Wikipedia editing as a soft addiction

I was reading the Chicago Tribune's "soft news" Q section in the Sunday paper and was entertained to find this line in the discussion of Soft Addictions by staff reporter Julie Deardorff (samples of soft addictions).

Because whether it's watching the NCAA tournament, checking e-mail, editing Wikipedia entries or walking into Starbucks, the activities are seemingly harmless behaviors.

What is a "soft addiction?"  Beyond the examples, they are essentially those things people can do to excess that gets in the way of their getting more important stuff done.  Imagine getting so stuck in the not important / not urgent quadrant that the other quadrants shrink to nothingness.  The article is based on a Harris Poll and work of Judith Wright on Soft Addictions.

The article also offers a "how to tell if your addicted (to the internet)" quiz and a list of the top 10 soft addictions (from the poll, I believe):

  1. Procrastination.
  2. Watching too much television.
  3. Overworking.
  4. Acting moody, such as being grumpy, cranky or overly happy.
  5. Overeating.
  6. Drinking too much coffee.
  7. Shopping impulsively.
  8. Daydreaming excessively.
  9. Complaining excessively.
  10. Surfing the Internet excessively.

I'm glad to see coffee is only number six.  Better have another cup.

4 Comment(s)

fedrick Author Profile Page said:

What you said and did is great one.Addiction not only means of Drugs addict,it also related to anything that's any kind of action we feel that we need or i can't without that one.. These type of mentality about that particular products or actions are also one of the addiction..Recovery from whole addiction is good one

Suffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers.

Adrienne said:

I have researched the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning, founded by Judith and Bob Wright, and found disturbing information about cult activities. Here is a link:,15161,page=2
FactNet also has a thread on Wright Institute programs.

I am also concerned that the "soft addiction" concept will have people questioning everything that gives comfort in stressful times. When does an activity become excessive?

Jack Vinson Author Profile Page said:

Thanks for the comment, Adrienne. I'm not sure what to believe about the comments in that thread.

I do like your point about where we have true addictions (alcohol) and those things which provide solace in stressful times. Of course, I have heard and read many stories where the solace ended up taking over the life of the person in question.

Adrienne Author Profile Page said:

If it has taken over the life of the person, of course that person needs help. We live in a society that encourages TV watching, internet games, drinking, eating junk food, shopping, etc. Calling these "addictions" suggests that the person doing them needs help,leading people to self-help groups/products. It is our society that is sick.

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