Published June 3, 2019 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Dataset for training classifiers of comparative sentences

  • 1. University of Hamburg


As there was no large publicly available cross-domain dataset for comparative argument mining, we create one composed of sentences, potentially annotated with BETTER / WORSE markers (the first object is better / worse than the second object) or NONE (the sentence does not contain a comparison of the target objects). The BETTER sentences stand for a pro-argument in favor of the first compared object and WORSE-sentences represent a con-argument and favor the second object. 

We aim for minimizing dataset domain-specific biases in order to capture the nature of comparison and not the nature of the particular domains, thus decided to control the specificity of domains by the selection of comparison targets. We hypothesized and could confirm in preliminary experiments that comparison targets usually have a common hypernym (i.e., are instances of the same class), which we utilized for selection of the compared objects pairs. 

The most specific domain we choose, is computer science with comparison targets like programming languages, database products and technology standards such as Bluetooth or Ethernet. Many computer science concepts can be compared objectively (e.g., on transmission speed or suitability for certain applications). The objects for this domain were manually extracted from List of-articles at Wikipedia. In the annotation process, annotators were asked to only label sentences from this domain if they had some basic knowledge in computer science. 

The second, broader domain is brands. It contains objects of different types (e.g., cars, electronics, and food). As brands are present in everyday life, anyone should be able to label the majority of sentences containing well-known brands such as Coca-Cola or Mercedes. Again, targets for this domain were manually extracted from `List of''-articles at Wikipedia.

The third domain is not restricted to any topic: random. For each of 24~randomly selected seed words 10 similar words were collected based on the distributional similarity API of JoBimText ( Seed words created using book, car, carpenter, cellphone, Christmas, coffee, cork, Florida, hamster, hiking, Hoover, Metallica, NBC, Netflix, ninja, pencil, salad, soccer, Starbucks, sword, Tolkien, wine, wood, XBox, Yale.

Especially for brands and computer science, the resulting object lists were large (4493 in brands and 1339 in computer science). In a manual inspection, low-frequency and ambiguous objects were removed from all object lists (e.g., RAID (a hardware concept) and Unity (a game engine) are also regularly used nouns). The remaining objects were combined to pairs. For each object type (seed Wikipedia list page or the seed word), all possible combinations were created. These pairs were then used to find sentences containing both objects. The aforementioned approaches to selecting compared objects pairs tend minimize inclusion of the domain specific data, but do not solve the problem fully though. We keep open a question of extending dataset with diverse object pairs including abstract concepts for future work.    

As for the sentence mining, we used the publicly available index of dependency-parsed sentences from the Common Crawl corpus containing over 14 billion English sentences filtered for duplicates. This index was queried for sentences containing both objects of each pair. For 90% of the pairs, we also added comparative cue words (better, easier, faster, nicer, wiser, cooler, decent, safer, superior, solid, terrific, worse, harder, slower, poorly, uglier, poorer, lousy, nastier, inferior, mediocre) to the query in order to bias the selection towards comparisons but at the same time admit comparisons that do not contain any of the anticipated cues. This was necessary as a random sampling would have resulted in only a very tiny fraction of comparisons. Note that even sentences containing a cue word do not necessarily express a comparison between the desired targets (dog vs. cat: He's the best pet that you can get, better than a dog or cat.). It is thus especially crucial to enable a classifier to learn not to rely on the existence of clue words only (very likely in a random sample of sentences with very few comparisons). For our corpus, we keep pairs with at least 100 retrieved sentences.

From all sentences of those pairs, 2500 for each category were randomly sampled as candidates for a crowdsourced annotation that we conducted on in several small batches. Each sentence was annotated by at least five trusted workers. We ranked annotations by confidence, which is the figure-eight internal measure of combining annotator trust and voting, and discarded annotations with a confidence below 50%. Of all annotated items, 71% received unanimous votes and for over 85% at least 4 out of 5 workers agreed -- rendering the collection procedure aimed at ease of annotation successful.

The final dataset contains 7199 sentences with 271 distinct object pairs. The majority of sentences (over 72%) are non-comparative despite biasing the selection with cue words; in 70% of the comparative sentences, the favored target is named first.

You can browse though the data here: 

Full description of the dataset is available in the workshop paper at ACL 2019 conference. Please cite this paper if you use the data: Franzek, Mirco, Alexander Panchenko, and Chris Biemann. "Categorization of Comparative Sentences for Argument Mining." arXiv preprint arXiv:1809.06152 (2018).

  title={Categorization of Comparative Sentences for Argument Mining},
  author={Panchenko, Alexander and Bondarenko, and Franzek, Mirco and Hagen, Matthias and Biemann, Chris},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Argument Mining at ACL'2019},
  address={Florence, Italy}




ACQuA - CompArg - release v1 - dataset of comparative sentences - all-data.csv