Selecting a Comprehensive Set of Reviews

  • Panayiotis Tsaparas
  • Alexandros Ntoulas
  • Evirmaria Terzi

KDD, International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD) |

Published by ACM

Online user reviews play a central role in the decision-making process of users for a variety of tasks, ranging from entertainment and shopping to medical services. As user-generated reviews proliferate, it becomes critical to have a mechanism for helping the users (information consumers) deal with the information overload, and presenting them with a small comprehensive set of reviews that satisfies their information need. This is particularly important for mobile phone users, who need to make decisions quickly, and have a device with limited screen real-estate for displaying the reviews. Previous approaches have addressed the problem by ranking reviews according to their (estimated) helpfulness. However, such approaches do not account for the fact that the top few high-quality reviews may be highly redundant, repeating the same information, or presenting the same positive (or negative) perspective. In this work, we focus on the problem of selecting a comprehensive set of few high-quality reviews that cover many different aspects of the reviewed item. We formulate the problem as a maximum coverage problem, and we present a generic formalism that can model the different variants of review-set selection. We describe algorithms for the different variants we consider, and, whenever possible, we provide approximation guarantees with respect to the optimal solution. We also perform an experimental evaluation on real data in order to understand the value of coverage for users.