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Conversations Gone Awry: Detecting Early Signs of Conversational Failure

Conversations Gone Awry: Detecting Early Signs of Conversational Failure. Justine Zhang, Jonathan P. Chang, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Lucas Dixon, Nithum Thain, Dario Taraborelli.
“One of the main challenges online social systems face is the prevalence of antisocial behavior, such as harassment and per-sonal attacks. In this work, we introduce the task of predicting from the very start of a conversation whether it will get out of hand. As opposed to detecting undesirable behavior after the fact, this task aims to enable early, actionable prediction at a time when the conversation might still be salvaged. To this end, we develop a framework for capturing pragmatic devices—such as politeness strategies and rhetorical prompts—used to start a conversation, and analyze their relation to its future trajectory. Applying this framework in a controlled setting, we demonstrate the feasibility of detecting early warning signs of antisocial behavior in online discussions.”

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