When you try to access a distracting site, Dopanope makes you wait for an unspecified amount of time. That's right, you don't know how long it's going to make you wait — it could be anything between 30 to 50 seconds.
Almost immediately, your impatience kicks in. And no, you can't switch tabs — if you do, Dopanope will pause the countdown till you return to the offending tab.
You may still choose to sit out the countdown and access Reddit, but if you do, it will have been a deliberate choice.
We don't think brute force is the answer. Let's face it, all of us know how to get around an extension's block. And when you're bored, or trying to escape something you should be doing, your brain actively works against your interests. More often than not, caught in that moment, you just get rid of the extension that's standing in the way of what your brain is craving.
Even worse, the last thing we want to do is trigger your competitive instinct, where you take on circumventing the extension's block as a challenge.
So, in not imposing a complete block, we know you'll sit out the countdown and get your Reddit fix a few times. But stopping you from doing so most of the times is better than attempting to stop you every time, and get uninstalled in the process (following which you'll always be on Reddit).
If we show the timer, it works counterintuitively. It seems to make you think "Just 22 seconds more" and make you more willing to wait. But waiting an unknown amount of time causes you to think "ugh, this isn't worth it" and close the tab in disgust.
This is probably because of the Endowed Progress Effect, the psychological tendency for us to be more motivated to complete a task or reach a goal when we perceive we've made progress towards it. Seeing a countdown increases the sense of progress towards the end goal, making people more willing to wait. On the other hand, waiting an unspecified amount of time without any sense of progress leads to frustration. You close the tab, and end up with more time on hand, more work done, and less knowledge of the minutiae of your high school friends' life, which is the best outcome we can ask for.
For the same reason, we also randomize the time you have to wait each time, so that you're not counting down 60 seconds in your head!
What do we have against browsing for fun? Nothing at all, as long as you're consciously taking a break, to refresh and rejuvenate -- and actually enjoying it. Take plenty of breaks, it's good for you.
But mindless browsing? That's different, and definitely not good for you.
That's when your finger hits the "T" key and brings up Twitter for absolutely no reason. You don't even particularly want to browse Youtube / Reddit / Hacker News / your drug of choice. You sit there like a zombie, scrolling past meme after meme, joylessly. Facebook has spent a heap of money to make sure it holds you in a vice-like embrace for the next 47 minutes, using variable reward mechanisms to keep your brain hungry for dopamine hits. When you come up for air, you wonder how it's 5pm already.
Inspired by this XKCD comic, Dopanope fights this by pitting your craving for the next dopamine hit, against your impatience, by making you wait before you get your fix. Most times, your impatience will win.
And second, it gives you a moment to think about why you need to be on Youtube in the first place. If your motivation to access Youtube is reduced because you have to wait a minute, that should give you pause (yes, we made that pun and we're not ashamed 👀). Did you really need to be there in the first place?
Goldilocks Level of Annoying.
Annoying enough that it gets the job done.
Not so annoying that it gets itself uninstalled. 👌
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