breaking bad habits like Doodle and Facebook with plugins?

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Wed Jan 17 10:56:21 UTC 2018

Hi all,

Habits are a tough thing to break, this is obvious if you know a smoker.

I've heard many anecdotes about habits but I never really understood any
of the psychology or neuroscience about habits until I recently read the
book "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg (Random House, 2013)

Nasty things like Doodle, Meetup and Facebook keep popping up throughout
FSFE and the wider free software community.  Even when we discuss them,
it is not long before they pop up again.

When people are exposed to this elsewhere, all the time, it is not so
hard to understand how the FS message is being drowned out.  Our own way
of dealing with these challenges may also include some bad communication
habits, undermining the effectiveness of our responses.

One thing that comes to mind: are there browser plugins and Thunderbird
email plugins that can help people avoid visiting or linking to things
like Facebook, Meetup, Twitter and Doodle?  I'm not talking about giving
electric shocks through the keyboard, maybe just a popup alert would be
enough.  This could be a far more effective way of helping members of
the community improve their habits and it can step in just at the moment
when they really need it.  The reality is, many people don't
deliberately do these things and they would change with just a little
bit of help.

The book includes an appendix on "using these ideas" and this would
provide an excellent recipe for designing or optimizing such a plugin or



More information about the Discussion mailing list