Surya Nepal


pdf bib
Assessing Social License to Operate from the Public Discourse on Social Media
Chang Xu | Cecile Paris | Ross Sparks | Surya Nepal | Keith VanderLinden
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Industry Track

Organisations are monitoring their Social License to Operate (SLO) with increasing regularity. SLO, the level of support organisations gain from the public, is typically assessed through surveys or focus groups, which require expensive manual efforts and yield quickly-outdated results. In this paper, we present SIRTA (Social Insight via Real-Time Text Analytics), a novel real-time text analytics system for assessing and monitoring organisations’ SLO levels by analysing the public discourse from social posts. To assess SLO levels, our insight is to extract and transform peoples’ stances towards an organisation into SLO levels. SIRTA achieves this by performing a chain of three text classification tasks, where it identifies task-relevant social posts, discovers key SLO risks discussed in the posts, and infers stances specific to the SLO risks. We leverage recent language understanding techniques (e.g., BERT) for building our classifiers. To monitor SLO levels over time, SIRTA employs quality control mechanisms to reliably identify SLO trends and variations of multiple organisations in a market. These are derived from the smoothed time series of their SLO levels based on exponentially-weighted moving average (EWMA) calculation. Our experimental results show that SIRTA is highly effective in distilling stances from social posts for SLO level assessment, and that the continuous monitoring of SLO levels afforded by SIRTA enables the early detection of critical SLO changes.


pdf bib
Recognising Agreement and Disagreement between Stances with Reason Comparing Networks
Chang Xu | Cecile Paris | Surya Nepal | Ross Sparks
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We identify agreement and disagreement between utterances that express stances towards a topic of discussion. Existing methods focus mainly on conversational settings, where dialogic features are used for (dis)agreement inference. We extend this scope and seek to detect stance (dis)agreement in a broader setting, where independent stance-bearing utterances, which prevail in many stance corpora and real-world scenarios, are compared. To cope with such non-dialogic utterances, we find that the reasons uttered to back up a specific stance can help predict stance (dis)agreements. We propose a reason comparing network (RCN) to leverage reason information for stance comparison. Empirical results on a well-known stance corpus show that our method can discover useful reason information, enabling it to outperform several baselines in stance (dis)agreement detection.


pdf bib
Cross-Target Stance Classification with Self-Attention Networks
Chang Xu | Cécile Paris | Surya Nepal | Ross Sparks
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

In stance classification, the target on which the stance is made defines the boundary of the task, and a classifier is usually trained for prediction on the same target. In this work, we explore the potential for generalizing classifiers between different targets, and propose a neural model that can apply what has been learned from a source target to a destination target. We show that our model can find useful information shared between relevant targets which improves generalization in certain scenarios.