Providing effective automatic essay feedback is necessary for offering writing instruction at a massive scale. In particular, feedback for promoting coherent flow of ideas in essays is critical. In this paper we propose a state-of-the-art method for automated analysis of structure and flow of writing, referred to as Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) parsing. In so doing, we lay a foundation for a generalizable approach to automated writing feedback related to structure and flow. We address challenges in automated rhetorical analysis when applied to student writing and evaluate our novel RST parser model on both a recent student writing dataset and a standard benchmark RST parsing dataset.
The CODI-CRAC 2022 Shared Task on Anaphora Resolution in Dialogues is the second edition of an initiative focused on detecting different types of anaphoric relations in conversations of different kinds. Using five conversational datasets, four of which have been newly annotated with a wide range of anaphoric relations: identity, bridging references and discourse deixis, we defined multiple tasks focusing individually on these key relations. The second edition of the shared task maintained the focus on these relations and used the same datasets as in 2021, but new test data were annotated, the 2021 data were checked, and new subtasks were added. In this paper, we discuss the annotation schemes, the datasets, the evaluation scripts used to assess the system performance on these tasks, and provide a brief summary of the participating systems and the results obtained across 230 runs from three teams, with most submissions achieving significantly better results than our baseline methods.
Quality assurance (QA) is an essential though underdeveloped part of the data annotation process. Although QA is supported to some extent in existing annotation tools, comprehensive support for QA is not standardly provided. In this paper we contribute QA4IE, a comprehensive QA tool for information extraction, which can (1) detect potential problems in text annotations in a timely manner, (2) accurately assess the quality of annotations, (3) visually display and summarize annotation discrepancies among annotation team members, (4) provide a comprehensive statistics report, and (5) support viewing of annotated documents interactively. This paper offers a competitive analysis comparing QA4IE and other popular annotation tools and demonstrates its features, usage, and effectiveness through a case study. The Python code, documentation, and demonstration video are available publicly at https://github.com/CC-RMD-EpiBio/QA4IE.
People speaking different kinds of languages search for information in a cross-lingual manner. They tend to ask questions in their language and expect the answer to be in the same language, despite the evidence lying in another language. In this paper, we present our approach for this task of cross-lingual open-domain question-answering. Our proposed method employs a passage reranker, the fusion-in-decoder technique for generation, and a wiki data entity-based post-processing system to tackle the inability to generate entities across all languages. Our end-2-end pipeline shows an improvement of 3 and 4.6 points on F1 and EM metrics respectively, when compared with the baseline CORA model on the XOR-TyDi dataset. We also evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed techniques in the zero-shot setting using the MKQA dataset and show an improvement of 5 points in F1 for high-resource and 3 points improvement for low-resource zero-shot languages. Our team, CMUmQA’s submission in the MIA-Shared task ranked 1st in the constrained setup for the dev and 2nd in the test setting.
Videos of group interactions contain a wealth of information beyond the information directly communicated in a transcript of the discussion. Tracking who has participated throughout an extended interaction and what each of their trajectories has been in relation to one another is the foundation for joint activity understanding, though it comes with some unique challenges in videos of tightly coupled group work. Motivated by insights into the properties of such scenarios, including group composition and the properties of task-oriented, goal directed tasks, we present a successful proof-of-concept. In particular, we present a transfer experiment to a dyadic robot construction task, an ablation study, and a qualitative analysis.
Previous studies on question answering over knowledge graphs have typically operated over a single knowledge graph (KG). This KG is assumed to be known a priori and is lever- aged similarly for all users’ queries during inference. However, such an assumption is not applicable to real-world settings, such as health- care, where one needs to handle queries of new users over unseen KGs during inference. Furthermore, privacy concerns and high computational costs render it infeasible to query the single KG that has information about all users while answering a specific user’s query. The above concerns motivate our question answer- ing setting over personalized knowledge graphs (PERKGQA) where each user has restricted access to their KG. We observe that current state-of-the-art KGQA methods that require learning prior node representations fare poorly. We propose two complementary approaches, PATHCBR and PATHRGCN for PERKGQA. The former is a simple non-parametric technique that employs case-based reasoning, while the latter is a parametric approach using graph neural networks. Our proposed methods circumvent learning prior representations, can generalize to unseen KGs, and outperform strong baselines on an academic and an internal dataset by 6.5% and 10.5%.
Quantitative reasoning is an important aspect of question answering, especially when numeric and verbal cues interact to indicate sophisticated, multi-step programs. In this paper, we demonstrate how modeling the compositional nature of quantitative text can enhance the performance and robustness of QA models, allowing them to capture arithmetic logic that is expressed verbally. Borrowing from the literature on semantic parsing, we propose a method that encourages the QA models to adjust their attention patterns and capture input/output alignments that are meaningful to the reasoning task. We show how this strategy improves program accuracy and renders the models more robust against overfitting as the number of reasoning steps grows. Our approach is designed as a standalone module which can be prepended to many existing models and trained in an end-to-end fashion without the need for additional supervisory signal. As part of this exercise, we also create a unified dataset building on four previously released numerical QA datasets over tabular data.
Recent work has demonstrated that entity representations can be extracted from pre-trained language models to develop knowledge graph completion models that are more robust to the naturally occurring sparsity found in knowledge graphs. In this work, we conduct a comprehensive exploration of how to best extract and incorporate those embeddings into knowledge graph completion models. We explore the suitability of the extracted embeddings for direct use in entity ranking and introduce both unsupervised and supervised processing methods that can lead to improved downstream performance. We then introduce supervised embedding extraction methods that can extract more informative representations. We then synthesize our findings and develop a knowledge graph completion model that significantly outperforms recent neural models.
Natural language understanding (NLU) has made massive progress driven by large benchmarks, but benchmarks often leave a long tail of infrequent phenomena underrepresented. We reflect on the question: Have transfer learning methods sufficiently addressed the poor performance of benchmark-trained models on the long tail? We conceptualize the long tail using macro-level dimensions (underrepresented genres, topics, etc.), and perform a qualitative meta-analysis of 100 representative papers on transfer learning research for NLU. Our analysis asks three questions: (i) Which long tail dimensions do transfer learning studies target? (ii) Which properties of adaptation methods help improve performance on the long tail? (iii) Which methodological gaps have greatest negative impact on long tail performance? Our answers highlight major avenues for future research in transfer learning for the long tail. Lastly, using our meta-analysis framework, we perform a case study comparing the performance of various adaptation methods on clinical narratives, which provides interesting insights that may enable us to make progress along these future avenues.
Modelling persuasion strategies as predictors of task outcome has several real-world applications and has received considerable attention from the computational linguistics community. However, previous research has failed to account for the resisting strategies employed by an individual to foil such persuasion attempts. Grounded in prior literature in cognitive and social psychology, we propose a generalised framework for identifying resisting strategies in persuasive conversations. We instantiate our framework on two distinct datasets comprising persuasion and negotiation conversations. We also leverage a hierarchical sequence-labelling neural architecture to infer the aforementioned resisting strategies automatically. Our experiments reveal the asymmetry of power roles in non-collaborative goal-directed conversations and the benefits accrued from incorporating resisting strategies on the final conversation outcome. We also investigate the role of different resisting strategies on the conversation outcome and glean insights that corroborate with past findings. We also make the code and the dataset of this work publicly available at https://github.com/americast/resper.
In this paper, we challenge the assumption that political ideology is inherently built into text by presenting an investigation into the impact of experiential factors on annotator perceptions of political ideology. We construct an annotated corpus of U.S. political discussion, where in addition to ideology labels for texts, annotators provide information about their political affiliation, exposure to political news, and familiarity with the source domain of discussion, Reddit. We investigate the variability in ideology judgments across annotators, finding evidence that these experiential factors may influence the consistency of how political ideologies are perceived. Finally, we present evidence that understanding how humans perceive and interpret ideology from texts remains a challenging task for state-of-the-art language models, pointing towards potential issues when modeling user experiences that may require more contextual knowledge.
We tackle the task of adapting event extractors to new domains without labeled data, by aligning the marginal distributions of source and target domains. As a testbed, we create two new event extraction datasets using English texts from two medical domains: (i) clinical notes, and (ii) doctor-patient conversations. We test the efficacy of three marginal alignment techniques: (i) adversarial domain adaptation (ADA), (ii) domain adaptive fine-tuning (DAFT), and (iii) a new instance weighting technique based on language model likelihood scores (LIW). LIW and DAFT improve over a no-transfer BERT baseline on both domains, but ADA only improves on notes. Deeper analysis of performance under different types of shifts (e.g., lexical shift, semantic shift) explains some of the variations among models. Our best-performing models reach F1 scores of 70.0 and 72.9 on notes and conversations respectively, using no labeled target data.
In this paper, we provide an overview of the CODI-CRAC 2021 Shared-Task: Anaphora Resolution in Dialogue. The shared task focuses on detecting anaphoric relations in different genres of conversations. Using five conversational datasets, four of which have been newly annotated with a wide range of anaphoric relations: identity, bridging references and discourse deixis, we defined multiple subtasks focusing individually on these key relations. We discuss the evaluation scripts used to assess the system performance on these subtasks, and provide a brief summary of the participating systems and the results obtained across ?? runs from 5 teams, with most submissions achieving significantly better results than our baseline methods.
Knowledge Graph (KG) completion research usually focuses on densely connected benchmark datasets that are not representative of real KGs. We curate two KG datasets that include biomedical and encyclopedic knowledge and use an existing commonsense KG dataset to explore KG completion in the more realistic setting where dense connectivity is not guaranteed. We develop a deep convolutional network that utilizes textual entity representations and demonstrate that our model outperforms recent KG completion methods in this challenging setting. We find that our model’s performance improvements stem primarily from its robustness to sparsity. We then distill the knowledge from the convolutional network into a student network that re-ranks promising candidate entities. This re-ranking stage leads to further improvements in performance and demonstrates the effectiveness of entity re-ranking for KG completion.
Fanfiction presents an opportunity as a data source for research in NLP, education, and social science. However, answering specific research questions with this data is difficult, since fanfiction contains more diverse writing styles than formal fiction. We present a text processing pipeline for fanfiction, with a focus on identifying text associated with characters. The pipeline includes modules for character identification and coreference, as well as the attribution of quotes and narration to those characters. Additionally, the pipeline contains a novel approach to character coreference that uses knowledge from quote attribution to resolve pronouns within quotes. For each module, we evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches on 10 annotated fanfiction stories. This pipeline outperforms tools developed for formal fiction on the tasks of character coreference and quote attribution
Recent work on entity coreference resolution (CR) follows current trends in Deep Learning applied to embeddings and relatively simple task-related features. SOTA models do not make use of hierarchical representations of discourse structure. In this work, we leverage automatically constructed discourse parse trees within a neural approach and demonstrate a significant improvement on two benchmark entity coreference-resolution datasets. We explore how the impact varies depending upon the type of mention.
Natural language processing (NLP) research combines the study of universal principles, through basic science, with applied science targeting specific use cases and settings. However, the process of exchange between basic NLP and applications is often assumed to emerge naturally, resulting in many innovations going unapplied and many important questions left unstudied. We describe a new paradigm of Translational NLP, which aims to structure and facilitate the processes by which basic and applied NLP research inform one another. Translational NLP thus presents a third research paradigm, focused on understanding the challenges posed by application needs and how these challenges can drive innovation in basic science and technology design. We show that many significant advances in NLP research have emerged from the intersection of basic principles with application needs, and present a conceptual framework outlining the stakeholders and key questions in translational research. Our framework provides a roadmap for developing Translational NLP as a dedicated research area, and identifies general translational principles to facilitate exchange between basic and applied research.
Coreference resolution (CR) is an essential part of discourse analysis. Most recently, neural approaches have been proposed to improve over SOTA models from earlier paradigms. So far none of the published neural models leverage external semantic knowledge such as type information. This paper offers the first such model and evaluation, demonstrating modest gains in accuracy by introducing either gold standard or predicted types. In the proposed approach, type information serves both to (1) improve mention representation and (2) create a soft type consistency check between coreference candidate mentions. Our evaluation covers two different grain sizes of types over four different benchmark corpora.
For the past 15 years, in computer-supported collaborative learning applications, conversational agents have been used to structure group interactions in online chat-based environments. A series of experimental studies has provided an empirical foundation for the design of chat-based conversational agents that significantly improve learning over no-support control conditions and static-support control conditions. In this demo, we expand upon this foundation, bringing conversational agents to structure group interaction into physical spaces, with the specific goal of facilitating collaboration and learning in workplace scenarios.
We tackle the task of building supervised event trigger identification models which can generalize better across domains. Our work leverages the adversarial domain adaptation (ADA) framework to introduce domain-invariance. ADA uses adversarial training to construct representations that are predictive for trigger identification, but not predictive of the example’s domain. It requires no labeled data from the target domain, making it completely unsupervised. Experiments with two domains (English literature and news) show that ADA leads to an average F1 score improvement of 3.9 on out-of-domain data. Our best performing model (BERT-A) reaches 44-49 F1 across both domains, using no labeled target data. Preliminary experiments reveal that finetuning on 1% labeled data, followed by self-training leads to substantial improvement, reaching 51.5 and 67.2 F1 on literature and news respectively.
Open-domain Keyphrase extraction (KPE) on the Web is a fundamental yet complex NLP task with a wide range of practical applications within the field of Information Retrieval. In contrast to other document types, web page designs are intended for easy navigation and information finding. Effective designs encode within the layout and formatting signals that point to where the important information can be found. In this work, we propose a modeling approach that leverages these multi-modal signals to aid in the KPE task. In particular, we leverage both lexical and visual features (e.g., size, font, position) at the micro-level to enable effective strategy induction and meta-level features that describe pages at a macro-level to aid in strategy selection. Our evaluation demonstrates that a combination of effective strategy induction and strategy selection within this approach for the KPE task outperforms state-of-the-art models. A qualitative post-hoc analysis illustrates how these features function within the model.
The notion of face refers to the public self-image of an individual that emerges both from the individual’s own actions as well as from the interaction with others. Modeling face and understanding its state changes throughout a conversation is critical to the study of maintenance of basic human needs in and through interaction. Grounded in the politeness theory of Brown and Levinson (1978), we propose a generalized framework for modeling face acts in persuasion conversations, resulting in a reliable coding manual, an annotated corpus, and computational models. The framework reveals insights about differences in face act utilization between asymmetric roles in persuasion conversations. Using computational models, we are able to successfully identify face acts as well as predict a key conversational outcome (e.g. donation success). Finally, we model a latent representation of the conversational state to analyze the impact of predicted face acts on the probability of a positive conversational outcome and observe several correlations that corroborate previous findings.
Information extraction from conversational data is particularly challenging because the task-centric nature of conversation allows for effective communication of implicit information by humans, but is challenging for machines. The challenges may differ between utterances depending on the role of the speaker within the conversation, especially when relevant expertise is distributed asymmetrically across roles. Further, the challenges may also increase over the conversation as more shared context is built up through information communicated implicitly earlier in the dialogue. In this paper, we propose the novel modeling approach MedFilter, which addresses these insights in order to increase performance at identifying and categorizing task-relevant utterances, and in so doing, positively impacts performance at a downstream information extraction task. We evaluate this approach on a corpus of nearly 7,000 doctor-patient conversations where MedFilter is used to identify medically relevant contributions to the discussion (achieving a 10% improvement over SOTA baselines in terms of area under the PR curve). Identifying task-relevant utterances benefits downstream medical processing, achieving improvements of 15%, 105%, and 23% respectively for the extraction of symptoms, medications, and complaints.
Quantitative reasoning is a higher-order reasoning skill that any intelligent natural language understanding system can reasonably be expected to handle. We present EQUATE (Evaluating Quantitative Understanding Aptitude in Textual Entailment), a new framework for quantitative reasoning in textual entailment. We benchmark the performance of 9 published NLI models on EQUATE, and find that on average, state-of-the-art methods do not achieve an absolute improvement over a majority-class baseline, suggesting that they do not implicitly learn to reason with quantities. We establish a new baseline Q-REAS that manipulates quantities symbolically. In comparison to the best performing NLI model, it achieves success on numerical reasoning tests (+24.2 %), but has limited verbal reasoning capabilities (-8.1 %). We hope our evaluation framework will support the development of models of quantitative reasoning in language understanding.
We present a package of annotation resources, including annotation guideline, flowchart, and an Intelligent Tutoring System for training human annotators. These resources can be used to apply Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) to essays written by students in K-12 schools. Furthermore, we highlight the great potential of using RST to provide automated feedback for improving writing quality across genres.
We propose a novel take on understanding narratives in social media, focusing on learning ”functional story schemas”, which consist of sets of stereotypical functional structures. We develop an unsupervised pipeline to extract schemas and apply our method to Reddit posts to detect schematic structures that are characteristic of different subreddits. We validate our schemas through human interpretation and evaluate their utility via a text classification task. Our experiments show that extracted schemas capture distinctive structural patterns in different subreddits, improving classification performance of several models by 2.4% on average. We also observe that these schemas serve as lenses that reveal community norms.
Recent concerns over abusive behavior on their platforms have pressured social media companies to strengthen their content moderation policies. However, user opinions on these policies have been relatively understudied. In this paper, we present an analysis of user responses to a September 27, 2018 announcement about the quarantine policy on Reddit as a case study of to what extent the discourse on content moderation is polarized by users’ ideological viewpoint. We introduce a novel partitioning approach for characterizing user polarization based on their distribution of participation across interest subreddits. We then use automated techniques for capturing framing to examine how users with different viewpoints discuss moderation issues, finding that right-leaning users invoked censorship while left-leaning users highlighted inconsistencies on how content policies are applied. Overall, we argue for a more nuanced approach to moderation by highlighting the intersection of behavior and ideology in considering how abusive language is defined and regulated.
Prior work on temporal relation classification has focused extensively on event pairs in the same or adjacent sentences (local), paying scant attention to discourse-level (global) pairs. This restricts the ability of systems to learn temporal links between global pairs, since reliance on local syntactic features suffices to achieve reasonable performance on existing datasets. However, systems should be capable of incorporating cues from document-level structure to assign temporal relations. In this work, we take a first step towards discourse-level temporal ordering by creating TDDiscourse, the first dataset focusing specifically on temporal links between event pairs which are more than one sentence apart. We create TDDiscourse by augmenting TimeBank-Dense, a corpus of English news articles, manually annotating global pairs that cannot be inferred automatically from existing annotations. Our annotations double the number of temporal links in TimeBank-Dense, while possessing several desirable properties such as focusing on long-distance pairs and not being automatically inferable. We adapt and benchmark the performance of three state-of-the-art models on TDDiscourse and observe that existing systems indeed find discourse-level temporal ordering harder.
Word embeddings are now pervasive across NLP subfields as the de-facto method of forming text representataions. In this work, we show that existing embedding models are inadequate at constructing representations that capture salient aspects of mathematical meaning for numbers, which is important for language understanding. Numbers are ubiquitous and frequently appear in text. Inspired by cognitive studies on how humans perceive numbers, we develop an analysis framework to test how well word embeddings capture two essential properties of numbers: magnitude (e.g. 3<4) and numeration (e.g. 3=three). Our experiments reveal that most models capture an approximate notion of magnitude, but are inadequate at capturing numeration. We hope that our observations provide a starting point for the development of methods which better capture numeracy in NLP systems.
We introduce a general method for the interpretation and comparison of neural models. The method is used to factor a complex neural model into its functional components, which are comprised of sets of co-firing neurons that cut across layers of the network architecture, and which we call neural pathways. The function of these pathways can be understood by identifying correlated task level and linguistic heuristics in such a way that this knowledge acts as a lens for approximating what the network has learned to apply to its intended task. As a case study for investigating the utility of these pathways, we present an examination of pathways identified in models trained for two standard tasks, namely Named Entity Recognition and Recognizing Textual Entailment.
Natural language inference (NLI) is the task of determining if a natural language hypothesis can be inferred from a given premise in a justifiable manner. NLI was proposed as a benchmark task for natural language understanding. Existing models perform well at standard datasets for NLI, achieving impressive results across different genres of text. However, the extent to which these models understand the semantic content of sentences is unclear. In this work, we propose an evaluation methodology consisting of automatically constructed “stress tests” that allow us to examine whether systems have the ability to make real inferential decisions. Our evaluation of six sentence-encoder models on these stress tests reveals strengths and weaknesses of these models with respect to challenging linguistic phenomena, and suggests important directions for future work in this area.
We present a neural architecture for modeling argumentative dialogue that explicitly models the interplay between an Opinion Holder’s (OH’s) reasoning and a challenger’s argument, with the goal of predicting if the argument successfully changes the OH’s view. The model has two components: (1) vulnerable region detection, an attention model that identifies parts of the OH’s reasoning that are amenable to change, and (2) interaction encoding, which identifies the relationship between the content of the OH’s reasoning and that of the challenger’s argument. Based on evaluation on discussions from the Change My View forum on Reddit, the two components work together to predict an OH’s change in view, outperforming several baselines. A posthoc analysis suggests that sentences picked out by the attention model are addressed more frequently by successful arguments than by unsuccessful ones.
In this work we investigate how role-based behavior profiles of a Wikipedia editor, considered against the backdrop of roles taken up by other editors in discussions, predict the success of the editor at achieving an impact on the associated article. We first contribute a new public dataset including a task predicting the success of Wikipedia editors involved in discussion, measured by an operationalization of the lasting impact of their edits in the article. We then propose a probabilistic graphical model that advances earlier work inducing latent discussion roles using the light supervision of success in the negotiation task. We evaluate the performance of the model and interpret findings of roles and group configurations that lead to certain outcomes on Wikipedia.
In this paper, we describe a system for automatic construction of user disease progression timelines from their posts in online support groups using minimal supervision. In recent years, several online support groups have been established which has led to a huge increase in the amount of patient-authored text available. Creating systems which can automatically extract important medical events and create disease progression timelines for users from such text can help in patient health monitoring as well as studying links between medical events and users’ participation in support groups. Prior work in this domain has used manually constructed keyword sets to detect medical events. In this work, our aim is to perform medical event detection using minimal supervision in order to develop a more general timeline construction system. Our system achieves an accuracy of 55.17%, which is 92% of the performance achieved by a supervised baseline system.
There has been a long standing interest in understanding ‘Social Influence’ both in Social Sciences and in Computational Linguistics. In this paper, we present a novel approach to study and measure interpersonal influence in daily interactions. Motivated by the basic principles of influence, we attempt to identify indicative linguistic features of the posts in an online knitting community. We present the scheme used to operationalize and label the posts as influential or non-influential. Experiments with the identified features show an improvement in the classification accuracy of influence by 3.15%. Our results illustrate the important correlation between the structure of the language and its potential to influence others.
Code-switching has been found to have social motivations in addition to syntactic constraints. In this work, we explore the social effect of code-switching in an online community. We present a task from the Arabic Wikipedia to capture language choice, in this case code-switching between Arabic and other languages, as a predictor of social influence in collaborative editing. We find that code-switching is positively associated with Wikipedia editor success, particularly borrowing technical language on pages with topics less directly related to Arabic-speaking regions.
In this paper, we present a novel and highly effective method for induction and application of metaphor frame templates as a step toward detecting metaphor in extended discourse. We infer implicit facets of a given metaphor frame using a semi-supervised bootstrapping approach on an unlabeled corpus. Our model applies this frame facet information to metaphor detection, and achieves the state-of-the-art performance on a social media dataset when building upon other proven features in a nonlinear machine learning model. In addition, we illustrate the mechanism through which the frame and topic information enable the more accurate metaphor detection.
We present an unsupervised model of dialogue act sequences in conversation. By modeling topical themes as transitioning more slowly than dialogue acts in conversation, our model de-emphasizes content-related words in order to focus on conversational function words that signal dialogue acts. We also incorporate speaker tendencies to use some acts more than others as an additional predictor of dialogue act prevalence beyond temporal dependencies. According to the evaluation presented on two dissimilar corpora, the CNET forum and NPS Chat corpus, the effectiveness of each modeling assumption is found to vary depending on characteristics of the data. De-emphasizing content-related words yields improvement on the CNET corpus, while utilizing speaker tendencies is advantageous on the NPS corpus. The components of our model complement one another to achieve robust performance on both corpora and outperform state-of-the-art baseline models.
Ambiguity packing is a well known technique for enhancing the efficiency of context-free parsers. However, in the case of unification-augmented context-free parsers where parsing is interleaved with feature unification, the propagation of feature structures imposes difficulties on the ability of the parser to effectively perform ambiguity packing. We demonstrate that a clever heuristic for prioritizing the execution order of grammar rules and parsing actions can achieve a high level of ambiguity packing that is provably optimal. We present empirical evaluations of the proposed technique, performed with both a Generalized LR parser and a chart parser, that demonstrate its effectiveness.