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Gewirtz, D. (2023, June 15). How to write better ChatGPT prompts (and this applies to most other text-based AIs, too). ZDNET; ZDNET. https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-write-better-chatgpt-prompts/
More prompt-writing tips
- Feel free to re-ask the question. ChatGPT will often change its answer with each ask.
- Make small changes to your prompts to guide it into giving you a better answer.
- ChatGPT will retain its awareness of previous conversations as long as the current page is open. If you leave that page, it will lose awareness. To be clear, ChatGPT will also sometimes lose the thread of the conversation "just because," so be aware you may need to start over from time to time.
- Similarly, opening a new page will start the discussion with fresh responses.
- Answers over about 500 words sometimes break down. Be sure to specify the length of the response you want.
- You can correct and clarify prompts based on how the AI answered previously. If it's misinterpreting you, you may be able to just tell it what it missed and continue on.
- Rephrase questions if it doesn't want to answer what you're asking. Use personas to elicit answers that it might not otherwise want to give.
- If you want sources cited, tell it to support or justify its answers.
- Keep experimenting.
- Sometimes ChatGPT just fails. Keep trying, but also be willing to give up and move on to other tools. It's not perfect...yet.
How to write effective prompts for ChatGPT
ChatGPT is a generative AI tool that can answer questions and write content on various topics and domains. It uses a large language model (LLM) that has been trained on a huge corpus of text from the internet. To use ChatGPT, users need to write prompts that guide the AI to provide the best possible answers.
Tips and examples for writing prompts
- Provide context: Give relevant background information to set the context of the query1. For example, if you want to prepare for a marathon, tell the AI that you are a beginner runner and your goal is to complete one in six months23.
- Choose a perspective: Specify the point of view or identity that you want the AI to adopt when answering your query. For example, if you want to describe a product, you can ask the AI to write from the perspective of a product manager, a caregiver, or a journalist.
- Engage in conversation: Talk to the AI like you would talk to a person. Use natural language, share personal experiences or emotions, ask follow-up questions, and remind the AI of the topic if it goes off track.
Limitations and challenges of ChatGPT
- Factuality: ChatGPT may produce inaccurate or fabricated answers, especially when dealing with factual information. Users should be aware of this issue and ask the AI to justify or support its answers with sources or evidence.
- Coherence: ChatGPT may lose the thread of the conversation or break down after a certain length of answer4. Users should be prepared to restate or rephrase their questions, or limit the length of the answer they want.
- Privacy: ChatGPT may collect and store user data, which may raise privacy concerns. Users should be careful about what information they share with the AI and read the terms and conditions of use.
Creative potential of ChatGPT
- ChatGPT can write content on various topics and domains, such as essays, stories, code, poems, etc. Users can experiment with different prompts and scenarios to explore its creative potential.
- ChatGPT can also perform thought experiments, such as imagining how a product was developed or how a historical event could have been different. Users can use this feature to generate new ideas or insights.
- ChatGPT can be fun and addictive to use, as it can produce surprising and entertaining answers. Users should enjoy using ChatGPT as a tool for learning, discovery, and amusement.