Ending an Internet site addiction.
December 31, 2007 7:33 AM   Subscribe

As a New Year's resolution, I want to quit visiting an off-topic forum that robs my productivity. I would like to change the password and keep it at a distance so that I will not have access to it earlier than a year from now. Are there any solutions that will curb my addiction?

I have an account on an off-topic (almost stream of consciousness) discussion forum. Since the forum is high pace and constantly receiving new posts it's very easy to sit and refresh endlessly. If you do this over the course of several years, it can become quite addicting.

I have new plans for 2008 and I need some barriers to accomplish some of them. One, we'll be expecting our first child so I'm anticipating not even having the time to visit this forum. But that doesn't help during the work day or late at night, so I would prefer to change the login credentials to something that I can't easily recover and return. Login is based upon email address and password. I've done the "change the password word to gibberish" but on a very boring day I had to click "Recover password" to fight boredom.

I've thought about changing the login and password to my wife's email. It's definitely an option but I would rather entertain other solution that don't impede upon others so I can build some willpower of my own. To be honest, I had an easier time quitting smoking 8 years ago. Any ideas? Thanks.
posted by timmins to Human Relations (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You could change the email to that of a trusted friend and have them change the password and not tell you for a year.

You'd have to resolve to not get mad at them for it, though :)
posted by DMan at 7:40 AM on December 31, 2007

What's going to prevent you from creating a new account?
posted by smackfu at 7:42 AM on December 31, 2007

Add it to your hosts file and lock the file.
posted by fire&wings at 7:44 AM on December 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: @smackfu

It's an invite only forum. I would need to get a temp passphrase from the forum owner to get another account. They're also pretty stick on sockpuppet accounts.
posted by timmins at 7:52 AM on December 31, 2007

Commit, truly commit, to the idea that you are DONE with this forum. Wash your hands of it. You are FINISHED with this. Let it GO. Turn your thoughts of this forum to the past tense, because it's history.

I have done this. You can do this. But you have to let go and leave it behind you. Leaving a backdoor - which is what you're trying to do by turning your credentials over to someone else - won't work. You have to just walk away. Clear the site from your history, and your favorites, and anywhere else there's a link. And don't go back to it, no matter what.

Failing that, turn off the computer. Only turn on the computer when you need it. Need to check your email? Boot up, check the email, then shut down. Develop a list of things that need to be done online, then start the machine, do those things, then turn it off. Do this for three months. Or four, or five. Whatever it takes. Do this until you no longer have any interest in this website (it will happen).
posted by disclaimer at 7:52 AM on December 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here's how you can do it technologically, without involving another person:

1. Create a disposable e-mail account using TrashMail or something similar. TrashMail is good because it can be set to forward to your real e-mail account a certain number of times. Set that number to 1, so you can verify the e-mail switch later, but so that you can't receive any reminder notices.

2. Change your password to gibberish as you have before. Copy this gibberish into a message to yourself via one of the "future e-mail" services like FutureMe.org or FutureMail. Configure this to send the message to your real e-mail account one year from now, send it, then delete all traces of the gibberish password from your cache, hard drive, etc.

3. Change the e-mail address for the forum account to the disposable e-mail address, and confirm the change after the message forwards to you.

4. Log out of the forum.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:18 AM on December 31, 2007 [5 favorites]

There's actually a Firefox extension called "LeechBlock" that does exactly this. You can actually set up different blocking groups, with different time rules, etc. that they're in effect. (For example, you can set it to block out this target site altogether during the workday on weekdays, but check your GMail and the news during your lunch hour, etc.) It'll also do things like let you set time limits ("cut the site off after I spend more than 5 mins in any given hour", etc.)
posted by LairBob at 8:34 AM on December 31, 2007 [13 favorites]

Attack the cause of the procrastination using Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Otherwise you will find that you will find another distraction.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:23 AM on December 31, 2007

Response by poster: @ IronMouth

I'm hoping my new distraction is my child on the way. However, I will look into this practice as further assistance in being successful.
posted by timmins at 9:50 AM on December 31, 2007

Get yourself banned.
posted by wfc123 at 10:02 AM on December 31, 2007

Response by poster: @wfc123
That's one of my the biggest negatives of the forum. You can't get banned as the owner believes the negative aspects will always iron out eventually. Some people antagonize day in/day out while other have have an infectious mob mentality. I think with the suggestions I've found many roadblocks to revisiting. Plus, by getting banned, I'd only make the environment worse to serve my personal needs.
posted by timmins at 11:38 AM on December 31, 2007

Would you mind sharing which forum you are referring to? Totally okay if you don't, but I've been looking for a forum that updates frequently. Maybe you can transfer your addiction to me. I've already accepted that I'm addicted to the internet for life, so why not add another fun forum to visit over and over? Seriously, though, I hope you are able to kick this habit if that is what you want to do.
posted by susiepie at 6:12 PM on December 31, 2007

About four or five years ago I discovered that I was the top commenter on a certain website, which I will not name. I wouldn't have been surprised at top ten, but top overall ... And there wasn't even a really close #2 at the time. I resolved to change this (it hadn't been a real problem as I had a conslutant-type job with gobs of free time, but I wanted to do something more productive) and went cold turkey for a month. Let me tell you, sitting on my hands was the toughest thing I'd done in quite a while (especially since I continued to lurk, but only allowed myself about a visit per day). After a month I set up a spreadsheet to let myself ease back into posting again. At first I only allowed myself a single comment a day. The spreadsheet was dynamic to my contribution index, so that basically, my comments/day could not rise without other people catching up to me. After about six months I was allowing myself quite a few comments per day, but in the meantime I had found that I had acclimated to a lower posting/commenting rate, and preferred to leave fewer high-quality comments.

Not saying this would work for you, but I felt better for managing my addiction.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 PM on December 31, 2007

« Older Good feminist blogs?   |   I love stealing so much, I'll steal my internet... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.