Subgroup Detection in Ideological Discussions

Abu-Jbara, Amjad; Dasigi, Pradeep; Diab, Mona; Radev, Dragomir R.

The rapid and continuous growth of social networking sites has led to the emergence of many communities of communicating groups. Many of these groups discuss ideological and political topics. It is not uncommon that the participants in such discussions split into two or more subgroups. The members of each subgroup share the same opinion toward the discussion topic and are more likely to agree with members of the same subgroup and disagree with members from opposing subgroups. In this paper, we propose an unsupervised approach for automatically detecting discussant subgroups in online communities. We analyze the text exchanged between the participants of a discussion to identify the attitude they carry toward each other and towards the various aspects of the discussion topic. We use attitude predictions to construct an attitude vector for each discussant. We use clustering techniques to cluster these vectors and, hence, determine the subgroup membership of each participant. We compare our methods to text clustering and other baselines, and show that our method achieves promising results.


Also Published In

Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
The Association for Computational Linguistics

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Published Here
October 3, 2013