Online debate forums present a valuable opportunity for the understanding and modeling of dialogue. To understand these debates, a key challenge is inferring the stances of the participants, all of which are interrelated and dependent. While collectively modeling users’ stances has been shown to be effective (Walker et al., 2012c; Hasan and Ng, 2013), there are many modeling decisions whose ramifi-cations are not well understood. To investigate these choices and their effects, we introduce a scalable unified probabilistic modeling framework for stance classification models that 1) are collective, 2) reason about disagreement, and 3) can model stance at either the author level or at the post level. We comprehensively evaluate the possible modeling choices on eight topics across two online debate corpora, finding accuracy improvements of up to 11.5 percentage points over a local classifier. Our results highlight the importance of making the correct modeling choices for online dialogues, and having a unified probabilistic modeling framework that makes this possible.
- Date of publication:
- July 27, 2015