Sebastian Haunss


A Generalized Approach to Protest Event Detection in German Local News
Gregor Wiedemann | Jan Matti Dollbaum | Sebastian Haunss | Priska Daphi | Larissa Daria Meier
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Protest events provide information about social and political conflicts, the state of social cohesion and democratic conflict management, as well as the state of civil society in general. Social scientists are therefore interested in the systematic observation of protest events. With this paper, we release the first German language resource of protest event related article excerpts published in local news outlets. We use this dataset to train and evaluate transformer-based text classifiers to automatically detect relevant newspaper articles. Our best approach reaches a binary F1-score of 93.3 %, which is a promising result for our goal to support political science research. However, in a second experiment, we show that our model does not generalize equally well when applied to data from time periods and localities other than our training sample. To make protest event detection more robust, we test two ways of alternative preprocessing. First, we find that letting the classifier concentrate on sentences around protest keywords improves the F1-score for out-of-sample data up to +4 percentage points. Second, against our initial intuition, masking of named entities during preprocessing does not improve the generalization in terms of F1-scores. However, it leads to a significantly improved recall of the models.

Improving Neural Political Statement Classification with Class Hierarchical Information
Erenay Dayanik | Andre Blessing | Nico Blokker | Sebastian Haunss | Jonas Kuhn | Gabriella Lapesa | Sebastian Pado
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Many tasks in text-based computational social science (CSS) involve the classification of political statements into categories based on a domain-specific codebook. In order to be useful for CSS analysis, these categories must be fine-grained. The typically skewed distribution of fine-grained categories, however, results in a challenging classification problem on the NLP side. This paper proposes to make use of the hierarchical relations among categories typically present in such codebooks:e.g., markets and taxation are both subcategories of economy, while borders is a subcategory of security. We use these ontological relations as prior knowledge to establish additional constraints on the learned model, thusimproving performance overall and in particular for infrequent categories. We evaluate several lightweight variants of this intuition by extending state-of-the-art transformer-based textclassifiers on two datasets and multiple languages. We find the most consistent improvement for an approach based on regularization.


Using Hierarchical Class Structure to Improve Fine-Grained Claim Classification
Erenay Dayanik | Andre Blessing | Nico Blokker | Sebastian Haunss | Jonas Kuhn | Gabriella Lapesa | Sebastian Padó
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Structured Prediction for NLP (SPNLP 2021)

The analysis of public debates crucially requires the classification of political demands according to hierarchical claim ontologies (e.g. for immigration, a supercategory “Controlling Migration” might have subcategories “Asylum limit” or “Border installations”). A major challenge for automatic claim classification is the large number and low frequency of such subclasses. We address it by jointly predicting pairs of matching super- and subcategories. We operationalize this idea by (a) encoding soft constraints in the claim classifier and (b) imposing hard constraints via Integer Linear Programming. Our experiments with different claim classifiers on a German immigration newspaper corpus show consistent performance increases for joint prediction, in particular for infrequent categories and discuss the complementarity of the two approaches.


DEbateNet-mig15:Tracing the 2015 Immigration Debate in Germany Over Time
Gabriella Lapesa | Andre Blessing | Nico Blokker | Erenay Dayanik | Sebastian Haunss | Jonas Kuhn | Sebastian Padó
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

DEbateNet-migr15 is a manually annotated dataset for German which covers the public debate on immigration in 2015. The building block of our annotation is the political science notion of a claim, i.e., a statement made by a political actor (a politician, a party, or a group of citizens) that a specific action should be taken (e.g., vacant flats should be assigned to refugees). We identify claims in newspaper articles, assign them to actors and fine-grained categories and annotate their polarity and date. The aim of this paper is two-fold: first, we release the full DEbateNet-mig15 corpus and document it by means of a quantitative and qualitative analysis; second, we demonstrate its application in a discourse network analysis framework, which enables us to capture the temporal dynamics of the political debate


Who Sides with Whom? Towards Computational Construction of Discourse Networks for Political Debates
Sebastian Padó | Andre Blessing | Nico Blokker | Erenay Dayanik | Sebastian Haunss | Jonas Kuhn
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Understanding the structures of political debates (which actors make what claims) is essential for understanding democratic political decision making. The vision of computational construction of such discourse networks from newspaper reports brings together political science and natural language processing. This paper presents three contributions towards this goal: (a) a requirements analysis, linking the task to knowledge base population; (b) an annotated pilot corpus of migration claims based on German newspaper reports; (c) initial modeling results.

An Environment for Relational Annotation of Political Debates
Andre Blessing | Nico Blokker | Sebastian Haunss | Jonas Kuhn | Gabriella Lapesa | Sebastian Padó
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

This paper describes the MARDY corpus annotation environment developed for a collaboration between political science and computational linguistics. The tool realizes the complete workflow necessary for annotating a large newspaper text collection with rich information about claims (demands) raised by politicians and other actors, including claim and actor spans, relations, and polarities. In addition to the annotation GUI, the tool supports the identification of relevant documents, text pre-processing, user management, integration of external knowledge bases, annotation comparison and merging, statistical analysis, and the incorporation of machine learning models as “pseudo-annotators”.