Haojun Li


Neural Generation Meets Real People: Building a Social, Informative Open-Domain Dialogue Agent
Ethan A. Chi | Ashwin Paranjape | Abigail See | Caleb Chiam | Trenton Chang | Kathleen Kenealy | Swee Kiat Lim | Amelia Hardy | Chetanya Rastogi | Haojun Li | Alexander Iyabor | Yutong He | Hari Sowrirajan | Peng Qi | Kaushik Ram Sadagopan | Nguyet Minh Phu | Dilara Soylu | Jillian Tang | Avanika Narayan | Giovanni Campagna | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

We present Chirpy Cardinal, an open-domain social chatbot. Aiming to be both informative and conversational, our bot chats with users in an authentic, emotionally intelligent way. By integrating controlled neural generation with scaffolded, hand-written dialogue, we let both the user and bot take turns driving the conversation, producing an engaging and socially fluent experience. Deployed in the fourth iteration of the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, Chirpy Cardinal handled thousands of conversations per day, placing second out of nine bots with an average user rating of 3.58/5.


Large-Scale Quantitative Evaluation of Dialogue Agents’ Response Strategies against Offensive Users
Haojun Li | Dilara Soylu | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

As voice assistants and dialogue agents grow in popularity, so does the abuse they receive. We conducted a large-scale quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of 4 response types (avoidance, why, empathetic, and counter), and 2 additional factors (using a redirect or a voluntarily provided name) that have not been tested by prior work. We measured their direct effectiveness on real users in-the-wild by the re-offense ratio, length of conversation after the initial response, and number of turns until the next re-offense. Our experiments confirm prior lab studies in showing that empathetic responses perform better than generic avoidance responses as well as counter responses. We show that dialogue agents should almost always guide offensive users to a new topic through the use of redirects and use the user’s name if provided. As compared to a baseline avoidance strategy employed by commercial agents, our best strategy is able to reduce the re-offense ratio from 92% to 43%.