ChatGPT has become a go-to tool for developers seeking solutions to programming challenges, due to its reliance on data available on Stack Overflow – the Q&A platform for programmers. Unfortunately, in December 2018 Stack Overflow banned posting information generated by ChatGPT due to the high degree of inaccurate answers provided and potential harm it can do to sites and users seeking accurate answers.
Stack Overflow’s ban on ChatGPT backfired, as there was a noticeable decrease in website visits after its release in November. According to SimilarWeb reports, visits dropped from 279 million to 247 million during December with slight increases to 249 million and 239 million respectively in January and February. While Stack Overflow claimed the drop was due to the holiday season, these figures suggest developers have yet to return to their platform.
One possible explanation is that ChatGPT provides developers with too much convenience. Instead of searching through Stack Overflow for hours to find the ideal answer to their question, ChatGPT can give out a precise solution since it uses data from Stack Overflow already. Unfortunately, ChatGPT’s system isn’t perfect and often presents false results; if trained on all Stack Overflow data–including not just upvoted answers–then users will eventually return to searching elsewhere online for assistance.
Another obstacle for ChatGPT is that Stack Overflow is more than a platform for searching solutions; it’s also home to an active developer community. While some have stopped visiting Stack Overflow since ChatGPT launched, others believe the human interaction and expert advice provided on the forum is crucial in learning code; answers provided by experienced developers on Stack Overflow seem more reliable than those provided by ChatGPT alone.
In response to the ban on ChatGPT answers, OpenAI released the Code Interpreter plugin for ChatGPT which allows developers to verify their code directly within the bot. Unfortunately, this plugin is only available with ChatGPT Plus which runs on GPT-4. Moreover, Bing Chat also enables developers to access the internet and incorporate code with up-to-date information, surpassing ChatGPT’s 2021 dataset cutoff point.
In conclusion, ChatGPT has become a widely used tool for developers; however, it cannot replace the community aspect and human interaction provided by platforms like Stack Overflow. Although Stack Overflow may have difficulties adapting to the changing landscape of AI tools, there may still be an avenue forward if they so desire.