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For those who are unaware — as of Monday the 5th of June 2023 — there is a Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange network general moderation strike.

For details, please see this Meta post:
Moderation Strike: Stack Overflow, Inc. cannot consistently ignore, mistreat, and malign its volunteers

Whether you are a moderator of any kind or just a general user of the SE network, you can sign your name to the strike letter here:
https://openletter.mousetail.nl/

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  • In re-reading the open letter, I'm confused about the scope of the strike. The letter begins by stating a "near-total prohibition on moderating AI-generated content", but the later list seems to indicate all moderation, not just in relation to AI content. Clarification would be much appreciated.
    – Aaron
    Jun 6, 2023 at 16:56
  • 2
    @Aaron Stack Overflow, Inc.'s recent policy is effectively: that moderators can't remove AI content. The strikers are saying: as long as this policy stands they'll stop moderating altogether. Jun 6, 2023 at 17:08
  • Thanks. I see now where I misunderstood what I read.
    – Aaron
    Jun 6, 2023 at 17:09
  • I’m late to the party here, as I don’t come to Meta that often. Two questions: is this ongoing?; is this why there is so much poor content on the site at the moment?! Jul 24, 2023 at 13:08
  • @BobBroadley Yeah it's still ongoing, this post on the main meta site has some updates — but there hasn't been a lot of progress so far. I am sure this is affecting the general quality of posts on our site; there are dozen of questions I would have voted to close, flags I would have raised, edits I would have made, and votes I would have cast. Many others users are participating to some degree. Significantly, 2/3 of our elected moderators haves signed the strike letter. Jul 24, 2023 at 13:42
  • Thanks @ElementsinSpace, this makes a lot of sense - I might think twice about flagging, editing etc. at the moment too, then. Jul 24, 2023 at 17:21

2 Answers 2

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For the purposes of MP&T, when suspected AI-generated answers1 are found, what is the preferred approach:

  1. Downvote but do not flag.
  2. Flag but do not downvote.
  3. Both flag and downvote.
  4. Ignore.

The Meta post regarding the strike indicates that (4) is the intended action. However, I wonder if by flagging and/or downvoting it helps give visibility to the frequency and level of distaste for AI-generated content. It would also help ease the cleanup of such posts once moderation activity resumes.

My own thinking is to both downvote and flag "for moderator attention"2 for the reasons above — to provide visibility and ease later cleanup — with the understanding that no diamond-moderator action will be taken until the strike is ended.

However, I have two concerns:

  • I do not want to violate or undermine the intentions of the strike.
  • If posts are Roomba'd, it would make the idea pointless.

1 Answers because, as I understand things, flagged or downvoted questions will be Roomba'd, but not answers.

2 "For moderator attention" with the idea that this would be the least likely flag to result in Roomba'ing.

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  • 2
    As far as I know, the frequency on MP&T is relatively low, and the level of distaste across the network is already well established. To assist in the clean up if/when the strike ends, I'd suggest for now: to just save the problematic posts into a dedicated list. Jun 5, 2023 at 20:58
  • See of course this thread. It's been interesting; since answering on that thread I saw a set of answers by one user that really seemed at first glance to be suspicious, but after a bit more interaction I think were actually genuine. It's not easy to be sure. Jun 5, 2023 at 23:35
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    @ElementsinSpace Perfect opportunity to use the "saves" feature. (I'm a bit slow on the uptake.)
    – Aaron
    Jun 9, 2023 at 2:20
  • What the heck is 'roomba'? All I find is like 'Hoover'. Maybe it's vacuuming up?
    – Tim
    Jun 10, 2023 at 8:58
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    @Tim It's SE's automated deletion script; see this MSE post: Why is the script for deletion called Roomba?
    – Richard
    Jun 10, 2023 at 13:48
  • @Richard - many thanks for the enlightenment. It's an eponym unknown to me, and I suspect many on the right hand side of the pond. Where it seems Dyson, Kirby et al are all Hoovers... Dam it all...
    – Tim
    Jun 10, 2023 at 13:56
  • The question being, is the room a coming with a cat as accessory? Joke apart, should really more often to the meta, thanks @ElementsinSpace for posting this. Does not completing review tasks, as a user, also count?
    – Tom
    Jul 11, 2023 at 22:20
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    @Tom Yes, if you want to participate in the strike, avoiding review tasks is one way to do this. Other things to avoid/reduce can be found in the strike letter (second link in the post). I don't know about a cat accessory; I guess it depends how lucky you are. Jul 11, 2023 at 22:26
  • I'm a bit late but better now than never... That explains the stock pile of reviews these last days probably. Thanks for sharing!
    – Tom
    Jul 11, 2023 at 22:36
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Major Update

As of the 2nd of August (after nearly 2 month of striking), the negotiations between our strike representatives (Makyen, Cody Gray, & Mithical) and the Stack Exchange, Inc. representatives (Cesar M, Philippe, & JNat) have concluded.

On the 7th of August, it was recognised that the goals of the strike have been achieved, and the strike ended.

Details can be found these Meta posts:

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  • Thank you, Elements in Space, for letting us know about the strike and for following up with its resolution. The diamond moderators on MP&T do outstanding work, and the site is immeasurably better because of it.
    – Aaron
    Aug 3, 2023 at 6:58

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