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...

  • 1
    Duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86342/…? (at which the conclusion was that distracting you is the entire point of "hot questions" tab)
    – David Z
    Oct 28, 2011 at 14:07
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    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, 2011 at 14:11
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    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, 2014 at 11:21
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    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, 2014 at 11:55
  • 1
    Duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/q/222721/134729 Oct 17, 2018 at 22:19

4 Answers 4


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 user stylesheet?

#hot-network-questions {
  display: none;
  • 21
    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, 2011 at 14:16
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    if everyone had 100% self control, there would be 0% distraction in the world
    – siamii
    Oct 28, 2011 at 14:25
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    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, 2014 at 11:08
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    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, 2015 at 17:03
  • @AndreasT when the alternative is status-declined of course Jun 8, 2015 at 17:05
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    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, 2015 at 0:36
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    Maybe NSFW questions shouldn't show up in the Hot Network Questions sidebar...? Jul 17, 2015 at 0:38
  • 2
    I suggest the Stylish extension to easily setup user stylesheets in Safari.
    – Janosh
    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:15
  • Do you mean you have something against people removing the Hot Network Questions box? If you don't want to read them, then what purpose does it serve to keep them there? Jul 24, 2022 at 20:05

Even simpler than Unhandled's suggestion would be to install uBlock (available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera) followed by right-clicking the hot network questions area (or any other site element for that matter) and choosing Block element.

  • "Normal" adblock plus also has similar feature: ADP icon -> block element -> click Hot Network section -> enter. Repeat for any stack* site you frequent. It's kind of sad though that now I can't disable adblock for stack*...
    – MateuszL
    Feb 28, 2018 at 11:27

There is now a preference to disable Hot New Questions from appearing.

See https://meta.stackexchange.com/users/preferences/ under "sidebar".

I'm using it to hide Game of Thrones spoilers.


There's a Chrome extension called Hide Hot Network Question on Stack Exchange that works well for this.

(It also gives you the option to replace the area with a "question hiding options" link which is a useful reminder that you've disabled this feature.)

For more details and other features, see the relevant answer about this extension here. GitHub link is here.

  • I'm just sharing because I personally found my solution more useful than the other answers here for a few reasons, though it's a Chrome-specific solution. I'm not sure why it's being downvoted, but let me know if the answer is inappropriate here. Otherwise, I will leave this answer as-is for other future viewers.
    – sonnyb
    May 3, 2018 at 11:51
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    Dunno why the downvotes. This indeed appear to be useful for many. Thanks. May 3, 2018 at 13:08

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