Runcong Zhao


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Disentangling Aspect and Stance via a Siamese Autoencoder for Aspect Clustering of Vaccination Opinions
Lixing Zhu | Runcong Zhao | Gabriele Pergola | Yulan He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Mining public opinions about vaccines from social media has been increasingly relevant to analyse trends in public debates and to provide quick insights to policy-makers. However, the application of existing models has been hindered by the wide variety of users’ attitudes and the new aspects continuously arising in the public debate. Existing approaches, frequently framed via well-known tasks, such as aspect classification or text span detection, make direct usage of the supervision information constraining the models to predefined aspect classes, while still not distinguishing those aspects from users’ stances. As a result, this has significantly hindered the dynamic integration of new aspects. We thus propose a model, namely Disentangled Opinion Clustering (DOC), for vaccination opinion mining from social media. DOC is able to disentangle users’ stances from opinions via a disentangling attention mechanism and a Swapping-Autoencoder, and is designed to process unseen aspect categories via a clustering approach, leveraging clustering-friendly representations induced by out-of-the-box Sentence-BERT encodings and disentangling mechanisms. We conduct a thorough experimental assessment demonstrating the benefit of the disentangling mechanisms and cluster-based approach on both the quality of aspect clusters and the generalization across new aspect categories, outperforming existing methodologies on aspect-based opinion mining.

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Are NLP Models Good at Tracing Thoughts: An Overview of Narrative Understanding
Lixing Zhu | Runcong Zhao | Lin Gui | Yulan He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Narrative understanding involves capturing the author’s cognitive processes, providing insights into their knowledge, intentions, beliefs, and desires. Although large language models (LLMs) excel in generating grammatically coherent text, their ability to comprehend the author’s thoughts remains uncertain. This limitation hinders the practical applications of narrative understanding. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive survey of narrative understanding tasks, thoroughly examining their key features, definitions, taxonomy, associated datasets, training objectives, evaluation metrics, and limitations. Furthermore, we explore the potential of expanding the capabilities of modularized LLMs to address novel narrative understanding tasks. By framing narrative understanding as the retrieval of the author’s imaginative cues that outline the narrative structure, our study introduces a fresh perspective on enhancing narrative comprehension.

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Tracking Brand-Associated Polarity-Bearing Topics in User Reviews
Runcong Zhao | Lin Gui | Hanqi Yan | Yulan He
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

Monitoring online customer reviews is important for business organizations to measure customer satisfaction and better manage their reputations. In this paper, we propose a novel dynamic Brand-Topic Model (dBTM) which is able to automatically detect and track brand-associated sentiment scores and polarity-bearing topics from product reviews organized in temporally ordered time intervals. dBTM models the evolution of the latent brand polarity scores and the topic-word distributions over time by Gaussian state space models. It also incorporates a meta learning strategy to control the update of the topic-word distribution in each time interval in order to ensure smooth topic transitions and better brand score predictions. It has been evaluated on a dataset constructed from MakeupAlley reviews and a hotel review dataset. Experimental results show that dBTM outperforms a number of competitive baselines in brand ranking, achieving a good balance of topic coherence and uniqueness, and extracting well-separated polarity-bearing topics across time intervals.1

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PANACEA: An Automated Misinformation Detection System on COVID-19
Runcong Zhao | Miguel Arana-catania | Lixing Zhu | Elena Kochkina | Lin Gui | Arkaitz Zubiaga | Rob Procter | Maria Liakata | Yulan He
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

In this demo, we introduce a web-based misinformation detection system PANACEA on COVID-19 related claims, which has two modules, fact-checking and rumour detection. Our fact-checking module, which is supported by novel natural language inference methods with a self-attention network, outperforms state-of-the-art approaches. It is also able to give automated veracity assessment and ranked supporting evidence with the stance towards the claim to be checked. In addition, PANACEA adapts the bi-directional graph convolutional networks model, which is able to detect rumours based on comment networks of related tweets, instead of relying on the knowledge base. This rumour detection module assists by warning the users in the early stages when a knowledge base may not be available.


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Adversarial Learning of Poisson Factorisation Model for Gauging Brand Sentiment in User Reviews
Runcong Zhao | Lin Gui | Gabriele Pergola | Yulan He
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

In this paper, we propose the Brand-Topic Model (BTM) which aims to detect brand-associated polarity-bearing topics from product reviews. Different from existing models for sentiment-topic extraction which assume topics are grouped under discrete sentiment categories such as ‘positive’, ‘negative’ and ‘neural’, BTM is able to automatically infer real-valued brand-associated sentiment scores and generate fine-grained sentiment-topics in which we can observe continuous changes of words under a certain topic (e.g., ‘shaver’ or ‘cream’) while its associated sentiment gradually varies from negative to positive. BTM is built on the Poisson factorisation model with the incorporation of adversarial learning. It has been evaluated on a dataset constructed from Amazon reviews. Experimental results show that BTM outperforms a number of competitive baselines in brand ranking, achieving a better balance of topic coherence and unique-ness, and extracting better-separated polarity-bearing topics.