Stack Overflow customers sabotage their posts after OpenAI deal

Rubber duck falling out of bath overflowing with water

On Monday, Stack Overflow and OpenAI introduced a brand new API partnership that can combine Stack Overflow’s technical content material with OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI assistant. However, the deal has sparked controversy amongst Stack Overflow’s consumer group, with many expressing anger and protest over the usage of their contributed content material to help and practice AI fashions.

“I hate this. I’m simply going to delete/deface my solutions one after the other,” wrote one consumer on sister website Stack Exchange. “I do not care if that is in opposition to your foolish insurance policies, as a result of as this announcement exhibits, your insurance policies can change at a whim with out prior session of your stakeholders. You do not care about your customers, I do not care about you.”

Stack Overflow is a well-liked question-and-answer website for software program builders that permits customers to ask and reply technical questions associated to coding. The website has a big group of builders who contribute information and experience to assist others resolve programming issues. Over the previous decade, Stack Overflow has develop into a closely utilized useful resource for a lot of builders in search of options to widespread coding challenges.

Under the introduced partnership, OpenAI will make the most of Stack Overflow’s OverflowAPI product to enhance its AI fashions utilizing content material from the Stack Overflow group—formally incorporating data that many consider it had beforehand scraped and not using a license. OpenAI may even “floor validated technical information from Stack Overflow instantly into ChatGPT, giving customers quick access to trusted, attributed, correct, and extremely technical information and code backed by the tens of millions of builders which have contributed to the Stack Overflow platform for 15 years,” based on Stack Overflow.

In return, OpenAI plans to offer attribution to the Stack Overflow group inside ChatGPT, however how the corporate will try this precisely is unclear. Stack Overflow may even use OpenAI know-how in its growth of OverflowAI, an AI mannequin introduced in July 2023 that makes use of an LLM to offer solutions to developer questions.

While the businesses tout the collaboration’s advantages, many Stack Overflow customers have expressed their displeasure with the deal. This is very true contemplating that till very just lately, Stack Overflow appeared to take a detrimental stance towards generative AI typically, banning solutions written utilizing ChatGPT. It was additionally extensively reported final 12 months that ChatGPT’s recognition had severely decreased Stack Overflow’s site visitors, although the corporate appeared to later refute that, claiming defective evaluation by outsiders.

Since the announcement, some customers have tried to change or delete their Stack Overflow posts in protest, arguing that the transfer steals the labor of those that contributed to the platform and not using a approach to choose out. In retaliation, Stack Overflow workers have reportedly been banning these customers whereas erasing or reverting the protest posts. On Monday, a Stack Overflow consumer named Ben took to Mastodon to share his expertise of getting suspended after posting a protest message:

Stack Overflow introduced that they’re partnering with OpenAI, so I attempted to delete my highest-rated solutions.

Stack Overflow doesn’t allow you to delete questions which have accepted solutions and lots of upvotes as a result of it might take away information from the group.

So as a substitute I modified my highest-rated solutions to a protest message.

Within an hour mods had modified the questions again and suspended my account for 7 days.

Stack Overflow moderators have acknowledged that after posts are made, they develop into “a part of the collective efforts” of different contributors and may solely be eliminated underneath extraordinary circumstances, based on The Verge. Stack Overflow’s phrases of service additionally state that customers can’t revoke permission for Stack Overflow to make use of their contributed content material.

While Stack Overflow owns consumer posts, the location makes use of a Creative Commons 4.0 license that requires attribution. We’ll see if the ChatGPT integrations, which haven’t rolled out but, will honor that license to the satisfaction of disgruntled Stack Overflow customers. For now, the battle continues.

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