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Note: This post is not on behalf of the moderators of Ask Ubuntu, although they are welcome to strike as well. I'm also not a diamond moderator.

Tl;dr I'm going on strike. Read the letter and rationale here


Hi! I'm cocomac - I'm often here on Meta AU, but you may have also seen me over on MSE, where I have been regularly posting.

Ask Ubuntu has banned AI-generated content, and that ban has been overall supported by the AU community. More details on that ban and the rationale are in that linked AU post as well as on MSO. Quoting Makyen on MSO,

The primary problem is that while the answers which ChatGPT produces have a high rate of being incorrect, they typically look like they might be good and the answers are very easy to produce. There are also many people trying out ChatGPT to create answers, without the expertise or willingness to verify that the answer is correct prior to posting. Because such answers are so easy to produce, a large number of people are posting a lot of answers. The volume of these answers [...] and the fact that the answers often require a detailed read by someone with at least some subject matter expertise in order to determine that the answer is actually bad has effectively swamped our volunteer-based quality curation infrastructure.

Sadly, on MSE, Stack Exchange, Inc. unilaterally determined that moderators across the network are effectively powerless to deal with users that post AI-generated content. That announcement was forced upon all network moderators, and the community was not given a chance to give feedback on that policy prior to it taking place. In addition, moderators were also given different stricter rules to follow than what is public. These additional rules are not public as of now, despite that mods are required to follow them.

This policy, going by what is public, is based on theories and suspicions by SE. They've mentioned data, including a high rate of false-positive suspensions, but have not published any data to support their claims, despite that data being requested, presumably because that data would be nearly impossible to gather and is possibly made up. The moderator team has not been suspending users randomly - they've looked at a number of factors when determining if a user needs a suspention.

Due to this, I am, effective immediately, going on strike across the network until this policy is reverted. This includes flagging posts, reviewing in the queues, etc..

There's a letter that includes many more details. I'd encourage anyone supportive of this to sign it.

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    Thanks cocomac; difficult times at the moment but it is great to see people who really care for the well being of the entire Sack Exchange network pulling together!
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 7:07
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    This is an excellent sum up of the events that led to the strike! Thanks for this post! I hope that the strike will yield positive results for the communities! Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 7:52
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    I disagree. Answers need to be checked on facts and being correct not on where it came from. And that includes AI answers: if they are wrong you downvote and those answers will disappear. Going on strike is not the answer. If you disagree with policy you resign. @BeastOfCaerbannog it never does. As always it is the users that get shafted: askubuntu is currently spammed to death: 1st 5 of the FP are spam. Canonical is not going to be happy about this.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 13:01
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    @Rinzwind active curators (I am from en.SO, just in case) and moderators across the network haven't gone to strike because of the change in the AI policy by itself. It was just a tipping point (how the change was handled in particular, not what it implies) over years of mistreatment of volunteer effort accompanied by executive decisions overruling community consensus. Please, let's avoid telling users what they should and shouldn't do when they think the company continuously disregards efforts provided to it for free. Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 1:37
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    @Rinzwind I don't think we should care about what Canonical thinks about us. They're not our boss. It's irrelevant IMO. Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 5:35
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    @RandomPerson oh but AU is their --official-- support site. You really believe they will like this?
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 6:41
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    @Rinzwind With the caveat that I'm not a Canonical employee, if I made an OS, I'd far rather my hypothetical support site have correct information about my hypothetical OS over AI-generated "information" that has significant potential to look convincing but mislead users as it is wrong. See also the FAQ in the strike letter
    – cocomac
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 6:45
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    @cocomac they want CORRECT info. Where is it from does not matter as long as there is citation. Mods have enough rules to enforce it and do not need to mass-ban users. Banning one person on the wrong reasons if far worse than not banning one bad person. And yes I am a European :=)
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 6:48
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    @Rinzwind I fully agree with you that users want correct information. Also, I agree that mods need to be cautious when issuing suspensions and should Assume Good Intent unless evidence of bad intent is discovered. If all users prefixed GenAI answers that they posted with "This answer was partially/entirely generated using GenAI", then this would be less of an issue. What is an issue, however, is when users don't cite it and pretend they wrote it, and then go and post 10+ answers per hour that are ChatGPT generated to attempt to gain rep, and then mods are forbidden from suspending them
    – cocomac
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 6:54
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    @Rinzwind I suggested that Canonical should help organizing of AU's migration away from SE infrastructure and influence. As, indeed, AU is Canonical's official, and beautifully effective, support site. It deserves something way better than the SE staff is capable of and willing to provide. The SE staff is hostile to the entire userbase since years. They have nothing apart from capitalistic motivations. All they want to see is money. Not even the money that has something to do with their platform; they just want a money. They are unworthy.
    – Levente
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 11:57
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    That I can agree on @Levente :)
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 12:05

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