When debating a controversial topic, it is often desirable to expand the boundaries of discussion. For example, we may consider the pros and cons of possible alternatives to the debate topic, make generalizations, or give specific examples. We introduce the task of Debate Topic Expansion - finding such related topics for a given debate topic, along with a novel annotated dataset for the task. We focus on relations between Wikipedia concepts, and show that they differ from well-studied lexical-semantic relations such as hypernyms, hyponyms and antonyms. We present algorithms for finding both consistent and contrastive expansions and demonstrate their effectiveness empirically. We suggest that debate topic expansion may have various use cases in argumentation mining.
Stance classification is a core component in on-demand argument construction pipelines. Previous work on claim stance classification relied on background knowledge such as manually-composed sentiment lexicons. We show that both accuracy and coverage can be significantly improved through automatic expansion of the initial lexicon. We also developed a set of contextual features that further improves the state-of-the-art for this task.