POSNoise: An Effective Countermeasure Against Topic Biases in Authorship Analysis

AuthorHalvani, Oren; Graner, Lukas
TypeConference Paper
AbstractAuthorship verification (AV) is a fundamental research task in digital text forensics, which addresses the problem of whether two texts were written by the same person. In recent years, a variety of AV methods have been proposed that focus on this problem and can be divided into two categories: The first category refers to such methods that are based on explicitly defined features, where one has full control over which features are considered and what they actually represent. The second category, on the other hand, relates to such AV methods that are based on implicitly defined features, where no control mechanism is involved, so that any character sequence in a text can serve as a potential feature. However, AV methods belonging to the second category bear the risk that the topic of the texts may bias their classification predictions, which in turn may lead to misleading conclusions regarding their results. To tackle this problem, we propose a preprocessing technique called POSNoise, which effectively masks topic-related content in a given text. In this way, AV methods are forced to focus on such text units that are more related to the writing style. Our empirical evaluation based on six AV methods (falling into the second category) and seven corpora shows that POSNoise leads to better results compared to a well-known topic masking approach in 34 out of 42 cases, with an increase in accuracy of up to 10%.
ConferenceInternational Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security (ARES) 2021