Emerging App Issue Identification via Online Joint Sentiment-Topic Tracing

23 Aug 2020  ·  Cuiyun Gao, Jichuan Zeng, Zhiyuan Wen, David Lo, Xin Xia, Irwin King, Michael R. Lyu ·

Millions of mobile apps are available in app stores, such as Apple's App Store and Google Play. For a mobile app, it would be increasingly challenging to stand out from the enormous competitors and become prevalent among users. Good user experience and well-designed functionalities are the keys to a successful app. To achieve this, popular apps usually schedule their updates frequently. If we can capture the critical app issues faced by users in a timely and accurate manner, developers can make timely updates, and good user experience can be ensured. There exist prior studies on analyzing reviews for detecting emerging app issues. These studies are usually based on topic modeling or clustering techniques. However, the short-length characteristics and sentiment of user reviews have not been considered. In this paper, we propose a novel emerging issue detection approach named MERIT to take into consideration the two aforementioned characteristics. Specifically, we propose an Adaptive Online Biterm Sentiment-Topic (AOBST) model for jointly modeling topics and corresponding sentiments that takes into consideration app versions. Based on the AOBST model, we infer the topics negatively reflected in user reviews for one app version, and automatically interpret the meaning of the topics with most relevant phrases and sentences. Experiments on popular apps from Google Play and Apple's App Store demonstrate the effectiveness of MERIT in identifying emerging app issues, improving the state-of-the-art method by 22.3% in terms of F1-score. In terms of efficiency, MERIT can return results within acceptable time.

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