I asked ChatGPT to write a sonnet to this message board

It did pretty well. Maybe a little heavy on the wisdom and civility. :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh Straight Dope Message Board, how do I sing
Thy praises in a manner most befitting?
For in thee, knowledge and wit both take wing,
And curious minds find answers befitting.

From questions both profound and absurd,
To musings on life, love, and everything,
Thou offerest a space where all are heard,
And discourse doth with civility ring.

Thy archives of wisdom, a treasure trove,
A wealth of knowledge, a fountainhead pure,
A community of truth-seekers, who prove
That intellect and humor can coexist for sure.

Oh Straight Dope, thou art a haven rare,
For seekers of truth, and those who dare.

“Write a villanelle to @ceciladams:”

Dear Cecil Adams, we turn to you in doubt,
For answers to life’s mysteries and quirks,
A beacon of knowledge, both inside and out.

With wit and wisdom, you dispel all clout,
And enlighten us with your unique works,
Dear Cecil Adams, we turn to you in doubt.

From the bizarre to the mundane, you sprout
The truth, with every question that lurks,
A beacon of knowledge, both inside and out.

Your expertise has never been in drought,
A legend that all scholars should rework,
Dear Cecil Adams, we turn to you in doubt.

Your words, they guide us with a gentle shout,
To the paths of reason, logic, and perks,
A beacon of knowledge, both inside and out.

You are a master, there is no doubt,
A symbol of intellect that always works,
Dear Cecil Adams, we turn to you in doubt,
A beacon of knowledge, both inside and out.

Damn, it got better. I tried a villanelle back in December and I just got generic ABAB tetrameter back. That’s actually pretty impressive. Villanelles are a pain.

I’m wondering whether ChatGPT might be Ed Zotti.

Oh, @Cecil_Adams do you feel the love?

It rhymes but it doesn’t scan.

And that’s enough to annoy a man.

Don’t hate the villain. Hate the villanelle.

Yeah, still not perfect, but clearly learning.

I asked it for a drive-through fast-food experience as written by Raymond Chandler, and it did a pretty decent job for the first half, and then sort of fell apart. But overall, very clever.

I’ve found suggesting various writers’ styles to be a very, very generalized interpretation of how they wrote (and about 80% of the time, I’m left wondering if it really understood my prompt). Asking for “in the style of Charles Bukowski” gets me like 25% of the way there. I’m sure it’s limited by its output choice. :slight_smile:

Yes, I agree with that, mostly. I did ask it to write a cookbook outline in the style of Immanuel Kant, and it did a really good job of that.

It will be interesting to see what this looks like in a couple of years.

Just for curiosity, how long does it take for the bot to produce, say, a sonnet or a villanelle? And what kind of Dope-specific date do you need to provide before initiating an opus?

I’m not sure what you mean by your second question about the date, but in answer to your first question, this took about 30 seconds end to end:

Prompt: Produce a sonnet about planes on treadmills!

Planes on treadmills, what a curious thought,
A challenge to the laws of physics, it seems.
Will the plane take off or simply be caught,
In the belt’s rotation, like a dream?

Imagine the roar of the engines, so loud,
As the plane revs up to its full speed.
Will the tread move fast enough to astound,
Or will the plane’s takeoff fail, indeed?

The forces at play, both strong and intense,
A battle of wills, machine against machine.
The question remains, who will commence,
Victorious, in this peculiar scene?

Planes on treadmills, a mind-bending sight,
A spectacle that stirs the heart and mind’s delight.

I asked ChatGPT to do the same, and wasn’t disappointed:

Amidst the vast expanse of cyberspace,
Where millions gather to discuss and share,
There lies a forum with a steadfast grace,
A place where curious minds are free to dare.

The Straight Dope Message Board, its name well known,
Is where the truth is sought and myths dispelled,
From history to science, politics to the unknown,
Debates and discussions here are oft compelled.

With wit and humor, intellect and verve,
Its members write with passion and with zeal,
And from each post, new knowledge they do serve,
With open minds and hearts that truly feel.

Oh Straight Dope, your legacy lives on,
A community where seekers find the dawn.

It’s faster than me, then. It must have taken me ninety minutes to get this ballad:

A generation’s passed since I
First posted on the Dope
My mind had bright ideals, then;
My heart was full of hope

That ignorance, our bête noire
Would soon be banish-ed
Alas! My hopes were all forlorn
The trolls were quite well-fed.

It seemed we were surrounded by
Ponies with just one trick.
One guy liked gals with poofy hair
Another, an uncut dick.

Our mods all strove heroically
To be troll-spam tide-turners
From bots who promised soccer games
To Dopers with fat burners

Yet there were bright spots on this site
It wasn’t all travails
Cervaise v. telemarketers
Plus pan-fried semen tales.

And it’s been educational
These years of Dope-ly prose
I got to find out what “squick” means!
And “felch” (don’t google those).

The years have been quite wonderful
This life in these here yards
I hope there’s twenty more of them
Before I say “Regards.”

Did you add the names and the details? Or did it actually pull that stuff out on its own? Like the name Cervaise, felching, ‘Regards’, etc?

None of those. I wrote the whole damn thing myself.



Some of the specifics are from before your time, but I assure you, every one of them is based on the actual history of the board.

There may be a substitute for lived experience but I don’t think the bot’s up to it yet.

Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has been outfitted with advanced artificial intelligence technology from OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.

It’s creepy: