What is this site’s policy on content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools?

Generative artificial intelligence (a.k.a. GPT, LLM, generative AI, genAI) tools can be used to generate content for DevOps Stack Exchange, but this content must be properly referenced as per our guidance. If your content is determined to have been written by generative artificial intelligence tools and is not properly referenced, it will likely be deleted, along with any reputation earned from it. Posting unreferenced content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools may lead to a warning from moderators, or possibly a suspension for repeated infractions.

Some sites on the Stack Exchange network may have different policies on content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools, and some may disallow the posting of AI-generated content entirely. Please ensure you check each site’s local policy about this content before posting there.

What counts as “content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools”?

“Content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools” is any content crafted, in part or in whole, using a tool that writes a response automatically based on a prompt it is provided. These tools include large language models like ChatGPT and Google Gemini. Because these tools are trained to answer with language that mimics authentic speech, the responses may look and sound plausible, but the quality of generated answers can vary significantly (up to, and including, completely wrong answers).

If you are using large language model (LLM) services as described above to draft content for DevOps Stack Exchange, please ensure these are properly referenced.

Why do I need to disclose that I used generative artificial intelligence services to draft content?

Stack Exchange is a collaborative resource, developed and maintained by members of the community, with the goal of creating a repository of high-quality curated knowledge. As mentioned above, while content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools may look and sound plausible, the quality of that content can vary significantly. For this reason, it is extremely important that you ensure future readers are aware of the fact that these tools or services were used to generate the content you’re posting. This ensures that readers of that content are fully aware of the content source’s limitations and shortcomings, and can thus decide how relevant that content is for them.

There are a few primary issues with content generated by large language models that make it unsuitable for use on DevOps Stack Exchange without properly referencing it:

  1. Users who ask questions on DevOps Stack Exchange expect to receive an answer authored and vetted by a human. This ensures that the answer is factual, relevant, and complete, up to the standards of another human. While human authors are not perfect, generative artificial intelligence tools may not take into account other important factors that add nuance to a question, often add excessive noise to their answers (e.g., explaining all details, no matter how relevant), and may fabricate false or misleading information.
  2. Users who ask questions on DevOps Stack Exchange may have already sought answers elsewhere, including through generative artificial intelligence services. Appropriate references help the reader decide whether or not they even want to read a given post, and flags the potential hazards involved in posts that have been written while using generative artificial intelligence tools.
  3. Sometimes generative artificial intelligence tools may be used to assist with editing and translating content, rather than generate it. Despite this constituting a more transformative, rather than generative action, these tools are still prone to error, and they might still introduce new information not present in the original text.
  4. Generative artificial intelligence tools are not capable of referencing the sources of knowledge used up to the standards of the Stack Exchange network. Even when generative artificial intelligence tools appear to reference sources for responses, such sources may not be relevant to the original request, or may not exist at all. For DevOps Stack Exchange, this means the content may not honestly or fairly represent the sources of knowledge used, and that the actual original author of some of the material being used may not be getting properly credited, even if someone explicitly references the generative artificial intelligence tool as an author in their answer.

Please note that even when properly referenced, frequent posting of content generated by these tools, especially when done in a short window of time, can lead to unnecessary disruption of DevOps Stack Exchange, which would be in violation of the Inauthentic Usage policy of our Code of Conduct.

How do I reference content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools?

The more general guidance offered in the context of referencing material written by others applies to content generated by generative artificial intelligence tools. More specifically, there are two main things you should ensure:

  • You should clearly describe what content is generated by generative artificial intelligence tools, and which isn’t. You should do this when quoting directly from the output produced by these tools, as well as when paraphrasing those contents. This ensures there is a distinction between the content generated by these tools, content you authored, and content you may be referencing from other sources.
  • You should specify the specific generative artificial intelligence tool/service you used. Since different services may produce different outputs to the same prompt, and may have different limitations and shortcomings, you should ensure readers know which specific tool you used to produce the content you are referencing.

You may want to share details on the prompt you used to produce the output too, but there is no need to completely copy and paste the prompt and output. Just as when referencing any other content you didn’t author, you should generally avoid copying the complete text, and should instead use the words and ideas from this content to support your own. Here is how you might consider referencing material generated by generative artificial intelligence tools in the body of your post:

I asked [Generative AI service] about [partial prompt]. Its output was:

[Generative AI response]

[other sources, quotes, explanations, etc. necessary to complete the post]

If you have a question about how this policy might look in practice, please look through Meta DevOps Stack Exchange to see if there are any past or ongoing discussions about this type of content that establish community norms surrounding it. If there aren’t any such discussions that address your concerns, consider starting a discussion yourself so other members of the community can provide their perspective.

Are there alternatives to using generative artificial intelligence services to craft answers?

Many of the answers on DevOps Stack Exchange are created by users sharing their own expertise. In particular, when supplying answers outside their expertise, users should reference trustworthy sources. Searching for sources, synthesizing them into a good answer, and referencing them clearly are critical steps in developing a well-crafted answer.

Remember - the person who asked a question needs a correct answer. As such, answering correctly is always more important than answering quickly. Additionally, our system thrives on questions getting multiple good answers, which are more likely to help future visitors who have the same question. By following a process that creates consistently correct answers of good quality, and that are well-referenced as needed, you should do just fine here.