We posit that determining the social goals and intentions of dialogue participants is crucial for understanding discourse taking place on social media. In particular, we examine the social goals of being collegial and being adversarial. Through our early experimentation, we found that speech and dialogue acts are not able to capture the complexities and nuances of the social intentions of discourse participants. Therefore, we introduce a set of 9 social acts specifically designed to capture intentions related to being collegial and being adversarial. Social acts are pragmatic speech acts that signal a dialogue participant’s social intentions. We annotate social acts in discourses communicated in English and Chinese taken from Wikipedia talk pages, public forums, and chat transcripts. Our results show that social acts can be reliably understood by annotators with a good level of inter-rater agreement.
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