Rhetoric, Logic, and Dialectic: Advancing Theory-based Argument Quality Assessment in Natural Language Processing
Anne Lauscher | Lily Ng | Courtney Napoles | Joel Tetreault
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Though preceding work in computational argument quality (AQ) mostly focuses on assessing overall AQ, researchers agree that writers would benefit from feedback targeting individual dimensions of argumentation theory. However, a large-scale theory-based corpus and corresponding computational models are missing. We fill this gap by conducting an extensive analysis covering three diverse domains of online argumentative writing and presenting GAQCorpus: the first large-scale English multi-domain (community Q&A forums, debate forums, review forums) corpus annotated with theory-based AQ scores. We then propose the first computational approaches to theory-based assessment, which can serve as strong baselines for future work. We demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale AQ annotation, show that exploiting relations between dimensions yields performance improvements, and explore the synergies between theory-based prediction and practical AQ assessment.
Computational models of argument quality (AQ) have focused primarily on assessing the overall quality or just one specific characteristic of an argument, such as its convincingness or its clarity. However, previous work has claimed that assessment based on theoretical dimensions of argumentation could benefit writers, but developing such models has been limited by the lack of annotated data. In this work, we describe GAQCorpus, the first large, domain-diverse annotated corpus of theory-based AQ. We discuss how we designed the annotation task to reliably collect a large number of judgments with crowdsourcing, formulating theory-based guidelines that helped make subjective judgments of AQ more objective. We demonstrate how to identify arguments and adapt the annotation task for three diverse domains. Our work will inform research on theory-based argumentation annotation and enable the creation of more diverse corpora to support computational AQ assessment.