AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Analyzing and Predicting Not-Answered Questions in Community-based Question Answering Services
Lichun Yang, Shenghua Bao, Qingliang Lin, Xian Wu, Dingyi Han, Zhong Su, Yong Yu

Last modified: 2011-08-04


This paper focuses on analyzing and predicting not-answered questions in Community based Question Answering (CQA) services, such as Yahoo! Answers. In CQA services, users express their information needs by submitting natural language questions and await answers from other human users. Comparing to receiving results from web search engines using keyword queries, CQA users are likely to get more specific answers, because human answerers may catch the main point of the question. However, one of the key problems of this pattern is that sometimes no one helps to give answers, while web search engines hardly fail to response. In this paper, we analyze the not-answered questions and give a first try of predicting whether questions will receive answers. More specifically, we first analyze the questions of Yahoo Answers based on the features selected from different perspectives. Then, we formalize the prediction problem as supervised learning – binary classification problem and leverage the proposed features to make predictions. Extensive experiments are made on 76,251 questions collected from Yahoo! Answers. We analyze the specific characteristics of not-answered questions and try to suggest possible reasons for why a question is not likely to be answered. As for prediction, the experimental results show that classification based on the proposed features outperforms the simple word-based approach significantly.

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