As of February 2, 2023, there is a permanent and complete ban on the use of ChatGPT and AI generated content on Ask Ubuntu.

This permanent ban involves:

  1. Deletion of all ChatGPT or other AI content, whether acknowledged as such or not
  2. Moderator email for initial occurrence, if minor in scope
  3. Seven day Suspension for subsequent occurrence, or initial occurrence if larger in scope, and then the usual escalation of penalties for further infractions

The Moderation team has decided by majority vote and decision, after review of opinions and the volume of posts from ChatGPT which have been flagged as problematic or violations of the previous temporary ban, that this ban on ChatGPT and AI generated content is now a permanent ban, effective February 2, 2023. This can be revisited in the future, however it is not going to change for the foreseeable future.

Extra Notes:

  • Community Consultation: On December 19th, 2022, Community discussion commenced on AU Meta concerning our position on AI generated content. This discussion attracted considerable Community interest and involvement.
  • Temporary Ban: On January 5th, 2023, while Community discussion was taking place, there was a considerable upsurge in the number of of ChatGPT-generated answers and spam messages posted on Ask Ubuntu. To get control of this upsurge of incorrect, nonworking, and unvetted content in answers, a temporary ban on AI-generated answers was instituted. This ban continued until February 2, 2023, when a permanent ban was instituted.
  • Grammar and Spell Checking Tools: Note that it is the moderator team's opinion that the use of Grammarly and spell checking tools to correct grammar errors and spelling errors is not AI-generated content. Using those tools to improve your own written posts' grammar or to correct spelling errors is not forbidden; however, we are specifically barring the use of ChatGPT and other AIs as the sole source of generating answer content.
  • Is this ban limited to ChatGPT generated answers? Or is using ChatGPT to assist in editing posts also banned? I realize it says a complete ban, but I’m also aware there was some discussion about using it to improve questions (and answers?), hence my question
    – cocomac
    Jan 5 at 7:15
  • 4
    Ideally discussion will take place on the linked Meta thread where I would be keen to see your input. But: i am not convinced about the use of AI to improve posts in this way. The actual Ask Ubuntu experience with ChatGPT has been very, very different, it has been multiple copy and paste posts that have been for the most part really poor answers. It has been a cool and calculated effort by users to gain rep fast with no interest in accuracy or the production of quality answers.
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Jan 5 at 7:45
  • 2
    @andrew.46 In light of this announcement, does this thread need any further update/clarification/commentary?
    – Levente
    Jan 5 at 11:57
  • 2
    @Levente AI grammar checkers are 'limited' in their scope to grammar improvement amd spell checking. This ban is on AI generated content (which is what ChatGPT and others do) not the use of Grammarly AI which in the free grammarly is specific to grammar improvements and spellcheckers.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jan 5 at 15:52
  • O.k. which flag can I use (that's available to me) to contribute to enforcing this ban? I look at the list of the available flags and it's not totally clear. I did not want to ring "moderator attention" for every single such instance. Do I have another choice?
    – Levente
    Jan 19 at 17:27
  • 1
    @Levente I'd use a custom mod flag. I typically include why I think it is ChatGPT, the GPT detector result, and any other related info. If it helps, here's a (lightly modified) ChatGPT custom flag I raised on SO recently: This appears to be ChatGPT-generated. The GPT detector gave it X% as how likely it was to be AI-generated. There might be a better flag, but I typically have a bit of info to give (the detector result and if the user has other ChatGPT answers), so I always use a custom flag. A mod can confirm, but I'd guess custom-flags are the best way
    – cocomac
    Jan 19 at 17:44
  • @cocomac by "custom flag" do you mean the bottom-most option, "in need of moderator intervention", combined with a textarea? If yes, that's the basis for my question: I was looking for something that did not need additional mod attention. I was looking for something more automated, e.g. how I believe the spam flag works (auto deletion after like 5 votes).
    – Levente
    Jan 19 at 17:48
  • @cocomac yes that's a custom mod flag. Moderators give attention to lots of things every day, including the non-custom flags. Do not feel bad about writing custom text if it is a legitimate reason. You should probably not strictly rely on the GPT checker though, as it has been known to flag human-written text sometimes. You can corroborate it with things like the user writing many answers in a short time, writing answers with info that looks okay at first glance but is actually nonsense, consistently failing the checker, etc.
    – user253751
    Feb 1 at 18:31
  • I am still trying to figure out if @cocomac 's first comment above has been answered? Can AI be used for improving questions and comments or perhaps simplifying answers? Feb 4 at 4:35
  • @C.S.Cameron The issue on AU has never been people using technology like ChatGPT wisely, it has been people using ChatGPT to game the Rep system, to produce empty and many times misleading answers in bulk, to easily create spam and flood AU with it. Hence a blanket and complete ban on its usage.
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Feb 4 at 5:39
  • @andrew.46 So the answer to cocomac's comment is "No, there is a complete and total ban on ChatGPT and similar AI on AU. It can not be used in any way, not even to improve questions or comments or when editing". Is that correct? Feb 4 at 7:40
  • 3
    @C.S.Cameron Well they are actually your words not mine 🙂. The first statement in the announcement pretty much covers it all: "There is now a permanent and complete ban on the use of ChatGPT and AI generated content on Ask Ubuntu." I cannot really add anything more to that...
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Feb 4 at 7:53
  • How does an upstanding member of the community tell if an answer has been AI generated or not? Like, I'd report it if I knew, but I don't know how it would be possible for me to know. EDit: above comment by @user253751 somewhat answers this Mar 1 at 9:58
  • @thomasrutter Sometimes there are tell-tale signs - people who play with ChatGPT a lot may notice. It writes relatively formally, for example. Complete sentences only; paragraphs starting with words like "First," and "However,". Another sign is if the answer is confident but subtly wrong (requires you to have actual knowledge to judge the content). Another hint is a user who posts many answers on completely unrelated topics in succession.
    – user253751
    Mar 1 at 10:19
  • I Think AU needs a dedicated flag in the "needs improvement" category
    – Rishon_JR
    Mar 10 at 5:14


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