Today, 5th June, is the beginning of a strike by many StackExchange moderators over the recent policy announcement by StackExchange staff around handling AI and Large Language Model (LLM) generated content. You can read the strike announcement yourself at: https://openletter.mousetail.nl/ plus another detailed take at https://jlericson.com/2023/06/04/signing_on.html
For those who have not heard of this policy change—or don't want to click the link—the StackExchange staff announced that the use of AI-detection tooling to identify AI/LLM generated content for the purposes of deletion/bannning is now banned. Their justification for this move is two-fold:
- After testing, they've found these tools have a quite high false positive rate. Possibly up to 30%.
- These tools disproportionately affect people for whom English is a second language. AI/LLMs let them turn broken English into grammatical English, at the cost of now failing an AI/LLM detector.
The strikers argue that this cost is justified given the unique threat that AI/LLM represents to question and answer sites like ours.
- We've already seen spammers use these tools to provide an actual-answer seeming post with a spam link in it.
- The setup of the StackExchange sites is well suited to provide human qualilty-assurance for AI/LLM generated content, and that's not why we're here.
- AI/LLM content can be created far faster than humans can audit them, even if that was a role we were interested in.
- For sites with far more community than we've had in the last few years, a deluge of AI/LLM content will break that community.
The strikers will be ceasing moderation activities until this policy is reversed. Also of note, this includes halting the SmokeDetector anti-spam bot. Since late February, ServerFault has been under heavy attack by a group of pirate stream spammers. Most people haven't seen them because SmokeDetector spam-flags them out of existence within 5 minutes in most cases. With the SmokeDetector turned off, you will begin to see this traffic.
I will be respecting this picket line.