Creating long lists of things


I am frequently engaged in projects where I am trying to create long lists of fairly short things, one per line. I usually can get the system to create 3 to 7 things (names, titles, movies, ideas, etc.) consistently with my goals but I have a really hard time getting it to do what I want, which is to create 20 or 50 or 100 consistent outputs at once. Naively, I expect that when I have it doing 3-5 right, I should be able to increase the response length and it should just keep going along the same lines. However, it usually seems to go off the rails either because of generating a stop sequence (extra lines are common) or because it becomes discursive and the “things” start being out of format.

Things I know to do that help:

  1. Creating numbered lists with a stop sequence at say “10.”
  2. Writing scripts to generate 3-5 things at a time and concatenate outside of openAI.
  3. Use instruct.

However, none of these is a very complete solution. What are some ideas and practices that have. been successful for you?


I have also found that lists above 8 or so tend to fall apart, as though the model forgets what it was doing. I would just run the same INSTRUCT query repeatedly to get 50.

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Yeah, same here with lists around 100 or more… Sometimes putting “This is a list of 100 blah-blah” at the top can help a little…

I’ve been using GPT-3 for Random Tables for D&D and it’s really good…

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Start the list in reverse, and have it count down:

10. Item 1
9. Item 2

Ooh. That’s clever… Thanks…