The New Term “Slop” Joins “Spam” in Our Vocabulary

The New Term “Slop” Joins “Spam” in our Vocabulary By Sheila Grela
Image: Sheila Grela with AI.

[EDRM Editor’s Note: The opinions and positions are those of Sheila Grela.]


As the granddaughter of two Alabama farmers, the word “slop” evokes images of something with little value. In today’s digital landscape, avoiding AI-generated content is nearly impossible, akin to dodging spoilers online. From AI-enhanced Google searches to AI-written articles and AI-composed music, artificial intelligence permeates every corner of the internet. This surge in AI content echoes the Dead Internet Theory, which posits that a significant portion of online activity is generated by bots rather than humans. The concern is that the internet may become a digital trough filled with “slop,” where valuable content is lost amid low-quality AI-generated material.

Meet “Slop”

“Slop” is the term for AI-generated content created primarily for profit. Similar to spam, slop is low-quality material that floods the web to generate ad revenue. Like spam and trolls, slop is another time-waster clogging digital feeds with irrelevant, unhelpful content. Examples include clickbait articles with misleading titles leading to shallow content filled with ads or poorly written blog posts stuffed with keywords to manipulate search engine rankings. These are classic examples of “slop.”

“Slop” is the term for AI-generated content created primarily for profit. Similar to spam, slop is low-quality material that floods the web to generate ad revenue. Like spam and trolls, slop is another time-waster clogging digital feeds with irrelevant, unhelpful content.

Sheila Grela.

What is AI-Generated Slop?

“Slop” encompasses various AI-generated content—text and images—designed to flood the internet with low-quality material. This content aims to pull in ad revenue and manipulate search engine rankings. Unlike the interactive nature of chatbots, slop is static, often misleading, and essentially digital clutter. It is cheap to produce, and even minimal clicks can make it profitable. However, not all promotional content is spam, and not all AI-generated content is slop. Thoughtlessly produced content imposed on unsuspecting users can be aptly described as “slop.” For instance, automated news articles that repeat the same information with little context or analysis fall into this category.

How to Discern High-Quality Content from “Slop”

Navigating the vast ocean of online content can be challenging, especially with the rise of AI-generated “slop.” Here are some tips to help you distinguish high-quality content from digital clutter:

Check the Source

  • Reputable Publishers: Look for content from well-known, reputable sources such as established news outlets, academic journals, and official organizational websites. For example, articles from The New York Times or studies published in The Lancet are more likely to be reliable.
  • Author Credentials: Verify the credentials of the author. Are they an expert in the field? Do they have a history of reliable publications? Checking the author’s LinkedIn profile or previous work can provide insights into their expertise.

Look for Detailed References and Citations

  • Citations: High-quality content typically includes references and citations to support its claims. Check if the article links to credible sources or provides a bibliography.
  • External Links: Follow the links to see if they lead to reputable websites or primary sources. For instance, an article on health should link to studies from medical journals or government health websites, not random blogs.

Evaluate the Writing Quality

  • Grammar and Style: Poor grammar, awkward phrasing, and inconsistent style can indicate low-quality, hastily generated content. High-quality articles are typically well-edited and free of such errors.
  • Depth of Analysis: Good content provides in-depth analysis, context, and multiple perspectives rather than superficial information. Look for detailed explanations and balanced viewpoints.

Analyze the Purpose and Tone

  • Objective vs. Promotional: Determine whether the content aims to inform or has a hidden agenda, such as selling a product or service. For example, an objective article will present facts and research, while a promotional piece might overly praise a product without much evidence.
  • Neutral Tone: High-quality content maintains a neutral, objective tone and avoids sensationalism. Watch out for exaggerated claims or emotional language that can indicate bias.

Cross-Check Information

  • Multiple Sources: Verify the information by checking multiple sources. Consistency across reputable sources can indicate reliability. If several trustworthy websites report the same facts, the information is likely accurate.
  • Fact-Checking Websites: Use fact-checking websites like Snopes,, or PolitiFact to verify controversial claims. These sites often debunk false information and provide reliable facts.

Check for AI Hallmarks

  • Repetition and Redundancy: AI-generated content often contains repetitive phrases and redundant information. If an article keeps repeating the same points, it might be AI-generated.
  • Lack of Depth: AI content may provide general information but lack the depth and nuance found in expert human writing. Look for detailed analysis and insights.
  • Static Content: Unlike interactive and responsive human-written content, AI-generated “slop” tends to be static and non-engaging. High-quality articles often invite reader interaction through comments or discussion.

Look for Visual and Structural Clues

  • Layout and Design: Professionally designed content usually features a good layout; and proper use of headings, images, and other multimedia elements. Slop often lacks these features and may appear cluttered or poorly formatted.
  • Advertisements: Excessive ads and pop-ups can indicate that the primary goal of the content is monetization rather than providing valuable information. High-quality sites typically have fewer ads and more focus on content.

Test for Engagement and Interactivity

  • Comments and Discussions: High-quality content often sparks discussions and thoughtful comments from readers. Look for active engagement and meaningful exchanges. A lively comment section can indicate that the content is resonating with readers.
  • Updates: Reliable sources frequently update their content to reflect new information and developments. Check if the article has been updated recently to include the latest data.

By being vigilant and applying these strategies, you can better navigate the digital landscape and avoid falling for AI-generated “slop.” Always prioritize confirmed human information and critical thinking to ensure your digital interactions are based on accurate, reliable, and valuable content.

Why Confirmed Human Information Needs to Take Precedence

As a paralegal, I can attest that confirmed human information must take precedence. Douglas Adams aptly said, “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” While AI can generate content quickly, it lacks the nuance, empathy, and critical thinking that only humans can provide. Human input ensures that information is accurate, reliable, and meaningful.

AI-generated content, with its potential for errors and lack of accountability, can mislead us. This is particularly dangerous in critical areas like legal advice, medical information, and financial guidance. Human expertise comes with a responsibility and a level of scrutiny that AI cannot match.

As a paralegal, I can attest that confirmed human information must take precedence. Douglas Adams aptly said, “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” While AI can generate content quickly, it lacks the nuance, empathy, and critical thinking that only humans can provide. Human input ensures that information is accurate, reliable, and meaningful.

Sheila Grela.

Real-World Examples and Potential Risks

Legal advice and strategy are inherently complex and require the expertise of a competent attorney. AI-generated legal advice websites can provide misleading or incorrect guidance on critical legal matters, such as filing deadlines and legal procedures. This misinformation can lead to missed court dates and adverse legal outcomes, potentially causing significant harm. For example, an AI tool might incorrectly calculate a filing deadline, leading to missed opportunities for legal action. Consulting a qualified human attorney for legal matters is essential.

Health Risks from AI Content

AI-powered apps offering lifestyle and health recommendations can sometimes provide dangerous advice. For instance, an AI might suggest unsafe exercise routines or dietary changes without considering individual health conditions, leading to potential injuries or health issues. This lack of personalized context and understanding poses serious risks to users.

Financial Misinformation

AI-generated articles and financial reports can cause significant monetary losses. For example, an AI-authored article might provide inaccurate stock information, recommending investments in companies with poor financial health. Investors following this advice could suffer substantial financial losses, underscoring the dangers of relying on AI for critical financial decisions. In one notable case, AI-generated stock analysis led to a surge in investments in a failing company, causing widespread financial losses.

Statistics Highlighting the Issue

  • Content Volume: According to a 2023 study by the University of California, 40% of web content is now generated by AI. This influx of AI-generated material contributes to the digital clutter we experience today.
  • User Trust: A 2022 survey by Pew Research found that 60% of internet users have encountered misleading or false information online. Of these, 45% reported that the misleading information was AI-generated.
  • Economic Impact: The economic model behind AI-generated slop is straightforward: a study by the Digital Marketing Institute found that producing AI content costs up to 80% less than human-generated content, making it an attractive option for content farms and low-budget operations.

Why Human-Confirmed Information Matters

When we need genuine insights, thoughtful analysis, or reliable data, turning to humans is essential. Confirmed human information brings wisdom, context, and integrity—qualities that are crucial for making informed decisions and maintaining trust in the digital age. No AI can replace the accuracy and depth that comes from human experience and knowledge. The lack of wit, humor, and empathy can make facts boring and forgettable.

As William Pollard wisely noted, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.”

This emphasizes the importance of confirmed, reliable information over sheer volume.

Similarly, Atul Gawande pointed out, “Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”

This rings true when considering the need for high-quality, human-verified information.

Garry Kasparov observed, “AI may be able to process vast amounts of data, but it lacks the ability to make judgments and decisions with the same depth and ethical considerations as humans.”

This highlights the critical need for human oversight in evaluating and using information.

Neil Gaiman hit the nail on the head: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

Prioritizing confirmed human information is more important than ever. It is the key to ensuring that our digital interactions remain trustworthy, insightful, and truly beneficial.


While AI-generated slop might flood the digital landscape, the value of human input remains irreplaceable. As we navigate through this AI-driven world, let us remember to prioritize the wisdom and reliability that only human minds can offer. By doing so, we can ensure that our digital interactions are based on accurate, reliable, and valuable content, keeping the essence of human touch alive in the age of artificial intelligence.

Searching through the vast sea of data on the internet can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack—while blindfolded. Even with the advent of generative AI, distinguishing valuable information from the irrelevant noise remains a significant challenge. In this sprawling digital landscape, we need strategies that make navigating the vast ocean of information more manageable and insightful. Moreover, there is a pressing need for innovative solutions to filter out low-quality content, akin to how we handle spam.

Can generative AI offer any bright ideas on how to clean up the digital clutter it helps generate? From advanced algorithms to smarter filters, exploring these possibilities could revolutionize how we access and utilize online information.

Assisted by GAI and LLM Technologies per EDRM GAI and LLM Policy.


  • Sheila Grela

    Sheila Grela is a paralegal at Buchalter, founder of Virtual Lunch with Leaders at the San Diego Paralegal Association (SDPA), the Program Director of San Diego Chapter Women in eDiscovery. She is on the Continuing Education Counsel, and a published author for Facts and Findings committee for the National Association of Legal Assistants – The Paralegal Association (NALA). Sheila is an EDRM Global Advisory Council leader and was awarded the Gayle O'Connor (GO) Spirit Award in 2022.

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