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posted by hubie on Wednesday October 18 2023, @09:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the your-ban-is-now-irrelevant dept.

After ChatGPT disruption, Stack Overflow lays off 28 percent of staff:

Stack Overflow used to be every developer's favorite site for coding help, but with the rise of generative AI like ChatGPT, chatbots can offer more specific help than a 5-year-old forum post ever could.

[...] You might think of Stack Overflow as "just a forum," but the company is working on a direct answer to ChatGPT in the form of "Overflow AI," which was announced in July. Stack Overflow's profitability plan includes cutting costs, and that's the justification for the layoffs. Stack Overflow doubled its headcount in 2022 with 525 people. ChatGPT launched at the end of 2022, making for unfortunate timing.

[... ] OpenAI is working on web crawler controls for ChatGPT, which would let sites like Stack Overflow opt out of crawling. [...] Chandrasekar has argued that sites like Stack Overflow are essential for chatbots, saying they need "to be trained on something that's progressing knowledge forward. They need new knowledge to be created."


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  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18 2023, @11:40AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18 2023, @11:40AM (#1329249)

    By this "clipboard" is meant.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Freeman on Wednesday October 18 2023, @01:22PM

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @01:22PM (#1329265) Journal

      Copy/Paste is arguably the best feature of any operating system and/or program.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:01PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:01PM (#1329251)

    chatbots can offer more specific help

    Their explanation is overly positive.

    What kills stack overflow is its primarily a karma farming site, SN is prevented the worst farming problems by having a level cap, so the answers on SO are now all poorly executed chatbot answers with the bot operators all upvoting each other's cut and pasted bot responses.

    Its not that chatbot answers are so good; the problem is that site will no longer permit human answers, so why ask some idiot on SO to do a poor job of asking chatgpt for you then cut and paste the answers up for karma? Or rephrased what value does SO provide in being a very poorly designed web frontend to a chatbot, compared to existing web frontends for chatbots?

    The problem with SO in the old days was the belief that scientific and technical truth is democratic; the problem with SO now is the hyper authoritarianism belief in chatbots. Its gone from various forms of sophistry mixed with "hey dude everyone knows the earth is flat so upvote with the winners and downvote the guy claiming its round like you're supposed to" to "hey dude I cut and pasted your answer into a chatbot mostly correctly for you, now give me my updoot for my irreplaceable service"

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by OrugTor on Wednesday October 18 2023, @04:32PM

      by OrugTor (5147) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @04:32PM (#1329296)

      I have generally had a good experience on SO. The questions tend to be very specific, at least the genuine questions. There are still some "do my homework for me" questions. If I find the question that expresses my problem there are typically one or two distinct answers that work and several more where the question was misunderstood or the answer is some obvious remedy that is known not to work. I don't see GPT having much impact. Any answer coming from GPT will either be patently inadequate or specific and plausible enough to have been copied from a human-originated answer and therefore likely correct or at least it can be treated the same way as a human answer.
      SO hired a bunch of people for whatever purpose and it didn't work out. I'm not convinced the layoffs have anything to do with AI.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:22PM (3 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:22PM (#1329254)

    with the rise of generative AI like ChatGPT, chatbots can offer more specific help than a 5-year-old forum post ever could

    Don't count on it to offer better help to a truly difficult problem than a 5-year-old.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Freeman on Wednesday October 18 2023, @01:28PM (1 child)

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @01:28PM (#1329266) Journal

      Forum post, they said forum post, nothing was being said about humans. Though as an aside, that 5 year old forum post was created by a human. The human that created the post was also likely greater than 5 years old.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18 2023, @03:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18 2023, @03:23PM (#1329288)
        Are you an inferior AI?
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by VLM on Wednesday October 18 2023, @01:39PM

      by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @01:39PM (#1329269)

      Don't count on it to offer better help to a truly difficult problem than a 5-year-old.

      I can see why corporate IT helpdesks and MSPs are so nervous about chatbots. The bar is being raised on them.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:24PM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:24PM (#1329255)

    Staff Overflow

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by looorg on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:36PM (2 children)

    by looorg (578) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @12:36PM (#1329257)

    "to be trained on something that's progressing knowledge forward. They need new knowledge to be created."

    Unfortunately that isn't Stack Overflow is it? They might have the quantity of data but over all the quality of their data is quite poor. Plenty of shit to go around. Just asking around or when the topic have brought up between friends and coworkers is how SO is basically a cesspool of code snippets filled with neckbeards that whine about shit and are rude or to use the new word "toxic" about it all.

    Is that their new business plan then? A quantitative common pool resource for AI harvesting? That sounds even less tempting then Copilot/Github.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday October 18 2023, @02:17PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @02:17PM (#1329278)

      They have put a fair amount of effort into moderation / ratings for questions, answers, and authors - hopefully it's good enough for their AI to sort out the toxic cesspool contents and get what the user is looking for.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by sjames on Wednesday October 18 2023, @08:19PM

      by sjames (2882) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @08:19PM (#1329316) Journal

      My finding is that most of stack overflow is non-answers demanding readers to use google while polluting any google result with demands to use google such that you cannot find the answer or even a hint.

      They could actually make a big improvement by deleting all those just google it non-responses.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday October 18 2023, @02:00PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 18 2023, @02:00PM (#1329273) Journal

    Yes, they have good responses, and they also have less than good responses, but they do have bullshit responses too. Arrive on the forum with a problem that you don't understand well enough to formulate a "good" question. You can be jumped on for not doing your homework before offering up a question. Doesn't happen all the time, but it's often enough to turn me off.

    To replace SO, the AI will need some snottiness trained into it. Then the snot will have to be metered, so the replies look thoughtful and helpful about 89% of the time, the remainder aimed at embarrassing people for being ignorant.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday October 18 2023, @02:21PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @02:21PM (#1329279)

    > working on web crawler controls for ChatGPT

    Oh, you mean simple "ignore this page" tag based input filters that have been implemented and working for 20+ years now on every reputable search engine everywhere?

    Yeah, I hope they can figure that feature out.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Wednesday October 18 2023, @03:07PM (2 children)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @03:07PM (#1329286)

    with the rise of generative AI like ChatGPT, chatbots can offer more specific help than a 5-year-old forum post ever could.

    Doesn't ChatGPT just crawl forum posts like this to find an answer, instead of actually making it up itself? So without said 5-year-old forum posts, ChatGPT can't answer the question.

    Also I wish everybody would shut the hell up about their ChatGPT boner. It's like trying to write a script in bash--there are 5 different ways to solve every problem, only 4 of them are subtly wrong. I'm not going to answer somebody's question about how to solve a problem in bash with "well, here's the 5 options: figure it out yourself".

    It's fine as a novelty, but I don't want to try to actually solve my problem with ChatGPT.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by GloomMower on Wednesday October 18 2023, @05:03PM (1 child)

      by GloomMower (17961) on Wednesday October 18 2023, @05:03PM (#1329301)

      I hear ChatGPT-4 is better with code. I've only tried the free ChatGPT-3.5, which I don't think is as good. Also I think when people mention chat-gpt and code they mean it to include other generative AI stuff, like copilot as well. Maybe someone can reply with their experience with them. I have a friend that says it is pretty good, and he uses it all the time.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Vocal Minority on Thursday October 19 2023, @02:16AM

        by The Vocal Minority (2765) on Thursday October 19 2023, @02:16AM (#1329350) Journal

        I find the free version of ChatGPT very useful for writing code - but I am not a software engineer and only program occasionally for very specific tasks. I find that if I ask for something very specific, say manipulating a specific data structure in a way that I am not familiar with, it is very good and seldom wrong - although the code it produces can look a little odd. If I ask it to do something big and complex, it almost always fails in ways that are difficult to debug.

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