Gabriella Skitalinskaya


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Claim Optimization in Computational Argumentation
Gabriella Skitalinskaya | Maximilian Spliethöver | Henning Wachsmuth
Proceedings of the 16th International Natural Language Generation Conference

An optimal delivery of arguments is key to persuasion in any debate, both for humans and for AI systems. This requires the use of clear and fluent claims relevant to the given debate. Prior work has studied the automatic assessment of argument quality extensively. Yet, no approach actually improves the quality so far. To fill this gap, this paper proposes the task of claim optimization: to rewrite argumentative claims in order to optimize their delivery. As multiple types of optimization are possible, we approach this task by first generating a diverse set of candidate claims using a large language model, such as BART, taking into account contextual information. Then, the best candidate is selected using various quality metrics. In automatic and human evaluation on an English-language corpus, our quality-based candidate selection outperforms several baselines, improving 60% of all claims (worsening 16% only). Follow-up analyses reveal that, beyond copy editing, our approach often specifies claims with details, whereas it adds less evidence than humans do. Moreover, its capabilities generalize well to other domains, such as instructional texts.

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To Revise or Not to Revise: Learning to Detect Improvable Claims for Argumentative Writing Support
Gabriella Skitalinskaya | Henning Wachsmuth
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Optimizing the phrasing of argumentative text is crucial in higher education and professional development. However, assessing whether and how the different claims in a text should be revised is a hard task, especially for novice writers. In this work, we explore the main challenges to identifying argumentative claims in need of specific revisions. By learning from collaborative editing behaviors in online debates, we seek to capture implicit revision patterns in order to develop approaches aimed at guiding writers in how to further improve their arguments. We systematically compare the ability of common word embedding models to capture the differences between different versions of the same text, and we analyze their impact on various types of writing issues. To deal with the noisy nature of revision-based corpora, we propose a new sampling strategy based on revision distance. Opposed to approaches from prior work, such sampling can be done without employing additional annotations and judgments. Moreover, we provide evidence that using contextual information and domain knowledge can further improve prediction results. How useful a certain type of context is, depends on the issue the claim is suffering from, though.


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Learning From Revisions: Quality Assessment of Claims in Argumentation at Scale
Gabriella Skitalinskaya | Jonas Klaff | Henning Wachsmuth
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Assessing the quality of arguments and of the claims the arguments are composed of has become a key task in computational argumentation. However, even if different claims share the same stance on the same topic, their assessment depends on the prior perception and weighting of the different aspects of the topic being discussed. This renders it difficult to learn topic-independent quality indicators. In this paper, we study claim quality assessment irrespective of discussed aspects by comparing different revisions of the same claim. We compile a large-scale corpus with over 377k claim revision pairs of various types from, covering diverse topics from politics, ethics, entertainment, and others. We then propose two tasks: (a) assessing which claim of a revision pair is better, and (b) ranking all versions of a claim by quality. Our first experiments with embedding-based logistic regression and transformer-based neural networks show promising results, suggesting that learned indicators generalize well across topics. In a detailed error analysis, we give insights into what quality dimensions of claims can be assessed reliably. We provide the data and scripts needed to reproduce all results.