Evaluating Open-Domain Question Answering in the Era of Large Language Models
Ehsan Kamalloo | Nouha Dziri | Charles Clarke | Davood Rafiei
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)
Lexical matching remains the de facto evaluation method for open-domain question answering (QA). Unfortunately, lexical matching fails completely when a plausible candidate answer does not appear in the list of gold answers, which is increasingly the case as we shift from extractive to generative models. The recent success of large language models (LLMs) for QA aggravates lexical matching failures since candidate answers become longer, thereby making matching with the gold answers even more challenging. Without accurate evaluation, the true progress in open-domain QA remains unknown. In this paper, we conduct a thorough analysis of various open-domain QA models, including LLMs, by manually evaluating their answers on a subset of NQ-open, a popular benchmark. Our assessments reveal that while the true performance of all models is significantly underestimated, the performance of the InstructGPT (zero-shot) LLM increases by nearly +60%, making it on par with existing top models, and the InstructGPT (few-shot) model actually achieves a new state-of-the-art on NQ-open. We also find that more than 50% of lexical matching failures are attributed to semantically equivalent answers. We further demonstrate that regex matching ranks QA models consistent with human judgments, although still suffering from unnecessary strictness. Finally, we demonstrate that automated evaluation models are a reasonable surrogate for lexical matching in some circumstances, but not for long-form answers generated by LLMs. The automated models struggle in detecting hallucinations in LLM answers and are thus unable to evaluate LLMs. At this time, there appears to be no substitute for human evaluation.
Helpful reviews have been essential for the success of e-commerce services, as they help customers make quick purchase decisions and benefit the merchants in their sales. While many reviews are informative, others provide little value and may contain spam, excessive appraisal, or unexpected biases. With the large volume of reviews and their uneven quality, the problem of detecting helpful reviews has drawn much attention lately. Existing methods for identifying helpful reviews primarily focus on review text and ignore the two key factors of (1) who post the reviews and (2) when the reviews are posted. Moreover, the helpfulness votes suffer from scarcity for less popular products and recently submitted (a.k.a., cold-start) reviews. To address these challenges, we introduce a dataset and develop a model that integrates the reviewer’s expertise, derived from the past review history of the reviewers, and the temporal dynamics of the reviews to automatically assess review helpfulness. We conduct experiments on our dataset to demonstrate the effectiveness of incorporating these factors and report improved results compared to several well-established baselines.
Text-to-SQL benchmarks play a crucial role in evaluating the progress made in the field and the ranking of different models. However, accurately matching a model-generated SQL query to a reference SQL query in a benchmark fails for various reasons, such as underspecified natural language queries, inherent assumptions in both model-generated and reference queries, and the non-deterministic nature of SQL output under certain conditions. In this paper, we conduct an extensive study of several prominent cross-domain text-to-SQL benchmarks and re-evaluate some of the top-performing models within these benchmarks, by both manually evaluating the SQL queries and rewriting them in equivalent expressions. Our evaluation reveals that attaining a perfect performance on these benchmarks is unfeasible due to the multiple interpretations that can be derived from the provided samples. Furthermore, we find that the true performance of the models is underestimated and their relative performance changes after a re-evaluation. Most notably, our evaluation reveals a surprising discovery: a recent GPT4-based model surpasses the gold standard reference queries in the Spider benchmark in our human evaluation. This finding highlights the importance of interpreting benchmark evaluations cautiously, while also acknowledging the critical role of additional independent evaluations in driving advancements in the field.