In short, they find red links, classify them, find the closest similar articles, use the section titles from these articles to decide on sections, search for content for the sections, paraphrase it, and write complete Wikipedia articles.
Then they uploaded the articles to Wikipedia, and from the 50 uploaded articles, only 3 got deleted. The rest stayed. I was rather excited when I heard that - where the articles really that good?
Then I took a look at the articles and... well, judge for yourself. The paper only mentions three articles of the 47 survivors:
I have connected with the first author and he promised me to give a list of all articles as soon as he can get it, which will be in a few weeks because he is away from his university computer right now. He was able to produce one more article though:
(Also, see history for the extent of human clean-up)
I am not writing to talk badly about the authors or about the reviewing practice at IJCAI, or about the state of research in that area. Also, I really do not want to discourage research in this area.
I have a few questions, though:
1) the fact that so many of these articles have survived for half a year indicates that there are some problems with our review processes. Does someone want to make an investigation why these articles survived in the given state?
2) as far as I know we don't have rules for this kind of experiments, but maybe we should. In particular, I feel, that, BLPs should not be created by an experimental approach like this one. Should we set up rules for this kind of experiments?
3) Wikipedia contributors are participating in these experiments without consent. I find that worrysome, and would like to hear what others think.
I have invited the first author to join this list.
I understand the motivation: by exposing from the beginning that these articles were created by bots, they would have been scrutinized differently than articles written by humans. Therefore they remained quiet about the fact (but are willing to reveal it now, now that the experiment is over - they also explicitly don't have any intentions of expanding the scope of the experiment at the given point of time).