Could we have a kind of time limit - that could be set by us - that can be spent on SO?

When overflowed, that time limit would have the next SO page display a big Warning, something like

You spend too much time on your computer and should better go outside (...) or continue your work tasks [for which you are paid] (...)

The way to count the time would be based on the intervals between page changes - if for instance that interval is less than 20 minutes. When an answer is being responded, the time is counted even if > 20 minutes (thanks to Ajax calls, SO knows that you are responding...).

Just an idea ... before to go outside!

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    Huh? Do you also need a reminder of when to go to the toilet? – slugster Oct 21 '10 at 6:00
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    Have already this one. Oops, time! – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 6:10
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    Please... what is this "outside" you speak of? – Marc Gravell Oct 21 '10 at 6:25
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    Maybe outside is not an Americanism... Outside means outside-the-premises, go and get a fresh bowl of fresh air. Meet friends, etc... Not the outside SO to go to slashdot for instance :-) – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 6:30
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    Install leechblock. – Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Oct 21 '10 at 10:33
  • @Tadeusz A. KadÅ‚ubowski (so glad my copy paste works) Can you make an answer out of this advice: you get my +vote immediately. – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 11:38
  • @ringO: Belongs on SuperUser, where it has been discussed many times. Check [procrastination] tag. – Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Oct 21 '10 at 12:32
  • How do you keep the fresh air in the bowl? – juan Oct 21 '10 at 14:07
  • @Downvoter - Store Helium or Hydrogen on the top to prevent the heavier fresh air from escaping. How you keep the H or He from escaping is an exercise left for the reader to solve. – Pollyanna Oct 21 '10 at 14:38
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    This is a good idea. I don't care how you other code monkeys feel about the implications. Its just a neat idea even if its not in the best interest of the site and will never be implemented. – etteyafed Jan 11 '11 at 17:09

A cooking timer can be had for pretty cheap. You could also use it for other things.

cooking timer

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    Thanks. This is exactly what is needed. Bravo. – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 13:08
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    @ring0: I was only about half joking. I use one of these when playing video games. :) – Bill the Lizard Oct 21 '10 at 13:47
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    Do you mean to keep track of how much time you've spent or to help you with timing? – Mark C Oct 21 '10 at 14:00
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    @Mark: I use it to limit time spent. (Using one to help with build times in RTS games is a good idea though.) – Bill the Lizard Oct 21 '10 at 14:11
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    http://cook-timer.en.softonic.com/, for those who prefer the software version instead of the IRL version. – Onion-Knight Oct 21 '10 at 15:23

What?!?!? and ruin the overlord's plans for Q&A Domination? They feed off your lost hours! You are going to have to get used to it.

... but don't lie, you like the pain. Shhhh it's ok, they make it that way.

PS: Nobody is really forcing anything on you ;)

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    +1 for establishing the obvious Nobody is really forcing anything on you while answering a hopeless question ;-) – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 7:14

As I was explaining in the chat (posting as an answer helps you, Aiden Bell, progress toward your Sportsmanship Badge),

StackOverflow is a diabolical scheme to turn your free time into money.

But not your money.

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  • Are you secretely trying to get that same badge? – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 10:22
  • @Ring0 Umm, I dunno. How long does it take? – Mark C Oct 21 '10 at 13:58
  • at least four days, since 100 votes are required and there's a limit of 30/day/user. – Pops Oct 21 '10 at 15:17
  • But probably much longer, since you would have to post many ansers and have many later answers to vote for, right? I've sort of forgotten the criteria, even after you and Tim were discussing them. – Mark C Oct 21 '10 at 15:26

If using firefox, Leechblock is a tool that will do exactly what you need. I used to use it when I was addicted to SO, and it helped quite a bit.

LeechBlock is a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.

You have a variety of ways to set it up.

I set mine up so I could browse news sites for up to 30 minutes once in the morning, and once in the afternoon.

I set up another block to allow me to use stackoverflow and a few other forums for up to one hour every four hours. This was enough that I could use them for productive work, but would get a reminder if I got stuck on one.

You can set up to six sets of websites to block, and each block set can be limited to certain time frames, certain usage limits (time), or a combination (15 minutes if you arrive at work before 9 am, to encourage early arrival, for instance). It's quite versatile, and I only ever use two block sets, so I doubt many people will use its full capabilities.

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  • +1 for having read the many comments of this crucial question. – e2-e4 Oct 21 '10 at 14:49

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