Enhancing Topic Modeling on Short Texts with Crowdsourcing


Xiaoyan Yang, Shanshan Ying, Wenzhe Yu, Rong Zhang, Zhenjie Zhang ;
Proceedings of The 8th Asian Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 63:33-48, 2016.


Topic modeling is nowadays widely used in text archive analytics, to find significant topics in news articles and important aspects of product comments available on the Internet. While statistical approaches, e.g. Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and its variants, are effective on building topic models on long texts, it remains difficult to identify meaningful topics over short texts, e.g. news titles and social-media messages. With the emergence and prosperity of crowdsourcing platforms, it becomes possible and easier for analytical systems to incorporate human intelligence into text analytics. Different from traditional active learning techniques, the combination of crowdsourcing and machine learning poses new challenges on the design of simple tasks for non-experts to finish in seconds. In this paper, we design a new topic modeling technique, fully exploiting the basic intuitions of humans on short text reading. By requesting human labors to subjectively measure the similarity between short text pairs, the accuracy of the topic modeling algorithms could be greatly enhanced, regardless of the prior used in the graphical model. We present well-designed short text pair selection strategies for crowdsourcing and provide analysis on the convergence property of the inference algorithm. Empirical studies show that our proposed approaches improve the result topics on English tweets and Chinese microblogs, by requesting only a small number of labels from crowd.

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