AMPERSAND: Argument Mining for PERSuAsive oNline Discussions

Tuhin Chakrabarty, Christopher Hidey, Smaranda Muresan, Kathy McKeown, Alyssa Hwang

Argumentation is a type of discourse where speakers try to persuade their audience about the reasonableness of a claim by presenting supportive arguments. Most work in argument mining has focused on modeling arguments in monologues. We propose a computational model for argument mining in online persuasive discussion forums that brings together the micro-level (argument as product) and macro-level (argument as process) models of argumentation. Fundamentally, this approach relies on identifying relations between components of arguments in a discussion thread. Our approach for relation prediction uses contextual information in terms of fine-tuning a pre-trained language model and leveraging discourse relations based on Rhetorical Structure Theory. We additionally propose a candidate selection method to automatically predict what parts of one's argument will be targeted by other participants in the discussion. Our models obtain significant improvements compared to recent state-of-the-art approaches using pointer networks and a pre-trained language model.

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