Predicting the timing and quality of responses in online discussion forums

Patrick Hansen, Richard Junior Bustamante, Tsung Yen Yang, Elizabeth Tenorio, Christopher Brinton, Mung Chiang, Andrew Lan

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

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We consider the problem of jointly predicting the quality and timing of responses to questions asked in online discussion forums. While prior work has focused on identifying users most likely to answer and/or to provide the highest quality answers to a question, the promptness of the response is also a key factor of user satisfaction. To address this, we propose point process and neural network-based algorithms for three prediction tasks regarding a user's response to a question: whether the user will answer, the net votes that will be received on the answer, and the time that will elapse before the answer. These algorithms learn over a set of 20 features we define for each pair of user and question that quantify both topical and structural aspects of the forums, including discussion post similarities and social centrality measures. Through evaluation on a Stack Overflow dataset consisting of 20,000 question threads, we find that our method outperforms baselines on each prediction task by more than 20%. We also find that the importance of the features varies depending on the task and the amount of historical data available for inference. At the end, we design a question recommendation system that incorporates these predictions to jointly optimize response quality and timing in forums subject to user constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2019 39th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages1931-1940
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781728125190
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event39th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2019 - Richardson, United States
Duration: Jul 7 2019Jul 9 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems
Volume2019-July

Conference

Conference39th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2019
CountryUnited States
CityRichardson
Period7/7/197/9/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Keywords

  • Discussion forums
  • Neural networks
  • Point process
  • Question answerer recommendation
  • Recommendation systems
  • Social learning
  • Social networks
  • User modeling

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  • Cite this

    Hansen, P., Junior Bustamante, R., Yang, T. Y., Tenorio, E., Brinton, C., Chiang, M., & Lan, A. (2019). Predicting the timing and quality of responses in online discussion forums. In Proceedings - 2019 39th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2019 (pp. 1931-1940). [8885111] (Proceedings - International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems; Vol. 2019-July). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICDCS.2019.00191