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.
This reminds me of the old VBulletin plugin "Miserable Users".
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
"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"
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
'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!"
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is brilliant! I've been suffering from work related anxiety for years which I've learned to douse with Youtube, Reddit or HN. This became a huge problem for me recently and so I had to try to break my habit loops (Cue -> Action -> Reward).
I cannot quit cold-turkey because all the methods that I can think of to block the websites I can undo in the mania of anxiety.
Youtube always gives you an option to look for more content, either on the side of the video you are currently watching, on the screen immediately after you are done watching or by going to the home page and giving you the options. Using Origin ad-blocker I removed all the immediate suggestions. And also the youtube home button, the only red element of the Youtube gui that catches your notice, that you click on to reduce your anxiety. That you then develop a habit on, just like the suggestions. On mobile I uninstalled the app and used the ad-blocker to render it useless. All external links play videos and the search still works.
For reddit I force the old view, without the infinite scroll, just like the author. I also removed the 'all' link from all the pages as I had formed a habit with that as well. And I limit the number of posts visible at any given time.
I have, other than the author's solution, no counter for HN.
For other websites, I've similarly blocked such habit forming gui features. And the most important bit has been deleting websites from the auto suggest feature of firefox. I've deleted a good number of the common offender websites form it, but I still don't know how to disable those ~10 websites that show up when you go to type something.
The Key has been disrupting the 'cue' of the habits. It leaves you a little confused when you don't find your habit enabler on the websites, but then it gets better. Or like me you form other new habits. The solution author suggests will definitely be of help.
Edit: Words. Also, does anyone know how to disable the dropdown suggestions in the address bar? The one you get when you haven't typed anything, because I've got a habit with the dropdown button as well. There is nothing in the options, but what about the developer options?
Most of my Youtube consumption is via youtube-dl run on my server via cron job, with the videos then synced from there to the relevant devices by Syncthing. For things that don't have ready-made playlists I can put in cron jobs, I run youtube-dl manually. Then when I'm ready to watch it, I open the video in VLC and then delete it after I'm done.
I set this up for my convenience, since I often like to consume this media in contexts where I don't want to use mobile data, and because back when I set this up my internet speed was inconsistent enough to cause frequent buffering. However, I'm now realizing it has a lot of benefit in preventing me from ever seeing any of Youtube's "keep watching more things" UI, and it adds substantial latency and effort to any "impulse" watches, since the process is now: decide to watch: copy URL, paste into terminal command, wait up to 10s of minutes for download, go to videos folder, open video.
On Android, through f-droid, there is app called 'NewPipe'. It uses youtube-dl to let you search and watch videos. It can use your exported subscriptions to show you their videos. But the gui is so not interested in keeping your attention, no immediate suggestions and no 'home' page, that it feels rudimentary. You get the bare minimum you need, and no more.
> 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.
Youtube-dl can already do that, I believe. If you pass it a channel URL, it downloads all the videos for that channel. Use that with the "--download-archive" to keep track of which videos you've already downloaded, and perhaps "--max-downloads" to avoid filling up your hard drive, and you're about 90% of the way there.
HN has a no-procrastination mode that might be useful. On the settings page, turn on `noprocrast` and then configure `maxvisit` and `mindelay` - HN will force you to wait `mindelay` minutes whenever you have been on there longer than `maxvisit` minutes.
Maybe you knew about this already, but posting this anyway as it might be useful to someone else.
I don't know about you, but my anxiety-habits are a beast. If I overtly stop myself from doing something, then I can very easily undo it. The trick is to stop the habit from triggering. My trigger for HN is stress and I can't stop it, other than the proxy delay method the author mentions. If I block myslef, then I can un-block myself. In youtube, I have multiple habits. I've curtailed the most egregious ones using the steps above. Haven't yet got one like that for HN. Real easy to type news.ycobinator.com in the address bar.
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.
The crazy thing about addiction-forming parts on websites is, that even stack overflow has it, with their hot networks box. Great (/s), when your metric as a provider is not how helpful you've been but user engagement...
Luckily they're easily blocked with uBlock Origin.
> Call me crazy but I even got rid of typing suggestions in the Firefox address bar.
If that makes you crazy, than I may be worse. I turned off all auto-suggest, auto-correct, auto-complete, and search in the address bar. I turned on the seperate search box, so I only search when I intend to, and I get exactly what I type, even if I msipel it.
I’ve found that getting rid of the clock on my desktop helps me. I don’t find myself constantly looking at what time it is anymore, and can get work done until the end of the day, or before meetings. It’ll notify when a meeting is happening anyway.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
If I were somehow transported back in time to The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold, 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.
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.
> 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?)
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.
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".
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.
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).
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!".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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).
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.
> 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.
>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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Linus Sebastian says that making his phone slower to open made him enjoy it more. 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.
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 :(
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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 :(.