A Variational Approach to Weakly Supervised Document-Level Multi-Aspect Sentiment Classification

In this paper, we propose a variational approach to weakly supervised document-level multi-aspect sentiment classification. Instead of using user-generated ratings or annotations provided by domain experts, we use target-opinion word pairs as "supervision." These word pairs can be extracted by using dependency parsers and simple rules. Our objective is to predict an opinion word given a target word while our ultimate goal is to learn a sentiment polarity classifier to predict the sentiment polarity of each aspect given a document. By introducing a latent variable, i.e., the sentiment polarity, to the objective function, we can inject the sentiment polarity classifier to the objective via the variational lower bound. We can learn a sentiment polarity classifier by optimizing the lower bound. We show that our method can outperform weakly supervised baselines on TripAdvisor and BeerAdvocate datasets and can be comparable to the state-of-the-art supervised method with hundreds of labels per aspect.

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