When users look for information on the world wide web, not only do they seek relevant documents, but also desire information that is of high quality, and is organized, and summarized in an easy to digest format. In this talk, I will overview my work in two areas aiming to create richer search and browsing experiences for users.
First, I will describe work on automatically assessing the writing quality of documents. Well-written documents are obviously more valuable to users. While spelling and grammar errors are detected easily by current systems, there are numerous other aspects of writing quality for which computational methods do not exist. I will outline some models I have built to predict coherent, concise and popular writing style.
Second I will describe some ongoing work to automatically uncover the structure of and summarize conversations from web discussion forums. Often forums are organized as threads with posts appearing in a simple chronological order. I will describe two models which add more structure to these conversations: one which groups forum participants based on the content and reply patterns of their conversations, and a second model to identify easy and difficult instructions suggested in computer troubleshooting forums.