Whole Page Unbiased Learning to Rank

19 Oct 2022  ·  Haitao Mao, Lixin Zou, Yujia Zheng, Jiliang Tang, Xiaokai Chu, Jiashu Zhao, Dawei Yin ·

The page presentation biases in the information retrieval system, especially on the click behavior, is a well-known challenge that hinders improving ranking models' performance with implicit user feedback. Unbiased Learning to Rank~(ULTR) algorithms are then proposed to learn an unbiased ranking model with biased click data. However, most existing algorithms are specifically designed to mitigate position-related bias, e.g., trust bias, without considering biases induced by other features in search result page presentation(SERP). For example, the multimedia type may generate attractive bias. Unfortunately, those biases widely exist in industrial systems and may lead to an unsatisfactory search experience. Therefore, we introduce a new problem, i.e., whole-page Unbiased Learning to Rank(WP-ULTR), aiming to handle biases induced by whole-page SERP features simultaneously. It presents tremendous challenges. For example, a suitable user behavior model (user behavior hypothesis) can be hard to find; and complex biases cannot be handled by existing algorithms. To address the above challenges, we propose a Bias Agnostic whole-page unbiased Learning to rank algorithm, BAL, to automatically discover and mitigate the biases from multiple SERP features with no specific design. Experimental results on a real-world dataset verify the effectiveness of the BAL.

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