Ditch the Gold Standard: Re-evaluating Conversational Question Answering

Huihan Li, Tianyu Gao, Manan Goenka, Danqi Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Conversational question answering aims to provide natural-language answers to users in information-seeking conversations. Existing conversational QA benchmarks compare models with pre-collected human-human conversations, using ground-truth answers provided in conversational history. It remains unclear whether we can rely on this static evaluation for model development and whether current systems can well generalize to real-world human-machine conversations. In this work, we conduct the first large-scale human evaluation of state-of-the-art conversational QA systems, where human evaluators converse with models and judge the correctness of their answers. We find that the distribution of human-machine conversations differs drastically from that of human-human conversations, and there is a disagreement between human and gold-history evaluation in terms of model ranking. We further investigate how to improve automatic evaluations, and propose a question rewriting mechanism based on predicted history, which better correlates with human judgments. Finally, we analyze the impact of various modeling strategies and discuss future directions towards building better conversational question answering systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationACL 2022 - 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Proceedings of the Conference (Long Papers)
EditorsSmaranda Muresan, Preslav Nakov, Aline Villavicencio
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages8074-8085
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781955917216
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2022 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: May 22 2022May 27 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
Volume1
ISSN (Print)0736-587X

Conference

Conference60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2022
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period5/22/225/27/22

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

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