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There was an interesting Web Based Communities 2004 paper by [Michael Mackert] ([archived version from April 16, 2009]), the founder of http://wotmania.com/ ([archived version from August 30, 2009]), a website about the Wheel of Time series (terribly long series that never seems to get anywhere...). The title of the paper was Internet Habit and Addiction in the Context of a Community Website. He devised a survey to try and find addicted users and habitual users in his community and found about 100 of each, plus several hundred that were neither addicted nor habitual users. Very interesting!

How do you know you're addicted? Read the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition -- at least that's what he did. In short, three of the following seven criteria must apply (edited for brevity):

  1. High tolerance
  2. Withdrawal
  3. Doing it longer than intended
  4. Failed attempts to quit
  5. Spend a lot of time with it
  6. Important other stuff is given up or reduced
  7. Continued use despite problems

He then used a few questions from the Internet Addiction Tendency Scale (Song et al., 2002) to find addicted users. He also created a few new questions for a Custom Habit Scale to find habitual users amongst the non-addicted ones. He also used Short Imaginal Processes Inventory based on studies done on TV addiction to investigate positive constructive daydreaming, guilt and fear of failure daydreaming, and poor attentional control.

The main result is that addicted users turn to the Internet in order to distract themselves away from excess negative thoughts and unstructured time.

(From AlexSchroeder's homepage [1])

See WhyWikiCreatesAddicts


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