Abstract

Online discussions forums, known as forums for short, are conversational social cyberspaces constituting rich repositories of content and an important source of collaborative knowledge. However, most of this knowledge is buried inside the forum infrastructure and its extraction is both complex and difficult. The ability to automatically rate postings in online discussion forums, based on the value of their contribution, enhances the ability of users to find knowledge within this content. Several key online discussion forums have utilized collaborative intelligence to rate the value of postings made by users. However, a large percentage of posts go unattended and hence lack appropriate rating. In this paper, we focus on automatic rating of postings in online discussion forums. A set of features derived from the posting content and the threaded discussion structure are generated for each posting. These features are grouped into five categories, namely (i) relevance, (ii) originality, (iii) forum-specific features, (iv) surface features, and (v) posting-component features. Using a non-linear SVM classifier, the value of each posting is categorized into one of three levels High, Medium, or Low. This rating represents a seed value for each posting that is leveraged in filtering forum content. Experimental results have shown promising performance on forum data.