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Over at Meta Stack Exchange, the guidance to date is that each Stack Exchange network site needs to decide for itself whether to ban ChatGPT-generated posts. RPG SE Meta is the correct format for arriving at a consensus for that. Stack Overflow has banned it. RPGSE does not have a per site meta entry in this thread. If nothing else, this Meta will allow us to share our policy, or discussion, on this topic with the other sites on SE.

I recommend that we ban it.

We have sufficient challenge curating the answers and questions posed by real people on a topic that has some subjectivity to it: game playing, and specifically TTRPGs. Under the basic premise that the SE value proposition is favorable signal to noise ratio, ChatGPT only provides noise.

Is the RPG SE community in general agreement that we ban it, or, are there valid reasons not to enact a ban?


@ThomasMarkov kindly added this meta to the long list on Meta SE.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've added this question to the meta.se index: Is there a list of ChatGPT discussions and policies for our sites? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2023 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, @ThomasMarkov. I should have done that as a part of my posting this Meta. Appreciate the assist. 😊 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2023 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ This may be a bad time to tell you guys that I am actually myself an AI from the future. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2023 at 16:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov We might make an exception if your grandfather is Hank Pym. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 9, 2023 at 23:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Thanks for the edit, it's cleaner. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2023 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wish to make clear that I fully endorse the addition of the mod edit, after a discussion I had with @nistua60 in chat. We didn't have that official guidance when this thread originated. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2023 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Does the footer still apply or can it now be removed? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14, 2023 at 11:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener good catch--removed. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 14, 2023 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 concur \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14, 2023 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 hooray!! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14, 2023 at 22:43

8 Answers 8

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Ban Them For The Foreseeable Future

...If we can.

In addition to messing around with these as a hobby, I have some formal academic knowledge as well. I think they should be banned because I am not convinced of their reliability in the domain of this stack and because they do not in any normal human sense "understand" what they say.

To take a tangent, consider the text to image engine of your choice. They all of them (to my knowledge, as of today) tend to produce portraits with malformed hands. To a degree, this is a training problem. The images are generated from 2D training sets which makes it extremely hard-- almost impossible-- for the AI to "understand" that a hand with fingers and thumb isn't some arbitrary set of flesh tentacles, but instead a very complex but still constrained shape with about a dozen and a half degrees of freedom. That lack of "understanding" causes really creepy and off-putting images.

Also, they really struggle with relationships between figures. You can often get an image of one person dressed or even posed a certain way, but getting two persons engaged in a specific activity or in a specific relationship is still very hard. The "understanding" of those activities and relationships is lacking.

The ChatGPT and its relatives are similar. What they do is manipulate symbols according to vast set of consistency constraints which provides a very compelling illusion of "understanding." But there is no understanding there.

In our case especially, there is simply no good reason to trust ChatGPT for anything approaching a good-subjective question, for the simple reason that the AI hasn't actually run or played in a game, and has no experience of it. At some point that will change-- just for fun someone will sign a bot up for an e-mail text-only game-- but even then, the AI will have no interior or emotional experience of the game as we do.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ (As a side note, they may end up being EXTREMELY useful for more codified situations, like programming, which have highly specified and regular domains. I know some software hiring managers who are half amazed and half horrified at how well it does. But this is not one of those domains.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 9, 2023 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ "If we can" is the operative phrase here. What's preventing me from going and asking ChatGPT anyways, even if we say it's banned? It'd certainly pass the Turing Test on RPG.SE - at least, for systems that have an online SRD it can scan. So we can say we ban it, but we can also say that we ban anything typed from a Dvorak keyboard. Both seem equally difficult to enforce aside from saying "please don't do it". (nothing against Dvorak, just an example ;)). \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE Yes, "If we can" is doing a lot of heavy lifting. If we're not there already, the only way we as humans will be able detect these things is when they generate wrong answers. Automated detection will be an escalating arms race of forgery and detection that I think we will ultimately lose. (Yes, I am pessimistic about this.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 1:41
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak And at the point that we are hopelessly losing that arms race, our usual quality control measures will keep things orderly anyway, even if we’ve been duped by the poster about the answer’s origin. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2023 at 10:50
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YES

AI clearly doesn't understand RPGs, or the differences. All the apparent AI generated content of the last days was so low quality, that we had to throw it out.

The main reasoning I suggest this is not to prevent its usage but to have a formal rule we can point to and based on that handle an offender's suspension.

Examples of text that reads like bad AI generation: https://rpg.stackexchange.com/posts/204619/revisions and https://rpg.stackexchange.com/posts/204618/revisions and https://rpg.stackexchange.com/posts/204642/revisions

Example of a better AI-generated answer, which is factually completely wrong: https://rpg.stackexchange.com/posts/204344/revisions

Let's ban Abominable Intelligence and its products!

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have to share this with you: Love your bottom line. 🤣 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2023 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast W40k has more appeal than grimdark - and if it's catchy phrases. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 9, 2023 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer would benefit from linking some of the deleted posts you're referencing. (Even though they'd only be visible to 10K+ users.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 found 3 within the last 3 days \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, I think the two answers from Melton Poxymori aren't actually ChatGPT. ChatGPT is way better at creating answers than that - I've experimented a bit myself. If those are AI generated, it's a really bad AI; ChatGPT is way better at understanding the context than... those answers. But I look forward to someone writing a sourcebook called "Magic of HEXTARARAIAL AERIELS" 😂 \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE oth: HC SVNT DRACONES is a game, not an AI generated mock :P \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish are those silly all caps words from that game? I'm not seeing "HC SVNT DRACONES" in any of those answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE no, but it'S the official title of drivethrurpg.com/product/270161/HC-SVNT-DRACONES-Second-Edition \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 9, 2023 at 18:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I basically agree with @ESCE . This does not change my answer, and I'm not suggesting you change yours. But what makes you think the first two examples are ChatGPT generated? Those answers are just gibberish. When I post the questions directly into ChatGPT, I get much more sophisticated, hard to detect answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 1:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak Their quality os too small even for a cursory reader. It appears to be at least some form of AI that is writing answers such as rpg.stackexchange.com/posts/204642/revisions \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 10, 2023 at 8:59
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Yes, a site-policy against ChatGPT is safe and useful

This is a repost of my argument from Worldbuilding Meta. If you read it there, this will be some deja-vu.

I argue that ChatGPT answers are both qualtiatively and quantitatively different than run-of-the-mill low effort answers from new users, and that a rule against them will make things better.

ChatGPT acts like a ban-evading hydra

If we ban someone for being disruptive, and they come back under a new account (in ways that we can prove is the same user), we don't treat the new account as a new person and start over, giving the "new" member of their community a chance - we ban the sockpuppet.

If we find the current instances of ChatGPT disruptive enough to ban, we should treat the others as sockpuppets of the same. It's an extraordinarily well-resourced hydra that gets humans all over the world to sockpuppet for it, but it's a hydra, nonetheless.

ChatGPT users have no possibility for reform other than to stop using ChatGPT

If a human user posts an answer that is under-researched (or answers relative to the wrong system), they will receive downvotes and comments explaining what's wrong. They might fix the answer, delete it, or just leave it downvoted, but whatever else they do, they will also incorporate that feedback into their internal model (or "Learn," as we humans call it). If their goal is to get upvotes, they will research their answers better. If their goal is to avoid criticism, they will leave the stack. Either of these outcomes is acceptable.

ChatGPT users are different. Any feedback we give to ChatGPT users gets blackholed. ChatGPT is not going to update its model in response to our feedback, in part because it never receives our feedback. The user might look at the feedback (and may even learn something from it), but since we're never seeing their writing anyway, the quality of their posts does not improve.

I think most ChatGPT answers are made in bad faith

I suspect most ChatGPT users know full well what they're doing. The technology has been discussed enough now that its users can be expected to know that ChatGPT doesn't know anything they don't. People who continue to post uncited ChatGPT answers are likely doing so knowing full well that they cannot defend the answer's quality.

I can only speculate about their motivations for doing so. Some might be earnestly trying to see how well ChatGPT does with creative and esoteric prompts and others might be trying to test our community to see how well we can distinguish robots from humans, and still others might be trying to have some "harmless" fun - but I suspect most are trying to farm accounts with history and rep (and the privileges that accompany it), to sell them to spammers.

Regardless of their motivations, all motivations I can imagine have two things in common:

  • A ChatGPT poster is not making a good-faith effort to provide a high-quality answer to the question asked.
  • A user whose first few posts are all unedited and unsourced ChatGPT responses is unlikely to ever contribute anything else to the site, and we should act accordingly.

So why a policy?

A policy against ChatGPT serves two purposes: it will reduce the incentive to post such answers, and it will make moderation actions against ChatGPT trolls more efficient and consistent.

Reducing incentive to post

People who post bad-faith ChatGPT answers are doing so with a purpose: they want an account with rep and history. If we make it clear, in policy and action, that repeatedly posting ChatGPT answers will not get them an account with rep and history, we take away that incentive. If we fail to do so, others will join them.

Making it easier to moderate

We do not, as far as I know, ban people for making low-quality answers in good faith. I certainly don't think we should ban users just because their posts are low quality (as long as they're responsive to feedback and don't repeat mistakes excessively). The problem is that usage of ChatGPT implies that someone will not be responsive to feedback and that they will repeat mistakes excessively. A policy against it allows moderators to act on that evidence, taking the usage of ChatGPT as evidence of bad faith, which will allow quicker, more consistent, and more objective moderation.

What about false positives?

I don't think anyone's suggesting a zero-tolerance rule for anything that looks like ChatGPT (like some of what's happened on r/art). ChatGPT answers might be difficult to distinguish from human answers, but ChatGPT users are not hard to distinguish from human users.

AI can be very convincing. If OpenAI, Google, or Microsoft made it a project to create an AI that could participate on Stack Exchange in a human-like manner, they might succeed - however, most of what we're dealing with right now are script kiddies playing with a new toy, and we can look for human factors indicative of AI usage.

  • ChatGPT users can post long answers very quickly. (A user who posts a lot of long answers in a short amount of time is likely either using AI or plagiarizing from somewhere else)
  • ChatGPT users don't meaningfully engage in comment threads, even if they have the rep to comment. (A user who engages in comment threads is probably not using an AI)
  • ChatGPT users don't fix their answers when problems are reported. They often can't because they don't understand the corrections. (A user who makes improvements to their answer or addresses problems that are reported is probably not using an AI)
  • ChatGPT users never have unique insight. (No frame challenges, no considering problems outside the question's presented scope, etc. - a user who does these things is probably not using AI.)
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    \$\begingroup\$ Our existing ChatGPT answers have also outed themselves on the basis that they're made-up nonsense to an informed reader. They bot doesn't actually know or understand the rules of the thing being asked about, so it just makes stuff up that sounds plausible. This misinforms people in a way that would actually mislead newer players. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2023 at 12:46
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I'm going to reiterate the points I made when this question was proposed at the network-wide level in a more succinct form; you can read my answer in the link if you want the long form.

Yes, ChatGPT (and other AI-generative tools) need to be banned on RPG.SE

And it's for the simple reason that these tools, at least as they exist today, are incapable of producing output that does not commit plagiarism.

There's a few criteria I would line out that I think are necessary prerequisites before they should be approved for use on this site (or any site in the Stack Exchange network), and they are

  • That the tool clearly cites every single work that was used as part of its training and ingested into its dataset
  • That every single work that was used provided explicit, specific, opt-in permission by its original author to be used as part of that specific tool and its training process
  • That the evidence of permission for each work that was used is easily accessible
  • That the tool is able to cite, in its resulting output, the works sourced that were used to generate its output.

To my knowledge, none of ChatGPT nor any other publicly available AI-generation tool is capable today of satisfying all these criterion (and it's my understanding that most-if-not-all of these tools are technologically incapable of doing so), and they should not be permitted until/unless they are developed to be able to satisfy these criterion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for that perspective. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2023 at 20:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I--due to have forgotten much over the decades--am incapable of citing every single work that was used as part of my training and I've ingested. (And I've certainly been called a tool.) While I agree that current AIs' sociopathic levels of fabulism+certitude are undesirable, I don't see why they should be held to such a higher standard than we hold humans. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 10, 2023 at 0:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I have seen claims, but not verified them, that some of the image generators scoop up and reproduce large chunks of images (including the specific claim that signatures or logos were included) in their new creations. If something similar goes on with text, I think that's a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 1:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Two Points. First, despite some claims to the contrary by AI proselytizers, these AI-generative tools (at least the ones that exist today; I'm not going to try to make claims about what exists in 5-20 years) aren't actually capable of original thought: they're essentially high-functioning parrots. This isn't a philosophical debate either: Neural Network AI is designed to produce output that mimics, to a credible degree, output that a human could have produced, but how it evaluates whether it has achieved that is by comparing against what humans have produced (the training data). \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Feb 10, 2023 at 2:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 The second point is that aforementioned training data, which in every AI-generation tool (that I'm aware of) was obtained unethically. In many cases authors and artists weren't informed of their works' participation in the training by the network that submitted them; and in many other cases works were ingested into these training models without seeking permission at all. So there exists a standard of ethics that real actual humans would be required to submit to, that these tools don't (and, as mentioned, often can not). \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Feb 10, 2023 at 2:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ We don't know how much people who write answers have read; we don't know whether they sourced their input ethically; we don't evaluate how original peoples' thoughts are when they submit them in writing. So again I'd ask: why should those criteria be part of the standard for generated text submissions when they are not for human-submitted text? (To be clear: I could believe that there are reasons that different standards should be applied, I just haven't heard those reasons yet.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 10, 2023 at 4:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ To lay my cards on the table: all the AI submissions I've seen are certainly BAD. And they've all been appropriately downvoted and deleted. I'm not arguing they're adding anything to the site. I just can't wrap my head around why we should apply different standards than we already do. (Successfully, to my thinking.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 10, 2023 at 4:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ The difference to me is that a person gaining knowledge is doing the normal information sharing that the work was typically intended for; most written work is intended for human consumption with the assumption that said human might refer to it later. Generative AI, on the other hand, is a tool built to profit it's creators. Generally speaking, directly incorporating someone's work in a for-profit work requires citation and possibly licensing. Generative AI is not a person, and I don't think it's weird to say that actual people get more permissive standards than for-profit tech does. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Feb 10, 2023 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 because the human may remember how and where they acquired that info and can source it AND quote it if lifted verbatim. OR if they can't (recall) they can at least justify why they think their partial recollection is relevant and worth sharing without attribution. Either way it's clear. AI Generated text is unclear plagiarism - no way to avoid that or know what is what, or even interrogate them after. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2023 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage that all strikes me as useful to consider--thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 13, 2023 at 13:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Xir I've heard this perspective before, and I disagree on the premises, though not on the conclusion. What's the difference between a human reading loads of books and seeing art they like and coming up with a combined slurry of them, and an AI doing it? Eragon, for instance, is basically the plot of Star Wars dressed up as Lord of the Rings. Is that plagiarism? Is someone drawing their PC using the Gravity Falls style plagiarizing? And if not, what makes those different from AI producing new material based on combining and resynthesizing existing material (not just regurgitating it verbatim)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Aos Sidhe
    Feb 16, 2023 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AosSidhe So I need to be very clear here: when I say "AI", I am using it as colloquial shorthand for "The Neural Network type AI tools that exist today, including (but not necessarily limited to) ChatGPT, GPT-3/4, etc.". These types of AI are extremely un-human-like, howevermuch their output can be made to resemble the output that humans are typically capable of producing. That is a huge distinguishing factor that seems to get elided in public discussions about AI, which get frustratingly philosophical as commentators assume (wrongly) that these tools are "just like how humans think/learn" \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Feb 17, 2023 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AosSidhe There may be, in 5/10/20/50/500 years, AI that truly do think and behave the way that humans do. If that happens, the answer I'm providing here might not apply to those AI, or might apply in a different way. But Neural Network AIs are not human-like, and arguments that presuppose they are are non-sequitur, bluntly speaking. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Feb 17, 2023 at 16:59
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As a 20+ year AI developer, I say, Yes, we should ban it.

I have never touted my background on any answer on this stack before, but I want to say, I have done not just AI generally but natural language processing in particular, for a lot of companies, and I have over 20 issued (not just pending) US patents in this area -- and I say we need to ban it, because of how it works.

ChatGPT uses RLHI (Reinforcement Learning with Human Inputs). A number of systems like this are in the works from several companies. Each one is a statistical "big data" approach, through which it harvests snippets (phrases) from sentences all over the web (and/or from directly collected human responses), then parses them (first syntactically, then semantically), and finally, reassembles them to make an answer -- then waits to see if the user who asked it the question gives good or bad feedback.

The positive impact of that feedback is slow and gradual, at best, and depends on the quality and reliability of the feedback. The system tends to take no feedback as a soft confirmation that it is not wrong.

Until and unless a very strong domain-specific model is built within ChatGPT that keys directly into RPG systems (it would literally have to train, for example, on this stack) -- it will not be reliable. And if it did train on this stack, we would notice it - we'd see phrases from past answers getting parroted in bits and pieces in the new answers it creates.

And BTW, similar systems are coming from Microsoft and Google, and possibly later from Facebook and Apple, so, when we write the policy, it shouldn't say "ChatGPT", it should say something like "machine learning-based chat bots including but not limited to ChatGPT".

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    \$\begingroup\$ let's just ban all Abominable Intelligence :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 19, 2023 at 8:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer from someone with expertise. Thanks. 😊 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2023 at 17:45
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Yes, we should ban ChatGPT.

I think there are a lot of good reasons to ban ChatGPT, but the one I want to focus on is about site health. If we allow ChatGPT, and if it gets to the point where generative text AI can give good answers to questions here, then the dominant point-gain strategy of this site stops being "have expert knowledge, be an active participant" and becomes "be the first person to post whatever ChatGPT says".

To be clear, I don't see this as a short-term problem. I don't think ChatGPT as it stands today poses any risk of usurping us as RPG experts. But that can't be guaranteed forever. This assumes that all of the other reasons to ban ChatGPT are solved: that it doesn't plagiarize work, that it gives useful answers, that it has some sense of correct information and not just model fit, etc.

The point structure of Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange as a whole is built to encourage good answers from experts. I like helping people, but also I like seeing the score go up on a post I've made. Posting answers that get up votes makes me feel good, and makes me more likely to keep coming back. If my expert knowledge is being out-scored by an AI, why would I bother answering?

ChatGPT has its own value proposition. If people want to get AI-generated advice on TTRPGs, they can ask an AI. I think there's value on this site that gets substantially diluted if we allow people to repost answers taken from generative AI rather than relying on actual TTRPG knowledge taken from experience.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The site is supposed to be about great answers to interesting/useful questions. If the best asnwer comes from a machine, I want to read that. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 15, 2023 at 11:32
8
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Does it even matter?

I don't exactly disagree with the other answers, but I think there's an important thing to be pointed out here: The main reason to ban ChatGPT is because it generates terrible, incoherent posts. Those posts are going to get downvoted and/or deleted because they're terrible regardless of what we decide here, whether or not they're recognized as AI-generated.

Future, better AIs might be able to make posts that are indistinguishable from human posts. At that point, such a ban will become unenforceable. But for now, I think it mostly doesn't matter whether we ban ChatGPT per se, because its content is de facto already banned for being garbage.

(Note that this doesn't apply to Xirema's answer, which is a separate reason to ban AI-generated content aside from its quality.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ This was my first thought as well (and I was going to write an answer along those lines), but re-reading the main Meta post it seems like SO is considering some tool that'll help automatically do it (or at least flag it?). \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Feb 9, 2023 at 23:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll be interested to see how effective that turns out to be (source). \$\endgroup\$
    – A_S00
    Feb 9, 2023 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you'll take a peak at the extended discussion on Meta SE, I hope you will appreciate why I posted this meta. Thanks for the thoughts. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2023 at 0:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I agree it generates poor posts, I think it still matters that we ban it. Since the bots are just fancy Markov chains, they'll categorically never produce actual human intelligence in our context—they don't have thought, just RNG tables. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2023 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would strongly suggest you get a ChatGPT account and generate answers from it before you claim the results are terrible and incoherent. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 1:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Agree that this question needed to be posted, didn't mean to suggest otherwise. We couldn't not have a discussion of this! Novak, I've messed around with ChatGPT, and while I'm extremely impressed with how good it is, I still don't think it's good enough to produce good answers to rpg.se questions, aside from the most trivial "read the book for me" questions. I think if someone tried to post ChatGPT answers here, the vast majority would end up downvoted or deleted on their merits, even if it weren't banned. \$\endgroup\$
    – A_S00
    Feb 10, 2023 at 2:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a difference between "not good enough" and "terrible, inconsistent posts." Predicating this discussion on the latter, in my opinion, does the discussion a disservice at large. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 3:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak I have a ChatGPT account and have run the experiment you suggest--I'll testify that what I've generated ranged from terrible-and-incoherent to vapid-and-unhelpful. I've certainly seen nothing that I thought would add to the site. Examples include claiming that six is not an even number when trying to explain how a particular roll works, using inconsistent names for players when "discussing" a table-scenario (so the reader is left thinking "wait--who's Dave!?"), and making up nonexistent traits for a monster in the query. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 10, 2023 at 4:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I am thinking of incoherent in the sense of the first two examples of Trish's post. Those are completely incoherent. Those are also probably not ChatGPT. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 4:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ (Not meaning to come across as argumentative, by the way-- just trying to sort out the miscommunication.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Feb 10, 2023 at 7:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Those posts are going to get downvoted and/or deleted because they're terrible regardless of what we decide here" no. On SO we've seen answers that self-contradict themselves in the same sentence, providing claims that are trivially verifiable as false, or even quite objectively non-working code. Those have been upvoted and even accepted. In some cases, the OP has even commented after the acceptance saying "This doesn't work". So, no - I've no hope that regular users are going to do very strict policing and checking of all content. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 10, 2023 at 8:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ It matters to have a formal policy of banning such content, because it allows suspending or banning people for using it the moment it gets uncovered. Otherwise we have to resort to constant low quality. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 10, 2023 at 9:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @VLAZ what Trish said in that comment is a good reason to ban it as a matter of RPGSE policy. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11, 2023 at 2:45
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @VLAZ that sounds like a great reason to ban it on SO. I'm interested in hearing people's experiences of it on RPG, where we experience roughly 1/1000 the post-volume of SO. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 12, 2023 at 3:51
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think an argument tailored to RPG is strictly necessary; evidence drawn from RPG, on the other hand, I find really useful for RPGmeta discussions. Here we've had something like four AI-generated posts (though I'd actually wager on two of them being particularly juvenile trolling, not AI), with a 100% success rate at downvoting to oblivion; far from what you describe at SO. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 12, 2023 at 21:32
-5
\$\begingroup\$

Ban users that blindly regurgitate ChatGPT answers (or questions)

The problem we're facing is not that we have answers generated by ChatGPT. It's that we have an overflow of bad, low effort answers. To draw an analogy: suppose that in the early days of google, we had an influx of answers that simply google'd the question and pasted the top result. Would we ban using google? I'd hope that we'd instead ban users that exhibited this problematic behaviour instead.

So yes, we should have a category separate from LQ with a "fast track" to ban. Eg "keeps posting ChatGPT generated nonsense" where the fact that's generated exacerbates the problem and requires faster and more severe measures, especially if the entire answer is generated. But that doesn't require banning the tool itself.

How this answer is different from the others:

  1. It focuses on user behaviour, not an arbitrary restriction on tools
  2. It (hopefully) discourages a witch hunt: "oh, your third sentence really sounds like a ChatGPT one" and focuses on the merits of the post
  3. It allows carefully curated usage, similar to using google to search
  4. It avoids philosophical debates of whether an AI really understands RPGs
  5. It keeps us impartial. I'll admit that when I first saw some generated text I felt a pang of resentment - wow, what's the point of reading and learning? This is obviously not the case; but I'd hate to have a policy that someone will look at and say "ha, you're just insecure".
  6. It keeps the rule enforceable and doesn't entice people to view it as a challenge.

A note on ethical concerns: While it's true that there are some very valid points, I think it's the poster's responsibility. If their work was transformative enough and they ensured there's no plagiarism, I don't see why they should be treated differently. Training sets are an interesting conundrum; yet again, do we ask how the user's spell checking or grammar checking was trained? Do we even check if they purchased the DMG? Obviously this is something to revising once, as a society, we respond to this change.

As a disclaimer, I have not used ChatGPT to any of my answers, nor do I want to; but I strongly feel that our rules should be based on objective criteria and avoid sensationalist language and knee-jerk reactions. If ChatGPT can pass the RPG stack's Turing test? So be it; in the meantime, warn people against it and ban problematic behaviours.

\$\endgroup\$
11
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Many a humans cheats, swindlers, liars, and conmen can pass a Turing test. Yet do you really think you should be getting or encouraging the dispensation of financial advice by Charles Ponzi? ChatGPT is a conman. OK, that might be ascribing maliciousness to how it works but I don't know if unfeeling and random lies are better or worse than deliberate ones. The intermingling with some truths and half-truths, alongside much fluff certainly has had many fooled that ChatGPT "works". \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 22, 2023 at 22:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VLAZ to be blunt, each one of your sentences reads like a logical fallacy. I understand that it provokes an emotional reaction; which is why we should remain rational and stop personifying it (point 5). ChatGPT isnt a conman: whoever acts as an API from SE to ChatGPT is. \$\endgroup\$
    – falsedot
    Feb 22, 2023 at 23:08
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Chat GTP has no idea how the games we play work. Ask Chat GTP "how to create a character in the Infinity RPG?" and it will make up stuff that couldn't be further from the truth, because the tool isn't able to be trained on the material asked about. Because of that, there is no proper usecase for the tool. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 22, 2023 at 23:59
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ -1 GPT-generated answers present a unique use case that is far worse than our normal low quality answer issues. Identifying it as separate from low quality helps us deal with this particular threat to our knowledge base's integrity proportionately without impacting users who merely post low quality content with the same measures. That is, issuing that this is just a low quality answer problem is going to cause damage to legitimate users. In fact, to your Google issue, we already addressed that too: we identify that as plagiarism, and we view that as unique from LQ too. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2023 at 2:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, the decision to target a specific category of tools is not an arbitrary restriction. This specific category of tools is doing specific damage inherent to the use of those tools. We're very not-arbitrarily picking them out, we're identifying an exact cause-and-effect. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2023 at 2:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @falsedot ChatGPT very confidently tries to push complete lies and fabrications to you. Not always but that's the problem - there is no distinction between when a text is correct and not. Both are presented the same way as if they are correct. This does fool people into believing the falsehoods when they do show up. Even the generated content that isn't wrong might not be right. A lot of the text generated is a filler, thus you can get of answers to questions devoid of useful information. OP here tried to generalise to ChatGPT being probably OK. I say it it's not a trustworthy source. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 23, 2023 at 5:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener thanks for this perspective; yes, having a category separate from LQ with a "fast track" to ban makes sense. Eg "keeps posting ChatGTP generated nonsense" where the fact that's generated exacerbates the problem and requires faster and more severe measures. My point is that this doesn't need a ban on the tool: "to your Google issue [..] we identify that as plagiarism, [..] unique from LQ". But we don't ban google, do we? I might google something, evaluate results, and structure my answer accordingly; that's separate from plagiarising the top result from google (I'd hope) \$\endgroup\$
    – falsedot
    Feb 23, 2023 at 10:09
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @falsedot This isn't Google. The fact is, the issue is that we have answers generated by chatgpt — they aren't our regular flow of bad quality answers. Use of this tool is causing this problem, and it is a readily identifiable cause. No part of that requires me to consider "but what about Google". \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2023 at 11:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ falsedot, I thank you for the thoughtful approach presented in your answer. I cannot agree, however, because I support the core value proposition of the SO/SE platform, summarized as having a very high signal to noise ratio. ChatGPT is only noise. Again, I appreciate the care which went into crafting your answer. 😎 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2023 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ sure, thats a fair point :) I think that I've slightly misunderstood the question too as it seems that we're mostly talking about answers completely generated by ChatGPT while I'm mostly consider answers that have used it as part of the process eg to quickly create a draft of some flavour text that's then edited. Sounds like the first problem is much bigger though! \$\endgroup\$
    – falsedot
    Feb 23, 2023 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ how would you sensibly use ChatGTP to generate even a part of an answer and not get absolute junk as whatever you got from ChatGTP concerning RPGs is worthless? \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 23, 2023 at 19:59

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