🐰 Hide The Rabbit Hole
YouTube is incredibly addictive. To combat this, I built a chrome extension that automatically hides its most attention-draining features. Project code can be found on Github.
- Recommendation software can be extremely addictive , with a host of hard-to-measure side effects on users and society including harm to relationships, reduced cognitive capacity, and political radicalization.
- I wanted to learn the basics of browser extension development. Similar projects do exist, but I wanted full control and an easy way to extend functionality in the future
- I wanted to start working on personal projects more regularly and thought a quick project like this could be a good start
I was highly tempted to use the new shiny complex tools to solve this, but was luckily able to stop myself. I was reminded of a quote by Seth Godin that defines the word “Quality” to mean “meeting spec.” In other words, the project should not be more complicated than needed to solve the goals effectively. My goals in this case are quite simple, so the code should be simple too.
This philosophy resulted in a minimal, framework-free Chrome extension with the following YouTube blocking features:
- Hide Homepage Feed
- Hide Comments
- Hide Recommended videos
- Hide The “Video Wall” at End of Videos
- Hide Embedded Video Thumbnails
- Disable autoplay functionality
This project was a great way to demistify browser extension development and build something useful in the process. I still use this tool every day and may expand its scope to other attention-draining websites in the future.