Policies Governing AITopics

AITopics > Policies Governing AITopics


Purpose of the AAAI

The material we feel is appropriate for the AITopics site is material that supports the stated purpose of the organization in the bylaws: "[ the AAAI is organized ] for scientific and educational purposes in the field of artificial intelligence to promote research in, and responsible use of, artificial intelligence."

Purpose of AITopics

AITopics is a mediated source of information about artificial intelligence, collecting previously reviewed and published articles (i.e., articles citable in scholarly publications) that are well-written and not overly technical. An editorial board of AI scientists oversees the content, with an attempt to offer accurate, balanced views on issues and approaches. Beginning students and instructors of introductory AI classes are the primary audience, but we want the information to be understandable by all intelligent readers. See our Project Overview for more detail.

Submission Policy (adapted from BBC News)

We reserve the right to reject submissions containing:

  • Racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable material
  • Encouragement of unlawful activity. This includes breach of copyright, defamation and contempt of court
  • Purchase information for products and services
  • Impersonations of someone else
  • Repeated postings ("spam")
  • Personal or commercial details such as phone numbers, postal or e-mail addresses
  • Items that do not meet our selection criteria (below) for relevance

Selection Criteria for Articles

In general, articles posted on AITopics pages are ones that have been published elsewhere, in a source that can be cited. So, although we don't commission new articles, we do ask people to send in suggestions for articles that should be included. For these articles, any credible source is fine.

  • AI in the News Stories

News items from the mainstream press are collected weekly and the dozen judged to be most interesting are posted to AI in the News and sent in email to AI Alert subscribers. After one week they are archived.

  • We try to include recent stories in the news that mention AI directly, sometimes indirectly, with an emphasis on new applications, new concepts, new controversies.
  • We try to include only stories from credible, easily accessible sources.
  • We avoid stories from blogs and other less stable sources, and avoid news articles that are mostly someone's speculation. However, some blogs have permanent links and are written by the editors/staff of major publications. As for "speculative articles," sometimes the AI community should know what "information" the public is being exposed to since it might compel someone to write a letter to the editor.
  • News articles will be bundled every week or so into an alert to members who have signed up for "AI Alerts".
  • AITopics Articles

Well-written articles by academics, journalists, or others are added to the longer-lived collection in AITopics.

  • We look for introductory discussions about topics in AI, not requiring substantial background, that are clearly enough written that they can be understood by high school students and undergraduates.
  • We prefer using previously published material that comes from a stable, credible source that can be cited in scholarly publications.
  • We try to avoid articles where only the abstracts are available without a subscription.
  • We prefer non-commercial material but may include articles mentioning relevant AI products and services if they appear to offer useful information.
  • We try to include articles that reflect a variety of approaches without favoring any one methodological bias.
  • Not all stories have to be favorable toward AI; responsible criticisms are quite appropriate.
  • Recent articles are preferred: older articles will be archived, not deleted, from a topics page although they will be kept if they are well-written with good content that is not out of date.

Feedback Policy (adapted from BBC News)

  • We want users to help us keep the site accessible, safe and acceptable to all, so we welcome complaints and will deal with them speedily.
  • Please send only serious complaints about pages, namely that they are obscene, abusive, threatening, unlawful, harassing, defamatory, harmful, profane, racially offensive, or otherwise strongly objectionable.
  • If you think a comment breaks the House Rules, click on the link at the bottom of the video page that says "Comment/Query/Broken link". You will get a postform, which you can fill in, telling us why you think the comment is not acceptable.
  • Once you press the Submit button, your complaint will be brought to the attention of the moderators. The moderators will decide whether the comment breaks the House Rules. If it does, they will remove it. If it doesn't, it will be allowed to remain on the site.
  • We will not normally enter into correspondence about complaints, but will do so in special cases. If you want to take the matter further, you can do it via the same "Comment/Query/Broken link" form.

Copyright Policy & Notes

  • We intend to follow existing copyright law. The material collected on this portal is intended for academic, non-commercial use and we will remove any material promptly when we discover infringements of others' rights.
  • Videos may be used without permission only for non-commercial purposes. Showing videos in a classroom and viewing them privately are fine. Any time money is involved in the showing, as in a theater event or advertisement, a copyright infringement is likely.

Linking Policy

  • We attempt to link only to sites that offer free information of interest to the AI community, with little or no overt marketing. In general, .com sites and press releases are too oriented toward marketing. However some we do link to some commercial companies that keep lists of definitions of AI terms or lists of applications in an area. Commercial game companies would be legitimate exceptions too, if the links contain explanatory material about the use of AI.
  • Our policy is to exchange links only with non-commercial sites that are offering free information about AI or computer science that we believe our readership would like to have. For example, we have exchanged links with non-profit organizations that distribute information about online degree programs in CS (for our Resources page).

Privacy Policy

  • We will not share your email address or other information about you with anyone. We ask for your email address with your submissions so we can contact you if there are problems.

Anonymous Comments

  • We do not allow anonymous comments in order to avoid a widespread problem known as "trollling". See Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt, (November 29, 2010), NY Times, JULIE ZHUO. "Content providers, social networking platforms and community sites must also do their part by rethinking the systems they have in place for user commentary so as to discourage — or disallow — anonymity. Reuters, for example, announced that it would start to block anonymous comments and require users to register with their names and e-mail addresses in an effort to curb “uncivil behavior.” ... But raising barriers to posting bad comments is still a smart first step. Well-designed commenting systems should also aim to highlight thoughtful and valuable opinions while letting trollish ones sink into oblivion. ... At Facebook, where I’ve worked on the design of the public commenting widget, the approach is to try to replicate real-world social norms by emphasizing the human qualities of conversation. People’s faces, real names and brief biographies (“John Doe from Lexington”) are placed next to their public comments, to establish a baseline of responsibility. "

Organization of the Pages

There are four main headings in every sidebar.

The toolbox contains tools for searching the whole site or just the videos. There is also a link to the page for submitting information about new articles or videos.

We have selected 21 main topics for the sidebar based on our own judgment of major categories and the requests for information that have come to us. "AI in the News" is unlike the others in that it highlights recent news stories in which AI is mentioned, and also attempts to answer the most frequently asked question, "What has AI done for us recently?" Each page has its own Table of Contents, including some subtopics as well as the following:


We would like to do two things with the TOC for each page: (a) provide a first-level taxonomy of the topic, and (b) provide readers with the entry points they would expect to see, based partly on search terms that people are using.

Good Places to Start: Readable introductions to the topic that are not highly specialized.

Readings Online: Somewhat more specialized articles, but are readily-available articles providing useful information about the topic.

Related Web Sites: Collections of readings on the topic that are maintained by other groups.

Related Pages: Other AITopics pages that provide relevant information.

More Readings: Introductory books and articles that are not available online but can be found in most research libraries. Some pointers to abstracts or ordering information are provided.

Videos & Articles: AITopics videos and articles that are tagged with the name of the topic.

Additional resources for learning about, or teaching, AI have been collected here. These include: interactive programs for learning about individual concepts (like search); online reference works (dictionaries & glossaries); and some helpful information for either instructors or students. In addition to the pedagogical resources, other features of AITopics that we believe distinguish us from Wikipedia are (a) providing current news about AI, (b) organizing relevant videos , (c) finding and organizing instructional resources for both students and instructors (e.g., full text of classic books & articles, course syllabi, tutorial notes ).

Policies (this page) and notes about the people and ongoing projects related to AITopics.

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Page last modified on July 07, 2012, at 10:06 AM