Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Argument Mining

Noam Slonim, Ranit Aharonov (Editors)

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Brussels, Belgium
Association for Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Argument Mining
Noam Slonim | Ranit Aharonov

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Argumentative Link Prediction using Residual Networks and Multi-Objective Learning
Andrea Galassi | Marco Lippi | Paolo Torroni

We explore the use of residual networks for argumentation mining, with an emphasis on link prediction. The method we propose makes no assumptions on document or argument structure. We evaluate it on a challenging dataset consisting of user-generated comments collected from an online platform. Results show that our model outperforms an equivalent deep network and offers results comparable with state-of-the-art methods that rely on domain knowledge.

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End-to-End Argument Mining for Discussion Threads Based on Parallel Constrained Pointer Architecture
Gaku Morio | Katsuhide Fujita

Argument Mining (AM) is a relatively recent discipline, which concentrates on extracting claims or premises from discourses, and inferring their structures. However, many existing works do not consider micro-level AM studies on discussion threads sufficiently. In this paper, we tackle AM for discussion threads. Our main contributions are follows: (1) A novel combination scheme focusing on micro-level inner- and inter- post schemes for a discussion thread. (2) Annotation of large-scale civic discussion threads with the scheme. (3) Parallel constrained pointer architecture (PCPA), a novel end-to-end technique to discriminate sentence types, inner-post relations, and inter-post interactions simultaneously. The experimental results demonstrate that our proposed model shows better accuracy in terms of relations extraction, in comparison to existing state-of-the-art models.

ArguminSci: A Tool for Analyzing Argumentation and Rhetorical Aspects in Scientific Writing
Anne Lauscher | Goran Glavaš | Kai Eckert

Argumentation is arguably one of the central features of scientific language. We present ArguminSci, an easy-to-use tool that analyzes argumentation and other rhetorical aspects of scientific writing, which we collectively dub scitorics. The main aspect we focus on is the fine-grained argumentative analysis of scientific text through identification of argument components. The functionality of ArguminSci is accessible via three interfaces: as a command line tool, via a RESTful application programming interface, and as a web application.

Evidence Type Classification in Randomized Controlled Trials
Tobias Mayer | Elena Cabrio | Serena Villata

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) are a common type of experimental studies in the medical domain for evidence-based decision making. The ability to automatically extract the arguments proposed therein can be of valuable support for clinicians and practitioners in their daily evidence-based decision making activities. Given the peculiarity of the medical domain and the required level of detail, standard approaches to argument component detection in argument(ation) mining are not fine-grained enough to support such activities. In this paper, we introduce a new sub-task of the argument component identification task: evidence type classification. To address it, we propose a supervised approach and we test it on a set of RCT abstracts on different medical topics.

Predicting the Usefulness of Amazon Reviews Using Off-The-Shelf Argumentation Mining
Marco Passon | Marco Lippi | Giuseppe Serra | Carlo Tasso

Internet users generate content at unprecedented rates. Building intelligent systems capable of discriminating useful content within this ocean of information is thus becoming a urgent need. In this paper, we aim to predict the usefulness of Amazon reviews, and to do this we exploit features coming from an off-the-shelf argumentation mining system. We argue that the usefulness of a review, in fact, is strictly related to its argumentative content, whereas the use of an already trained system avoids the costly need of relabeling a novel dataset. Results obtained on a large publicly available corpus support this hypothesis.

An Argument-Annotated Corpus of Scientific Publications
Anne Lauscher | Goran Glavaš | Simone Paolo Ponzetto

Argumentation is an essential feature of scientific language. We present an annotation study resulting in a corpus of scientific publications annotated with argumentative components and relations. The argumentative annotations have been added to the existing Dr. Inventor Corpus, already annotated for four other rhetorical aspects. We analyze the annotated argumentative structures and investigate the relations between argumentation and other rhetorical aspects of scientific writing, such as discourse roles and citation contexts.

Annotating Claims in the Vaccination Debate
Benedetta Torsi | Roser Morante

In this paper we present annotation experiments with three different annotation schemes for the identification of argument components in texts related to the vaccination debate. Identifying claims about vaccinations made by participants in the debate is of great societal interest, as the decision to vaccinate or not has impact in public health and safety. Since most corpora that have been annotated with argumentation information contain texts that belong to a specific genre and have a well defined argumentation structure, we needed to adjust the annotation schemes to our corpus, which contains heterogeneous texts from the Web. We started with a complex annotation scheme that had to be simplified due to low IAA. In our final experiment, which focused on annotating claims, annotators reached 57.3% IAA.

Argument Component Classification for Classroom Discussions
Luca Lugini | Diane Litman

This paper focuses on argument component classification for transcribed spoken classroom discussions, with the goal of automatically classifying student utterances into claims, evidence, and warrants. We show that an existing method for argument component classification developed for another educationally-oriented domain performs poorly on our dataset. We then show that feature sets from prior work on argument mining for student essays and online dialogues can be used to improve performance considerably. We also provide a comparison between convolutional neural networks and recurrent neural networks when trained under different conditions to classify argument components in classroom discussions. While neural network models are not always able to outperform a logistic regression model, we were able to gain some useful insights: convolutional networks are more robust than recurrent networks both at the character and at the word level, and specificity information can help boost performance in multi-task training.

Evidence Types, Credibility Factors, and Patterns or Soft Rules for Weighing Conflicting Evidence: Argument Mining in the Context of Legal Rules Governing Evidence Assessment
Vern R. Walker | Dina Foerster | Julia Monica Ponce | Matthew Rosen

This paper reports on the results of an empirical study of adjudicatory decisions about veterans’ claims for disability benefits in the United States. It develops a typology of kinds of relevant evidence (argument premises) employed in cases, and it identifies factors that the tribunal considers when assessing the credibility or trustworthiness of individual items of evidence. It also reports on patterns or “soft rules” that the tribunal uses to comparatively weigh the probative value of conflicting evidence. These evidence types, credibility factors, and comparison patterns are developed to be inter-operable with legal rules governing the evidence assessment process in the U.S. This approach should be transferable to other legal and non-legal domains.

Feasible Annotation Scheme for Capturing Policy Argument Reasoning using Argument Templates
Paul Reisert | Naoya Inoue | Tatsuki Kuribayashi | Kentaro Inui

Most of the existing works on argument mining cast the problem of argumentative structure identification as classification tasks (e.g. attack-support relations, stance, explicit premise/claim). This paper goes a step further by addressing the task of automatically identifying reasoning patterns of arguments using predefined templates, which is called argument template (AT) instantiation. The contributions of this work are three-fold. First, we develop a simple, yet expressive set of easily annotatable ATs that can represent a majority of writer’s reasoning for texts with diverse policy topics while maintaining the computational feasibility of the task. Second, we create a small, but highly reliable annotated corpus of instantiated ATs on top of reliably annotated support and attack relations and conduct an annotation study. Third, we formulate the task of AT instantiation as structured prediction constrained by a feasible set of templates. Our evaluation demonstrates that we can annotate ATs with a reasonably high inter-annotator agreement, and the use of template-constrained inference is useful for instantiating ATs with only partial reasoning comprehension clues.

Frame- and Entity-Based Knowledge for Common-Sense Argumentative Reasoning
Teresa Botschen | Daniil Sorokin | Iryna Gurevych

Common-sense argumentative reasoning is a challenging task that requires holistic understanding of the argumentation where external knowledge about the world is hypothesized to play a key role. We explore the idea of using event knowledge about prototypical situations from FrameNet and fact knowledge about concrete entities from Wikidata to solve the task. We find that both resources can contribute to an improvement over the non-enriched approach and point out two persisting challenges: first, integration of many annotations of the same type, and second, fusion of complementary annotations. After our explorations, we question the key role of external world knowledge with respect to the argumentative reasoning task and rather point towards a logic-based analysis of the chain of reasoning.

Incorporating Topic Aspects for Online Comment Convincingness Evaluation
Yunfan Gu | Zhongyu Wei | Maoran Xu | Hao Fu | Yang Liu | Xuanjing Huang

In this paper, we propose to incorporate topic aspects information for online comments convincingness evaluation. Our model makes use of graph convolutional network to utilize implicit topic information within a discussion thread to assist the evaluation of convincingness of each single comment. In order to test the effectiveness of our proposed model, we annotate topic information on top of a public dataset for argument convincingness evaluation. Experimental results show that topic information is able to improve the performance for convincingness evaluation. We also make a move to detect topic aspects automatically.

Proposed Method for Annotation of Scientific Arguments in Terms of Semantic Relations and Argument Schemes
Nancy Green

This paper presents a proposed method for annotation of scientific arguments in biological/biomedical journal articles. Semantic entities and relations are used to represent the propositional content of arguments in instances of argument schemes. We describe an experiment in which we encoded the arguments in a journal article to identify issues in this approach. Our catalogue of argument schemes and a copy of the annotated article are now publically available.

Using context to identify the language of face-saving
Nona Naderi | Graeme Hirst

We created a corpus of utterances that attempt to save face from parliamentary debates and use it to automatically analyze the language of reputation defence. Our proposed model that incorporates information regarding threats to reputation can predict reputation defence language with high confidence. Further experiments and evaluations on different datasets show that the model is able to generalize to new utterances and can predict the language of reputation defence in a new dataset.

Dave the debater: a retrieval-based and generative argumentative dialogue agent
Dieu Thu Le | Cam-Tu Nguyen | Kim Anh Nguyen

In this paper, we explore the problem of developing an argumentative dialogue agent that can be able to discuss with human users on controversial topics. We describe two systems that use retrieval-based and generative models to make argumentative responses to the users. The experiments show promising results although they have been trained on a small dataset.

PD3: Better Low-Resource Cross-Lingual Transfer By Combining Direct Transfer and Annotation Projection
Steffen Eger | Andreas Rücklé | Iryna Gurevych

We consider unsupervised cross-lingual transfer on two tasks, viz., sentence-level argumentation mining and standard POS tagging. We combine direct transfer using bilingual embeddings with annotation projection, which projects labels across unlabeled parallel data. We do so by either merging respective source and target language datasets or alternatively by using multi-task learning. Our combination strategy considerably improves upon both direct transfer and projection with few available parallel sentences, the most realistic scenario for many low-resource target languages.

Cross-Lingual Argumentative Relation Identification: from English to Portuguese
Gil Rocha | Christian Stab | Henrique Lopes Cardoso | Iryna Gurevych

Argument mining aims to detect and identify argument structures from textual resources. In this paper, we aim to address the task of argumentative relation identification, a subtask of argument mining, for which several approaches have been recently proposed in a monolingual setting. To overcome the lack of annotated resources in less-resourced languages, we present the first attempt to address this subtask in a cross-lingual setting. We compare two standard strategies for cross-language learning, namely: projection and direct-transfer. Experimental results show that by using unsupervised language adaptation the proposed approaches perform at a competitive level when compared with fully-supervised in-language learning settings.

More or less controlled elicitation of argumentative text: Enlarging a microtext corpus via crowdsourcing
Maria Skeppstedt | Andreas Peldszus | Manfred Stede

We present an extension of an annotated corpus of short argumentative texts that had originally been built in a controlled text production experiment. Our extension more than doubles the size of the corpus by means of crowdsourcing. We report on the setup of this experiment and on the consequences that crowdsourcing had for assembling the data, and in particular for annotation. We labeled the argumentative structure by marking claims, premises, and relations between them, following the scheme used in the original corpus, but had to make a few modifications in response to interesting phenomena in the data. Finally, we report on an experiment with the automatic prediction of this argumentation structure: We first replicated the approach of an earlier study on the original corpus, and compare the performance to various settings involving the extension.