Manual Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning: A Guide to Corpus-Building for Applications

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Most people would say that sentiment is positive for the first one and neutral for the second one, right?

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All predicates adjectives, verbs, and some nouns should not be treated the same with respect to how they create sentiment. In the examples above, nice is more subjective than red. All utterances are uttered at some point in time, in some place, by and to some people, you get the point. All utterances are uttered in context. Analyzing sentiment without context gets pretty difficult. However, machines cannot learn about contexts if they are not mentioned explicitly. One of the problems that arise from context is changes in polarity.

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Look at the following responses to a survey:. Imagine the responses above come from answers to the question What did you like about the event? The first response would be positive and the second one would be negative, right? Now, imagine the responses come from answers to the question What did you DISlike about the event?

The negative in the question will make sentiment analysis change altogether. A good deal of preprocessing or postprocessing will be needed if we are to take into account at least part of the context in which texts were produced.

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However, how to preprocess or postprocess data in order to capture the bits of context that will help analyze sentiment is not straightforward. Differences between literal and intended meaning i. However, detecting irony or sarcasm takes a good deal of analysis of the context in which the texts are produced and, therefore, are really difficult to detect automatically. For example, look at some possible answers to the question Have you had a nice customer experience with us? What sentiment would you assign to the responses above? Probably, you have listened to the first response so many times, you would have said negative, right?

The problem is there is no textual cue that will make a machine learn that negative sentiment since most often, yeah and sure belong to positive or neutral texts.

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How about the second response? How to treat comparisons in sentiment analysis is another challenge worth tackling. Look at the texts below:. There are some comparisons like the first one above that do not need any contextual clues in order to be classified correctly. The second and third texts are a little more difficult to classify, though. Would you classify them as neutral or positive? Probably, you are more likely to choose positive for the second one and neutral for the third, right?

Once again, context can make a difference. For example, if the old tools the second text talks about were considered useless in context, then the second text turns out to be pretty similar to the third text. However, if no context is provided, these texts feel different. There are two types of emojis according to Guibon et al. Western emojis e.

Particularly in tweets, emojis play a role in the sentiment of texts. Sentiment analysis performed over tweets requires special attention to character-level as well as word-level. However, no matter how much attention you pay to each of them, a lot of preprocessing might be needed. For example, you might want to preprocess social media content and transform both Western and Eastern emojis into tokens and whitelist them i. Defining what we mean by neutral is another challenge to tackle in order to perform accurate sentiment analysis.

As in all classification problems, defining your categories -and, in this case, the neutral tag- is one of the most important parts of the problem. What you mean by neutral , positive , or negative does matter when you train sentiment analysis models. Since tagging data requires that tagging criteria be consistent, a good definition of the problem is a must. That said, sentiment analysis classifiers might not be as precise as other types of classifiers.

Remember that inter-annotator agreement is pretty low and that machines learn from the data they are fed with see above. That said, you might be saying, is it worth the effort? The answer is simple: it sure is worth it! On the fateful evening of April 9th, , United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked flight. The nightmare-ish incident was filmed by other passengers on their smartphones and posted immediately.

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One such video, posted to Facebook, was shared more than 87, times and viewed 6. More mentions does not equal positive mentions. Most marketing departments are already tuned into to online mentions as far as volume —they measure more chatter as more brand awareness. Nowadays, however, we can take a step deeper. Sentiment analysis is useful in social media monitoring because it helps you do all of the following:. Example: Trump vs Clinton, according to Twitter. Over the course of a few months during the US Presidential Elections, we collected and analyzed millions of tweets mentioning Clinton or Trump posted by users from around the world.

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We classified each of those tweets with a sentiment of either positive, neutral, or negative. To sum up, more people were tweeting about Trump, and a higher percentage of the people tweeting about Trump were doing so more positively than were the people tweeting about Clinton. Not only do brands have a wealth of information available on social media, but they also can look more broadly across the internet to see how people are talking about them online.

Instead of focusing on specific social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, we can target mentions in places like news, blogs, and forums —again, looking at not just the volume of mentions, but also the quality of those mentions.

In our United Airlines example, for instance, the flare-up started on the social media platforms of a few passengers. Within hours, it was picked up by news sites and spread like wildfire across the US. News then spread to China and Vietnam, as the passenger was reported to be an American of Chinese-Vietnamese descent and people accused the perpetrators of racial profiling. In China, the incident became the number one trending topic on Weibo, a microblogging site with almost million users. Example: Expedia Canada. All was well, except for their choice of screeching violin as background music. Understandably, people took to social media, blogs, and forums. Expedia noticed that and removed the ad. Then, they created a series of follow-up spin-off videos: one showed the original actor smashing the violin, and in another one, they invited a real follower who had complained on Twitter to come in and rip the violin away. Though their original product was far from flawless, they were able to redeem themselves by incorporating real customer feedback into continued iterations.

Using sentiment analysis and machine learning , you can automatically monitor all chatter around your brand and detect this type of potentially-explosive scenario while you still have time to defuse it. Social media and brand monitoring offer us immediate, unfiltered, invaluable information on customer sentiment.

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In a parallel vein run two other troves of insight —surveys and customer support interactions. Teams often look at their Net Promoter Score NPS , but we can also apply this analyses to any type of survey or communication channel that yields textual customer feedback.

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Sentiment analysis takes it that step further. Sentiment analysis is useful in understanding Voice of Customer VoC because it helps you do all of the following:. Example: McKinsey City Voices project. Unhappy with this counterproductive progress, the Urban-planning Department recruited McKinsey to help them work on a series of new projects that would focus first on user experience, or citizen journeys, when delivering services. This citizen-centric style of governance has led to the rise of what we call Smart Cities. McKinsey developed a tool called City Voices, which conducts citizen customer surveys across more than different metrics, and then runs sentiment analysis to help leaders understand how constituents live and what they need, in order to better inform public policy.

By using this tool, the Brazilian government was able to surface urgent needs —a safer bus system, for instance— and improve them first. If even whole cities and countries, famous for their red tape and slow pace, are incorporating customer journeys and sentiment analysis into their decision making processes, then innovative companies better be far ahead. Leading companies have begun to realize that oftentimes how they deliver is just as if not more important as what they deliver.