After searching for how to turn off 'Hot Network Questions' I see that debate over this topic has been raging for years. Threads have repeated and on-going replies with users posting their frustrations at looking to remove it.
It is extremely surprising that there is still no option to do so. Why is this?
Like many others, I find Stack Overflow a useful resource for professional programming and statistical issues, but this time is much less productive than it should be because of this section, and frequently turns me off Stack Overflow and makes me look for other sources first, where I won't be distracted by, for example, philosophical debate (from the interesting to the ludicrous, they're still a distraction and often not appropriate for work) or this week's Game of Thrones spoilers.
I realise this is a repeat topic, but there seems to be a large body of users who are against the Hot Network Questions sidebar, at least in its current implementation, and there does not seem to be a clear justification for why it remains like this.
- Edited to clarify distinction from previous question 'what is the goal of "Hot Network Questions?" (although this also seems unresolved); I think the specific issue that I and a lot of other users have is that they are an unwanted and inappropriate distraction when trying to use Stack Exchange for work purposes.