Ashiqur Khudabukhsh

Also published as: Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh


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Disagreement Matters: Preserving Label Diversity by Jointly Modeling Item and Annotator Label Distributions with DisCo
Tharindu Cyril Weerasooriya | Alexander Ororbia | Raj Bhensadadia | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh | Christopher Homan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Annotator disagreement is common whenever human judgment is needed for supervised learning. It is conventional to assume that one label per item represents ground truth. However, this obscures minority opinions, if present. We regard “ground truth” as the distribution of all labels that a population of annotators could produce, if asked (and of which we only have a small sample). We next introduce DisCo (Distribution from Context), a simple neural model that learns to predict this distribution. The model takes annotator-item pairs, rather than items alone, as input, and performs inference by aggregating over all annotators. Despite its simplicity, our experiments show that, on six benchmark datasets, our model is competitive with, and frequently outperforms, other, more complex models that either do not model specific annotators or were not designed for label distribution learning.

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Vicarious Offense and Noise Audit of Offensive Speech Classifiers: Unifying Human and Machine Disagreement on What is Offensive
Tharindu Weerasooriya | Sujan Dutta | Tharindu Ranasinghe | Marcos Zampieri | Christopher Homan | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Offensive speech detection is a key component of content moderation. However, what is offensive can be highly subjective. This paper investigates how machine and human moderators disagree on what is offensive when it comes to real-world social web political discourse. We show that (1) there is extensive disagreement among the moderators (humans and machines); and (2) human and large-language-model classifiers are unable to predict how other human raters will respond, based on their political leanings. For (1), we conduct a ***noise audit*** at an unprecedented scale that combines both machine and human responses. For (2), we introduce a first-of-its-kind dataset of ***vicarious offense***. Our noise audit reveals that moderation outcomes vary wildly across different machine moderators. Our experiments with human moderators suggest that political leanings combined with sensitive issues affect both first-person and vicarious offense. The dataset is available through

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Subjective Crowd Disagreements for Subjective Data: Uncovering Meaningful CrowdOpinion with Population-level Learning
Tharindu Cyril Weerasooriya | Sarah Luger | Saloni Poddar | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh | Christopher Homan
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Human-annotated data plays a critical role in the fairness of AI systems, including those that deal with life-altering decisions or moderating human-created web/social media content. Conventionally, annotator disagreements are resolved before any learning takes place. However, researchers are increasingly identifying annotator disagreement as pervasive and meaningful. They also question the performance of a system when annotators disagree. Particularly when minority views are disregarded, especially among groups that may already be underrepresented in the annotator population. In this paper, we introduce CrowdOpinion, an unsupervised learning based approach that uses language features and label distributions to pool similar items into larger samples of label distributions. We experiment with four generative and one density-based clustering method, applied to five linear combinations of label distributions and features. We use five publicly available benchmark datasets (with varying levels of annotator disagreements) from social media (Twitter, Gab, and Reddit). We also experiment in the wild using a dataset from Facebook, where annotations come from the platform itself by users reacting to posts. We evaluate CrowdOpinion as a label distribution prediction task using KL-divergence and a single-label problem using accuracy measures.


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Revisiting Queer Minorities in Lexicons
Krithika Ramesh | Sumeet Kumar | Ashiqur Khudabukhsh
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms (WOAH)

Lexicons play an important role in content moderation often being the first line of defense. However, little or no literature exists in analyzing the representation of queer-related words in them. In this paper, we consider twelve well-known lexicons containing inappropriate words and analyze how gender and sexual minorities are represented in these lexicons. Our analyses reveal that several of these lexicons barely make any distinction between pejorative and non-pejorative queer-related words. We express concern that such unfettered usage of non-pejorative queer-related words may impact queer presence in mainstream discourse. Our analyses further reveal that the lexicons have poor overlap in queer-related words. We finally present a quantifiable measure of consistency and show that several of these lexicons are not consistent in how they include (or omit) queer-related words.


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Empathy and Hope: Resource Transfer to Model Inter-country Social Media Dynamics
Clay H. Yoo | Shriphani Palakodety | Rupak Sarkar | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for Positive Impact

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant ramifications for international relations ranging from travel restrictions, global ceasefires, and international vaccine production and sharing agreements. Amidst a wave of infections in India that resulted in a systemic breakdown of healthcare infrastructure, a social welfare organization based in Pakistan offered to procure medical-grade oxygen to assist India - a nation which was involved in four wars with Pakistan in the past few decades. In this paper, we focus on Pakistani Twitter users’ response to the ongoing healthcare crisis in India. While #IndiaNeedsOxygen and #PakistanStandsWithIndia featured among the top-trending hashtags in Pakistan, divisive hashtags such as #EndiaSaySorryToKashmir simultaneously started trending. Against the backdrop of a contentious history including four wars, divisive content of this nature, especially when a country is facing an unprecedented healthcare crisis, fuels further deterioration of relations. In this paper, we define a new task of detecting supportive content and demonstrate that existing NLP for social impact tools can be effectively harnessed for such tasks within a quick turnaround time. We also release the first publicly available data set at the intersection of geopolitical relations and a raging pandemic in the context of India and Pakistan.


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Social Media Attributions in the Context of Water Crisis
Rupak Sarkar | Sayantan Mahinder | Hirak Sarkar | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Attribution of natural disasters/collective misfortune is a widely-studied political science problem. However, such studies typically rely on surveys, or expert opinions, or external signals such as voting outcomes. In this paper, we explore the viability of using unstructured, noisy social media data to complement traditional surveys through automatically extracting attribution factors. We present a novel prediction task of attribution tie detection of identifying the factors (e.g., poor city planning, exploding population etc.) held responsible for the crisis in a social media document. We focus on the 2019 Chennai water crisis that rapidly escalated into a discussion topic with global importance following alarming water-crisis statistics. On a challenging data set constructed from YouTube comments (72,098 comments posted by 43,859 users on 623 videos relevant to the crisis), we present a neural baseline to identify attribution ties that achieves a reasonable performance (accuracy: 87.34% on attribution detection and 81.37% on attribution resolution). We release the first annotated data set of 2,500 comments in this important domain.

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The Non-native Speaker Aspect: Indian English in Social Media
Rupak Sarkar | Sayantan Mahinder | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020)

As the largest institutionalized second language variety of English, Indian English has received a sustained focus from linguists for decades. However, to the best of our knowledge, no prior study has contrasted web-expressions of Indian English in noisy social media with English generated by a social media user base that are predominantly native speakers. In this paper, we address this gap in the literature through conducting a comprehensive analysis considering multiple structural and semantic aspects. In addition, we propose a novel application of language models to perform automatic linguistic quality assessment.

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Annotation Efficient Language Identification from Weak Labels
Shriphani Palakodety | Ashiqur KhudaBukhsh
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020)

India is home to several languages with more than 30m speakers. These languages exhibit significant presence on social media platforms. However, several of these widely-used languages are under-addressed by current Natural Language Processing (NLP) models and resources. User generated social media content in these languages is also typically authored in the Roman script as opposed to the traditional native script further contributing to resource scarcity. In this paper, we leverage a minimally supervised NLP technique to obtain weak language labels from a large-scale Indian social media corpus leading to a robust and annotation-efficient language-identification technique spanning nine Romanized Indian languages. In fast-spreading pandemic situations such as the current COVID-19 situation, information processing objectives might be heavily tilted towards under-served languages in densely populated regions. We release our models to facilitate downstream analyses in these low-resource languages. Experiments across multiple social media corpora demonstrate the model’s robustness and provide several interesting insights on Indian language usage patterns on social media. We release an annotated data set of 1,000 comments in ten Romanized languages as a social media evaluation benchmark.