Nabil Hossain


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SemEval-2020 Task 7: Assessing Humor in Edited News Headlines
Nabil Hossain | John Krumm | Michael Gamon | Henry Kautz
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper describes the SemEval-2020 shared task “Assessing Humor in Edited News Headlines.” The task’s dataset contains news headlines in which short edits were applied to make them funny, and the funniness of these edited headlines was rated using crowdsourcing. This task includes two subtasks, the first of which is to estimate the funniness of headlines on a humor scale in the interval 0-3. The second subtask is to predict, for a pair of edited versions of the same original headline, which is the funnier version. To date, this task is the most popular shared computational humor task, attracting 48 teams for the first subtask and 31 teams for the second.

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Simple and Effective Retrieve-Edit-Rerank Text Generation
Nabil Hossain | Marjan Ghazvininejad | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Retrieve-and-edit seq2seq methods typically retrieve an output from the training set and learn a model to edit it to produce the final output. We propose to extend this framework with a simple and effective post-generation ranking approach. Our framework (i) retrieves several potentially relevant outputs for each input, (ii) edits each candidate independently, and (iii) re-ranks the edited candidates to select the final output. We use a standard editing model with simple task-specific re-ranking approaches, and we show empirically that this approach outperforms existing, significantly more complex methodologies. Experiments on two machine translation (MT) datasets show new state-of-art results. We also achieve near state-of-art performance on the Gigaword summarization dataset, where our analyses show that there is significant room for performance improvement with better candidate output selection in future work.

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Stimulating Creativity with FunLines: A Case Study of Humor Generation in Headlines
Nabil Hossain | John Krumm | Tanvir Sajed | Henry Kautz
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Building datasets of creative text, such as humor, is quite challenging. We introduce FunLines, a competitive game where players edit news headlines to make them funny, and where they rate the funniness of headlines edited by others. FunLines makes the humor generation process fun, interactive, collaborative, rewarding and educational, keeping players engaged and providing humor data at a very low cost compared to traditional crowdsourcing approaches. FunLines offers useful performance feedback, assisting players in getting better over time at generating and assessing humor, as our analysis shows. This helps to further increase the quality of the generated dataset. We show the effectiveness of this data by training humor classification models that outperform a previous benchmark, and we release this dataset to the public.

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“Judge me by my size (noun), do you?” YodaLib: A Demographic-Aware Humor Generation Framework
Aparna Garimella | Carmen Banea | Nabil Hossain | Rada Mihalcea
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

The subjective nature of humor makes computerized humor generation a challenging task. We propose an automatic humor generation framework for filling the blanks in Mad Libs® stories, while accounting for the demographic backgrounds of the desired audience. We collect a dataset consisting of such stories, which are filled in and judged by carefully selected workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk. We build upon the BERT platform to predict location-biased word fillings in incomplete sentences, and we fine-tune BERT to classify location-specific humor in a sentence. We leverage these components to produce YodaLib, a fully-automated Mad Libs style humor generation framework, which selects and ranks appropriate candidate words and sentences in order to generate a coherent and funny story tailored to certain demographics. Our experimental results indicate that YodaLib outperforms a previous semi-automated approach proposed for this task, while also surpassing human annotators in both qualitative and quantitative analyses.


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“President Vows to Cut <Taxes> Hair”: Dataset and Analysis of Creative Text Editing for Humorous Headlines
Nabil Hossain | John Krumm | Michael Gamon
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

We introduce, release, and analyze a new dataset, called Humicroedit, for research in computational humor. Our publicly available data consists of regular English news headlines paired with versions of the same headlines that contain simple replacement edits designed to make them funny. We carefully curated crowdsourced editors to create funny headlines and judges to score a to a total of 15,095 edited headlines, with five judges per headline. The simple edits, usually just a single word replacement, mean we can apply straightforward analysis techniques to determine what makes our edited headlines humorous. We show how the data support classic theories of humor, such as incongruity, superiority, and setup/punchline. Finally, we develop baseline classifiers that can predict whether or not an edited headline is funny, which is a first step toward automatically generating humorous headlines as an approach to creating topical humor.


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Filling the Blanks (hint: plural noun) for Mad Libs Humor
Nabil Hossain | John Krumm | Lucy Vanderwende | Eric Horvitz | Henry Kautz
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Computerized generation of humor is a notoriously difficult AI problem. We develop an algorithm called Libitum that helps humans generate humor in a Mad Lib, which is a popular fill-in-the-blank game. The algorithm is based on a machine learned classifier that determines whether a potential fill-in word is funny in the context of the Mad Lib story. We use Amazon Mechanical Turk to create ground truth data and to judge humor for our classifier to mimic, and we make this data freely available. Our testing shows that Libitum successfully aids humans in filling in Mad Libs that are usually judged funnier than those filled in by humans with no computerized help. We go on to analyze why some words are better than others at making a Mad Lib funny.