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# Recovering Top-Two Answers and Confusion Probability in Multi-Choice Crowdsourcing

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:14836-14868, 2023.

#### Abstract

Crowdsourcing has emerged as an effective platform for labeling large amounts of data in a cost- and time-efficient manner. Most previous work has focused on designing an efficient algorithm to recover only the ground-truth labels of the data. In this paper, we consider multi-choice crowdsourcing tasks with the goal of recovering not only the ground truth, but also the most confusing answer and the confusion probability. The most confusing answer provides useful information about the task by revealing the most plausible answer other than the ground truth and how plausible it is. To theoretically analyze such scenarios, we propose a model in which there are the top two plausible answers for each task, distinguished from the rest of the choices. Task difficulty is quantified by the probability of confusion between the top two, and worker reliability is quantified by the probability of giving an answer among the top two. Under this model, we propose a two-stage inference algorithm to infer both the top two answers and the confusion probability. We show that our algorithm achieves the minimax optimal convergence rate. We conduct both synthetic and real data experiments and demonstrate that our algorithm outperforms other recent algorithms. We also show the applicability of our algorithms in inferring the difficulty of tasks and in training neural networks with top-two soft labels.