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Using GPT and GenAI models

We encourage our writers to use GPT and other models to help them learn new technology, or to help them figure out technical steps, but we do not use GPT generated text in our published articles. This is for a few reasons

  • Generally GPT's style is very noticeable and noticeably different from our writers. If you mix human and GPT writing, it creates a style clash. While this can be overcome sometimes with clever prompting, some parts of it will always remain.
  • For writing, verifying that something is correct is often as time consuming as writing it yourself. By using GPT generated text, you push more of the production burden onto editing and QA.
  • Often the stuff that GPT is good at writing is the stuff that doesn't need to be written. The value we provide is in by creating stuff that doesn't already exist. GPT is best at rehashing existing knowledge. Often if GPT is providing very high quality output for a specific paragraph, it means that that paragraph can be cut completely.
  • GPT can be very confident which can make you doubt yourself. If X is true, and you think X is true and GPT claims X is false, you might waste significant time sanity checking yourself.
  • We want to provide value to readers. Most of our readers use GPT actively themselves, so they might find the article after GPT fails to help them. Therefore if we just give them GPT again we are not doing them a service.
  • Search engines likely detect and downrank GPT-generated text, so even a small amount can 'poison' a whole article.

This is what we find GPT is useful for

  • Creating code samples (that you then need to run, verify, and check for style, best practice, etc)
  • Giving you ideas if you're stuck. If you're struggling with a sentence ask it to give you 5 different versions, and then manually write the best version of all by using pieces that look useful.
  • Teaching you concepts before you explain them to a reader. Often our writers are learning new concepts that they then need to explain. GPT can often drastically reduce the time that the writer really 'groks' something, and at that point they are in a good position to explain it to someone else.
  • Formatting. If you need to reformat your text as markdown, or add formatting, often GPT can do this very accurately with only a short description of what you need.
  • Reviewing. If you ask GPT to review your text, it might give you helpful suggestions on how to improve it. (But again, don't ask it to rewrite your text and then use that. Ask it for what is wrong, and then fix it yourself).