SIGdial 2013

14th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Topic Independent Identification of Agreement and Disagreement in Social Media Dialogue

Amita Misra, Marilyn Walker

Research on the structure of dialogue has been hampered for years because large dialogue corpora have not been available. This has impacted the dialogue research community's ability to develop better theories, as well as good off-the-shelf tools for dialogue processing. Happily, an increasing amount of information and opinion exchange occur in natural dialogue in online forums, where people share their opinions about a vast range of topics. In particular we are interested in rejection in dialogue, also called disagreement and denial, where the size of available dialogue corpora, for the first time, offers an opportunity to empirically test theoretical accounts of the expression and inference of rejection in dialogue. In this paper, we test whether topic-independent features motivated by theoretical predictions can be used to recognize rejection in online forums in a topic-independent way. Our results show that our theoretically motivated features achieve 66% accuracy, an improvement over a unigram baseline of an absolute 6%.