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Yesterday I was talking with a friend of mine, and when I told him that I provided more than 400 answers and asked more than 100 questions and, generally, I found SO very useful and interesting place for a programmer nowadays, he asked very interesting question:

And how do you think, how much time have you spent on all that?

I thought that it would be very interesting to find it out if it's possible. So, is it?

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I highly doubt every single page you visit and length of time is logged, just out of database size considerations. – TheLQ Oct 1 '10 at 11:22
I hope not. That would be terribly depressing. – Uticensis Apr 19 '11 at 15:20

It would be impossible to measure that accurately. Suppose you have a page open with a very long answer... are you actually reading that answer, or are you watching TV? How is anything meant to know the difference?

The best you could reasonably do is assign some length of time to each page viewed or post made, and again that could be very inaccurate. If you spend two hours researching an answer, how could anything know that?

I think these limitations would create such a huge inaccuracy that it wouldn't be worth estimating.

On a side-note, it's probably a good thing for me that such a tool doesn't exist.

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I figured we could estimate your time spent by multiplying the number of days since registration by about 8 hours, a rough estimate of average time derived from your schedule. This yields about 5880 hours. – Grace Note Oct 1 '10 at 12:33

RescueTime will do this. A component on your system tracks the amount of time you spend in each program (and on each website) and sends it to RescueTime. The website then displays charts and graphs and various tools that you can use to categorize the data and gauge your productivity. The "lite" version (and perhaps a Pro trial) is free, but there is a charge for advanced features.

If you're idle for a certain period of time (the time being configurable, if I remember correctly), it will just ask you what you were doing during that time. So if you are reading a very long question, it should mark n seconds of time as SO, then m seconds of time as idle, which would be left to you to categorize manually.

It sounds a bit hefty to implement in SO itself, but if it's just the information you're after, that will do it.

LeechBlock is also quite effective, if you just want to be cut off before spending too much time on SO. It doesn't have the fancy stats, though. :)

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