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This may sound like a 'first world problem', but I am quite easily distracted by the 'Hot Network Questions' sidebar, as I find them quite amusing and some of them quite intellectual

But where the problem lies is that, even at work, if I google something up and find a solution on Stack Overflow, to some random problem I am working at, I (always) get distracted towards them (Hot Network Questions), and end up reading the whole Qs as well as As of that respective question, and this is adversely affecting my productivity.

Any suggestion would greatly help.


Why all the negativity, this is a totally justified, UX psychology related question.

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Be focused only on your problem. In case the title in hot question grabs your attention then check out (will be interesting). That is the main purpose of hot questions. –  Praveen Feb 24 at 6:51
Thats exactly whats happening, I find each (most) one of them pretty interesting.. –  9kSoft Feb 24 at 6:52
Then you should reduce your screen resolution to 768 x 1280 ;) –  Praveen Feb 24 at 6:57
Just create a userscript that runs the following when you load a page: $("#hot-network-questions").hide() -- that should hide that div. Problem solved. –  jmac Feb 24 at 7:02
@RoryAlsop - The OP just can't control. :) –  hims056 Feb 24 at 9:12
I would also know how to disable the "Hot Network Questions" list. I find it distracting, and opposite to the spirit of questions and answers without distractions. –  xpereta Feb 24 at 15:18
Totally agree. This is both a complaint and a compliment; I've discovered more through Hot Network Questions in a few days more than I've learned from Wikipedia in years! On the other hand, it's really tolling on the actual work I get done. –  Jacob Spire Feb 26 at 7:00
BTW, Hot Network Questions ruins rule #8 on the Joel Test –  Jacob Spire Feb 26 at 7:04
Absolutely agree. The very presence of the sidebar reduces the effectiveness of stackoverflow for me. I want to turn it off. On the other hand, "Related" is very helpful. –  Alan Baljeu Feb 27 at 1:30
You don't have to use self-control if it's not there. It costs me extra mental CPU cycles to ignore it. This increases the friction of using Stack Overflow -- I'm looking for information to solve a problem, but now I have to filter out information about Boba Fett. –  user1454265 Mar 12 at 19:20
Can you guy at least make it like a collapsible div? I have enough self-control to willfully hide it from myself. –  emragins Mar 19 at 21:19
I desperately badly want to get rid of Hot Network Questions from my sidebar when I'm using Stack Overflow as I find most of the questions in there to be rather silly. –  Tufty McTavish Mar 19 at 21:33
Having it as a collapsible div that remembers its collapsed state would seem like a good option. For now, adblock works. –  PeterT Jun 13 at 17:22
Just to add a problem that justify this question, If my crazy non tech boss reads "Why did Vishnu take avatar as half human and half lion?" on my screen, I'll have a hard time to explain that I really was working and That I was not reading about pokemon. –  jonathan Jul 7 at 13:00
I came to this page to see how to block Hot Network Questions, but ended up clicking on Can a civilian aircraft pilot see a missile coming? The answer, by the way, seems to be probably not, especially if fired from the ground. Time for bed, I'll work on blocking them tomorrow. –  Garrett Jul 20 at 10:53

4 Answers 4

up vote 57 down vote accepted

Adblock - add the following filter:


or, if you need to do work on other SE sites:


You can turn it off when you want to read them later :) Also, you need not block any other ads if you want to support SO. I'm off to get my productivity back, good luck!

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^ This is exactly what I did, but was reluctant on whether I should share it with others, you know the 'ethical grounds talk' about blocking ads and etc.... –  9kSoft Mar 1 at 6:03
Yeah...you don't have to block the other ads though. I hope if SE requires us to experience the site in it's most ADD-susceptible form though, that we as a community have a discussion about the implications. Honestly I love reading them, I just can't during the day without potentially losing my train of thought. –  Chris Mar 2 at 6:54
@wardha-Web for those who don't want to block ads, another option is to use a GreaseMonkey/TamperMonkey script. –  elias Mar 6 at 19:46
Lovely, that Adblock filter suggestion worked a treat for me just now. Thanks, Chris, that's a source of growing irritation squashed! –  Tufty McTavish Mar 19 at 21:40
I find it sad that this is the only true solution, but this make your answer all the more valuable. Thank you very much. –  Alfred M. Mar 20 at 14:37
Happy to help! Also, I looked into StayFocusd but unfortunately they don't have the appropriate functionality yet... –  Chris Mar 20 at 14:49
Thanks dude, this is exactly what I wanted. Welcome back, productivity!! –  ashes999 Mar 26 at 14:59
Thanks. It would be better to be able to switch off Hot Network Questions via your account settings, but this is a pretty good option. –  Roly Apr 20 at 10:17
That's a wonderful wonderful tip. It never occurred to me that I could use Adblocker like this. I suspect that this will become more and more useful for a massive range of things. –  Joe Apr 23 at 19:13
I'm having trouble getting these filters to work: I get the error message "Failed to fetch this filter!" Any ideas? –  PunDefeated Jul 10 at 16:56
Excellent, this worked for me. And I've never even considered installing an ad blocker before now. The Hot Network Questions were just that distracting. –  arlomedia Aug 19 at 20:02
Well... those wont be missed. –  twiz Sep 10 at 20:09
I've been using this tip for the last few months. It's wonderful. I now find StackOverflow so much more productive and useful: I can actually go and get stuff done, rather than get lost in another random maze of browsing. When I stray on to a site where I haven't applied it, it's kind of a shock to see this distracting nonsense. I understand why the SE people think this is good for "growing communities" - but it's not great for the individual users. –  Steve Bennett Nov 30 at 22:11

I think some of the answers here that suggest "Have some self control!" miss the point.

  • Given: Seeing an interesting question automatically makes some brains trigger "work on that question" (umm, citation - you know if this describes you)
  • Given: Intentionally avoiding looking at that area, or even harder, stopping the "work on that question" process, once started, requires some quantity of mental resources
  • Given: mental resources are limited (for all of us) and very valuable (for many of us)

"Have more self control" is another way of saying "use some of your limited and valuable mental resources to do X".

Soo...why would you argue that StackExchange (StackOverflow is what I am on most often), that great boon to productivity everywhere (see StackOverflow about, which says: "Ask questions, get answers, no distractions") should force this distraction on all its users? If I want to be distracted, I'll go to Buzzfeed (I don't).

I guess the question comes down to: does SE want to prioritize the interests of its users, or prioritize "get more questions answered, even if it means being a parasite of mental resources like Buzzfeed"? It's a free site so I have no standing to argue that SE should prioritize my interests, but it's a question that needs to be answered.

(In closing: please allow users to choose to hide it.)

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For those who use GreaseMonkey or TamperMonkey, you can easily create an user script:

// ==UserScript==
// @name       Hide Hot Network Questions 
// @namespace  http://CHANGE.TO.YOUR.WEBPAGE
// @version    0.1
// @description  Hide Hot-Network-Questions in StackExchange sites
// @match      http://*/*
// @copyright  2012+, You
// ==/UserScript==

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Using Stylish with #hot-network-questions { display: none } might be even more effective. –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 7 at 0:16
My productivity is saved! –  Noumenon Mar 30 at 1:05
@IlmariKaronen That should be an answer –  Andrew Spencer Sep 30 at 8:30

For Safari, I searched for "CSS" on the Safari Extension page at Apple. I noticed Quickstyle.

After installation of Quickstyle, I followed the instructions like this:enter image description here

And the Hot Network Questions disappeared!

Thank you Ilmari Karonen for the tip.

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