As someone who writes about video games for a living, I’m deeply annoyed/terrified that AI-powered websites don’t necessarily replace me, but do things like at the very least squeeze me out of Google, given that Google doesn’t seem to care if the content is AI-generated or not.
That’s why it’s refreshing to see some justice done in a very fun way by a community of players. THE World of Warcraft subreddit recently realized that a website, zleague.gg (I’m not related to this one), which runs a blog attached to some sort of gaming app that is its core business, has been scraping reddit threads, feeding them via AI, and summarizing them with “key points” and regurgitated paragraphs that all follow the same format. It’s crude, and yet it generates a long enough article with enough keywords to show up on Google.
Well, the redditors got pissed off and decided to mess with the bots. On r/WoW they did a long thread about Glorbo coming to the gamea new feature that, as you might guess from the name, isn’t real.
“I have to say, ever since they started hinting at it in Hearthstone in 1994, it was obvious that they would introduce Glorbo to World of Warcraft sooner or later. I feel like Dragonflight has been win after win so far, like when they brought back Chen Stormstout as the final boss of the new Karazhan? Absolutely amazing!”
And it worked. Zleague auto-posted an article titled “World of Warcraft players are thrilled with the introduction of Glorbo. Here are the ‘key takeaways’:
- “Players are expressing their excitement for Glorbo’s arrival and its potential impact on the game.”
- “Some players have reservations about the mandatory Klikclac item and its effect on casual players.”
- “Rumors of Stormsong Valley becoming the new location for the Halfhill Market and farming simulation mini-game are generating excitement.”
- “Appreciation for previous game changes, such as the inclusion of Klaxxi as a playable race.”
That’s… all of that is basically nonsense. The article was left online for a while but was eventually removed (here’s a mirror, it’s hilarious). All authors listed as having signatures on the site are fake. It seems that all of this is handled with almost zero oversight.
This is a strange situation because the site does not “steal” in the traditional sense, plagiarizing directly without credit. It cites reddit threads and their authors and even embeds the reddit post most of the time. But while getting ideas for stories from reddit and developing them is one thing, given that these are often the biggest single-player gaming communities on the internet, it’s another matter of just automatically feeding reddit threads into an AI and having them spit that out. But again, there is nothing to stop this. These subreddits cannot only fill up with joke articles to screw up a site like this, even if this specific example is good for a laugh.
The only way to stop this is for Google to step in and dramatically downgrade or ban AI-based sites like this, because begging for crumbs of traffic from Google is the only reason these sites exist in the first place. But since Google has its own very obvious vested interest in AI, I’m not holding my breath.
Anyway, get ready for Glorbo, I hear it’s the best change since the quest to drop Quackion, the ducks aspect.