Michael Bishop


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Assessing Objective Recommendation Quality through Political Forecasting
H. Andrew Schwartz | Masoud Rouhizadeh | Michael Bishop | Philip Tetlock | Barbara Mellers | Lyle Ungar
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recommendations are often rated for their subjective quality, but few researchers have studied comment quality in terms of objective utility. We explore recommendation quality assessment with respect to both subjective (i.e. users’ ratings) and objective (i.e., did it influence? did it improve decisions?) metrics in a massive online geopolitical forecasting system, ultimately comparing linguistic characteristics of each quality metric. Using a variety of features, we predict all types of quality with better accuracy than the simple yet strong baseline of comment length. Looking at the most predictive content illustrates rater biases; for example, forecasters are subjectively biased in favor of comments mentioning business transactions or dealings as well as material things, even though such comments do not indeed prove any more useful objectively. Additionally, more complex sentence constructions, as evidenced by subordinate conjunctions, are characteristic of comments leading to objective improvements in forecasting.