These are some general tips for Pluckeye users, especially new users.

Use a delay of 10 seconds for your first 2 days of using Pluckeye

The delay can be adjusted inside Chrome or using the delay command in a console window:

pluck delay 10

Having a small non-zero delay will help you understand how Pluckeye will work when you increase the delay.

After a couple days, increase the delay. To set the delay to 2 hours:

pluck delay 2h

To set it to 2 days:

pluck delay 2d

Don’t use a 7 day delay without thinking

It is surprisingly common for users to set the delay to 7 days immediately in an effort to achieve “maximum protection”. While the mindset is laudable, we recommend you start with something more conservative, such as 1, 2, or 3 days. Few people plan to eat chocolate cake 24 or 48 hours in advance.

But if 1 or 2 days isn’t enough, then by all means increase it (and let us know).

Use Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, or another Chromium-based browser

Here are links for Brave and Vivaldi.

Pluckeye used to work with Firefox, but support for Firefox is lagging. See browsers.

If you install a Firefox-based browser after installing Pluckeye, then you may need to enable the Pluckeye extension manually. In Firefox, type “about:addons” in the location bar, click “Extensions”, and search for Pluckeye.

Use the system feature (a.k.a., level 2)

Pluckeye installs without enabling the system feature (previously known as level 2) so that new users can try it out with minimal system integration. The system feature is the intended experience for the majority of Pluckeye users because it prevents users from trivially bypassing Pluckeye.

Schedule access to questionable sites, or use a public computer

Option 1, use a public computer

If you need to do occasional tasks that require images or videos on a site that you think may be problematic for you in the long run, perhaps you should use a public computer at your local library.

Seriously; do whatever it takes.

Option 2, a scheduled rule in Pluckeye

Another option is to use a when rule to schedule when a website should be allowed and when it should not.

To allow access to YouTube on Monday through Friday (MTWRF), 10am (10) to noon (12):

pluck + when MTWRF10-12 allow youtube.com

To allow access to amazon.com any day from 10am (10) to noon (12):

pluck + when 10-12 allow amazon.com

The format used to specify times and days is called hrs3, and there is a point-and-click tool you can use to find a schedule for a particular set of time periods you may have in mind.

Schedule a whiteout once a week

If you think you can handle a periodic whiteout, it might alleviate some of the pain in using Pluckeye. Depending on your settings, this may also help with automatic updates for various software.

E.g., to allow access to any program and site on Monday mornings 10am (10) to noon (12):

pluck + when M10-12 allow everything

Be aware of pluck repair

In Pluckeye v0.99 and above, if something doesn’t work correctly after installing, open a console and run the repair command:

pluck repair

That fixes some common problems, especially on macOS.

Other useful techniques for solving common problems are:

  1. restarting your browser

  2. rebooting your computer

If you are still having problems, see troubleshooting.

Join a cohort so you can take advantage of expedite!

The expedite button is really useful in maintaining a long delay, but to use it you need to be part of a cohort or find some real-life human beings to power it (a.k.a. Pluckeye supporters). If you don’t know who to ask, maybe you could start a circle of Pluckeye helpers in the Pluckeye forum or in r/pluckeye.

Learn about other Pluckeye features

  1. Several features, such as cross-device synchronization, expediting changes, and getting inspectors for accountability, only work if you create a user account on https://u.pluckeye.net/ .

  2. The verdicts tab accessed by clicking the Pluck button in your browser is really useful. Try it. So are command line verdicts.

When in doubt back out, and when temptation strikes abandon ship

If you sense that a whitelist rule you added earlier is no longer a good idea, remove it as soon as possible.

If the rule is still in the pending state, you can simply throw it away by clicking the “abort” button in the browser, or by using the abort command at the command line:

pluck abort bad.com

If the rule is already active, you’ll need to remove it specifically.

pluck - allow bad.com

Or, if you can’t think straight enough to remove the rule(s) one by one, you have the nuclear option (the blackout button):

pluck + block everything

Go for a walk. Drink some tea. Call a friend. Sometime later, when a better mind-set is restored:

pluck - block everything

Adapt, be creative, and be your own best friend, instead of worst enemy

If you expect Pluckeye to “do it for you”, you’re doing it wrong.

The Pluckeye prime directive

The most important principle in using Pluckeye is that you must determine what boundaries you need to set. These boundaries are likely to be different for different people.

Pluckeye is rather configurable, and you should find the configuration that works best for you. Is your delay too short? Then make it longer! Are certain sites problematic for you? Block them! Do you need to see images on some site and consider its content safe? Allow it! Pluckeye is designed to help you choose ahead of time what you really think is okay for you to have access to.

This principle can not be over-emphasized. Let it soak in.

Learn to love inconvenience

If you frequently bemoan the way Pluckeye interferes with normal activity, you’ll have 3 choices:

  1. Loosen the belt.

  2. Suffer as long as you can.

  3. Leave the belt tight and learn to love it.

Which road you choose is up to you, but methinks road #2 is unrealistic.

In particular, if you decide against road #1, I think road #3 is the only alternative. If you can learn to love it, to exult, to exclaim, “Yess!!!” when you can’t get to that article or program or video right now – when you can smile with satisfaction knowing yes, there’s a cost, but in your opinion it is totally and completely worth it because you are gaining something far more important in the long run – when you learn to love the feeling of that occasionally-rather-tight safety belt, even when it keeps you from getting those keys out of your pocket that seem pretty darn important right now – when you appreciate the distance you get from all the other stuff that makes your life suck – then, my friend, then you get the idea.

Address underlying issues

While Pluckeye can help you modify the playing field, it can’t address the underlying sources of behavior, and if those issues are left unaddressed, you may not experience the long-term change you seek. The author highly recommends you consider this, and that you search for a program and/or other people who can help you to grow. Here is a list of sites and organizations to get you started.

Recognize when Pluckeye is not the right tool for you

There are some who instead of installing Pluckeye should be:

  1. Calling their ISP to cancel their home Internet.

  2. Selling their cell phones.

(in addition, of course, to eating true food and drinking true drink).

Don’t give up

Long-term change usually takes time. Don’t give up.