Update (July 25th)
We have moved the GenAI site into its Public Beta. Privileges have been set to normal public beta thresholds as well.
Update (July 13th)
As promised, you can follow along for summarized updates on the work the stakeholder group is undertaking.
You can find that here: GenAI (previously Prompt Design) site stakeholder group updates.
Update (June 22)
If you want to join the community stakeholder group, you can learn more about its purpose and how to join here.
Update (June 21)
There is some confusion about what Prompt Design means for Area 51 and community-led site creation.
To clear the air, no plans in the immediate or far future to dismantle Area 51 or put an end to community-led site creation exist.
Prompt Design's process of joining the Stack Exchange Network is only experimental for informing what a potential improved process could look like. Stack Exchange has no plans to take the lead in creating additional sites. Any strategy to build upon, revamp, upgrade, or improve Area 51 or the site incubation process will be revisited with significant planning and community feedback when and if that day comes.
Today, I have some news to share. It's about one of our newest projects coming to the network - the Prompt Design Stack Exchange site: a site for Q&A on writing or engineering effective prompts while utilizing different generative AI (GenAI) tools.
What is prompt design?
Prompt design or prompt engineering, (depending on what you prefer), is the skill, act, or process of constructing prompts to utilize generative AI tools that can create some kind of output for you, whether that be writing, coding, art, music, or animation and many more things.
Stack Overflow and many other sites have been the trustworthy anchors of the Stack Exchange network for a long time. They’ve been the source of many friendships, a marriage or two, and a host of knowledge sharing so large and beneficial to society that it's likely impossible to measure.
Prompt Design is our vision of a place where we can grow a community that is centered around knowledge sharing for writing prompts for GenAI tools. Given the many different GenAI tools out there and the ones yet to be released, we anticipate a significant impact on technologists that will change how they work and create new segments of technologists. We want to ensure we have a site to serve that group, just like Stack Overflow and other sites that support emerging technologies and topics.
Starting communities is hard; we would love to have your support here to make doing this less difficult. Technology is always changing the world and GenAI is no exception.
We see this community as one that will help technologists, just as Stack Overflow did when it launched. We would love to have you as a part of this journey now. But if you're not interested in this particular community or don’t have the time, that's okay! However, if you find yourself interested in these tools and love using LLMs like ChatGPT for writing witty puns or creating artwork to finally demonstrate how cool your tabletop RPG characters look using Midjourney, then we would love to have you along for the journey.
On a more direct note, we strongly oppose the influencers capitalizing on new GenAI users without properly teaching these learners how to use these tools effectively. We see building this site as pulling from some of our core foundational roots: knowledge sharing should be easily accessible, especially in a space where expertise has yet to be established.
So, what do we want?
We are looking for your feedback. How should we best navigate this new territory? One thing to note is that we will be trialing a new community creation process — more on that in a minute — and communicating on MSE to sort out some of the particulars with the community as publicly and transparently as possible.
Let's talk Meat & Potatoes.
Alright, I know I have been a bit vague, and I recognize I am only selling a high-level concept without much substance to engage with, so let's share some details.
Why are you using this new community creation process?
Let's just get it out there: Area 51 holds some sentimental value for many of us… but how good is it for doing what it needs to these days? It's kinda hidden, with an aging design. That is not even acknowledging that the code base for Area 51 has not been touched in so long; we are pretty sure we could build it from scratch faster than refactoring what is there, and we just might do that!
Simply put, we will try a new process that is relatively reflective of what we think a new process for site building on the network should look like: public, discoverable, and out in the open. We have more specific ideas for this new process but must prove this could work first. More specifically, if Prompt Design works out, it gives us the momentum and a road map we need to start considering what an Area 51 replacement can look like and some direction on where we are heading with its future. We have a vision of a much more visible and discoverable process for site incubation than the current state of Area 51. One that is integrated into MSE, but not intrusive. I don’t want to get too into the weeds right now, but if we prove we can launch a site there, it gives a good runway to take a serious swing at a Next Generation Area 51.
Rather than have the community pick a random site topic to try and build this way, we decided to take ownership of this process and drive the bus on this one. If we succeed, great! If not, we will have fresh material to discuss on meta; it's a public service either way.
So what's different here than the regular site building process?
We will create a Community Stakeholders working group on an instance of Stack Overflow for Teams or perhaps a public chat room with read access. This group will be its most interested supporters from the community - both moderators and non-moderators (these are loosely equivalent to the pledged committers from Area 51) and will work behind the scenes with the community managers to discuss and flesh out things like site norms or potential policies, before being brought to the site's meta to agree. More details on this will be shared with the invitation to join the group.
We are exploring offering free site sponsorships and ad space on this site to new GenAI companies as part of potential co-marketing agreements to get some exposure to their users in hopes that they join this new community. It won’t be like this forever, and it's not a preview of anything to come elsewhere on the network. Just an exception we are making here for this site, in this case, to throw a broader net to grow its audience. For those unfamiliar with site sponsorship on other sites, we usually give quite a bit of heads-up, but in this case, the heads-up will maybe be days rather than weeks to months, and new partners in this respect could change on a week-to-week basis.
Why do you think this is a good use of your time when so much of the network has other needs?
We believe this is a pivotal opportunity for the SE community. We have a rare chance here to do some quick moving that builds on what we know these sites and this community of people do well. We’re excited to try out some new methodologies - some of them will work, some will fail, and some will be somewhere in the middle. We’ll learn from them and iterate. But these opportunities around technology that could potentially be generation-defining are rare, and we want to take advantage of this one.
What does a community stakeholders group do?
Think of this as a group of people interested in being the group's founding members. People who would like to take a hands-on approach in working with a community manager to see the site successful. They would lend a hand in developing the site's initial policies before it launches so that when the new site is launched we will already have some starting points on discussion items that would typically be addressed during the private beta phase. After launch, the community is able to modify or replace any of their ideas as it sees fit.
This group will continue to exist post-launch as invested users who continue to discuss things like engagement, emerging issues, or anything else that we would typically use a working group for.
What do you mean by emerging technologists?
The times are changing. Depending on what you might believe, AI tools will become a part of many professions for assistance in doing work in some form or fashion. It is easy to speculate on the impact this is having on coding and writing, the impact will probably hit other areas too, and those impacted people will have questions that need answers. And Stack Exchange is the place many people come to to get answers. These tools will likely expand quite far into many different professions; we think betting on prompt writing skills and understanding makes sense. Naturally, we want to serve individuals who find themselves using these tools as well, and ensure they have a place to find trusted information, just like our current community does with the existing network.
Did some sponsoring company hire you to create this site for them? Is money changing hands here?
No. This is happening because we believe the timing and the subject matter are right, with no outside party advocating for its creation.
Is this site intended to be a place to get help writing prompts for their GenAI tools?
Simply, no. We are creating this as a site to record and refine best practices for writing effective prompts and not some form of "Please write a prompt that does x."
How do you plan to handle inappropriate content that might come up on Prompt Design?
Prompt Design has no unique privileges here to allow content our Code of Conduct would otherwise prohibit. Of course, the site's community will still be welcome to classify specific questions or categories as inappropriate and moderate those as it sees fit if it would like to expand beyond the CoC.
What if the site fails?
While it's not something we want, it's an outcome we can accept should it come to that. The subject matter is relevant enough to give it a try in this experiment. If we are wrong, we still see this as a valuable learning experience on how we could build upon our existing site improvement process for a potential successor to Area 51.
The tentative timeline
This is the planned schedule of different communications we plan to share with the community. Titles are in flux, and dates might change, but this should give you an idea of the project’s timeline to launch.
|Invitation to Community Stakeholders Group (MSE)||Before the end of June|
|Launch Prompt Design + Announcement||July 26th, 2023|
|Site Standards: What should they be? Tags, Question Overlap, etc. (Prompt Design Meta)||July 26th, 2023|
So, what should I do now?
- We will need help identifying obstacles, whether listed here or not. I am looking to be made aware of pitfalls. Be direct, please.
- Any thoughts on a community stakeholders group? What do you think they should/should not do? How long should it exist, etc?
- We expect this site to be different due to the subjective nature of using GenAI tools; we are particularly interested in outside-the-box thinking in ways to to run a site on the network differently. Think of this as a testing ground where we can experiment with site settings and other things.
- Suggesting a prompt design site for Area 51 is not necessary, while this experiment is ongoing. Other site proposals are totally welcome there, of course. We’ve got this one, so do us a solid and don’t suggest any site proposals around prompt design or suggest to others that they should.
- To be super clear, there are no plans to end community-driven site incubation; this experiment is simply one that could help inform improvements on the process. We value having a space and process for community-led sites to join the network and have no plans to change that other than to empower that process at some point in the future.