SE has decreed a new policy on how moderators are allowed to handle, or not handle AI-authored content:

What is the network policy regarding AI Generated content?

This has very wide-reaching implications for the entire network, but the actual announcement is barely visible. It is heavily downvoted, so it won't be visible on the MSE frontpage. It was never featured, so it is not visible on any main sites. I have flagged this to be featured days ago, and as far as I understand I'm not the only one that has done that, but my flag is still pending and SE hasn't acted on this.

I think it is important to actually inform the community about this change, which brings me to the second problem with this announcement. It is simply wrong and does not accurately represent the actual policy that SE has communicated in private to the moderators. There are two big differences between the public policy and the private one:

  • which moderator actions it applies to, the public policy only mentions suspensions
  • what exactly the "very strict standard of evidence" is

The first one should be easy to correct, and I don't see any reason to keep the blatantly wrong information in the public policy here.

The second one is a bit tricky; there are arguments here that the exact details should not be made public to avoid users exploiting that knowledge. I don't agree with those arguments, especially as in this case the public policy essentially hides just how massive this policy change is.

There's an additional point that is just plain wrong now in the help center policy on ChatGPT, SE knows what I mean.

I'm asking SE to fix the public policy so that it properly represents the actual policy change and then feature it so that the users of the SE network are actually notified about it.


1 Answer 1


I've seen a few references to the policy as announced to moderators in a private chatroom being different to the policy as announced publicly. In the interests of transparency, I for one would like to see the private version of the policy. As you note, "there are arguments here that the exact details should not be made public to avoid users exploiting that knowledge", but I believe the community's interest in knowing what SE staff are imposing on us outweighs that concern.

So far the only quote I've seen from the private version of the policy comes from this comment:

"We are now asking you to stop [...] suspending due to AI-generated content in general"

And according to this comment,

we were not "asked", we were "required".

SE staff have had ample opportunity over the last few days to fix the public announcement, and it is obviously unlikely that SE staff themselves will post the full policy as stated in the private chat. Moderators present in that chat room may reasonably not wish to post it with their name attached, for fear of retaliation by SE; but posting it anonymously is an option.

I don't know whether there is a non-disclosure agreement which might be violated by publishing this policy; if there is, then it's understandable that moderators wouldn't want to expose themselves to liability by posting it. However, in that case it would still benefit the community to know that there is an NDA ─ if it's a secret policy that the enforcers aren't even allowed to disclose, that's even worse.

  • 7
    Machavity (SO mod) has shared some of the details in this summary: meta.stackoverflow.com/q/424979/951830, anything more than what is said here would probably at least risk a mod's diamond.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 1:21
  • 1
    FWIW, I posted a dissection of the difference in the Mod Team. The original post there went into a lot of detail not for public consumption. We've done our best to keep that part private for the sake of good-faith negotiations, but SE has still not seen fit to respond to that difference, just post more data on what lead them to make said decision. Sadly, the new data hasn't improved our view on their stance all that much, nor explained why the full policy can't be public.
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 12:37
  • @Machavity Interesting, so Stack Exchange, Inc. don't seem to have identified any harm that would be caused by making the policy public?
    – kaya3
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 14:42
  • 3
    No. There are some ongoing negotiations so I am hopeful we get answers soon.
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 14:44

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