Judge the Judges: A Large-Scale Evaluation Study of Neural Language Models for Online Review Generation
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)
We conduct a large-scale, systematic study to evaluate the existing evaluation methods for natural language generation in the context of generating online product reviews. We compare human-based evaluators with a variety of automated evaluation procedures, including discriminative evaluators that measure how well machine-generated text can be distinguished from human-written text, as well as word overlap metrics that assess how similar the generated text compares to human-written references. We
... determine to what extent these different evaluators agree on the ranking of a dozen of state-of-the-art generators for online product reviews. We find that human evaluators do not correlate well with discriminative evaluators, leaving a bigger question of whether adversarial accuracy is the correct objective for natural language generation. In general, distinguishing machine-generated text is challenging even for human evaluators, and human decisions correlate better with lexical overlaps. We find lexical diversity an intriguing metric that is indicative of the assessments of different evaluators. A post-experiment survey of participants provides insights into how to evaluate and improve the quality of natural language generation systems 1 .