The purpose is to help the addicted user stick to a decision to concentrate on a different, short-term real-life problems s/he urgently has to deal with.

I've seen this feature on some high-activity community forums. "Ban myself" button should offer several pre-defined periods for banning: starting with a few days, and up to 2 weeks (or maybe even a month, but that seems too much).

Optionally, this button should ban the requesting user on all profile-linked SO sister sites.

Clearly, there should be no way out of self-ban period.


How do you escape an addiction to stack overflow? (web archive for <10k users)

How addicted to StackOverflow are you? (web archive for <10k users)

  • 25
    You've got a problem! :) Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 15:46
  • 66
    If that button existed I would have about a bazillion SO accounts by now...
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 15:47
  • 6
    Clever, but not really a good idea. Who'd click it? Would there at least be a confirmation to prevent accidental clicks? Does it not violate the "don't make me think" principle?
    – John Rudy
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 17:46
  • same problem of mine: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/48472/…
    – Cesar
    Commented May 1, 2010 at 3:24
  • 12
    Am I the only one who sees the simple solution: self control? And if you would now excuse me, I just missed a deadline and ha...oh look, there are new questions on SO. Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 12:06
  • 3
    Here's a working solution to your problem: a userscript meta.stackexchange.com/a/126695/178438 Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 13:16
  • 10
    This looks like a great idea for a 50k+ privilege !
    – Surb
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 8:06
  • 1
    Do you know the short story Quitters, Inc. by Stephen King?
    – allo
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 17:14
  • Wow. Just a read a summary of that one. Crazy to imagine such a service to exist for real.
    – chronos
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 13:24

9 Answers 9


You could try adding the following lines to your hosts file:   www.stackoverflow.com   stackoverflow.com

It has the added benefit of punishing you should you attempt to browse there.

  • 11
    I can undo that :(
    – chronos
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 16:31
  • 18
    ha-ha, I've checked those IPs :)
    – chronos
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 16:34
  • 8
    And now this question is on Google's first page of search results for the query ""; just great.
    – Pops
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 5:08
  • 1
    What if someone already has an account there?
    – rwong
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 5:12
  • 1
    You can undo it, but will you? I've found that the momentary flow break caused by not being able to get to a given site is sufficient to remind me why I "host-banned" it in the first place.
    – user142148
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 18:26
  • Just visited that site first time in a long time. And ran away promptly when it said "Trusted by the U.S. Government"
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 23:19
  • The IPs listed here have changed since this was posted in `09, removing because it's pretty much noise now, and this keeps coming up.
    – user50049
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 15:16
  • 2
    Restored with new IPs 'cause it's a damn good idea if you find this place has become too much of a habit...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 15, 2013 at 4:21
  • 7
    Not sure where this is supposed to connect, I get a JSON saying disabled by administrator on an AWS host. Do the IP addresses need to be updated again?
    – tripleee
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 5:48
  • The IP address that was above doesn't seem to go anywhere anymore. What if we just stick with the loopback address? (I've edited it this way, but it needs approval by "trusted community members".)
    – user142148
    Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 13:51
  • @Kyralessa that is no fun, I entered the updated IP adresses.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 12:09
  • @Luuklag That's great...until it breaks again. Or until somebody updates it with malware. For those trying out this trick, used in the above snippet in place of whatever IP address is currently there will redirect to your own machine (giving you a simple 404 unless you have a local web server set up).
    – user142148
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 13:23

So.. an ejector seat button?

know when to pull it

But more seriously, browse https://stackapps.com a bit. For example

  • 11
    Well, you can't undo that... Commented May 27, 2010 at 1:44

Perhaps "Take a Break" would be a better name for the button.

this is a very good idea; self-control is enhanced by technology ;-)


Wikipedia has a "Wikibreak enforcer" script, so I decided to modify it for SO.

Here's the script: Ban myself/enforced break userscript

Note that since SO does not have the ability to install userscripts for a user(on any computer/browser), this is much more easily uninstalled than on Wikipedia, where you have to ask an admin to blank your personal js page.

  • 4
    Too easily uninstalled, you say? I'll just open an SO question about how to fix that. Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 23:21

Instead of a button, may I suggest a uBlock script? The challenge is that so many work related searches lead here so you can't just ban yourself outright, but you don't want to get caught up wasting time on your work computer reading all the active posts on the forum.

That's why I added the following filters to my adblocker so that I can still ask questions and search questions when needed, but not waste time browsing the active questions list looking for ways to pump my rep:


If you want to only allow certain stacks to be visible, you can add filter exceptions like so:


Do alcoholics get a "ban myself" button on the case of bud? Do smokers get a "ban myself" on the pack of cigs? Do women get a "ban myself" button at the shoe store (women who are addicted...)?

It would seem to me that a little personal responsibility would go a long way here. If you have other things to do... You should do those...

  • @Rob: I can see where you're going with that, but still... If you got other stuff to do, do it...
    – RSolberg
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 16:17
  • 2
    I believe not a single class you listed (alcoholics, smokers, women) is capable of limiting that class's access to the object of addiction in such a way that bypassing it will be (marginally) illegal. In the case of SO, banning oneself and then re-registering would the violation of TOS (I haven't read TOS, so might be wrong on this one). Thus, "ban myself" is just a lever for exhibiting proper personal responsibility.
    – chronos
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 16:29
  • 8
    Though I don't see a self-ban option necessary, some online poker sites have this feature. Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 16:30
  • 7
    If only this was an online poker site...
    – juan
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 13:20
  • 3
    Well, it'd probably be a very good thing if alcohol and nicotine had, "Ban myself buttons". Then again I might prefer "F5" buttons. Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 5:02
  • 1
    but why not to use technology to ban yourself, when it is so easy, simple and working?
    – Tomas
    Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 10:59
  • 1
    'Does case of bud / pack of cigs / shoe store have "ban myself" button?' ... then stackoverflow would be the first drug in the world to have it! Wouldn't that be great and exciting for SO?
    – Tomas
    Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 11:05
  • 3
    With Google Glass, you could now have something that electrocutes you every time you see alchol, cigarrettes or shoes.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 23:21
  • 16
    Really? Addicts should just exercise self-control? They don't ever need external controls to prevent them from accessing their addiction? That's exactly what rehab is, no? I don't think this needs a feature, but this response seems a touch dismissive of what's involved in overcoming addiction.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 15:33
  • 1
    I'm honestly amazed you escaped the wrath of SO's female users with your shoe store comment. Are we really all guys here, or have I just been spending too much time on places like Reddit? Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 23:17
  • Incidentally, disulfiram has been approved to treat alcohol abuse for as long as the FDA has been approving medications
    – De Novo
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 17:19
  • 1
    Metaphors and the ability to comprehend them would serve many of you quite well.
    – RSolberg
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 22:45

There's been a few questions closed as a duplicate of this - asking for whether a moderator can suspend a user voluntarily.

As a mod - my typical response is - well, we're not your parents or your sense of self control.

Someone I know actually got a friend to change his password, seal it up and keep it somewhere in case he wanted to come back. I mean, sure you could reset the password if you have a recovery email (which is optional) but this adds a small barrier of re-entry.

Asking a mod or having a button to suspend yourself helps little since at best you're not solving the root problem, or you cheat and make a sock. You might still spend all day reading the site or posting anonymously. It pretty much solves nothing.


I think that adding features to Stack Overflow to help fight a Stack Overflow addiction isn't going to help.


Agree, this feature would be helpful! I have a strong feeling that some kind of solution would be really helpful to many of us :-)

The user would not be allowed to login during the number of days specified by him. However, his rep could be increased as other users vote for his posts. If he needs to search for some problem solutions, he can browse the site anonymously.

The problem might arise when he needs to ask question he really needs to do his work. Personally, I wouldn't mind to ignore this issue. It was my decission to give up. But one might invent solutions like unlocking the account after 4 hours from request just for adding 1-2 questions. However, it's not needed by my opinion - keep it simple.

You may argue that is personal issue of everyone, but - why not allow this, if not only is it possible, but also simple and working?

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