SIGdial 2015

16th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

I Couldn’t Agree More: The Role of Conversational Structure in Agreement and Disagreement Detection in Online Discussions

Sara Rosenthal and Kathy McKeown
Determining when conversational participants agree or disagree is instrumental for broader conversational analysis; it is necessary, for example, in deciding when a group has reached consensus. In this paper, we describe three main contributions. We show how different aspects of conversational structure can be used to detect agreement and disagreement in discussion forums. In particular, we exploit information about meta-thread structure and accommodation between participants. Second, we demonstrate the impact of the features using 3-way classification, including sentences expressing disagreement, agreement or neither. Finally, we show how to use a naturally occurring data set with labels derived from the sides that participants choose in debates on The resulting new agreement corpus, Agreement by Create Debaters (ABCD) is 25 times larger than any prior corpus. We demonstrate that using this data enables us to outperform the same system trained on prior existing in-domain smaller annotated datasets.