Shabnam Behzad


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DisCoDisCo at the DISRPT2021 Shared Task: A System for Discourse Segmentation, Classification, and Connective Detection
Luke Gessler | Shabnam Behzad | Yang Janet Liu | Siyao Peng | Yilun Zhu | Amir Zeldes
Proceedings of the 2nd Shared Task on Discourse Relation Parsing and Treebanking (DISRPT 2021)

This paper describes our submission to the DISRPT2021 Shared Task on Discourse Unit Segmentation, Connective Detection, and Relation Classification. Our system, called DisCoDisCo, is a Transformer-based neural classifier which enhances contextualized word embeddings (CWEs) with hand-crafted features, relying on tokenwise sequence tagging for discourse segmentation and connective detection, and a feature-rich, encoder-less sentence pair classifier for relation classification. Our results for the first two tasks outperform SOTA scores from the previous 2019 shared task, and results on relation classification suggest strong performance on the new 2021 benchmark. Ablation tests show that including features beyond CWEs are helpful for both tasks, and a partial evaluation of multiple pretrained Transformer-based language models indicates that models pre-trained on the Next Sentence Prediction (NSP) task are optimal for relation classification.

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Overview of AMALGUM – Large Silver Quality Annotations across English Genres
Luke Gessler | Siyao Peng | Yang Liu | Yilun Zhu | Shabnam Behzad | Amir Zeldes
Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics 2021


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A Cross-Genre Ensemble Approach to Robust Reddit Part of Speech Tagging
Shabnam Behzad | Amir Zeldes
Proceedings of the 12th Web as Corpus Workshop

Part of speech tagging is a fundamental NLP task often regarded as solved for high-resource languages such as English. Current state-of-the-art models have achieved high accuracy, especially on the news domain. However, when these models are applied to other corpora with different genres, and especially user-generated data from the Web, we see substantial drops in performance. In this work, we study how a state-of-the-art tagging model trained on different genres performs on Web content from unfiltered Reddit forum discussions. We report the results when training on different splits of the data, tested on Reddit. Our results show that even small amounts of in-domain data can outperform the contribution of data an order of magnitude larger coming from other Web domains. To make progress on out-of-domain tagging, we also evaluate an ensemble approach using multiple single-genre taggers as input features to a meta-classifier. We present state of the art performance on tagging Reddit data, as well as error analysis of the results of these models, and offer a typology of the most common error types among them, broken down by training corpus.

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AMALGUM – A Free, Balanced, Multilayer English Web Corpus
Luke Gessler | Siyao Peng | Yang Liu | Yilun Zhu | Shabnam Behzad | Amir Zeldes
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We present a freely available, genre-balanced English web corpus totaling 4M tokens and featuring a large number of high-quality automatic annotation layers, including dependency trees, non-named entity annotations, coreference resolution, and discourse trees in Rhetorical Structure Theory. By tapping open online data sources the corpus is meant to offer a more sizable alternative to smaller manually created annotated data sets, while avoiding pitfalls such as imbalanced or unknown composition, licensing problems, and low-quality natural language processing. We harness knowledge from multiple annotation layers in order to achieve a “better than NLP” benchmark and evaluate the accuracy of the resulting resource.

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Team DoNotDistribute at SemEval-2020 Task 11: Features, Finetuning, and Data Augmentation in Neural Models for Propaganda Detection in News Articles
Michael Kranzlein | Shabnam Behzad | Nazli Goharian
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper presents our systems for SemEval 2020 Shared Task 11: Detection of Propaganda Techniques in News Articles. We participate in both the span identification and technique classification subtasks and report on experiments using different BERT-based models along with handcrafted features. Our models perform well above the baselines for both tasks, and we contribute ablation studies and discussion of our results to dissect the effectiveness of different features and techniques with the goal of aiding future studies in propaganda detection.