Selection Bias Explorations and Debias Methods for Natural Language Sentence Matching Datasets



  • Shiyu Chang
  • Guanhua Zhang
  • Bing Bai
  • Jian Liang
  • Kun Bai
  • Mo Yu
  • Conghui Zhu
  • Tiejun Zhao

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Natural Language Sentence Matching (NLSM) has gained substantial attention from both academics and the industry, and rich public datasets contribute a lot to this process. However, biased datasets can also hurt the generalization performance of trained models and give untrustworthy evaluation results. For many NLSM datasets, the providers select some pairs of sentences into the datasets, and this sampling procedure can easily bring unintended pattern, i.e., selection bias. One example is the QuoraQP dataset, where some content-independent na¨ıve features are unreasonably predictive. Such features are the reflection of the selection bias and termed as the “leakage features.” In this paper, we investigate the problem of selection bias on six NLSM datasets and find that four out of them are significantly biased. We further propose a training and evaluation framework to alleviate the bias. Experimental results on QuoraQP suggest that the proposed framework can improve the generalization ability of trained models, and give more trustworthy evaluation results for real-world adoptions.

Please cite our work using the BibTeX below.

    title = "Selection Bias Explorations and Debias Methods for Natural Language Sentence Matching Datasets",
    author = "Zhang, Guanhua  and
      Bai, Bing  and
      Liang, Jian  and
      Bai, Kun  and
      Chang, Shiyu  and
      Yu, Mo  and
      Zhu, Conghui  and
      Zhao, Tiejun",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics",
    month = jul,
    year = "2019",
    address = "Florence, Italy",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    doi = "10.18653/v1/P19-1435",
    pages = "4418--4429",
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