by checking cross site cookie, preset whitelist and custom whitelist/blocklist

GoblinSlayer said 8 months ago:

I have 15 whitelisted sites. I think it took negligible effort to add them, you whitelist a site once and it stays there from there on.

david-s said 8 months ago:

i find blacklisting sites that abuse JS works better for me than the whitelist approach

Avamander said 8 months ago:

Are you blocking their tracking and fingerprinting? Do you sit behind a massive CG-NAT?

heartbeats said 8 months ago:

You haven't opted in. For the modern web, using it without JavaScript and the requisite accounts isn't a supported option.

chillfox said 8 months ago:

Adblock? I ended up switching mine off just to make the internet usable.

matheusmoreira said 8 months ago:

> pretend they failed the captchas

That explains a lot... I frequently have to solve 10+ captchas when I'm using Firefox, many of them rate-limited. It feels like a punishment for resising surveilance. These things should be illegal due to the accessibility problems they cause if not the fact they're a nuisance.

floriol said 8 months ago:

It's more of an automatic thing (it's usually due to VPN) since many people connect from the same IP at near the same time. It's even worsr with TOR

matheusmoreira said 8 months ago:

Why should people be punished for using VPNs, Tor, an ISP with CGNAT? All of these should be supported regardless of how much abuse originates from them.

leshenka said 7 months ago:

"Oh, you dare to oppose our surveillance? You want to block tracking scripts, fingerprinting and use VPN? You're a baaaad consuumer, we're going to correct your behavior by making your browsing experience miserable or submit to our rules and switch to Chrome"

I'm sorry if that's unnecessarily dystopian

matheusmoreira said 7 months ago:

There's also the double standards involved. It's totally fine when they run their abusive javascript on my computer but if I even so much as scrape their website suddenly it's abuse just because they don't like it.

Everything is okay and justified when rich corporations do it. "Normal" people just have to accept it without fighting back in any way. Company directly and openly transmits malware to people's browsers, collects all personal information and creates detailed profiles of people in order to sell to interested parties? If I did that, I'd no doubt get charged with some sort of crime. They just make it part of their terms of service which nobody ever reads much less agrees to and somehow everything is justified. Suddenly it's not malware but "surveillance capitalism", a totally legitimate activity. And if we try to resist in any way, they use the lack of tracking to say we're indistinguishable from the networks of bots spamming them or DDoSing them or whatever. Since it's part of their terms of service, any attempt on our part to circumvent their fingerprinting is abuse.

> we're going to correct your behavior by making your browsing experience miserable

Hopefully the only thing they'll achieve is the death of their own online community. Imagine if HN forced people to solve a captcha before every single post.

leshenka said 7 months ago:

It's almost as if every dystopian/cyberpunk scenario is coming to life (or will some time in the future)

fragmede said 8 months ago:

Should be, but unfortunately we're still trying to invent a better abuse-resistance system than a captcha. Invent a better one and the world will throw money at you. Telemarketing calls are an example where better abuse-resistant systems would be awesome.

matheusmoreira said 7 months ago:

> we're still trying to invent a better abuse-resistance system than a captcha.

> Invent a better one and the world will throw money at you.

It already exists.

The abuse stems from the fact servers connected to the wider internet are designed to respond to anyone who tries to talk to it. That's the fundamental problem with internet security today: computers talk to strangers they don't know much less trust.

What if computers dropped all packets by default and networked only with authorized users? The risk of exploitation and abuse becomes negligible because to unauthorized users it's like the computer is not even there to begin with.

This can be done with single packet authorization. The internet would lose its mass market appeal but it's much better than normalized widespread surveillance.

aj7 said 8 months ago:

For about six months, the Fidelity mobile site gave false indications of incorrect username/password on purpose. No idea why they did this.

bennyelv said 8 months ago:

I can see that it could be effective against brute force attacks. A real user would assume they fat fingered their password and try it again, a brute force attack would miss the password and carry on forever.

marksomnian said 8 months ago:

Not an uncommon practice, Jeff Atwood calls it "hellbanning": https://blog.codinghorror.com/suspension-ban-or-hellban/

kortilla said 8 months ago:

No, he calls it slowbanning. Hellbanning is when you let them keep posting but other people can’t see the posts. Hackernews hellbans as well and you can see the comments from the deplorables if you turn on “showdead” in your profile.

epanchin said 8 months ago:

I know that as shadowbanning. This is one of my favourite reddit posts on the subject:


r00fus said 8 months ago:

IIRC hellbanning is a variant of shadowbanning that prevents easy discovery of the banned status by putting all suspect accounts into the same "hell" invisible to normal users.

This works well if you have a network of fake accounts from a single "persona" or ring of personas - by all their indications they can't see their own posts are being ignored.

Notice: it's almost the exact response to the persona management software problem [1] (aka bots).

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-op...

Klathmon said 8 months ago:

This also works incredibly well for cheaters in videogames.

Give them their own queue with their own games with other cheaters to play against, and as long as nobody is cheating in a way that breaks the servers, they can play their own version of the game if they want without ruining the game for those who don't cheat.

baddox said 8 months ago:

This reminds me of someone telling me that they are using cheat sites for an online Scrabble game because they suspected their opponent (a “friend”) was cheating. It’s hilarious to think that two humans are watching two instances of a likely optimal bot play against each other and rooting for their instance of the bot.

sharken said 8 months ago:

Also used in the excellent TV series Mythic Quest :)

heartbeats said 8 months ago:

It doesn't work for logged-out users. If I can just look at e.g. the Internet Archive's copy of reddit and see if my accounts are in there, it defeats the purpose.

Neither reddit nor HN make any attempts to make it hard for sophisticated users to figure out they're shadowbanned.

MaulingMonkey said 8 months ago:

Forcing you to query IA at least reduces the frequency of feedback, as they're taking snapshots instead of giving a live feed. You could also shadowban IA. You can also do things like guess based on IP address or browser fingerprinting, or require a login from various IP ranges.

Of course your main point - that this is all terribly imperfect and won't stop a determined, sophisticated user, who has realized what's happening - is spot on. That, however, is perhaps a rare combination, rare enough to simply continue dealing with manually.

heartbeats said 8 months ago:

The feedback doesn't have to be very fast. If I'm botting correctly, my accounts will almost never be banned. Even once every 24 hours will be more than enough.

IA was just an example, and Tor would be easier. But anyway, I think it shows the flaw in doing so:

> You could also shadowban IA.

If the spammer manages to get all the IPs hellbanned just by looking at things, he gets more eyeballs on his spam.

My point is, you can't get much better than normal shadowbans, which are trivially detectable for moderately sophisticated users (just log out and try to check your profile) but not anyone else. "Hellbanning" is a stupid extension of this concept which only works in video games.

Also, shadowbanning is a spineless and deeply unethical move. If I get banned, I know what I did wrong and can reflect on that. If I get shadowbanned, I'm just screaming into the ether. That is not a Good Thing™, it is atrocious.

MaulingMonkey said 8 months ago:

> Even once every 24 hours will be more than enough.

Depends on the use case. Once every 24 hours is a lot easier to moderate than a minute by minute spam wave.

> IA was just an example, and Tor would be easier.

TOR would indeed be easier... assuming it's not already blocked through other means, as it frequently is. There's a whole ecosystem around blocking TOR and other proxy mechanisms - imperfect and permeable though they may be.

> My point is, you can't get much better than normal shadowbans

Not sure I agree or that you've supported your point - however, even shadowbans are often unnecessary. The goal is never perfect moderation, merely to stack the deck in favor of the moderators for blocking problematic content in terms of time effectiveness until either the moderation effort available can handle it, or until the spammer moves onto easier, more cost effective targets (which even basic shadowbanning can achieve, mooting the need for better tools even if they're available.)

> Also, shadowbanning is a spineless and deeply unethical move.

As a first line of defense against mere rules breakers, I might agree. As a second, third, or nth line of defense against particularly problematic ban evaders and spambots, I will gladly resort to such tools - or worse - and sleep soundly at night.

rottweiler33 said 7 months ago:

> 'As a first line of defense against mere rules breakers, I might agree. As a second, third, or nth line of defense against particularly problematic ban evaders and spambots, I will gladly resort to such tools - or worse - and sleep soundly at night.'

So then you will have no problem recognizing where I'm coming from when I say that the Hacker News 'mods' are some of the most evil Nazis on the planet. After all, I created my first account here only a few months ago, and was shadowbanned in less than 15 posts despite posting with honest intentions. Is that what decent people do to other people?

MaulingMonkey said 7 months ago:


I mean, I wouldn't use your hyperbole, but I get the anger and fustration and the disagreement about how communities should be run. I'd certainly like to think I'd run any of my communities differently, given some of the outlier cases of automatic shadowbans I've heard of.

On the other hand, I also realize just how badly the moderation team is outnumbered. Once you get to a certain scale, you only have bad options at your disposal. Showdead and vouching at least add a twist to it that make it not quite as bad as some of the other options out there.

But back to the first hand - I've quit other communities over less. That's my preferred form of retaliation when I don't merely disagree with moderator decisions, but feel strongly that they're outright behaving poorly, mistreating those I care about, and not being reigned in - let them reap what they sow. I'm happy to take my knowledge, advice, technical chops, and general aid elsewhere. The internet is vast and infinite, and there are communities out there with moderation styles to my liking, where my contributions will be appreciated.

And they are appreciated, at least from time to time. I've had people reach out to me in another community over a decade old abandoned and archived github project for questions and appreciation, to say nothing of my more current projects. I've had people credit me for teaching them the programming language they used to enter the industry - or perhaps blame me ;). I've helped more people find and understand their bugs than I can easily count. Which isn't to say I'm a perfect, always behaving individual, or that I won't cut moderators some slack for honest mistakes or just generally being human. But I will aim to aid the communities I appreciate, and withhold from those I don't, by voting with my feet.

HerpDerpLerp said 8 months ago:

I guess we know who gets banned from places!

dang said 8 months ago:

We only do that when an account doesn't have much history on HN and there's evidence of spamming or trolling. For established accounts, we tell people we've banned them and why.



iscrewyou said 8 months ago:

Oh wow! Thank you! The setting was on for me. (By default? Or maybe I turned it on.) I just turned it off. Thanks for this suggestion.

ignoramous said 8 months ago:

Even if it was accidentally set on, one sees [dead] against shadow-banned, greyed-out comments.

downerending said 8 months ago:

I think of myself as hard-nosed, but I don't think I could be this cruel to someone.

CalRobert said 8 months ago:

Reading said comments may convince you otherwise.

tylerchilds said 8 months ago:

I've always thought people might catch on, since no one is engaging with their takes. I'm curious if letting bots do some markov responses might keep them in the dark a little longer.

phpnode said 8 months ago:

I see it far less frequently now (thanks @dang!), but a few years ago it wasn't uncommon to see shadow banned HN users continuing to post for years, talking into the void. Sometimes I'd look into their post history and so many of them had been banned for utterly trivial reasons, it was pretty sad.

ignoramous said 8 months ago:

Would you have a profile or two handy that I can take a look at? I left showdead on for a while but found it useless in terms of coming across interesting comments from such users. Thx.

jquast said 8 months ago:

I seem to remember being pretty upset when I found out Terry Davis of Temple OS was being shadowbanned. Maybe it was just temporary for a short period or a single comment, but I didn't like it.

I found this (related?) poll https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7818823

phpnode said 8 months ago:

Terry was permanently shadow-banned, the subject came up quite often. He suffered from schizophrenia and would make racist and paranoid comments about 80% of the time, but his remaining posts were often pretty technical / insightful. As the victim of an illness it seemed unkind that he was banned, but at the same time a lot of his output was obviously very offensive.

dang said 8 months ago:

Cases like that are why we introduced vouching, which allows the community to restore the good posts made by a banned account.

Incidentally, if a banned account is making only good posts, we're happy to unban it. I often look at the recent commenting history of banned accounts in the hope of finding such cases, and users sometimes email us about them (as mirmir mentioned elsewhere in this thread). That's super helpful!

One strange phenomenon is that there are banned accounts that post good comments, but revert to posting bad comments that break the site guidelines as soon as we unban them. Then we ban them again and their comments get good again...go figure. Any large-enough population sample includes a long tail of behaviors.

eru said 8 months ago:

> One strange phenomenon that comes up occasionally is that there are banned accounts that post good comments, but revert to posting bad comments that break the site guidelines as soon as we unban them. Then we ban them again and their comments get good again...go figure. Any large-enough population sample includes a long tail of behaviors.

It would be somewhat ironic, if re-enabling interaction with the community is what's driving them to back to bad behaviour. You know, HN as a bad influence.

dang said 8 months ago:

That's one model; I've come up with others over the years. But there's no easy way to test any of them. We can't simply ask, either, because asking a question like that is enough of a perturbation to significantly affect what one is asking about—and who knows if people are even aware that they're doing this to begin with.

rottweiler33 said 7 months ago:

The truth is right in front of your face. You stare at it in the mirror every time you brush your teeth.

The problem here is your BONDAGE AND DISCIPLINE moderation system, as I explained to you. You make up all of these bullshit rules and then stand around with tasers and shotguns forcing people to follow them "OR ELSE." You do not exercise any discretion or any moderation whatsoever, but just go around shooting people in the face simply for opening their mouth to speak. And then you're surprised as shit when this behavior breeds nothing but contempt for you and your idiotic rules. "How could this be happening?"

Take me, for instance. Made my first account a few months ago, posting my opinions innocently. Shadow banned in less than 15 POSTS. Holy shit! Talk about being shocked. Did you care, when I brought this to your attention? Does it matter to you that you are driving good people away from here every day? Of course not. You're too self-absorbed to care.

And you even sit around having these long discussions, thinking up clever and creative ways to be even more of a hellspawn against these people whose opinions you hate so much. New ways to separate people from society and trap them inside a cage where you don't have to hear their thoughts or opinions. Has there ever been a more sick or contemptible society in the history of man?

Go ahead and ban/shadowban this account also, please. I will just make another. And another. And another. And another...........and another......... from now until the end of time. Eventually I will automate the process, and submit my comments in batches, at a far higher rate than your mods can find and hide them. In my irritation at your unchecked fascism, my comments will ALL be as sharp as a knife, to keep driving the truth home as frequently as possible, until these "mysteries" you "just don't understand" are finally and definitely solved in your mind.

ssully said 8 months ago:

I've seen people like this one message boards before and I always just assumed they handle disagreement poorly. Specifically, they can make an original comment that is fine, but if someone responds in a way they don't like, they kind of fly off the handle. So I guess if they never have people respond to them, they seem fine.

redis_mlc said 8 months ago:

I only lurked on his comments, but I remember some to be very interesting and thought that his unique approach to OS design was food for thought

Somebody should make a shrine of his lucid and technical posts. And also a book.

Anybody know of such things?

mirimir said 8 months ago:

If I see an account that's been shadowbanned for years, and has consistently posted appropriately for maybe several months, I report it via the contact address.

atoav said 8 months ago:

I think nowadays you might catch on because the culpit might not be identified to your site with both their phone and their PC or something among these lines.

said 8 months ago:
dependenttypes said 8 months ago:

> deplorables

Isn't this a pretty mean thing to say? Just making an account from tor is enough to get you shadowbanned in hn.

dang said 8 months ago:

That's not true. Software filters sometimes kill such comments, but the accounts themselves are unaffected, and moderators review the killed comments and unkill the clearly good ones, and mark such accounts legit to immunize their future posts from those filters. Also, users often vouch for comments that have been killed in this way, which restores them.

dependenttypes said 8 months ago:

My main issue was with the deplorables comment. I actually quite like the HN system of vouching.

> and mark such accounts legit to immunize their future posts from those filters

I remember seeing you restore a post from someone who made their account via tor and their comments were auto-deleted. Their next post was autodeleted in the same way, so I presume that this feature is buggy (or was, as this was quite a while ago).

dang said 8 months ago:

There might be other explanations. For example, if an account shows signs of being connected to previous banned accounts, we might unkill a good post, but not immunize the account overall, until it establishes more of a track record.

I'm glad you like the vouching system! I still feel like it's the best single change we've made to HN since pg retired.

mirimir said 8 months ago:


And you can vouch for good comments from shadowbanned accounts, just as for manually flagged comments.

Being rather paranoid, I check this account occasionally via Tor.

xorand said 8 months ago:

Let me check it. If you see this pls vote or reply.

ajscanlan said 8 months ago:


asjw said 8 months ago:

And that's the reason why arts don't follow these rules.

Imagine Van Gogh on HN...

chinesempire said 8 months ago:

Unfortunately I can't upvote you

I agree with the sentiment, shadowbanning is a passive aggressive way to hide communities problems under the carpet by hiding them from the public

Banning is legit if done publicly with reasoning, so people can make a clear idea of what happened and why, like

> you broke rule number 3

not when it is done just to keep "the community clean" without any explanation whatsoever

I guess this is the reason why HN rules are so vague

squizzeak said 8 months ago:

I always referred to this practice as “tarpitting”, I was surprised to see nobody else here does!

manicdee said 8 months ago:

“Tarpitting” is a specific type of network-layer defence which is not related to degradation of service. A tarpit will typically stretch out response time to network-layer and some application-layer communications in order to waste wallclock time of spammers.

jedberg said 8 months ago:

We did the same thing at reddit. If someone was abusing the site we would redirect them at the load balancer to a single server with an extra sleep in it.

hkyeti said 8 months ago:

Reddit is full of dark patterns to encourage mobile app installation.

kick said 8 months ago:

How is this relevant to his comment? It seems like a non-sequitur.

tomrod said 8 months ago:

Parent comment was a out implementing a dark nudge to encourage behavior. Next comment was from someone who worked for a company that does it. Next comment was about another poorly implemented dark pattern at same site. Comment is on point. Relevance identified.

tapland said 8 months ago:

I'm pretty sure it has at times even said browsing will be faster in the app than in mobile browser. It wouldn't be surprising if that Very dark pattern was applied as part of pushing the app.

gsich said 8 months ago:

Let the users decide for themselves then.

inetknght said 8 months ago:

Adding dark patterns and then telling the users to decide for themselves is itself a dark pattern: it's not actually letting users decide for themselves, it's instead punishing users who actively chose not to do what the site wanted them to do.

gsich said 7 months ago:

I am not talking about asshole design. Users know that there is an app store (proof: the huge usage of messengers like Whatsapp). If they want the app they know where to find it. There is no need to applying asshole (or braindead) design to the site.

epigramx said 7 months ago:

You can easily game reddit and other similar popularity contest sites or at least sort of. Play their game. E.g. if you delete your own messages immediately after you notice they get a negative momentum you will be quickly considered a model citizen (because you will eventually only show a positive impact to the site and it won't even take long to show because even a couple of days of posting may give that impression).

youerbt said 8 months ago:

Then you did the same for your mobile users, degrading their experience until they use an app or leave.

kick said 8 months ago:

'jedberg hasn't worked at reddit for years, it's pretty ridiculous to use "you" and "your" there. Further, he was never in marketing, he was basically just a sysadmin. There's really no charitable interpretation of your comment that isn't just "Hey, let's yell at a guy who isn't currently and has literally never been in a position to where he might have been responsible for Annoyance!"

youerbt said 8 months ago:

I just wanted a jab at reddit, cuz this week I can't even browse it because "this community is available in the app" (after years of marke... mental abuse of asking me to use an app). Nothing against the guy, he used "we", I used "you", I'm sure he is a cool guy, and I hope its the charitable interpretation.

jedberg said 8 months ago:

FWIW, I feel your pain as a daily user of the site myself. I hold no ill will against you for taking it out on me. When I left I specifically said that users can continue to blame me for all problems. :)

I wasn't aware that some communities are now limited to the app only. I haven't run into any yet.

But that sucks.

sharken said 8 months ago:

Try with every community, Reddit must really dislike mobile users. I do wonder if this scheme was introduced to monetize users, either way it sucks.

jedberg said 8 months ago:

> I do wonder if this scheme was introduced to monetize users

Probably. As a shareholder I get it. The site needs to make money so it can keep providing the service it provides. And ads are the best way to do that.

I also get it from a development standpoint. It takes effort to maintain a frontend, and maintaining two of them takes twice as much effort. With limited resources, I can see why it makes sense to focus on the mobile interface and let the web interface fall by the wayside.

I'm not entirely sure I'd have made a different decision if I still worked there. I don't know enough about the internal structure or costs or revenue to say for sure.

I can say that I know the people in charge, and they are good people, and if this is the choice they made, it was probably for good reason.

danudey said 8 months ago:

They want to redirect users from a relatively open platform they can't control (e.g. adblockers, browser extensions) to one they can control but for some reason can't manage properly (mobile app).

Seriously, the number of times the Reddit app hasn't worked but Apollo has is kind of ridiculous.

moltar said 8 months ago:

Ya because you can use an Adblock in iOS safari, but not inside the app ;)

danielheath said 8 months ago:

I wouldn't even mind using the app if it didn't chew data like it does.

When I had it installed (up to last week) it was using more than 10x anything else on my iphone. I was definitely not using reddit enough to justify that.

distances said 8 months ago:

There are multiple third-party apps that are way better than the official one.

said 8 months ago:
SquareWheel said 8 months ago:

jedberg was one of the good ones. There's no need to belittle him like that.

naravara said 8 months ago:

That's pretty neat. It seems like it would be a perfect response to trolling, in particular, since a big part of that is the emotional high they get from getting a rise out of people. Slowing down that process would be sure to dull the dopamine hit.

I can even imagine it tamping down "reply wars" and long arguments since you get more decompression time between impressions.

blantonl said 8 months ago:

Yes, I run a large Xenforo discussion forum for my online community, and the term used here is called marking a user "discouraged"

The system "slows down" the user experience, and also introduces random timeouts and other unpleasant user experiences.

ijidak said 8 months ago:

Wow! That's a clever solution.

I can see it only working when users don't know it exists.

But when secret, I imagine this would be INCREDIBLY effective, as they'll blame the experience on the software, not their behavior.

Fnoord said 8 months ago:

Playing devil's advocate here (hey, it is hellbanning, right?)

What if a user pays for the content directly? Indirectly, they pay via ads.

And if applied to networking with say QoS it is suddenly net neutrality though

codebje said 8 months ago:

Net neutrality doesn't apply to content providers differentiating service, because they're not common carriers.

martin_a said 8 months ago:

Nice solution!

This always reminds me of the "Trolldrossel" (troll throttle), which was/is a funny piece of science and technics to reduce spam and troll comments.

It's in German, but maybe auto subtitles and DeepL can make you understand it: https://linus-neumann.de/2013/05/die-trolldrossel-erkenntnis...

agumonkey said 8 months ago:

I often wondered if one could slip some brain teaser in the process.

Messengers made everybody wrte liek this .. but it you made the UI a bit difficult unless the author spells right. Maybe we'd see some global gain ?

jsjddbbwj said 8 months ago:

Pretty sure this was used years ago here since it happened to me. If it happened to me now I would slowloris the hell out of the site. But years ago I didn't know better. :P

(Yes I know I'm banned with this account as well)

msla said 8 months ago:

"You're doing that too quickly. Please slow down."

otakucode said 8 months ago:

This sort of stealthy manipulation reminds me of an idea I had while reading 'Linked: The New Science of Networks.' It's a dangerous idea, I think. The book discusses what would be necessary to take the network of film participants and effectively 'break' the '6 degrees of Kevin Bacon' game. Most would presume the way you'd go about it is by finding the nodes connected to the most people and remove them. That's wrong. Because of clustering, removing the most-connected nodes results in almost no change to the general connectivity of other nodes.

Nodes which are actually important are 'bridge' nodes that provide a means of moving between mostly-disconnected groups. I started wondering what these ideas looked like in an actual social graph, like society. What would 'bridge' nodes look like, and what would eliminating the connection to them look like and what effect would it have? I think a social bridge node would be something like a biker whose main social group is his motorcycle gang, but who also participates in his elderly aunts knitting circle once a month. He provides a means through which ideas and concepts and information can flow from biker gangs, and those connected to them, to a group of elderly ladies and those they are connected to. They are, almost by definition, tenuous links. Ones which, if someone had influence over the communication networks they were using, it might be very easy to disrupt. What consequences would there be to breaking those links on a large scale? In the '6 degrees of Kevin Bacon' situation, you can get the average number of links needed to get to Kevin Bacon up over a dozen by only removing a couple handfuls of bridge nodes.

I think doing such a thing on a real social graph could be very quiet, possibly undetectable (drop messages from rarely-connecting pairs of users... they rarely connect, so how many of them will go through the trouble to re-establish contact? Have bridge nodes have something go haywire and they have to be issued a new phone number, 'their facebook got hacked', etc). And the consequence would be to freeze most things in place, or at least radically slow down any kind of large-scale social change. Disruption of the status quo on the scale of regime change in a government, say, requires buy-in from large and very mostly-disconnected segments of the population. If only pockets of people are interested in change, it doesn't matter how intensely they want the change to happen, it only matters if they can join forces with very disparate compatriots. If you had high-level control of communication networks and a vested interest in guarding the status quo against large-scale social upheaval, you could probably do it very quietly and without really needing anything more than the metadata of connectivity. No need to find out what ideas are being spread, you could just make sure ALL ideas remain trapped in their own little bubbles or that their spread is greatly contained.

firethief said 8 months ago:

Isn't that what Facebook does, by preferentially connecting you with people you interact with the most?

Lammy said 8 months ago:

Thank you for the book recommendation. Your description stands out to me because it feels like that’s the way “Russian” (as often claimed; sorry for a political example) influence on American and other societies via Internet manifests.

For the past few years specifically it feels like a story gets a suspicious amount of immediate and very widespread reach when they’re on the topic of an outrageous member of some certain political or other identity group. Any group, as in this is occurring in all directions simultaneously. I felt this way just yesterday when I saw a Reddit thread about some transgender sports participation drama and the “Other Discussions” tab had fifty other identical threads making sure the “link breakage” you describe is broadcast as widely as possible. Jessica Yaniv is another recent example. I don’t doubt that those divisive people themselves are genuine, but the absolute fervor around these topics just feels so fake. I could see the argument that it’s a natural feedback loop of people becoming more aware of and attuned to certain topics, but the truly scary thing is there’s no way to know.

elevenoh said 7 months ago:


b0rsuk said 8 months ago:

This is clever and an effective way, but has a downside: it's like death penalty. You're giving the person no chance to improve, and there's risk ruining experience for someone who didn't deserve it.

blackearl said 8 months ago:

But it's not life and death, it's like a private club. There's not much to be gained by assuming someone will change their ways and then become a member of the club who gives back.

fragmede said 8 months ago:

There isn't much to be gained by simply hoping someone will magically decide to change there ways, but private clubs often have complex initiation rituals with the goal of pushing possible new members to conform to their standards of behavior. In this analogy though, HN "proceedings" are public, and membership is hardly exclusive as the barrier to register a new, undead account is low, so it's not like a private club, either.

b0rsuk said 7 months ago:

Not necessarily assuming, but giving a chance. A person may have a bad period in his life. Silently banning someone is as cool as reviewing a person for a job then giving him no feedback. It's ghosting. Or gossiping behind my back. Or downvoting me without explanation. You can do dick moves against me, but if I find out I'm going to badmouth you and tell everyone what a loser you are.

jtrip said 8 months ago:

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?

rcthompson said 8 months ago:

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.

jtrip said 8 months ago:

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.

ferzul said 8 months ago:

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

arbie said 8 months ago:

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


topher200 said 8 months ago:

> 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.

madacol said 8 months ago:

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.

rcthompson said 7 months ago:

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.

thegeomaster said 8 months ago:

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.

jtrip said 8 months ago:

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.

hinkley said 8 months ago:

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.”

oh_sigh said 8 months ago:

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

Not that easy I guess!

kibwen said 8 months ago:

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

JadeNB said 8 months ago:

> 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.

Kaiyou said 8 months ago:

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

JadeNB said 8 months ago:

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.

jtrip said 8 months ago:

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.

netsharc said 8 months ago:

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

buzzy_hacker said 8 months ago:

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

It's quite hard to unblock once started

bvinc said 8 months ago:

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!

netsharc said 8 months ago:

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.

nulbyte said 8 months ago:

> 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.

wincy said 8 months ago:

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.

sitkack said 8 months ago:

Please outline how you accomplished those things.

emberfiend said 8 months ago:

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 :)


shawndrost said 8 months ago:

> 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.

bhandziuk said 8 months ago:

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

rozab said 8 months ago:

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

AlphaWeaver said 8 months ago:

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!

moretai said 8 months ago:

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

adambyrtek said 8 months ago:

I'm a self-diagnosed completionist and I hate the infinite scroll so much that I developed a mental habit that helps me work around it. When I visit a site with infinite scroll (e.g. YouTube or new Reddit) I immediately scroll down until the first loading spinner (e.g. by pressing the End key). At this point I stop and go back up processing the items in reverse order. This might sound silly, but it gives me a sense of completion and a natural exit point once I get back to the beginning.

mschuetz said 8 months ago:

The worst kind of infinite scroll is twitter, where the browser native text search doesn't work outside of the current viewport.

0x262d said 8 months ago:

what the fuck is up with that. it's such a hostile design choice.

dkthehuman said 8 months ago:

I've been working on a Chrome extension called Hide Feed that automatically hides the feed. It's not quite yet ready for prime time, but it should help remove the need for that habit because you can just hide the feed whenever you don't want to look at it anymore.


gorpovitch said 8 months ago:

I've been looking for something like this ! Definitely interested (will you open source it?)

I'm doing this manually using Stylus for facebook and twitter. It's unbelievable how healthier it made my consumption of these sites. I couldn't find stylus for mobile firefox though...

PaulBGD_ said 8 months ago:

Looks nice! Trying it out on Firefox, any chance it could get support for old.reddit.com as well?

falcrist said 8 months ago:

On Facebook, create a "list" of all of you're friends, bookmark the list, and use that bookmark as your portal.

The list will show you posts and shares from those people (in actual chronological order), and nothing else.

You're done scrolling when you see something you recognize from a previous visit. Congratulations! You've reached the end of Facebook. Visit again another day.

aembleton said 8 months ago:

I just don't scroll down and accept that what I can see on my screen is all that is worth looking at.

blondin said 8 months ago:

yep. same strategy. if it doesn't show up in one or two screens worth of contents then i am probably going to miss it.

the thing that bugs me now are those mini video players that follow you on every page...

liquidise said 8 months ago:

This is a funny and particularly well written post that touches on a serious topic. Tech addiction and attention seeking are not yet being self-moderated. We are living out a massive social experiment of sorts because of the rapid advancement of the internet. I believe it is a certain net-positive on society, but we need to pay more attention to the cons.

lukifer said 8 months ago:

> we need to pay more attention to the cons

I like the probably-accidental double-entendre here. ;)

I think there is some attention (though probably still not enough) being paid to algorithms/clouds/etc gamifying our dopaminergic cycles, often without our best interests in mind. But it's worth remembering that individuals can easily fall into these anti-patterns independently, without coercion from centralized servers or dark UI patterns.

When I first heard the RHCP lyric referencing "getting high on information" I thought it a clever turn of phrase, maybe even a bit of a good thing; now I view the phenomenon with deadly seriousness, as I find it an ongoing struggle in day-to-day life, trying to keep focus on what matters amidst a deluge of both noise and signal.

ehnto said 8 months ago:

We don't have a natural moderation mechanism for it, and must rely on self-awareness and then self-discipline in the moment. Horribly unreliable. For most desires we have built in moderators, like in hunger you get full, for exercise you get tired, for sex you get a cocktail of chemicals that make you satiated, and so on.

Thinking outside of chemicals, the way we experience the web now is deliberately shallow to keep you moving from item to item, and full of hooks to bring you back before you get engaged in something in a way that would be satisfying.

swiley said 8 months ago:

A while a ago I realized this and saw myself uncontrollably refreshing some of these discussion sites. One of the reasons I decided not to delete my hackernews account when I deleted my accounts on other sites like reddit was because of the “noprocrast” feature. It’s not perfect but it can help prevent being totally consumed.

quest88 said 8 months ago:

Life is a massive social experiment!

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

Packages show up on the lawn it is astonishing how they appear.

They are astonishing surprises.

It’s what I ordered the cat food the espresso machine the two new tables.

Ordering things and how they appear basically I am a small-scale sorcerer.

On the road I press the button and the music goes.

Air conditioning gas pedal restaurant take-out etc.

It is my will being perpetually sated.

Pretend we are writing a fable in which a sorcerer always gets what he wants.

Consider what happens to a soul which always gets what it wants.

— Emily Bludworth de Barios, from the preview page for issue #31 of Forklift, Ohio (and, indeed, the issue itself, if you have it):


inopinatus said 8 months ago:

A few weeks ago, in support of a customer's new facilities, I tasked a satellite imaging platform to take a photograph of Dubbo, Australia, using an app on my iPhone. Placing the instruction took less than two minutes, the longest part of which was downloading the app. The processed image was downloaded to my device before close of business that same day.

Against a glowing surface, my hand describes a complex sigil, and orbital mechanisms leap into action on my whim.

Next up: pulling together the components for Karsus's Avatar

LeifCarrotson said 8 months ago:

After reading your comment, I was curious what your photograph might have looked like and where Dubbo was. A moment later, I had selected, searched for, and been presented with images of and articles about Dubbo. I gave them a brief, bored glance and moved on.

inopinatus said 8 months ago:

This age of mundane wonders.

photojosh said 8 months ago:

Don't worry, that happens when you drive through there as well.

Although doing the overnight camping option at the zoo there was a great experience.

heurist said 8 months ago:

I have found the facade of control that technology presents is easily punctured by a few days outside of cell range in rugged wilderness. Being alone in emergency situations also reveals our total lack of control over the whims of fate. Basically, when it comes to dealing with substantial, immediate personal problems technology is still pretty useless.

inopinatus said 8 months ago:

“Stories set in the Culture in which Things Went Wrong tended to start with humans losing or forgetting or deliberately leaving behind their terminal. It was a conventional opening, the equivalent of straying off the path in the wild woods in one age, or a car breaking down at night on a lonely road in another.”

—— Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games.

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

Reminds me of how modern horror movies mostly have to one of 1) be set before cell phones, 2) dispose of cell phones somehow, or 3) be in some way about cell phones.

glenneroo said 8 months ago:

Tangentially related, reminds me of how most scifi books and movies add all sorts of insane tech, yet leave out competent AI (in e.g. battle scenes, piloting vehicles, etc.) which would utterly obliterate anything human controlled.

emberfiend said 8 months ago:

In case you haven't, please read some Culture (referenced above)! It features an extremely plausible integration of very strong AI in the lives of mortals, and handwaves minimally.

Retric said 8 months ago:

The amount of lifesaving assistance available to the average person with a single phone call is staggering. Being outside of cellphone demonstrates the utility not futility is such assistance.

It’s not even limited to medical assistance. A friends floor collapsed and a single phone call made the difference between an unpleasant day and an agonizing death.

taurath said 8 months ago:

Out of curiosity, what platform is that?

wcoenen said 8 months ago:

Possibly the spymesat app. If you create an account and log in, apparently you can select satellites and task it to take images for anywhere between $500 to $3300.

inopinatus said 8 months ago:

That is indeed the app I used. Full answer of which orbital platform once my current aircraft has landed.

sharedfrog said 8 months ago:

> pulling together the components for Karsus's Avatar

I'll get the Tarrasque.

ISL said 8 months ago:

In some ways, this has happened for decades with satellite telecom relays.

Still super cool though! :)!

brosinante said 8 months ago:

Sure but also, is this what we "want"? (for wildly varying definitions of the word want.)

Takeaway available with the press of a button is certainly not what my soul wants.

vnorilo said 8 months ago:

I found a single origin espresso that I really like.

One time I bought a bag of beans it occurred to me that requiring coffee beans from a specific farm in Rhuanda sounds like something a king might do.

Even my bog standard middle class luxury feels wildly excessive sometimes.

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

Our homes are not just like a king's palace, when it comes to comforts, entertainment, and petty luxuries, but like a king's palace in the middle of a once-in-a-generation, no-expense-spared festival. But multiplied by 100. And they're like that 24/7, year-round.

No wonder we have trouble falling asleep.

hinoki said 8 months ago:

If I were somehow transported back in time to The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold[0], I’d probably be bored because my phone wouldn’t work, and the wine would probably suck. It’s hard to make good wine without knowing what yeast is.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_of_the_Cloth_of_Gold

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

No joke. We burn a bunch of lightbulbs with candle powers measured in the hundreds, have several kinds of entertainment of the highest quality that's ever existed anywhere available at the literal press of a button or with the right spoken command, have a librarian-scribe who can fetch us most any info we like nearly instantly even if it's just a passing whim, our food is abundant, cheap, outstanding, and for all but the poorest can be cooked and delivered by others on a fairly regular basis.

If anything it's surprising we're not even fatter and even less well-rested. We live in a friggin' world-class carnival. Describe some medieval monarch living in some kind of environment like that and we'd simply assume they'd be a wrecked, fat drunkard with perpetual bags under their eyes in short order, even if they had the best of intentions and pretty decent character. But we wonder why we're fat and tired and write and read books about it and try not to see the obvious cause, and the cost of fixing the problem.

ferzul said 8 months ago:

> for all but the poorest can be cooked and delivered by others on a fairly regular basis.

kitchens are expensive. the historical urban poor often lived in a corner of a room and bought their food from someone who had a kitchen. it makes eating home cooked meals feel absolutely decadent!

(one thing i haven't yet understood: food was cheaper than a penny, but there were no farthings or ha'pnies till much later. indeed, a penny bought about $20 worth. so did they buy meals a week at a time, and get a pastie a day or something?)

thedirt0115 said 8 months ago:

I imagine that you could run a tab with your local grocer and settle up for full pennies later.

learc83 said 8 months ago:

They used to cut coins in halfs, fourths, and maybe smaller to get lower denominations.

nitrogen said 8 months ago:

Comparisons between modern mundane luxury and the lives of ancient royalty rarely take into account the different stressors present in either case. Maybe the life of a medieval sovereign would still be preferable to that of a modern serf, if nonmaterial considerarions were included.

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

My assays at Crusader Kings II—squaring remarkably well with fictional and historical accounts of similar figures in roughy the same time period, see e.g. King Lear and Hamlet for good examples of the former—do not make being a medieval lord seem low-stress. Full of creature comforts and experiences unknown to most of the population at the time, yes. Though I think the environment of medieval Europe was a particularly rough one for the ruling class and at other times and places before and after, yes, it indeed would have been unreservedly "good to be the king".

photojosh said 8 months ago:

Something I've noticed in my kids; because they do have this access to "entertainment of the highest quality", real-world experiences struggle to measure up.

For instance, going to the circus was fun, but quickly forgotten. A local stunt pilot flying overhead only gets a quick glance.

A few minutes of a YouTube compilation gives more amazing entertainment moments than my entire childhood.

hellonoko said 8 months ago:

You might like the book: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, it talks about just this idea.

Dylan16807 said 8 months ago:

I feel like telling the trade caravan that you want to buy from a specific place they visit is something your average merchant could do.

aabhay said 8 months ago:

Agreed, perhaps it is more king-like to _not_ need to know where everything on your plate has come from. In that way, perhaps these coffee ‘blends’ that are so plebeian to the modern taste would be considered the most elevated to aristocratic.

leesec said 8 months ago:

I'm with ya. I'm pretty solidly middle - maybe upper middle class, but even the fact that I have opinions about Malbec over Pinot Noir makes me feel gross with opulence, not sure why.

K0SM0S said 8 months ago:

I've a different take, more symmetric in time.

How prodigious is it that so many of us know so many intricacies and details about so much stuff, from the aesthetic to the mechanic. We don't know if our point in the universe is to spread life or morality or simply to make it pretty, it's probably pointless to wonder beyond our very own life, but there's no denying that we are growing. We are becoming. Only by getting there can we know what it is. But it sure is one-of-a-kind.

All the cynicism and pessimism in the world falls short in the face of our past achievements, let alone the future potential of this Earth (I like to consider all life here to be part of the journey, we didn't exactly "win" in isolation, and "we" is more like the system to me, however large that is).

kortex said 8 months ago:

> We are becoming. Only by getting there can we know what it is. But it sure is one-of-a-kind.

I have been having a bit of a rough month, one of those obdectively good on the outside view but subjectively on the inside full of self-doubt and existential angst.

This just yanked me out of that headspace, for a few moments at least.

Thank you :)

K0SM0S said 7 months ago:

Much obliged :)

squeaky-clean said 8 months ago:

I could be getting it wrong, but I thought this was part of the wordplay of the poem. It's not necessarily what your soul wants, it's what the small sorcerer inside you wants. The one that when you get hungry says "You know you can just stay in and have someone deliver it", or when you see an interesting book mentioned in conversation goes "We can have that on our shelf in less than 2 days!".

Udik said 8 months ago:

Sure we do. These are our small-scale desires. Then you might think that on a larger scale this is not really what you want- but try to deny the right of people to desire ordering food from home, or buying online, or going where they want as fast as it's possible, or being cured from pneumonia or cancer.

inopinatus said 8 months ago:

Our monkey brains are not evolved to deal with the satisfaction barrage of met expectations, or the microdosed dopamine of incremental reputation tallies.

We've weaponised the apparatus of retail and communication against our own limbic systems.

solotronics said 8 months ago:

Really curious why you are being downvoted. The pyramid of needs is at work here, when your basic needs are satisfied it becomes easier to work on higher level issues.

Is one a better philosopher when they are starving? I don't know. I would rather be a well fed philosopher than a starving one.

salawat said 8 months ago:

Note that eating is a bit of an occupational hazard for philosophers, as every attempt to dine comes with the mortal danger of deadlock.

Always be prepared. Have your own backup set of silverware anytime you eat.

vbsteven said 8 months ago:

The stoics for example have a practice where they deliberately deprive themselves of basic things like food and warmth in order to appreciate those things more when they do have them.

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

In Seneca's case, at least, he advocated similar things (playing at being a destitute beggar every now and then) to remove fear of bad circumstances, not exactly to increase appreciation of good circumstances.

uoaei said 8 months ago:

Right, this is the point of negative visualization. But the two go hand in hand just like anything else that can be framed as "yin-yang".

beat said 8 months ago:

Something I say constantly, especially to others trying to make a decision to act, is "What's the worst thing that could possibly happen?" The thing is, you probably can't even imagine the worst thing that can possibly happen from any given decision. But by saying it out loud, you try, at least briefly. And in doing so, you often realize that "the worst thing that could possibly happen" really isn't all that bad.

I wanna ask this person on a date. What's the worst thing that could possibly happen? They say no and I feel embarrassed. It's a lot easier to do scary things if you actually think about the consequences of failure, rather than letting animal fear control you.

This, I learned from the Stoics.

curuinor said 8 months ago:

Lots of things that look like hierarchies are more like stuff distributed ~ power law. Certainly wealth, but I think actual needs are pretty distributed ~ power law.

Breathing looks hierarchically more important than self-actualization but it's just that a material portion of your entire ensemble of needs is just breathing - completely not optional.

Given that, you can futz w/ stuff and see if the levy-stable structure of this sort of thing will allow you to fold over different stuff

highfrequency said 8 months ago:

> Given that, you can futz w/ stuff and see if the levy-stable structure of this sort of thing will allow you to fold over different stuff

Your writing alternates between being overly complicated and being so casual that it's vague. Can you rephrase in plain language?

uoaei said 8 months ago:

Discussions like this get sullied because people interpret the word "want" differently. Some interpret it as an action that is supported by a conscious will and get offended when it is supposed that they want something that is, rationally speaking, not what a person should want. Things like procrastination and gluttony. In my experience these people's thinking tends to be more libertarian. My impression is that their egos have a stronger hold on them than their material needs. Others will interpret "want" as a desire borne from basal physiology, acknowledging that we (the "person") are pilots of organic bodies (the "human") that sometimes induce certain emotions and drives that we are unable to suppress. These people tend to be more holistic thinkers.

csense said 8 months ago:

What in the world is forkliftohio.com? It's a very insane website. I don't get it.

karatestomp said 8 months ago:

Just like it says on the tin: "A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, & Light Industrial Safety"

It's a semi-obscure but-well-regarded-in-certain-circles poetry/literary journal that's been around since the mid-90s, that uses the aesthetics of blue-collar industrial & commercial publications, drawing on them for illustrations, section title inspiration, occasional excerpts of advice or instructions, that sort of thing. The poetry itself isn't tied down by that theme, though, and ranges as widely as any poetry journal might. Also each issue usually includes at least one recipe. (the "cooking" part).

The journals themselves tend to include some kind of physical gimmick. IIRC one early one was a bunch of loose sheets with a hole through the middle, "bound" with a bolt, nut, and washers. One came in an actual, sealed evidence bag. Issue #31's spine (the one quoted) has been dipped in wax. One's cover is sandpaper and spine covered in duct tape, another's textured with brick dust. One's got a cork driven through it and came with a corkscrew to get it out.

I like it because 1) they don't seem to take themselves too seriously, 2) their sense of whimsy is tuned to about the exact level that I find fun and enjoyable, rather than trying-too-hard and obnoxious, and 3) their taste in selecting poetry seems to place a lot of weight on whether the words and ideas stick with you, rather than sheer poetic excellence or stereotypical MFA inside-baseball wanking—I can get those things in effectively-unlimited quantities elsewhere, so I appreciate their (apparently) somewhat different editorial priorities.

csense said 8 months ago:

I never understood why people bother writing, or enjoy reading, poems that don't have strong rhythm and rhyme.

If you did the actual work of solving the constraint satisfaction problem of making syllable counts, stress, and rhyming words line up, in a way that simultaneously tells an engaging story -- well, that's a lot of work, and anyone can appreciate the achievement. And it tickles readers' neurons in a unique way. It's a respectable and unique form of literature.

If you don't want to bother with that, it seems like you can slap down any old vague, mystic-sounding words. And because you call it a poem, miraculously any nonsense becomes some inscrutable profundity.

I don't "get" it. And I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe nobody "gets" it. But a lot of people pretend to, because they don't want to seem like some anti-artistic philistine.

sgentle said 8 months ago:

I think the premise of art as a constraint satisfaction problem is probably incompatible with "getting it", at least in as much as there's anything to get that can't be got by import scipy.optimize

In any field where people achieve mastery, technical excellence eventually stops being the point. I'm sure rhyming must have seemed like a real achievement back when the first proto-poets crawled out of the word ooze. The thing is, it's not actually that hard. Are you telling me that if you worked as a professional word rhymer for a year, ten years, fifty years, we wouldn't eventually start to hear the fatigue in your rendition of "there once was a man from Nantucket", even as you nail every last amphibrach with laserlike precision? When rhyming gets boring, you look for something more advanced. What does that look like?

If you draw the vector from writing to rhyming, it points in the direction of "creating meaning with form". You can say "I have social anxiety" – that's meaning in content. You can also say "They hate me they hate me they hate me they hate me they hate me they hate me they hate me they hate me they hate me" – that's meaning in form. Much like the rhythm and structure of a song can convey meaning not present in its lyrics, so too can the rhythm and structure of words. As you follow that vector upwards, the structure starts to become pretty obscure, but that's just what it looks like when the masters get bored.

If it helps, people make the same complaints about free jazz, abstract art, and tool-assisted speedrunning. I don't think it makes you a philistine, but I do suspect that you took "I don't enjoy this because I don't understand it" as a cue for judgement rather than curiosity, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

I quite like this article, about a juggler who got too good: https://grantland.com/features/anthony-gatto-juggling-cirque... – I think it gives some insight on why technical excellence isn't enough to create meaning

And if you want some abstract art that's a little closer to home, I found this a while back and I think it's beautiful: http://code-poetry.com/ – it takes some analysis to "get" how the output, the code and the words all relate to the meaning of each piece, but I think the effort is worth it. chernobyl and clock_in_clock out in particular really hit me.

Lammy said 8 months ago:

I try not to think of it like a work is something you can only “get” or “not get”. The ability for a work to stay with you and become a vehicle for the growth of your own ideas is the important part, even if it’s via an interpretation the creator never intended.

dannygarcia said 8 months ago:

Curious if you're being facetious or genuinely flummoxed but it looks like a poetry periodical published in the format of industrial freight.

adzm said 8 months ago:

Not sure but I like it.

spectramax said 7 months ago:

I ordered food, but that's cheating so I decided to go to the restaurant and order it. But that's cheating, so I decided to cook a meal. But that's cheating, because I didn't make the pasta myself. 3 hours later and a bunch of mess in the kitchen, I made pasta. It ain't pretty shaped but it'd do. No, wait! That's cheating because I didn't make the knife, pot, cutting board, fork, stove from scratch! Consider what happens to a soul which always cheats!

madisfun said 8 months ago:

> Consider what happens to a soul which always gets what it wants.

The soul craves for what's not easily attainable.

Commercial transactions are all the same.

Feasibility is sweet but one-dimensional.

There're things you can buy, and things you cannot.

You cannot buy a different self.

Politics, volunteering, social games, arts and sports

are the new frontier.

And we act to define what we are.

dom96 said 8 months ago:

This is actually a brilliant idea, but I want to ask about something slightly off-topic, hope others can chime in as well:

> Withdrawn mostly from Reddit in favor of early 2000’s style forums that I pay money for

I've never heard of such forums. Does anyone have any examples of these? In particular ones that you pay for, but I'm interested in free ones too.

jfim said 8 months ago:

The SomethingAwful forums [0] used to cost $10 to join [1] in the early 2000s. A more recent example is the Farnam Street community, which costs money to join [2].

[0] https://forums.somethingawful.com/

[1] https://secure.somethingawful.com/products/register.php

[2] https://fs.blog/membership/

prostheticvamp said 8 months ago:

Does anyone here use FS? Do you find it helpful (we’ll leave aside questions of cost), or is it like ... productivity porn?

Chabs said 8 months ago:

The Something Awful forums is the obvious candidate here. It costs a flat 10$ to create an account. This generally makes trolling, spamming and scamming a losing proposition and broadly helps with the signal to noise ratio.

erikbye said 8 months ago:
prostheticvamp said 8 months ago:

It’s unclear to me what that -is-. Is it just a paid forum?

erikbye said 8 months ago:

Yes, mainly, but it used to offer a bit more than that, not sure of the current status.


0az said 8 months ago:

I'm partial to Sufficient Velocity[1], which is focused on SF and Creative Works.

It's a niche space, but it's a niche space I enjoy, for all of its faults.

[1]: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com

mmmuhd said 8 months ago:

Here in my country (a developing country in Africa) internet speed is so bad you don't have to add any latency filter - just thinking out loud.

aleken said 8 months ago:

I moved to a rural area in Europe with poor internet. Those GIFs take their time to load!

downerending said 8 months ago:

Hmm. Are there any VPN providers there? :-)

danielhlockard said 8 months ago:

How is a VPN supposed to increase speed?

downerending said 8 months ago:

If all of my procrastination passed through a slow VPN, it would increase the speed of my real work greatly. :-)

supakeen said 8 months ago:

Which country is that?

EduardoBautista said 8 months ago:

Profile says Nigeria. Kano specifically.

tjoff said 8 months ago:

I've been thinking of these types of quotes for a while now "Amazon found that every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%." (from this first link in the post)

And kind of thought that no one believes in that anymore, that it was a 90s thing - at least when considering the absolute mad UX that is prevalent today. Some sites must deliberately pretend to process your decision for close to a second just to annoy you.

100ms latency is bad but privacy banners with stupidly obvious dark UI patterns (where they are even deliberately breaking the law) are worth it? In what universe does that make sense? There is something seriously ill with the web today.

Maybe this article is a cure. Not one I imagined but I'm intrigued.

pier25 said 8 months ago:

Not only that but latency is introduced artificially to make users feel more confident about changes they've made.



velosol said 8 months ago:

If the app or site isn't trying to sell me something then I don't see the draw. I understand the research around the marketing aspect but if I've already paid for something using a sleep() doesn't seem like it would make me trust something. I think I would rather ask why something is so slow (and doubly-so for anything on-prem which should be fast!).

If research shows users aren't sure if something happened then fix the UI to give some feedback to the user that their action was registered. This will likely involve a small delay even if it's just in the user's perception of the feedback but less than presented in the articles.

It's been much too long since I've run or participated in a UX study so maybe it's a good time to get back into it.

zf00002 said 8 months ago:

> Some sites must deliberately pretend to process your decision for close to a second just to annoy you.

Not just to deliberately annoy you, but also to try and sell to you.

If you go do your taxes on a very popular tax site, you will eventually get to pages that say things like "finding all your deductions!" or similar with progress bars. Well that's not really happening because that was done in milliseconds, instead that page is trying to upsell you to the Premium or Platinum or Uranium version.

oldtapwater said 8 months ago:

I wrote an extension for this since I couldn't find a good one for Firefox. Feature and pull requests welcome


ahofmann said 8 months ago:

Just what I was looking for! Thanks for this add on. For me youtube.com would still be extremely important. I set the blue window with the text to white and deleted the text, it's too embarrassing to have the big blue text on my screen.

oldtapwater said 8 months ago:

I'll add youtube to the list! Hm, I hadn't thought of that angle, maybe a white background and small text is a better default

RandomWorker said 8 months ago:

Could we customize the splash screen colours and text?

oldtapwater said 8 months ago:

Yes it's in the settings! I could add support for arbitrary CSS as well if you'd like :)

bravura said 8 months ago:

This is fascinating.

My laptop died during this one month of travel I’m doing, and I’m stuck doing everything on mobile. (No apple licensees where I am.)

I bought a keyboard for my iPad, it’s still painful AF. So I began avoiding and canceling unimportant tasks because of their inconvenience.

And then I realized: how much of this mindless garbage do I accept on my plate just because I am trying to „optimize my productivity“?

(Typed with two thumbs. Perhaps hypocritically?)

pier25 said 8 months ago:

A couple of years ago I was pretty addicted to Facebook and would compulsively open a new tab and start typing "f..." in the address bar. Even if I had another tab with Facebook open.

I tried blocking it for lapses of time but it didn't reduce my addiction. What did work was logging out of Facebook. The annoyance of having to log in and stop my flow was enough for me to stop using Facebook. Now I use it less than once a month when I want to contact some company that only has a Facebook page.

MayeulC said 8 months ago:

It helps that Facebook is pretty annoying when logged out, not sure it would translate well to Reddit (or HN). Maybe I should insert adds, banners, etc, on purpose in my tabs?

pier25 said 8 months ago:

It would not help much on HN for me but if I was forced to use new Reddit I would stop using it. AFAIK you can't opt out unless you are logged in.

ddalex said 8 months ago:

Bingo. I did quit facebook by changing my password to a long random string that I had noted down on paper but not ever saved in the pass manager, together with auto deleting the cookies every day at 12AM.

The sheer annoyance to re-log-in made me quit FB in about a week.

st1ck said 8 months ago:

You can also just unsubscribe from everyone.

bonoboTP said 8 months ago:

Another from me: blacklist the recommended questions from other stackexchange sites! I always get distracted by some juicy story on workplace.se or interpersonal skills or academia or worldbuilding or politics. My monkey brain will read those questions and think about the answer, then I have to click and see what others say. But Stackoverflow remains productive if I block this box.

K0SM0S said 8 months ago:

I wonder if, in the near future, we might not need blinkers¹ for internet, like we put on horses to keep them focused on the road, or conversely not distracted or scared by things around.

Basically ad/js blockers elevated to content selectors, somewhere halway between full functionality and reader mode of the core content of a page.

I see a literal tsunami of tiny projects like that on HN and various other places, and I suspect it's quickly gaining the characteristics of a product category — how much would you pay, or give away, to reclaim a distraction-free highly-focused web experience? Not sure about individuals (most mainstream users), but in businesses, offices, on the clock? That makes a stupid amount of sense. ("stupid" because, heh, it's seeking a solution for a problem we created in the first place, businesses deploring the consequences of things whose causes they cherish, should we say champion in modern lingo.)

[1]: not that kind! https://www.pictorem.com/collection/900_Pawel-Kuczynski_blin...

tomcatfish said 8 months ago:

For those interested, I use these Ad-block (uBlock Origin) filters on Stackoverlow Network sites:

  ! Block the hot network questions for focus
  ! Get rid of the distracting "Blog" area
  superuser.com,stackoverflow.com,stackexchange.com###sidebar > div:has-text(Blog)
  ! This banner reappears for me
  ! Block the left sidebar that takes up space
tatami said 8 months ago:

StackOverflow even has a setting in your profile to block those. You have to be logged in, of course.

jonas21 said 8 months ago:

You don't need a fancy solution to randomly add latency -- just do what I did and sign up for Cox Internet.

dylan604 said 8 months ago:

I've heard the latency can be as bad as 3 days depending on how strong the wind blows.

fpgaminer said 8 months ago:

This is the trap that so many fell into when they ditched DSL for CPL (Carrier Pigeon Line). The price was right; the bandwidth was _incredible_ (1TB packet sizes!); and the latency, bad as it was, was something you expected and prepared for. What's easily missed, as you pointed out, is the variability of that latency. If the wind is in your favor you'll have the latest copy of the internet downloaded in one or two days, unlike those plebs on fiber who have to spend weeks downloading the thing. But one strong headwind later and you'll be spending your time reading the x86 reference manual* for the hundredth time while you wait.

* Fun side fact (as if this comment was enough of a tangent already), you used to be able to request a _free_ physical copy of the x86 reference manuals. Not sure if that's still the case, but younger me was _thrilled_ when I found out and received that small library in the mail.

terinjokes said 8 months ago:

You haven't been able to do so for at least a decade. I requested one from Intel a decade ago and they recommended asking a print shop to print and bind the PDF.

ferzul said 8 months ago:

or any internet provider in germany.

keksberg said 8 months ago:

so true

woliveirajr said 8 months ago:

Low-latency isn't the only problem, I think. The small-enought latency seems to be worst: you click somehing and wait for the reward just few ms later. Incresing this wait to seconds prevents this effect.

thdrdt said 8 months ago:

Well I am on a not so fast connection a lot and what is even worse: click on something and get absolutely no clue the click event was registered.

Click again to see if you did something wrong and, yes, youe action was registered 2 times causing all kinds of trouble.

To all SPA developers around the word: show me if I interacted and show me if something is loading.

Can_Not said 8 months ago:

I ensure my loading graphic shows for a minimum of 333ms to make sure my users see that something was happening, just incase the operation completes too fast for the user to realize it happened.

moretai said 8 months ago:

Depends on how big of an addict. And also you could just disable the extension as well like you do for your failed site blocking extension of preference.

metalrain said 8 months ago:

What if we just open our filter bubbles so that not every click has that effect?

ehnto said 8 months ago:

We self select into our bubbles anyway. Especially amidst an almost subconscious addictive trawl across the internet. There's a stereotype of computer addiction that shows the user as this active, hyper alert entity absorbing everything they possibly can. The reality is that you sit there, numb to everything, barely attentive, clicking over and over again.

The trope of someone closing reddit, only to open reddit again, is a microcosm of that. If you were actively participating in the decision making and thinking clearly, you would never make that mistake. Something else is driving your trawl.

numbers said 8 months ago:

I just use a VPN connecting to a far away server so that the latency does go up and at the same time confuses the sites I’m visiting.

yjftsjthsd-h said 8 months ago:

You know, it never occurred to me to treat the latency of TOR as a feature rather than a bug.

surround said 8 months ago:

The only reason why I wasn’t using TOR for all of my browsing is because of the latency. I guess I might just use it now.

said 8 months ago:
toddmedema said 8 months ago:

Nice! I recently launched a similar Chrome extension (free, open source, no tracking or ads) that also includes a greyscale option to make the websites less interesting / addicting once they load https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/get-your-focus-bac...

beat said 8 months ago:

Thanks for reminding me to reset my iPhone to black and white!

nabnob said 8 months ago:

This is a great idea. I know various types of addiction have a negative impact on the prefrontal cortex, which handles your ability to focus and manage time. I would like to see research investigating the relationship between internet addiction and one's attention span - I feel like my ability to read difficult literature and focus on creative hobbies like music is worse today than it was when I was in middle school.

chalst said 8 months ago:

Any recommendations for a Firefox alternative to Crackbook Revival?

byte1918 said 8 months ago:

You can configure Leechblock (1) to do this. You have to configure it to show the 'Delaying page'.

(1) - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/leechblock-ng...

unicornporn said 8 months ago:

I tried that, but only works for the first visit of a domain? Once I've waited those seconds for the page to load I can mindlessly wander around for hours if I don't close the tab.

byte1918 said 8 months ago:

there's a checkbox `Block only first accessed page of site when delaying page is used`. Uncheck it.

frankfka said 7 months ago:
oldtapwater said 8 months ago:

You could try DelayWebpage(1) which I made since I couldn't find a good alternative on Firefox. It's pretty basic so if there's any feature missing, feel free to request it, send a PR or fork the repo(2)

1. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/delaywebpage/ 2. https://github.com/OskarDamkjaer/FirefoxDelayWebpage

WorldMaker said 8 months ago:

One out of the box option is Dev Tools > Network and there's a Throttling dropdown on the right. Set it to something like GPRS and watch the added latency.

fortydegrees said 8 months ago:

This applies for all sites though, whereas you want it for specific ones like reddit

WorldMaker said 8 months ago:

Sure. Still a good place to start if you are looking to trial the idea.

Continuing to think "inside the box" of built-in Firefox tools you could pair it with different windows in different profiles, train yourself to open the "addictive" sites only in the throttled profile. I don't have the Containers add-in installed, but I wonder if you can throttle Containers separately (and if not, might be an interesting feature request).

saltking112 said 8 months ago:

Not simulating slow connection but delaying page display via JS/Tempermonkey.


cellularmitosis said 8 months ago:

Something I've found beneficial is to self-enforce a "search-only" usage of social media (youtube, twitter, etc). Essentially, don't allow yourself to mindlessly consume feeds, but if you'd like to search for something specific, go ahead.

It might be worth writing some sort of extension or wrapper website to enforce this.

swirepe said 7 months ago:

I'm late to the party, but this article inspired me to write this script to slow down connections to reddit

     #!/usr/bin/env bash
     sudo tc qdisc del dev $DEV root # Ensure you start from a clean slate
     sudo tc qdisc add dev $DEV root handle 1: prio
     sudo tc qdisc add dev $DEV parent 1:3 handle 30: netem delay $LATENCY 
     for IPADDR in $(dig @ +nocmd $DOMAIN any +multiline +noall +answer | grep -E -o "([0-9]{1,3}[\.]){3}[0-9]{1,3}")
         echo "Slowing down connections to $IPADDR on $DEV"
         sudo tc filter add dev $DEV protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 3 u32 match ip dst $IPADDR flowid 1:3
hammock said 8 months ago:

Another suggestion: Limit your browser use to only one tab at a time. Or, allow yourself multiple windows but only one tab each.

If it takes 8 seconds to load a website I could see someone just opening a bunch of tabs and coming back to them later. This suggestion avoids that (among other accomplishments).

CathedralBorrow said 8 months ago:

Good suggestion. I do feel that any self-imposed rule or limitation will be vulnerable to you simply deciding to ignore or bypass it though.

goda90 said 8 months ago:

I had this exact thought. I often use the middle click button to open a bunch of tabs from the reddit front page and get back to them later.

Brave-Steak said 8 months ago:

So I'm trying the Crackbook Revival extension and it's actually a bit devious. You can set it to increase the delay every time you try to open a site on your list. And if you switch away from the tab, it resets the timer so you can't just wait it out while looking at other links. It also doesn't seem to tick down if you open it in another window.

Matumio said 8 months ago:

LeechBlock NG (the browser extension) has a "delay" mode of blocking. Make sure you enable "count only active tab" or it will waste much RAM and CPU.

With full blocking I used to cheat by disabling the block, and then "forgot" to enable it again.

With delay-based blocking I'm also cheating: instead of waiting for the delay I get up and do some minor chore. I used to feel smug about how clever I was, sabotaging my own block. Until I realized what a positive change this was.

PS: I've waited 40s to submit this comment. You'll need another plugin to recover the text if you submit and then hit the delay page. Or submit before the timer runs out.

lnreddy said 8 months ago:

It doesn't work on reddit.com though. It keeps reloading the page and the delay page gets triggered in a loop.

unicornporn said 8 months ago:

Please tell me how you configured LeechBlock NG. I tried the delaying mode, but only works for the first visit of a domain? Once I've waited those seconds for the page to load I can mindlessly wander around for hours if I don't close the tab.

oldtapwater said 8 months ago:

You could try DelayWebpage, it seems to fit you better. It's open source so any feedback is appreciated

Link to the extension which in turn links to the git repo: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/delaywebpage/

lnreddy said 8 months ago:

I think that is the point. It doesn't block the website entirely lest you go and disable the extension. It's designed to frustrate you slightly.

unicornporn said 8 months ago:

I see. Not very functional for those who have tabs for these sites permanently open.

Matumio said 8 months ago:

Right, I always open news front pages from a bookmark for some reason, and stories as background tabs. Each tab has its own delay-block when activated, and at some point I usually close unread tabs instead of waiting for them.

But the block repeats every few hours, and I'm pretty sure that clicking on a link within the same tab repeats the block then (maybe depends on the page). So yes, the "dosage" of how many delays you get is not very well controlled for. Still, I'm using this setup for years and it definitely does something for me.

lcall said 8 months ago:

It seems like this kind of thing is much easier if one has a considered purpose and direction in life, that let one derive joy from making stepwise progress toward those: a vision, strategy, goals, tasks. We all have to choose what we love the most, and implement that in our daily decisions & acdtivities. Whether one is religious or not, I have written about this more, at a simple, I hope skimmable, site: http://lukecall.net/e-9223372036854588981.html .

dropoutcoder said 8 months ago:

Exception: If I’m researching technical topics I want the fastest computer, browser, and internet possible.

celeritascelery said 8 months ago:

You want the fastest possible connection when doing real work. But slow when just playing around.

Romanulus said 8 months ago:

I get the sentiment, but I do not agree at all... similar to putting fences around all the coastlines of the world, I would rather just teach my children to swim.

I had to go back and make sure what was being said was actually the case which now makes me question what one does with all that latency time... just sit and breath and try not to totally freak out? I don't want to come off as too crass on this, but this type of self-regulation is just totally missing the mark (unless I'm missing something here).

vibrafox said 8 months ago:

A good quote I don't have a source on: you do not rise to the level of your ambitions, you fall to the level of your systems. Willpower is finite, but you can maximize it with systems like this.

Romanulus said 8 months ago:

Makes me think of the quote (paraphrased): "Your reach should always exceed your grasp." To me it feels like you are tamping down your maximum reach.

vibrafox said 8 months ago:

I tried that for a long time and didn't get anywhere. Building a safety net of systems/habits raises the floor for the inevitable slips back down.

osn9363739 said 8 months ago:

I think there are a few parts to this.

Firstly, if you are addicted it's too late, your willpower is shot. Blocking a site to retrain yourself is a good idea.

Humans are creatures of habit. If putting up a temporary fence forces you to build the habit of swimming between the flags - when you take away the fence your monkey brain is hopefully stuck with the good habits.

It's also a single person, vs a billion dollar industry that is spending a shit tonne of money trying to get them addicted.

snthd said 8 months ago:

See also https://www.xkcd.com/862/ 's alt text

> After years of trying various methods, I broke this habit by pitting my impatience against my laziness. I decoupled the action and the neurological reward by setting up a simple 30-second delay I had to wait through, in which I couldn't do anything else, before any new page or chat client would load (and only allowed one to run at once). The urge to check all those sites magically vanished--and my 'productive' computer use was unaffected.

And: https://blog.xkcd.com/2011/02/18/distraction-affliction-corr...

>At various times, I thought of doing it with an X modification, Firefox extension, a Chrome add-on, an irssi script, etc—but none of them worked too well (or involved a lot of sustained undistracted effort, which was sort of a Catch-22). Then I hit on a much simpler solution:

>I made it a rule that as soon as I finished any task, or got bored with it, I had to power off my computer.

CathedralBorrow said 8 months ago:

I'm always interested in the "one year later" follow-up to these suggestions. I love that someone found a cool hack that worked for them, but did it survive?

Snetry said 8 months ago:

I found the shutting down solution to be quite useful actually

anonytrary said 8 months ago:

There's an analogue for consumerism in young single adults who haven't settled down: Next time you move, put everything you own in a box. You can only take something out of the box to use it. After 6 months (or a duration of your choosing), simply discard the box and everything still in it. The theory is that you won't miss anything you didn't actually need.

dlsso said 8 months ago:

Interesting. I'm surprised this actually works for people. For me it would it would just make me waste more time, and turn browsing into a stress multiplier instead of a stress reliever.

I favor extensions that give an alert or block the site after a certain time. More effective and less anger inducing for me personally.

Swenrekcah said 8 months ago:

I can understand where they’re coming from I think.

I browse HN or reddit a lot when I put something in motion that will take 4-30 seconds to complete. Because who can wait tens of seconds for something.

Then 15 minutes later...

But if I know that I’ll probably have to wait just as long for the site to load then perhaps I’d just sit and endure, maybe...

codebje said 8 months ago:

Lately I've simply been keeping the slow activity visible on screen, it's been enough that the flicker of motion when it finishes can pull me away from the distractions.

bluntfang said 8 months ago:

This is basically an application of CBT, so it's not surprising that it works.

Make room for yourself to notice you're doing something you don't want to do aka mindfulness and that space allows you to change your behavior.

souterrain said 8 months ago:

Network Link Conditioner is new to me. (I’m not a developer.) I find it strange that this exists, because as a mobile application consumer, it has been my experience that many apps don’t seem to consider network quality in their implementations. (Again, just based on my personal use; absolutely zero rigor in my method.)

I suppose this the result of a feature of the human being: be lazy as possible. Rather than write code for poor quality networks (which in my experience are prevalent in rural areas and in older parts of cities) simply declare “we need faster mobile networks for all!”

I suspect this will be a never-ending battle, and developers might consider caring at some point, to reach those eyeballs that will never have the cutting edge mobile networks.

Or, don’t, and said eyeballs will be slightly less likely to become addicted, if this article is to be believed.

wpskidd said 8 months ago:

I’m still surprised that this type of findings hasn’t had more of an impact on commercial design. It is not uncommon to find Fortune 500 sites with load times over 20 seconds. I get it that it is hard to write and maintain clean code, still, repeated studies have shown the value proposition is there.

Here is a little proof of concept I did awhile back to see how tight I could make a responsive page with a good amount of graphics. The whole page is two server calls (one is for the fav icon). It loads in about 400 ms total from github or in less than 200 from Godaddy shared hosting: https://pbskidd.github.io/cockenoe

pradn said 8 months ago:

I was recently looking at getting new hardware to improve Chrome loading times. (This is a somewhat theoretical affair for me since my desktop is already pretty fast.) But, now I wonder if I should downgrade.

Maybe it's good not to upgrade to the latest iPhone?

daniel_iversen said 8 months ago:

You can use a somewhat similar method easily on your phone, using iOS’ Screen Time to “block” certain apps. Then it’ll pop up and tell you you’ve “reached your limit” and gives you enough time to think about what app (or web/Safari) you’re about to use in order to interrupt any default undesirable patterns (also related maybe to the psychological concept of Delay Discounting). I’ve found it very helpful to reduce my app usage - https://www.nexle.dk/5-simple-steps-to-improving-your-mobile...

city41 said 8 months ago:

I dropped my phone a while back and the screen now has issues. It gets "streaks" all across the entire screen. It's harder to see content, but you can get by. My first inclination was to get it fixed, but I've now had it this way for several months. I find I use my phone a lot less and now sort of consider the streaks a "feature".

I've investigated going to a true dumb phone, but that's not nearly as feasible now as I would prefer. The Nokia 3310 is the only reasonably priced option I can find; and all the boutique, low volume dumb phones are absurdly expensive.

bacon_waffle said 8 months ago:

Overall, the not-smartphone thing is great! I wasn't particularly hooked on my (basic) smartphone, but definitely feel a bit more present without it. The urge to look at the rectangle in my pocket after being idle for 5 seconds is gone.

I switched to a Nokia 8110 a couple months ago, and really want to like it, but the basics are too poorly done. On the 8110 in particular, the keys are quite small, and their debouncing is terrible. I worry the debounce might be the same for other phones in that family, which all seem to have the same guts. A single keypress is very often interpreted as a double-press, which makes T9 frustrating and the predictive mode practically impossible.

There's no way to switch the ringer off, without opening the cover and navigating two layers of menu. The music player is borderline useless, a shame considering it has a microSD slot.

At least on my network (Vodafone NZ), MMS messages don't work in either direction - basically you have to ring someone back when they try to send you one.

The idea of having maps is nice. But, in practice, I've just reverted to noting directions in a notebook that I carry anyway. So, while maps was one of the main reasons I tried a Nokia KaiOS phone, it's not a requirement for the next one.

skybrian said 8 months ago:

Source code for the Chrome extension mentioned is here: https://github.com/Ishmaeel/CrackbookRevival

Tade0 said 8 months ago:

I use wondershaper:


And limit my speed to 256KB/s which sounds like a lot and 15 years ago that was really fast, but it's enough to stop me from gorging on YouTube videos, which interestingly are less addicting when viewed at a maximum of 480p.

Adding latency is not necessarily the best route, because some apps (looking at you, gmail) send tens of requests in sequence just to load the main page.

Aperocky said 8 months ago:

A monkey that occupy the screen for 5 seconds on each new frame load with quotes might neatly solve that problem.

PsylentKnight said 8 months ago:

> Android is the hardest to do this in.

The Firefox addon LeechBlock NG can delay access to sites. Of course, that can't stop you from opening Chrome - which as far as I can tell, you can't uninstall from Android.

mrob said 8 months ago:

Is there any Free software alternative to the proprietary Charles Proxy?

penagwin said 8 months ago:

After trying to find something similar myself, originally I found some "methods" online to bypass the trial time, but I eventually just gave in and bought a license - and IMO it does exactly what it says on the tin, and is still updated and is cross platform so I think it's worth it.

But if anyone knows of any nice GUI tools that are similar do share!

EDIT: Just thought I'd mention how I use it. Basically I use it like the chrome network tools, but I intercept POST requests to the server and try to much with the data that's sent to make sure the backend isn't blindly trusting the client, or to see if there's weird ways I can break the code with special input, etc.

adtac said 8 months ago:

mitmproxy, depending on what you're doing

superkuh said 8 months ago:

This happens naturally for me. The worse a website is, the more javascript it uses. This is a pretty solid correlation. So I use a browser that is meant to browsing websites instead of one that's meant to run javascript applications.

This makes going to web app sites (the bad sites) fairly slow. Especially when I have to serially temp-whitelist 4 domains each requiring a reload of the page every time I visit.

But normal web sites that don't suck pop in instant and fast.

otakucode said 8 months ago:

What about making it so that the amount of latency added is dynamic? It could be set up so that frequency of visitation leads to greater and greater latency. Something like exponential growth of 1.5x every time the site is visited with an exponential decay function applied since the last time visited. This would encourage slowing down, and would most heavily penalize the most heavily used sites which seems coherent with the goal.

JadeNB said 8 months ago:

The author's description of this as 'watering down' the Internet, as if some élan vital is absent, I think is potentially misleading. As the author makes clear, this is working to minimise the addictive aspects of browsing, not to block the content. All the content is still there, just organised in a way that forces you to acknowledge that you can't and shouldn't deal with it all at once, or non-stop.

PaulRobinson said 8 months ago:

There are ISPs that do this to customers who sign up for low price unlimited bandwidth deals and then hammer them for torrents. Traffic shaping them down to 1Mbit/sec or lower means they're likely to move onto another ISP within a few months.

Legally dubious, but no other way of managing the 1% of users who are using 95% of the bandwidth in a way you'd not provisioned for (because then your economic model is broken).

Retric said 8 months ago:

Non peak bandwidth should be effectively free for ISP’s. Limiting their bandwidth during those peaks should be sufficient without losing a customer.

annoyingnoob said 8 months ago:

I was really hoping this was more of an attack on the site, a way to get back at sites that don't work well due to too many ads/tracking. We should all really slow play the connections and data rates from advertisers/trackers - make them pay in latency. We need a tool to slow-play ads/trackers that happens in the background, where the user experience is blocking them anyway.

the21st said 8 months ago:

I have been using a chrome extension called waitblock [1] which does something similar and it did wonders for reducing my addiction.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/waitblock/kcnjfepp...

Thorrez said 8 months ago:

Linus Sebastian says that making his phone slower to open made him enjoy it more[1]. One easy way to make your phone slower to unlock is to give it a long password, this has the additional benefit of making your phone more secure.

[1] https://youtu.be/WGZh-xP-q7A?t=305

kponds said 8 months ago:

The article mentions that he has "Withdrawn mostly from Reddit in favor of early 2000’s style forums".

Which good ones are still around that are not specific to a certain topic? I am interested in this.

Since he said "that I pay money for", I'm assuming somethingawful maybe? Are there any others that are still good and active?

thefunnyman said 8 months ago:

I'm also curious about this. I frequently find myself wishing for a Reddit alternative but haven't been able to find something worth switching to.

unwabuisi said 8 months ago:

Does anyone know any free/open-source alternatives to Charles? The closest I could find was this [0] but it doesn't look like it can throttle connections for specific hosts

[0] - https://github.com/sitespeedio/throttle

markus_zhang said 8 months ago:

I'm wondering what are those "early 2000’s style forums that I pay money for". A few months ago I stumbled into such a website mostly for programmers and the style is completely different from HN or Reddit or whatever sites I'm on. Sadly I lost the website during a laptop breakdown :(

ReverseCold said 8 months ago:

This might be a good alternative to tools like Leechblock. Instead of blocking sites, give the "bad"/timewaste sites a bunch of random latency. It might discourage but not stop usage, which is useful when you need to use reddit or something to do research but not get distracted.

goda90 said 8 months ago:

And it could be an escalating latency, so it gives you a bit of fast experience, but the more you use it, the slower it gets. I've used Leechblock, but I also find myself trying to game Leechblock sometimes. Being totally cut off from something can make me motivated in ways that just being annoyed by the experience wouldn't.

sizzle said 8 months ago:

"You get the web from 2 basic kinds of nightmare rectangle: laptops and desktops, where you control a material portion of the computing environment, or mobile and tablets, where you control less."

Gonna start using "nightmare rectangle" instead of "computer" from now on ...

majani said 8 months ago:

Another good way to reduce time spent on social media is to reduce the number of connections on each platform to less than 100 people/brands. All platforms struggle to find new crap to feed you with once you go below this threshold (except YouTube)

baxtr said 8 months ago:

Interesting approach. I have gone one step further: I have simply blocked major sites I visit regularly. Every time I try to visit one of the sites I am reminded by the blocker that I should not.

(HN is one of them - but only on my mobile device)

SirWilliamM said 8 months ago:

This sounds a lot like what Apple slowly does to iOS to make you buy a new phone...

henvic said 8 months ago:

If you need this, consider just getting cheaper and slower Internet connection :)

0x262d said 8 months ago:

This post has some pretty good suggestions. But I always get frustrated with this issue and honestly there will never be a great solution to it.

The underlying problem is that addicting people is core to the business model of facebook, twitter, and many other sites. With the web coupled to the profit motive there will always be infinitely more resources put towards making sites addictive than making them user-friendly, ie, encouraging healthy user habits. If the web was treated as a shared, public utility with no-strings-attached funding for developing shared tools like social media as well as supporting user-written clients for everything, effective tools for this that anyone can easily use would proliferate and web addictiveness and these clunky solutions would be nearly a non issue.

This is basically the dream of socialism. Utility set free from the malignant requirements of profit. I think it's much closer to people's original dreams for what the internet could be before venture capital crept in and came to rule everything.

t_treesap said 8 months ago:

My internet addiction was at least 90% as bad even when I only had dial-up. Unfortunately, tabs make the latency thing an ineffective deterrent.

(In the dial-up days, before tabs, my workaround was to have 20 IE windows open.)

kilovoltaire said 8 months ago:

The Crackbook Revival chrome extension he mentions restarts its timer if you switch tabs, so at least it remains effective despite tabs

rement said 8 months ago:

>Android is the hardest to do this in.

I don't know a lot about Android development but could you use the Android VPN APIs to add latency to requests? I might use an open source app that adds this kind of functionality.

celeritascelery said 8 months ago:

> Coerced old-style on Reddit without an infinite scroll

This is why I deleted the reddit apps and use the mobile site instead. Having only one page at a time really helps from sitting forever in an infinite scrolling list.

rb808 said 8 months ago:

Does anyone know of a 2G/3G cell network in the US? Its would be cheaper and I know I avoid my phone a lot when it reverts to 3G when I run out of 4G data. I still want email, uber etc though.

andrepd said 8 months ago:

>Deleted all variable pictures from YouTube with my adblock. The avatars of the people, the teaser images with people making obnoxious faces on them, the logo, etc.

invidio.us with "thin mode" on

jtolds said 8 months ago:

I also deliberately slow down certain sites! It's wonderful.


jobseeker990 said 8 months ago:

I wonder if Apple would consider adding this to the Screen time feature? Otherwise I don't see how you can apply it on the iPhone for just certain websites or certain times of day.

pzumk said 8 months ago:

They probably wouldn’t because it’s too specific. I’m in Germany and figured I’d just connect to one of the currently most used VPN Servers in New Zealand. Makes my connection slow when I can’t procrastinate or want to reduce screen time without actually blocking apps by enabling iOS Screen Time.

jandrese said 8 months ago:

Lag is absolutely infuriating on a web browser.


davnicwil said 8 months ago:

Blocking comments from various sites is an amazing idea.

Are there any extensions anyone can recommend for doing this comprehensively across all the popular sites / 3rd party comment engines?

MayeulC said 8 months ago:

I often browse with umatrix blocking all third-party js, so I tend to whitelist some of those on a per—site basis. That might partially work for you.

purplezooey said 8 months ago:

this is a fascinating idea but I had never heard of Charles Proxy

penagwin said 8 months ago:

It's really great for a lot of network testing. It let's you intercept and modify requests/responses directly which is great for testing front end /backend input sanitization.

CreepGin said 8 months ago:

My household has too many devices to setup individually. Anyone knows a good router to do this on? My router can blacklist ips and urls, but cannot just add latency to them.

megous said 8 months ago:

My MikroTik router has traffic shaping fairly easily configurable. I have used it at times for the similar purpose. Though, if you know how to disable something, you eventually will.

If you want to know how it works in Linux:


dclusin said 8 months ago:

Probably openwrt would be the way to go. It’s basically Linux. I don’t know offhand how to do this in Linux but I suspect there’s a solution easily available.

said 8 months ago:
wrsh07 said 8 months ago:

This is an excellent mental trick and I would love to be able to configure gradually increasing latencies as I sit on the internet for an extended duration

jobseeker990 said 8 months ago:

This is actually a really brilliant idea. Just make an addiction inconvenient instead of denying yourself. You could apply this to all kinds of stuff.

said 8 months ago:
throw18374 said 8 months ago:

I took similarly extreme measures to end my video game addiction many years ago.

I played MMOs compulsively. They basically hijacked the reward center of my brain to the point where what happened outside of the game seemed completely irrelevant to me. I didn’t even see the point of showering.

During “moments of clarity” I understood perfectly well exactly what was happening to me, how the game was specifically designed to put me in that sort of state, how fake and toxic it all was.

So during these “moments of clarity”, I would take some of my life back by deliberately sabotaging myself inside the game so I wouldn’t want to play anymore.

I destroyed all my valuable items and deleted my characters.

When I came back, I told support it was an accident and they recovered the items and characters for me...

So then I gave all my valuable items to other players, thinking support couldn’t take those back from those people, because that would be creating free duplicates.

So I told support it was an accident, and they recovered the account and created duplicates of all of my lost items.

So I did that again, this time handing all the items to someone I knew.

Support again recovered the account and created duplicates of everything, but warned that they wouldn’t be able to do this a third time because of concerns about in-game markets being disrupted by duplicates.

So I did it again.

This time they recovered the account, and some of the items, but none of the most valuable ones.

Even then, I still wanted to play.

So this time I did the same, deleted all my items, deleted my characters, and created a new email account on yahoo.

I made that yahoo account’s username and password both something complicated I would never remember. I changed my game account’s email to that yahoo account, confirmed the email change, changed my game account’s password to something long I would never remember, changed all the game account’s personal and contact information to nonsense, logged out of the yahoo account, logged out of the game account, and closed the incognito tab.

I tried, but I never figured out a way to recover that account.

So I created a new account. Several times, but always repeatedly sabotaged myself during moments of clarity. Eventually, after a few weeks, I completely lost interest in trying and could finally do other things with my life.

I’ve used this same tactic with every game since. Total gameplay hours over the last 10 years have been maybe 50 hours or so for Fallout 3, and that’s it.

I don’t play anything anymore. Life has turned out unreasonably good since then, too. Career in software exploded.

Maybe because of redirected compulsivity.

Now I’m having a similar problem with workaholism.

I guess the real-world implementation of my prior solution would be to give all my money away, burn all my bridges, and go meditate in a forest somewhere. That doesn’t seem like such a great idea, though, especially with people depending on me. I’ll have to figure out a different solution for this one..

z3t4 said 8 months ago:

What you're looking for is probably "semester". Depending on where you live, your employer can't deny you two weeks off. Then you go somewhere where you wont have access to a computer. And treat yourself well. You should do that at least once or twice a year. You can also set "working hours" and just don't do any work outside those hours. Having a healthy work/life balance will make you even more productive at work.

minusf said 8 months ago:

> Used an extension to remove all the comments from Youtube

it's enough to block all cookies on YouTube and comments stop loading

stanislavb said 8 months ago:

I've been using this since this morning and can already feel the benefits. It's a great idea/extension.

taude said 8 months ago:

The artisanal "slow internet" movement. It's like slow food movement, but for your data consumption.

tlholaday said 8 months ago:

Would a 25-minute latency be a good way to incorporate this tactic and Francesco Cirillo's Pomodoro Technique?

rootsudo said 8 months ago:

This is a great article to explain the dopamine fueled feedback loop. It's a simple way to fight it and win.

amelius said 8 months ago:

I add 1 second of latency when a Chrome user visits my website.

And I already convinced my boss to switch to Firefox.

gnicholas said 8 months ago:

reminds me of The Disconnect, the web-based magazine that you can only read when you're offline: https://thedisconnect.co/one/

ferzul said 8 months ago:

that's hillarious, but if you reconnect, you lose your scroll position. i normally read things over days, weeks, months

mrobin88 said 8 months ago:

Amazons underlying revenue comes from you paying for faster servers...

yegle said 8 months ago:

It's a common practice to put title in URL to boost SEO, but the URL seems to convert all space (%20) to 20 and I doubt it would still be useful...


curuinor said 8 months ago:

It's not, it's just how my blogging thing works, I don't care much about SEO

progval said 8 months ago:

It makes the URL less readable though

baq said 8 months ago:

i'd like to do this on a home router for certain domains like reddit, facebook, instagram - are small devices capable of such selective buffering for long periods of time?

vhiremath4 said 8 months ago:

hello Howon! Hope you're doing well. :-)

️ from Vinay (an old friend)

rainhacker said 8 months ago:

For anyone who wondered why large tech companies pay Software Engineers so much, this is the reason. Software quality and performance translate into quantifiable dollar amount, and that amount is quite high.

stevefan1999 said 8 months ago:

So how do you calculate the expected added latency?

mLuby said 8 months ago:

2007: Breakthrough Internet Communicator

2011: Black Mirror

2020: Nightmare Rectangle

jmkd said 8 months ago:

"Nightmare Rectangle" is a brilliant phrase

jamesjyu said 8 months ago:

Alternate solution: downgrade to a dial-up ISP.

ferzul said 8 months ago:

speed isn't latency. i want to get my OS updates in a timely manner. but i don't want hackernews to be so enjoyable

broabprobe said 8 months ago:

this is why I still use old iphones. They're slow and I have javascript turned off so the web is WAAY less addictive.

miguelmota said 8 months ago:

> Reddit with 150ms latency feels like cocaine: Reddit with 8000ms latency feels like coffee.

Reddit with Spectrum internet latency feels like water.

sharmaakshat said 7 months ago:

why this application suggested on Blog read the Browser History.

b34r said 8 months ago:

So you’re intentionally wasting power and time. Cool. Maybe just go outside.

olliej said 8 months ago:

I also use Comcast.

cdoxsey said 8 months ago:

Here's an app that simulates bad networks named Comcast:



emayljames said 8 months ago:

What if you use your Comcast connection to test, the universe might implode.

seedless-sensat said 8 months ago:

Or, move to Australia to curb internet addiction.

vincent-toups said 8 months ago:

This rules.

yori said 8 months ago:

> Withdrawn mostly from Reddit in favor of early 2000’s style forums that I pay money for and HN

What are the names of these early 2000's style forums? I would like to join them too.

AznHisoka said 8 months ago:

City-data.com and metafilter.com comes to mind.

CathedralBorrow said 8 months ago:

The Something Awful forums would fit this bill for me.

animalnewbie said 8 months ago:

I've had similar addiction, 22 hours of AoE out of 24. But if you're addicted to just regular web, maybe you should go see a therapist. You might be trying to suppress something.

bunchOfCucks said 8 months ago:

So edgy

Fnoord said 8 months ago:

In remembrance of the dial-up time where, during load, you'd decide if you liked the content you thus far saw. Or, where you'd load some websites and disconnect internet to read offline.

aj7 said 8 months ago:

The only time I want latency is when I have diarrhea.

cdoxsey said 8 months ago:

You might find freedom.to useful. You can block websites for certain times of the day and it works with all devices.

I've found that if you can break the habit of reaching to some site when you're bored the addiction falls off pretty quick.

Programming has a lot downtime sometimes - waiting for a build or a long test run - and there's sometimes a steep context switch to working on something else. (At least for me if I start something new I'll forget what I was working on before) It's those times when I found myself on Twitter or Reddit.

One thing I've been trying to do instead is read an actual book - non-fiction does ok, I can usually follow the argument reading a few paragraphs at a time. And Kindle makes it easy to read in your browser and pick up where you left off on an e-reader.

One tricky thing though: I blocked YouTube only to be reminded that Google's login still goes through a YouTube domain, so I inadvertently made it harder to login :(.