What Do You Mean Exactly?: Analyzing Clarification Questions in CQA
Search as a dialogue is an emerging paradigm that is fueled by the proliferation of mobile devices and technological advances, e.g. in speech recognition and natural language processing. Such an interface allows search systems to engage in a dialogue with users aimed at fulfilling their information needs. One key capability required to make such search dialogues effective is asking clarification questions (CLARQ) proactively, when a user's intent is not clear, which could help the system provide more useful responses. With this in mind, we explore the dialogues between the users on a community question answering (CQA) website as a rich repository of information-seeking interactions. In particular, we study the clarification questions asked by CQA users in two different domains, analyze their behavior, and the types of clarification questions asked. Our results suggest that the types of CLARQ are very diverse, while the questions themselves tend to be specific and require both domain- and general knowledge. However, focusing on popular CLARQ types and domains can be fruitful. As a first step towards automatic generation of clarification questions, we explore the problem of predicting the specific subject of a clarification question. Our findings can be useful for future improvements of intelligent dialog search and question answering systems.