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Generating Synthetic Comparable Questions for News Articles

Oleg Rokhlenko and Idan Szpektor

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


We propose a new way to increase user engagement around news articles by suggesting relevant comparable questions, such as “is Beyonce a better singer than Madonna?”, for the user to answer. To this end we define the novel task of automatically generating questions that are relevant to a text but do not appear in it. We also present an algorithm for the task that consists of: (a) offline construction of a comparable question template database; (b) ranking of relevant templates to a given article; and (c) instantiation of templates only with entities in the article whose comparison under the template’s relation makes sense. We tested the suggestions generated by our algorithm via a Mechanical Turk experiment, which showed a significant improvement over the strongest baseline of more than 45% in all metrics.

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