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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 479746, 23 pages
Research Article

A Supervised Approach to Predict the Hierarchical Structure of Conversation Threads for Comments

School of ECE, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 515-14395, Tehran, Iran

Received 30 August 2013; Accepted 27 November 2013; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editors: O. Greevy and J. Sarangapani

Copyright © 2014 A. Balali et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


User-generated texts such as comments in social media are rich sources of information. In general, the reply structure of comments is not publicly accessible on the web. Websites present comments as a list in chronological order. This way, some information is lost. A solution for this problem is to reconstruct the thread structure (RTS) automatically. RTS predicts a semantic tree for the reply structure, useful for understanding users’ behaviours and facilitating follow of the actual conversation streams. This paper works on RTS task in blogs, online news agencies, and news websites. These types of websites cover various types of articles reflecting the real-world events. People with different views participate in arguments by writing comments. Comments express opinions, sentiments, or ideas about articles. The reply structure of threads in these types of websites is basically different from threads in the forums, chats, and emails. To perform RTS, we define a set of textual and nontextual features. Then, we use supervised learning to combine these features. The proposed method is evaluated on five different datasets. The accuracy of the proposed method is compared with baselines. The results reveal higher accuracy for our method in comparison with baselines in all datasets.