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I come to stack overflow to ask specific questions and read the answers for specific questions. Sometimes I also answer a few questions. However, I noticed that since the "hot questions" drop down was implemented, when I check my inbox I sometimes spot an interesting question, click on it and get distracted. Before I know, I spend 20 minutes answering an unrelated question and another 20 minutes reading though existing answers and I have long forgotten the original question I googled. This means I spend way more time on stack overflow, than I would spend otherwise. Unfortunately, this also has a negative effect on the amount of work done.

When I work, I usually block facebook and reddit to prevent myself from being distracted. Since I started doing this, my productivity has increased a great deal. I always considered stackoverflow a work related website that didn't have this problem. Until "hot questions" came along.

I understand that "hot questions" is a nice feature to have when someone is browsing for interesting topics. It also drives traffic to the website by extending the time the average user spends on the site. However, as an end user who uses stackoverflow for work, I want to stay focused and minimize distraction.

Therefore, is it possible to disable the hot question button or make the inbox the default view? If not, is there any third party extension that I could use to hide it?

Edit: Wow, I didn't expect that this question would invoke such hostility. I think hot questions is a great feature when you're in "looking for interesting stuff" mode. But when you're in "getting things done" mode, it's a distraction. At least to me. I know that everyone on this site is perfect and never has looked at a youtube funny cat video during their work hours, but I must admit that I have. And it actually resulted in less work done. And to me it does help that youtube is blocked when I work, because I'm not perfect, and there's a chance that I would still end up there somehow in some way as it happened to me in the past a few times... and please don't get me started about facebook and reddit...

share|improve this question
Duplicate of…? (at which the conclusion was that distracting you is the entire point of "hot questions" tab) – David Z Oct 28 '11 at 14:07
well, that's just my opinion. You don't have to agree with that. All I want is a way to see my inbox straight away. It's like when I go to my plane on the airport I don't want to go through 3 km of wine and chocolate shelves in the hope that I will stop and buy something. I just want to get to my plane and not be distracted. – siamii Oct 28 '11 at 14:11
If it's any consolation, I feel the same. My work is in a post-burnout scenario, where I begrudgingly understand that I need to get things done, as important pieces of my life will not work otherwise. For me, focus is a quickly depleting resource that's already hard enough to drag out to the end of the day. As much as I enjoy the occasional distraction, it's a predatory move on my attention span. After losing half an hour reading something highly interesting, but ultimately irrelevant to my life goals, I feel mentally bloated, and in the end, resentful. +1. – Alex J Jan 16 '14 at 11:21
I guess a lot of people either work in highly motivated environments where distraction is not an issue, or where they're doing interesting enough things that can compete with The Internet for attention. I don't have either of those luxuries, yet I still need to go online to get things done. I'm not afraid to admit that I need help with self-control regarding information. More than resenting SO for trying to grab a bit of my attention, I resent my life for putting me in a position where I have to control it so strictly. But where I am, every drop counts, and this just isn't helping. – Alex J Jan 16 '14 at 11:55
up vote 20 down vote accepted

Have you tried not clicking on interesting questions? Sounds like a simple enough fix to me.

If you really really really need this, how about a browser user stylesheet?

#hot-network-questions {
  display: none;
share|improve this answer
dis·tract (tr.v.) dis·tract·ed, dis·tract·ing, dis·tracts 1. To cause to turn away from the original focus of attention or interest; divert. I will try the user style sheet. – siamii Oct 28 '11 at 14:16
if everyone had 100% self control, there would be 0% distraction in the world – siamii Oct 28 '11 at 14:25
Ok thanks it works – siamii Oct 28 '11 at 14:25
The Unhandled Exception: "Ego depletion is the view that high self-control requires energy and focus, and over an extended period of self-control demands, this self-control can lessen." (from your link) – Alex J Jan 16 '14 at 11:08
I would delete the smug introduction to this answer. (The content of the answer is great, but the sarcastic remark misses the point of the question :) – Roly Jan 31 '14 at 11:28
But... but... but... the sarcastic remark is the main point of my answer! – The Unhandled Exception Jan 31 '14 at 11:52
Since when is a feature-request to a site answered with a user stylesheet?(.. or script or plugin or ... anyhting that has nothing to do with being a "feature" of the "site"). And why accept such an answer? – AndreasT Jun 8 '15 at 17:03
@AndreasT when the alternative is status-declined of course – The Unhandled Exception Jun 8 '15 at 17:05
The real reason to hide HNQ is if you're in an environment where "How do I cook meth?" or "Will sleeping with my son's wife have a negative effect on our relationship?" showing up in the sidebar will cause trouble. – Mark Jul 17 '15 at 0:36
Maybe NSFW questions shouldn't show up in the Hot Network Questions sidebar...? – The Unhandled Exception Jul 17 '15 at 0:38

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