How do I block these websites and how can I figure out my compulsion to visit them?
February 21, 2012 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I love tumblr, but there are a few specific tumblrblogs I need to stop reading to keep my own sanity. I compulsively read a certain set of blogs dozens of times per day. I have unfollowed them, but keep compulsively going directly to their blogs to read them. (This question is one part about software and one part human relations)

My first question is- is there a software I can get where I can block my computers from visiting these Tumblrs? I don't want to block all of tumblr, just a few specific blogs. other than these blogs, tumblr is a happy place for me where I mostly just look at pretty pictures. Ideally I would like the software to be password protected so I can give the password to my husband and he can hide it from me.

My second question is about why I keep doing this to myself? I feel like have a compulsion to seek out negative blogs by people. These are political "social justice" blogs that deal mostly with race/gender. The more oppressed/despairing/angry/vengeful a blog seems to be, the more I am drawn to it. I'm a lefty (politically) but I almost feel like I am addicted to the contant clusterfuck of anger/outrage/victimhood, even though my own life is just peachy for the most part. Are there any resources that I might use to find out why I am so drawn such negative and angry people?

I am seeing a therapist for the first time in a few weeks, so I have that covered. Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you use firefox, you can try the BlockSite or LeechBlock extension.

For the non-technical bit : you don't really need to understand why you're drawn to it. You just need to figure out a way of doing it less.
There are various approaches : If you can just stop doing it, and substitute another activity whenever you feel like going there - preferably something physical like taking a walk, stretching, etc - if you get past the first few minutes, sometimes the compulsion leaves. After a while (maybe a week, maybe a month), you'll notice that the need is not that strong anymore.

If you can't stop altogether, try the same method, but by setting reasonable goals and recording your success : say for example - only 30mn per day, and keep a journal of each day, and wether it was succesful or not, and why. Then every two weeks or so, when you feel comfortable with your current limit, try reducing it until it remains manageable.

Good luck
posted by motdiem2 at 2:14 PM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Are you on a Mac? SelfControl might help.
posted by pharm at 2:16 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's healthy to temper a happy life with anecdotes covering those unfortunate things you've not encountered; perspective breeds wisdom. Strong emotions also make for more interesting reading than apathetic views might. As long as this doesn't impact your own actions in life negatively, you shouldn't hate yourself for being drawn to such materials.
posted by MangyCarface at 2:23 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Randall Munroe, the author of, wrote a blog post about an approach he used for a similar-but-not-exactly-the-same problem. Essentially, he found that self-enforcing a reboot before looking at the online news sites he was having a problem with killed the compulsion to check them, even when other technical or honor-system approaches didn't help.

If that doesn't work for you, there are also lots of other ideas and approaches in the comments to that post.
posted by djspinmonkey at 2:57 PM on February 21, 2012

Maybe you like to have your opinions reinforced. Maybe your work is boring, tedious, or worse. I have some medical issues that cause "brainfog." I find that if I'm spending wayyyy too much time on MeFi and other sites, I need to refocus and re-energize my brain, or my work is too awful, and I need to bribe myself to do it.
posted by theora55 at 3:06 PM on February 21, 2012

My second question is about why I keep doing this to myself?

Not sure where I read this, but I think it was in You Are Not Your Brain. Anyway, it was something about neural pathways being like well-traveled roads that you continue to take because they're the easiest to take. So when the impulse to visit one of those angry sites arises, doing something else instead is like choosing to take a machete and make a new path through the forest. However, supposedly, if you do make that new path, and you travel it often and don't take that other road, that other road becomes overgrown... and the new path... well, you get the idea.
posted by seriousmoonlight at 4:17 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're doing this at home, and you want to block anyone on the network from reaching these sites, you could use openDNS. It allows one to white- or blacklist individual websites.
posted by chazlarson at 5:51 PM on February 21, 2012

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