Workshop: Human Evaluation of Generative Models

Near-Negative Distinction: Giving a Second Life to Human Evaluation Datasets

Philippe Laban · Chien-Sheng Wu · Wenhao Liu · Caiming Xiong


Precisely assessing the progress in natural language generation (NLG) tasks is challenging, and human evaluation is often necessary.However, human evaluation is usually costly, difficult to reproduce, and non-reusable.In this paper, we propose a new and simple automatic evaluation method for NLG called Near-Negative Distinction (NND) that repurposes prior human annotations into NND tests.To pass an NND test, an NLG model must place a higher likelihood on a high-quality output candidate than on a near-negative candidate with a known error.Model performance is established by the number of NND tests a model passes, as well as the distribution over task-specific errors the model fails on.Through experiments on three NLG tasks (question generation, question answering, and summarization), we show that NND achieves a higher correlation with human judgments than standard NLG evaluation metrics. We invite the community to adopt NND as a generic method for NLG evaluation and contribute new NND test collections.

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