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Pattern-based mining of opinions in Q&A websites

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Lin Bin, Zampetti Fiorella, Bavota Gabriele, Penta Massimiliano Di, Lanza Michele,
Project PROBE - Live Actionable Software Analytics
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Page(s) 548 - 559
Title of proceedings Proceedings of ICSE 2019 (41st International Conference on Software Engineering)

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Informal documentation contained in resources such as Q&A websites (e.g., Stack Overflow) is a precious resource for developers, who can find there examples on how to use certain APIs, as well as opinions about pros and cons of such APIs. Automatically identifying and classifying such opinions can alleviate developers’ burden in performing manual searches, and can be used to recommend APIs that are good from some points of view (e.g., performance), or highlight those less ideal from other perspectives (e.g., compatibility). We propose POME (Pattern-based Opinion MinEr), an approach that leverages natural language parsing and pattern-matching to classify Stack Overflow sentences referring to APIs according to seven aspects (e.g., performance, usability), and to determine their polarity (positive vs negative). The patterns have been inferred by man- ually analyzing 4,346 sentences from Stack Overflow linked to a total of 30 APIs. We evaluated POME by (i) comparing the pattern-matching approach with machine learners leveraging the patterns themselves as well as n-grams extracted from Stack Overflow posts; (ii) assessing the ability of POME to detect the polarity of sentences, as compared to sentiment-analysis tools; (iii) comparing POME with the state-of-the-art Stack Overflow opinion mining approach, Opiner, through a study involving 24 human evaluators. Our study shows that POME exhibits a higher precision than a state-of-the-art technique (Opiner), in terms of both opinion aspect identification and polarity assessment.