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Genre Independent Subgroup Detection in Online Discussion Threads: A Pilot Study of Implicit Attitude using Latent Textual Semantics

Dasigi, Pradeep; Guo, Weiwei; Diab, Mona

We describe an unsupervised approach to the problem of automatically detecting subgroups of people holding similar opinions in a discussion thread. An intuitive way of identifying this is to detect the attitudes of discussants towards each other or named entities or topics mentioned in the discussion. Sentiment tags play an important role in this detection, but we also note another dimension to the detection of people’s attitudes in a discussion: if two persons share the same opinion, they tend to use similar language content. We consider the latter to be an implicit attitude. In this paper, we investigate the impact of implicit and explicit attitude in two genres of social media discussion data, more formal wikipedia discussions and a debate discussion forum that is much more informal. experimental results strongly suggest that implicit attitude is an important complement for explicit attitudes (expressed via sentiment) and it can improve the sub-group detection performance independent of genre.

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Computer Science
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April 24, 2013