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Finding Relevant Answers in Software Forums
ASE 2011: Proceedings of the 26th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering: Lawrence, Kansas, USA, 6 - 10 November 2011
  • Swapna GOTTOPATI, Singapore Management University
  • David LO, Singapore Management University
  • Jing JIANG, Singapore Management University
Publication Type
Conference Proceeding Article
Publication Date
Online software forums provide a huge amount of valuable content. Developers and users often ask questions and receive answers from such forums. The availability of a vast amount of thread discussions in forums provides ample opportunities for knowledge acquisition and summarization. For a given search query, current search engines use traditional information retrieval approach to extract webpages containing relevant keywords. However, in software forums, often there are many threads containing similar keywords where each thread could contain a lot of posts as many as 1,000 or more. Manually finding relevant answers from these long threads is a painstaking task to the users. Finding relevant answers is particularly hard in software forums as: complexities of software systems cause a huge variety of issues often expressed in similar technical jargons, and software forum users are often expert internet users who often posts answers in multiple venues creating many duplicate posts, often without satisfying answers, in the world wide web. To address this problem, this paper provides a semantic search engine framework to process software threads and recover relevant answers according to user queries. Different from standard information retrieval engine, our framework infer semantic tags of posts in the software forum threads and utilize these tags to recover relevant answer posts. In our case study, we analyze 6,068 posts from three software forums. In terms of accuracy of our inferred tags, we could achieve on average an overall precision, recall and F-measure of 67%, 71%, and 69% respectively. To empirically study the benefit of our overall framework, we also conduct a user-assisted study which shows that as compared to a standard information retrieval approach, our proposed framework could increase mean average precision from 17% to 71% in retrieving relevant answers to various queries and achieve a Normalized Discounted Cumulative Gain (nDCG) @1 score of 91.2% and nDCG@2 score of 71.6%.
IEEE Computer Society
City or Country
Los Alamitos, CA
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Additional URL
Citation Information
Swapna GOTTOPATI, David LO and Jing JIANG. "Finding Relevant Answers in Software Forums" ASE 2011: Proceedings of the 26th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering: Lawrence, Kansas, USA, 6 - 10 November 2011 (2011) p. 323 - 332
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