The downside...

It seems like the type of question that would be a duplicate - but I don't see any, so I'll ask anyway. I'm finding it difficult to not visit Stack Overflow for any significant amount of time. I wake up in the morning, and check Stack Overflow at 5:30 am. I check it before I close my laptop to head off to work. I check it when I connect at the office. I check it throughout the day.

How do I break the combination?

The upside...

I have explored more methods of accomplishing tasks than ever before after having registered here and viewing some questions. I've been introduced to many new tools, practices, and theories about development that I can honestly say make me more confident as a developer.

  • 66
    Post a really dumb question and get a ton of downvotes. It's pretty motivating when you realise how unforgiving many users can be of someone else's ignorance.
    – Jeff Yates
    Commented Jul 9, 2009 at 17:40
  • 4
    @Jeff: Well he has the first part down, now we can handle the second part.
    Commented Jul 9, 2009 at 17:55
  • 6
    I have to tell you. You won't find peace in your mind until you get 10k. What I did was set 10k as the goal and then try to find out how much rep can I get without answering after that. Until today it's 1200 pts.
    – OscarRyz
    Commented Jul 9, 2009 at 18:40
  • 9
    Post enough on MSO until you're sufficiently addicted to that. Then you won't have time to be on SO, and your addiction will wane. Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 14:57
  • 9
    Why, start playing video games, of course!
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 19:46
  • 3
    There's probably a weekly meeting of SO Anonymous in your area. Contact them so they can find you a sponsor soon.
    – Ken White
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 23:10
  • Related : link to a meta question about how to stop one's life partner from becoming addicted to SO
    – StuartLC
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 12:20
  • Also: How addicted to Stack Overflow are you? (deleted now, only visible to 10k+ reputation points users). Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 18:42

13 Answers 13


Yeah, it's an interesting effect these sites can have on you.

On the one hand there is the boost to self-esteem and personal pride with high reputation and upvotes...but you don't always get the upvotes you feel you deserve.

On the other hand, there is the fear of looking stupid in front of your peers if you post something dumb and hidden peer pressure to conform.

In essence, we end up with a form of inconsistent gratification attached to the thrill/fear of loss.

Isn't that what makes gamblers addicted?

I would suspect the remedy would be along the same lines as for them.

  • 7
    The beta sites are like gateway drugs that give you an quick easy 500 points then you want more and move on to StackExchange. By the time your on Meta it's too late and no going back.
    – Chris_O
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 4:53

"How can I keep from getting addicted to SO?" asked Jul 9 at 17:39 by Jonathan Sampson ♦


graph of Jonathan's reputation, showing s distinct increase about the same time this question was asked

By the time you asked this question, it was already too late.


From personal experience... Have a child!

That will force you away from SO for at least a short period of time, which may be just enough momentum to help you break free from its gravity. ;)

  • 17
    Child will be born in a couple weeks - we'll see how well this method works ;)
    – Sampson
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 21:41
  • 10
    @Jonathan: How well did it work? Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 8:39
  • 23
    @Andrew It works exceptionally well. I almost feel guilty with my lack of presence at times now :)
    – Sampson
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 15:34
  • 4
    Or become a mod ...
    – jcolebrand
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 0:07

Once you hit 10k the urge starts to drain away slowly (at least for me). Until I found Meta and now I'm cracked out all over again.

Not all addictions are bad. I mean you could be hooked on leprechaun porn or something and that wouldn't do anybody (except maybe the leprechauns) any good.

  • 14
    shouldn't you be at 10k on serverfault.com and superuser.com too? I'm just sayin'... Commented Jul 10, 2009 at 1:12
  • 2
    Jeff: I'm an idiot when it comes to the ServerFault subject matter, so if I managed to achieve 10k there, it would be one of the greatest BS jobs in history.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 10, 2009 at 4:44
  • I can't wait to hit 10k on SO (500 away). I need to get back to my real life.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 10, 2009 at 18:00

I for one am glad there are vote limits, flag limits, and so forth, gently encouraging me to get some sleep each day.

I feel horrible if I read an excellent question or answer but can't give it the +1 it deserves; when that moment hits, it's the moment to go back to bed.

  • 3
    Yes - I fear how bad my addiction would be without that 200 rep cap. Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 22:09
  • 3
    @Adam, though you're one of only a handful where "200 rep cap" means lower limit. :)
    – sarnold
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 23:44
  • We're in an elite group :-D Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 23:58

I have started using Chrome Nanny to block the site. Problem is, once in awhile the Google refers me to SO and then I have to open IE to get to it, and there goes a half hour...

  • 2
    Now called "Nanny for Google Chrome", mentioned here, and available here.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 19:36

None of us know, and the people that do know don't hang out here to answer questions.

Just call it a "pastime" or "hobby" instead!


Best And Simplest

Keep checking on stackoverflow, And you can see the +reputation number on the green notification

enter image description here

But do not click on it, and keep it green like that.

And after sometime, when you are off stackoverflow, you will remember it to be green and with numbers, which gives you a relief, and much much less urge to get back.

Through time, you will lose track of the number and have satisfaction knowing it's green.

I got back to write this after a long time, when I later solved it. Thinking it could be useful for others to share how I avoided going to rehab for SO ha ha.

  • 1
    You mean like so?
    – rene
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 14:31
  • @rene wow, did it work for you too? is it a good solution?
    – Abraham
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 14:33
  • No, but I'm not going to judge coping mechanism used by others ...
    – rene
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 14:33
  • 2
    It was the green icon and + reputation number that I think got me excited and was the dopamine trigger for me. But after leaving it unchecked, knowing it is green with numbers reduced my urge a lot.
    – Abraham
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 14:38

When I missed a day due to travel on my way to hit 100 days in a row, my "addiction" dropped from have to check in every day, several times a day to I check in when I think about it: which is about once or twice a day during work hours only.

I have a life, and I choose to live it :)


Use 'parental control' software on your web browser/account, so that you can access the site only when/how much you decide in advance.

More drastic (but warranted for some web sites/addictions, not necessarily SO) is to edit your O/S drivers/etc/hosts file so that you're unable to reach the site at all, ever.


Try have set hours where you won't go to the Stack Overflow site. For me chasing points can be fun, but it stops me from relaxing.

For example:

  1. Don't go to the site between the time you wake up and when you arrive at work. Don't even respond to comments.
  2. Don't go to the website on weekends before 10 am and after 5 pm unless you are working.

Set limits and stick to them.


You stop fighting and embrace it?


My opinion

I think there is a lot of way of thinking....

(As someone already said: everything is relative;)

  • finding an answer to question relative to current work seem clearly ok for everyone,

  • making his self knowledge level to grow could:

    • match to team requirement...
    • or not... (If so, you're may be on wrong place;)

    About this (and whenever possible), having cool discuss with the boss could help!

  • which criteria have to be considered (as a trigger) for establish whether you are addictive or not to?

    • how many time per day are you spending on SE to create and correct your posts or simply chat, comment, correct...
    • What are you searching?
      • reputation
      • knowledge
      • friends
      • other?
  • Reading his own posts are like looking himself into a mirror! Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died!

For answering strictly to your question:

What could you do to keep from getting addicted to SO?

Simply don't!!

Try to not post anything for some weeks... or days... (or hours? If this could become a problem, please consult quickly!) and see...

But as I've already read on another answer, and more if you've read me upto there... I think it's already too late!!!

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