Nico Blokker


2020

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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 12th 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

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Swimming with the Tide? Positional Claim Detection across Political Text Types
Nico Blokker | Erenay Dayanik | Gabriella Lapesa | Sebastian Padó
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Natural Language Processing and Computational Social Science

Manifestos are official documents of political parties, providing a comprehensive topical overview of the electoral programs. Voters, however, seldom read them and often prefer other channels, such as newspaper articles, to understand the party positions on various policy issues. The natural question to ask is how compatible these two formats (manifesto and newspaper reports) are in their representation of party positioning. We address this question with an approach that combines political science (manual annotation and analysis) and natural language processing (supervised claim identification) in a cross-text type setting: we train a classifier on annotated newspaper data and test its performance on manifestos. Our findings show a) strong performance for supervised classification even across text types and b) a substantive overlap between the two formats in terms of party positioning, with differences regarding the salience of specific issues.

2019

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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.

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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”.