Another round of enshitification: Stack Overflow, Inc. apparently does not allow moderators to remove AI-generated answers on Stack Overflow and related sites, allowing spammers to flood the zone with shit - I mean, with eloquently worded, superficially consistent, but quite possibly false answers.
So a group of moderators have started a moderation strike, explaining their motivations in this open letter:
I have signed it and would like to encourage everybody using Stack Overflow to sign as well.
I think it is a very fair demand that moderators may remove AI-generated on content on the sole ground that it is AI-generated, as otherwise, it will become impossible to moderate a site like Stack Overflow. Masses of eloquently worded and superficially consistent answers generated by LLMs can be posted in seconds, while checking and moderating them is a manual and tedious labour that the moderators are volunteering to do. I fear that without a general ban of LLM content, moderation will become impossible, and without proper moderation, Stack Overflow et al. will be rendered useless within weeks.
Why not judge AI-generated content by the same standards as other content?
Content by generative AI like ChatGPT is a special blend of garbage: While superficially well written, it often embeds incorrect answers in correct but irrelevant waffling, made-up references, and non sequiturs. The primary intended mechanism against such content is downvoting and editing, not deletion – moderators don’t act based on correctness for a good reason. However, AI content often bypasses the voting system by tricking inexperienced users into upvoting and accepting due to its superficial quality.
Moreover, while humans occasionally produce content with similar properties, this requires some effort. By contrast, an AI can produce such content in seconds, while still causing the same effort in fact-checking and moderation – at least as long as we are required to handle it by the same standard as human answers.