466

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.

  • 29
    Thats exactly whats happening, I find each (most) one of them pretty interesting.. – Mohd Abdul Mujib Feb 24 '14 at 6:52
  • 9
    Then you should reduce your screen resolution to 768 x 1280 ;) – Praveen Feb 24 '14 at 6:57
  • 38
    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 '14 at 7:02
  • 50
    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 '14 at 15:18
  • 31
    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. – Yehuda Shapira Feb 26 '14 at 7:00
  • 38
    BTW, Hot Network Questions ruins rule #8 on the Joel Test – Yehuda Shapira Feb 26 '14 at 7:04
  • 49
    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 '14 at 1:30
  • 79
    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 '14 at 19:20
  • 16
    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 '14 at 21:19
  • 17
    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 '14 at 21:33
  • 10
    Yes, Hot Network Questions sucks deeply, and intrudes like spam does. Thankfully, the AdBlock solution below worked for me. – Roly Apr 20 '14 at 10:16
  • 7
    Having it as a collapsible div that remembers its collapsed state would seem like a good option. For now, adblock works. – PeterT Jun 13 '14 at 17:22
  • 97
    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 '14 at 10:53
  • 7
    Gads! I just read your question - I'd never paid any attention to the Hot Network Questions ... now I'm distracted by "Why do I only breath out of one nostril?" --- I understand your dilemma --- my wife is giving me guff for reading it :=( <-- that's two nostrils, one currently working... – Howard Pautz Sep 15 '14 at 18:18
  • 5
    @Garrett Great, now I'm reading that question, instead of adding a user script. – Frank Kusters Mar 11 '15 at 9:11

17 Answers 17

41

No further need for self control or userscripts!

As of 11 March 2019 you can hide the HNQ list from the sidebar globally by visiting your preferences page and choosing "Hide Hot Network Questions", which appears in the "Sidebar" section.

Hide Hot Network Question preference on user preferences page

This was rolled out as part of a major update to the HNQ list behavior.

  • 2
    Ok This solves it. Finally, Case closed :) – Mohd Abdul Mujib Mar 12 at 12:39
304
+50

Adblock - add the following filter:

stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions

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

###hot-network-questions

Also, if you use uBlock origin, you can simply right-click the element and click "block element" to implement the above.

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!

  • 1
    ^ 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.... – Mohd Abdul Mujib Mar 1 '14 at 6:03
  • 23
    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 '14 at 6:54
  • 2
    @wardha-Web for those who don't want to block ads, another option is to use a GreaseMonkey/TamperMonkey script. – elias Mar 6 '14 at 19:46
  • 12
    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 '14 at 21:40
  • 1
    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 '14 at 14:37
  • 4
    Thanks dude, this is exactly what I wanted. Welcome back, productivity!! – ashes999 Mar 26 '14 at 14:59
  • 25
    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 '14 at 10:17
  • 1
    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 '14 at 19:13
  • 4
    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 '14 at 20:02
  • 2
    Well... those wont be missed. – twiz Sep 10 '14 at 20:09
  • 10
    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 '14 at 22:11
  • 3
    Can this be extended to also hide "Hot Meta Posts"? – becko Mar 23 '16 at 17:39
  • 5
    @becko ###sidebar > .community-bulletin.module – Chris May 23 '16 at 19:27
  • 1
    How do you get it to allow ads, but still block the hot network questions? – mjs Nov 16 '16 at 12:44
  • 1
    As an ignorant pleb with no knowledge of how Adblock works, "Block an ad on this page" -> <Click hot network questions> did the trick for me (although you have to do it again every time you visit a different stack exchange). – preferred_anon Sep 4 '18 at 15:18
113
+50

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.)

  • 9
    Yeah humans are deeply flawed - we are wired to be distracted. Once you recognise and work with that fact - you will have a better life and be more effective. This is certainly a situation where SE interests are deeply misaligned with users. – niico May 6 '17 at 11:41
  • The hot network questions can also be a source of film spoilers. – Steven M. Vascellaro May 1 '18 at 15:31
40

If you use Chrome but don't want to trust a third-party extension, you can roll your own pretty easily:

  1. manifest.json

    {
        "manifest_version": 2,
        "name": "Stack exchange styles",
        "version": "0.1",
        "content_scripts": [{
            "matches": ["*://meta.stackexchange.com/*", "*://stackoverflow.com/*"],
            "css": ["style.css"]
        }]
    }
    
  2. style.css

    #hot-network-questions { display: none; }
    
  3. Open chrome://extensions/, enable "Developer mode", click on "Load unpacked extension" then select the folder containing the 2 files above.

  • 8
    Great if, like me, your employer blocks access to the Chrome Extensions store. – rleelr Jun 7 '16 at 11:21
  • 6
    Thanks for this, it has the added bonus of quickly introducing the user to how to set up one's own Chrome Extensions. – Eric Kigathi Jun 7 '16 at 17:33
  • 1
    Great ! How to do it efficiently for every websites of the stackexchange network ? – ThePassenger Aug 8 '18 at 15:09
  • 3
    @Marine1 For a start, add "*://askubuntu.com/*", "*://*.stackexchange.com/*" to matches. – Noumenon Aug 8 '18 at 23:46
  • 3
    Not so great if, now like me, your employer blocks Chrome developer extensions as well... – rleelr Oct 22 '18 at 8:37
  • 3
    @rleelr Lol, two years later. Keep us posted, and godspeed. salutes – Jake Reece Nov 1 '18 at 19:43
32

Check out this Stylish script, https://userstyles.org/styles/146704/undistractify-stackoverflow-enhanced

It hides chat rooms, network questions. Anything distracting.

The advantage of using this over adblock:

This allows for easy toggling.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Updated this. The old user scripts are not working anymore. – tinker Apr 19 '16 at 3:02
  • 4
    Since January 2017, Stylish has been spying on your internet history. robertheaton.com/2018/07/02/… – Tim Iles Jul 3 '18 at 11:47
  • 1
    The Stylus extension could be used as a replacement to the now spyware-enabled Stylish. It is a fork of Stylish and contains the same Undistractify StackOverflow style. – André Dec 24 '18 at 8:46
  • Thank you, Hot Network Questions is an abomination and this is probably the easiest solution I've encountered. – Roly Jan 12 at 16:05
31

For those who use GreaseMonkey or TamperMonkey, you can easily create a 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      *://*.stackexchange.com/*
// @match      *://*.stackoverflow.com/*
// @match      *://*.superuser.com/*
// @match      *://*.serverfault.com/*
// @match      *://*.askubuntu.com/*
// @match      *://*.stackapps.com/*
// @match      *://*.mathoverflow.net/*
// @exclude    *://chat.stackexchange.com/*
// @exclude    *://chat.meta.stackexchange.com/*
// @exclude    *://chat.stackoverflow.com/*
// @copyright  2012+, You
// ==/UserScript==

(function(){
    var bar = document.getElementById('hot-network-questions');
    if (bar) bar.style.display="none";
})();
  • 11
    Using Stylish with #hot-network-questions { display: none } might be even more effective. – Ilmari Karonen Mar 7 '14 at 0:16
  • 1
    My productivity is saved! – Noumenon Mar 30 '14 at 1:05
  • 2
    @IlmariKaronen That should be an answer – Andrew Spencer Sep 30 '14 at 8:30
13

One new chrome extension to rule them all. It also hides other annoying sidebars like chat!

Plus point, chrome extension allows for easy toggling.

Simply awesome!

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sidebaroverflow/lhieihmjhlbhpjkamdjfjldcapnmhddp?hl=en

enter image description here

  • Looks kinda promising, is the extension available for other browsers? – Mohd Abdul Mujib Apr 7 '16 at 5:21
  • i don't think so. I didn't do a search though. – tinker Apr 15 '16 at 9:32
  • 1
    Update: this doesn't work for superUser. Only for stack overflow. BIG minus point. Now, I'm using Stylish script posted in another answer. – tinker Apr 19 '16 at 3:01
  • 1
    One nice thing about this extension is the source is available here: github.com/ShivanKaul/SidebarOverflow – Elijah Lofgren Aug 30 '17 at 19:52
  • This quadrupled my productivity :D No more "oh I know the answer to this one and I bet everyone else is wrong" – Arthur Tarasov Oct 13 '18 at 2:58
12

You can use a user stylesheet on Mozilla browsers (SeaMonkey, Firefox, Camino). It does not require any installed extensions.

Open the userContent.css file (create if necessary) in your profile folder's chrome directory, and paste the following:

@-moz-document domain(stackexchange.com), domain(stackoverflow.com), domain(serverfault.com) {
    #hot-network-questions {
        display: none;
    }
}

You will need to restart the browser for any changes to take effect.

The userContent.css file is tucked away inside the profile folder, which is a bit tough to find.

You can follow the instructions for SeaMonkey or for Firefox on the Mozillazine wiki, or here's the short version:

  • ~/.mozilla/seamonkey/******/chrome/userContent.css (Unix)
  • %APPDATA%\Mozilla\SeaMonkey\Profiles\******\chrome\userContent.css (Windows)
  • ~/Library/Application Support/SeaMonkey/Profiles/******/chrome/userContent.css (OS X)

where '******' is your profile's name plus a random string. You know you are in the correct directory if you see the file userContent-example.css there.

  • I can't use Firefox extensions so this solution is ideal, and seems to work fine. – nekomatic Dec 19 '16 at 16:48
  • This should be at the top. – Dunatotatos Apr 4 '17 at 13:24
  • For me, this required a restart of Firefox, but then worked great! – Jon Schneider Sep 21 '17 at 19:32
  • 4
    The chrome directory has to be created as well. In current version (60.0), on Unix, the file has to be in ~/.mozilla/firefox/***.default/chrome/userContent.css – Dunatotatos May 25 '18 at 18:01
10

Blocking the Hot Network Questions is one of the features of Stack Overflow Extras (SOX).

After installing, you need to apply some settings. This is the one:

enter image description here

7

I've written a Chrome extension to hide/filter the Hot Network Questions list. It hides all questions by default, or you can specify a whitelist or blacklist of sites and keywords you'd like to see.

You can install it from the Chrome Web Store or check out the code on GitHub.

  • reposting from this thread which was closed as a duplicate – Jeremy Mar 12 '18 at 14:24
5

AdBlock Plus (for Chrome) offers a simple solution. Just click on the extension's icon, click Block Element and then select the Hot Networks area with the mouse (it will light up when you hover over it). That's it! The job is done.


PS - After you click the box with your mouse pointer, ABP will open a popup window where the blocked elements will be listed -

meta.stackexchange.com###hot-network-questions
meta.stackexchange.com##.module.tex2jax_ignore

Just change the first line to

###hot-network-questions

and that will implement the fix to all SE sites.

2

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.

2

If you don't have access to Chrome extensions and need to use Internet Explorer, (for example in a corporate environment) you can create a user stylesheet (save this as a .css file):

#hot-network-questions {
  display: none;
}

For Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options > General > Accessibility. Click the check box for "Format documents using my style sheet". Browse to your style sheet and choose it. Then click OK and relaunch the browser to apply the styles.

Style sheets can be installed for other browsers via these instructions: http://webdesign.about.com/od/userstylesheets/a/aa010906.htm

1

For FireFox, there is the UnHot addon which should do just that. unhot logo

Just install it to hide them.

I programmed it

1

Here's a simple solution verified for Safari that

  • does not require any add-ons
  • probably should work cross-browser

When on the site in question

  1. Quickly open console from browser using keyboard Cmd-Option-C (altho you get more window than nec.)

  2. Enter the command $("#hot-network-questions").hide(); ~ thanks to previous answers

    • IF: it’s the first time you are using it

    • ELSE: up-arrow to issue the same command issued previously

Console log history stays intact with Safari restart

1

I have uBlock Origin installed in Firefox but never created any custom filters for it previously.
Inspired by @user1993 I now have the following rules (uBlock icon > Open the dashboard > My filters):

stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Programming Puzzles & Code Golf Stack Exchange"])
stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Role-playing Games Stack Exchange"])
stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange"])
stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Movies & TV Stack Exchange"])
stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Puzzling Stack Exchange"])
stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Arqade"])
stackoverflow.com###hot-network-questions > ul > li:has(div[title="Worldbuilding Stack Exchange"])
  • 1
    Just done this myself. It's unfortunate, though understandable, that cosmetic filters such as this can't be made global. But a quick copy-paste and change stackoverflow to stackexchange in one set will cover all other SE sites as well. – AakashM Oct 17 '18 at 9:05
0

Unrelated recommendations are a common distraction in many websites. Blocking software (like adblockers) can be used personally to hide this particular element as seen in other answers, but they also allow to use a community maintained list to block all these kinds of distraction.

This filter list can be added to blocker software (e.g. ublock, abp) for this purpose: https://github.com/KCaglarCoskun/enur-filter-list

*The list is under development.

Disclosure: I created this list myself.

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