Exploring the Role of Context to Distinguish Rhetorical and Information-Seeking Questions

ACL 2020  ·  Yuan Zhuang, Ellen Riloff ·

Social media posts often contain questions, but many of the questions are rhetorical and do not seek information. Our work studies the problem of distinguishing rhetorical and information-seeking questions on Twitter. Most work has focused on features of the question itself, but we hypothesize that the prior context plays a role too. This paper introduces a new dataset containing questions in tweets paired with their prior tweets to provide context. We create classification models to assess the difficulty of distinguishing rhetorical and information-seeking questions, and experiment with different properties of the prior context. Our results show that the prior tweet and topic features can improve performance on this task.

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