I see that using ChatGPT to provide content for answers on Stack Exchange is strictly forbidden. But what about using its provided code as the basis of a question?

Here's a productivity-enhancing path that seems to me sensible: in whatever world I am entering, get ChatGPT to generate a simple "Hello, World!" example, complete with configuration files as needed. Then expand upon the example to build what I need, dealing with errors as they arise. But are all questions that arise out of this path to be excluded from this site, because ChatGPT provided the “Hello, World!” code? If so, it seems to me throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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    eh, there are certain questions that can arise in this form that would be very poorly received, but i'm sure there's some useful ones that could arise from this usage. You would need to ask on individual site meta's to be more specific, like meta.stackoverflow.com for stackoverflow. It's more likely that such a question would be poorly received for reasons any question would be poorly received not just because you used chatgpt in your process.
    – Kevin B
    Commented May 20 at 16:06
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    Does this answer your question? Is there a list of ChatGPT or other AI-related discussions and policies for our sites?
    – Mithical
    Commented May 20 at 16:49
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    "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" - nope. It's flushing the toilets to get rid of harmful waste. Commented May 20 at 16:58
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    It's hard to imagine how this question applies to sites that aren't Stack Overflow. Are you supposing, for example, that people will ask ChatGPT for recipes, try to modify them, then ask Seasoned Advice to fix the result? Commented May 20 at 17:49
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    Does this answer your question? Ban ChatGPT network-wide, which is answered by a company employee effectively saying that the policy is left up to individual sites, so you need to look at the other question that's also a duplicate target.
    – Makyen
    Commented May 20 at 18:35
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    @KarlKnechtel Given the hype and thinking by a lot of people that generative AI is capable of anything, I really wouldn't be surprised to see someone try to get a recipe and ask about it on Seasoned Advice.
    – Makyen
    Commented May 20 at 18:39
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    @KarlKnechtel I feel like I remember seeing something like that on Seasoned Advice. I know people IRL who made recipes from some AI recipe generator and then wondered why they were terrible, I really wouldn't put it past someone to ask about it on a SE site.
    – Esther
    Commented May 20 at 18:40
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    As always what you describe is an elaborate XY problem. Instead of "I want to do X. I figured some way which sort of achieves it which is Y but I also can't do it, so I ask for Y instead" it's "I want to do X, some LLM suggested Y but doesn't work, so I ask for the LLMs approach". These are often even worse than "regular" XY problems because they are also equivalent to "I found some broken code, how do I change it to work (and I secretly hope it at least does Y after fixed which will sort of fulfill X for me".
    – VLAZ
    Commented May 20 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


No, that is probably not desirable. That is probably not in keeping with the purpose of this site. I am not aware of a hard prohibition, but the kind of usage you are discussing does not seem aligned with our site's purpose. This site is not a place where you place "work orders" to assist in accomplishing your goal.

This site exists as a place where people can collaborate to build an archive of knowledge that will be useful to others in the future. The knowledge is structured in the form of questions and answers.

So a question that says "here is how far I got on my software package, please help me complete it" or "please help me fix a bug" is likely to be poorly received, as it doesn't advance the site mission. It's unlikely anyone else will be at exactly the same place in your software development path with the same goals, so answers to such a question are unlikely to be useful.

However, if in the process of developing a project, you discover a narrowly scoped question that other developers are likely to have, then that could be a good question to ask about. It's irrelevant how you got there; what matters is whether it is a focused, answerable question that others are likely to have. We don't need to see your entire source code and config files so far, and we don't want to see it. If your question is about debugging, people may expect you to provide code; and if you provide code, we want to see a minimal reproducible example, not a dump of all your code.

In any case, it's less important how you got to the point where you encountered a question you need answered (whether you were using AI to help you or not); what matters is the usefulness of the question you are asking. But if you are asking about a problem that arose solely because you used AI and the AI did something dumb, be prepared that your question is not likely to be well-received.

Also, I want to warn you that there is a lot of debate about whether debugging questions are a good fit on Stack Exchange. Some people are willing to engage in them, but some people find them undesirable, as in most cases they don't contribute to an archive of knowledge, unless you happen to be asking about a situation many other people are likely to run into. So be prepared that if you ask about debugging, quality expectations are higher than you might be used to on other sites. In any case, a workflow of "as soon as you encounter a bug, ask on Stack Overflow" is likely to be poorly received.

Finally, we have high quality standards here. We expect you to make a serious attempt to answer your question on your own. Many folks here discourage you from asking "I have no clue" questions that are already answered in standard references and tutorials. See How much research effort is expected of Stack Overflow users?.

Please read the discussion at Should we flag human-written questions that use code generated by ChatGPT? in its entirety, especially the answers, as they cover a very similar topic.

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