Detecting Minority Arguments for Mutual Understanding: A Moderation Tool for the Online Climate Change Debate

Cedric Waterschoot*, A. van den Bosch, E. van den Hemel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeContribution to conference proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Moderating user comments and promoting healthy understanding is a challenging task, especially in the context of polarized topics such as climate change. We propose a moderation tool to assist moderators in promoting mutual understanding in regard to this topic. The approach is twofold. First, we train classifiers to label incoming posts for the arguments they entail, with a specific focus on minority arguments. We apply active learning to further supplement the training data with rare arguments. Second, we dive deeper into singular arguments and extract the lexical patterns that distinguish each argument from the others. Our findings indicate that climate change arguments form clearly separable clusters in the embedding space. These classes are characterized by their own unique lexical patterns that provide a quick insight in an argument’s key concepts. Additionally, supplementing our training data was necessary for our classifiers to be able to adequately recognize rare arguments. We argue that this detailed rundown of each argument provides insight into where others are coming from. These computational approaches can be part of the toolkit for content moderators and researchers struggling with polarized topics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
PublisherInternational Committee on Computational Linguistics
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022


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