Identifying Informational vs. Conversational Questions on Community Question Answering Archives

Ido Guy, Victor Makarenkov, Niva Hazon, Lior Rokach, Bracha Shapira
WSDM 2018: 216-224


Questions on community question answering websites usually reflect one of two intents: learning information or starting a conversation. In this paper, we revisit this fundamental classification task of informational versus conversational questions, which was originally introduced and studied in 2009. We use a substantially larger dataset of archived questions from Yahoo Answers, which includes the question’s title, description, answers, and votes. We replicate the original experiments over this dataset, point out the common and different from the original results, and present a broad set of characteristics that distinguish the two question types. We also develop new classifiers that make use of additional data types, advanced machine learning, and a large dataset of unlabeled data, which achieve enhanced performance.

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