User:TJones (WMF)/Notes

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This is an index for the reports I've written up on various search- & discovery-related topics. I also have a Project Wishlist of 10% projects and other tasks I would like to do if I had infinite time. If you want to help out on any of those, let me know!

If the technical jargon is confusing, check out our Search Glossary. Feel free to request definitions there, too.

Contents

Conferences and Trip Reports[edit]

WikiConference North America 2018 Trip Report (October 2018) Some highlights and thoughts from the conference.

April 2018 Conference Trip Report (April 2018) An overview of talks (with as many links as possible) from the OpenSource Connections Haystack Search Relevance Conference and Tom Tom Founders Festival Machine Learning Conference.

Elasticsearch Analysis Chain Analysis[edit]

For help with the technical jargon used in the Analysis Chain Analysis, check out the Language Analysis section of the Search Glossary.

Nori Analyzer Analysis[edit]

Nori Analyzer Analysis (August—October 2018) Analysis of the Nori language analyzer for Korean.

Strip Empty Tokens Generated by ICU Folding[edit]

Strip Empty Tokens Generated by ICU Folding (August 2018) Look into the empty tokens generated by ICU folding and make sure patching it has no unintended side effects.

Esperanto Analysis[edit]

Stemmer[edit]

Esperanto Stemmer Analysis (June/July 2018) Review of the performance of an Esperanto stemmer with the potential to be wrapped into an Elasticsearch language analyzer.

Analyzer[edit]

Esperanto Analysis Chain Analysis (August 2018) Analysis of the Esperanto analysis chain, built from the stemmer we recently wrapped into an Elasticsearch plugin.

Stempel Analyzer Analysis[edit]

Stempel Analyzer Analysis (February 2017) Analysis of Stempel Polish Analyzer from Elasticsearch, which we'd like to deploy for Polish wiki projects. Generally it works well, but it has some interesting bugs.

Stempel Analyzer Patch Filters (July 2018) Analysis of patches (mostly filters) we can apply to the unpacked Stempel Polish Analyzer to decrease the impact of occasional poor stemming.

Malay Analysis (with a bit of Indonesian)[edit]

Analysis of Applying Indonesian Analysis Chain to Malay (June 2018) Analysis of the effect of the Elasticsearch Indonesian analysis chain on Malay-language data, and the effect of unpacking the Indonesian analyzer and adding ICU normalization to Indonesian.

Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, & Serbo-Croatian Analysis[edit]

Stemmer[edit]

Serbian Stemmer Analysis (November 2017) Review of performance of three Serbian stemmers with the potential to be wrapped into Elasticsearch language analyzers.

Stemmer No. 4 (December 2017) Review of stemmer #4, which was labeled "Croatian" but which actually works for Serbian, too, after a quick update from the developer.

Analyzer[edit]

Serbian Analyzer Analysis (March 2018) Analysis of the Serbian analysis chain, built from the stemmer we recently wrapped into an Elasticsearch plugin.

Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbo-Croatian Analyzer Analysis (April 2018) Analysis of the Serbian analysis chain, applied to Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbo-Croatian.

(Vaguely related WMF blog post, Mar 2018.)

Slovak Analysis[edit]

Stemmer[edit]

Slovak Stemmer Analysis (March 2018) Review of performance of two Slovak stemmers with the potential to be wrapped into Elasticsearch language analyzers.

Analyzer[edit]

Slovak Analyzer Analysis (March 2018) Analysis of the Slovak analysis chain, built from the stemmer we recently wrapped into an Elasticsearch plugin.

Overview of Phonetic Algorithm Performance[edit]

Overview of Phonetic Algorithm Performance (January 2018) Analysis of available Elasticsearch phonetic algorithm plugins for possible implementation of phonetic searching.

Language Analysis Morphological Libraries[edit]

Language Analysis Morphological Libraries (October 2017) Review of available morphological analysis libraries that have potential to be wrapped into Elasticsearch language analyzers. Covers Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Serbian, Malay, Estonian, Slovak.

Chinese Analyzer Analysis[edit]

Chinese Analyzer Analysis (February–April 2017) Analysis of several Chinese Elasticsearch plugins for traditional-to-simplified character conversion and for word segmenting. (Vaguely related WMF blog post, Mar 2018.)

Punctuation config update (August 2017) About 16% of tokens are punctuation, all indexed as commas, which is silly.

Vietnamese Analyzer Analysis[edit]

Vietnamese Analyzer Analysis Analysis of the Vietnamese language analyzer.

Analysis Analysis Tools[edit]

Analysis Analysis Tools (July 2017) The first draft of the README file for my Language Analysis Analysis tools, which are being added to the RelForge repo.

Kuromoji Analyzer Analysis[edit]

Kuromoji Analyzer Analysis (June-July 2017) Analysis of the Kuromoji language analyzer for Japanese.

HebMorph Analyzer Analysis[edit]

HebMorph Analyzer Analysis (May 2017) Analysis of the HebMorph language analyzer for Hebrew.

Ukrainian Morfologik Analysis[edit]

Ukrainian Morfologik Analysis (March 2017) Analysis of Elasticsearch plugin for Ukrainian Morfologik Analyzer, recommended by Elasticsearch. It looks good, but because we were originally using the Russian analyzer, the situation is complicated.

Swedish Analyzer Analysis[edit]

Swedish Analyzer Analysis (March 2017) Quick analysis of the impact of folding on Swedish.

On Generic ICU Folding[edit]

On Generic ICU Folding (December 2016) Copy of quick discussion on Phab about the goals of generic ICU folding, and how to apply it to specific language wikis, hopefully with input from the wiki/language communities.

Upgrading ASCII Folding to ICU Folding for French and English[edit]

Upgrading ASCII Folding to ICU Folding for French and English (September 2016) A quick analysis of the effects of enabling ICU folding instead of simple ASCII folding for French and English.

Removing Stress Accents and Folding Ё to Е for Russian Wikis[edit]

Removing Stress Accents and Folding Ё to Е for Russian Wikis (September 2016) A quick-ish test on the effects of adding stress-accent-stripping and ё-folding to Russian wikis.

On Merging Apostrophes and Other Unicode Characters[edit]

On Merging Apostrophes and Other Unicode Characters (August 2016) Copied from a quick analysis in a Phab ticket on merging Unicode characters so I can easily find it later.

Adding Ascii-Folding to French Wikipedia[edit]

Adding Ascii-Folding to French Wikipedia (August 2016) A not-so-quick test on the effects of adding ascii-folding to French Wikipedia. Many unexpected twists and surprises!

Re-Ordering Stemming and Ascii-Folding on English Wikipedia[edit]

Re-Ordering Stemming and Ascii-Folding on English Wikipedia (August 2016) A quick test of the effects of moving ascii-folding before stemming on English Wikipedia.

Blog Posts[edit]

As part of my 10% time, sometimes I write posts for the WMF blog (03/2018-present, 08/2016-05/2018), some related to the work on this page. Related blog posts are mentioned with the topic they are based on below.

  • The anatomy of search: Variation under nature (September 2018)—Second in a series on how full-text search engines work, covering normalization.
  • The anatomy of search: A token of my affection (August 2018)—First in a series on how full-text search engines work, covering tokenization.
  • Hello, my name is ________: Searching for names is not always straightforward (May 2018/new link)—a collection of name trivia and how the details make searching for names harder than you might think it would be.
  • Confound it!—Supporting languages with multiple writing systems (March 2018/new link)—reading, editing, and searching in multi-script languages.
  • Gnomes and trolls and hobgoblins (oh my!)—Failed queries and the vicarious fear of missing out (Dec 2017)—zero results queries are, collectively, crap.
  • So -happy to meet you: Advanced searching techniques on Wikimedia sites (Nov 2017)—when search syntax interferes with real life.
  • Admittedly loopy but not entirely absurd—Understanding our Search Relevance Survey (Sept 2017)
  • Wikipedia, search, and the “цкщтп” keyboard (Aug 2017)
  • Stripping question marks from Wikimedia searches (Aug 2016)
  • Wikipedia seeks to speak your language (July 2016—collaboration with Deb Tankersley)—TextCat deployed!
  • Wikipedia Search Isn’t Necessarily Third BESt (Sep 2015)—Write up in The Signpost defending Wikipedia search after it got severely dissed in an academic article.

Searching for Punctuation Gives Weird Results[edit]

Searching for Punctuation Gives Weird Results (June 2018)—An explanation of the weirdness that comes from searching for single punctuation characters without good redirect support.

Survey of Regular Expression Searches[edit]

Survey of Regular Expression Searches (May 2018)—A quick overview of the kinds of regex searches performed across all wikis.

Potential Applications of Natural Language Processing to On-Wiki Search[edit]

Potential Applications of Natural Language Processing to On-Wiki Search (May 2018)—Outline of lots of ways NLP could improve search on Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc.

Myanmar Zawgyi Encoding, Initial Survey[edit]

Myanmar Zawgyi Encoding, Initial Survey (March/April 2018) A quick review of the Zawgyi font encoding for Myanmar text and plan to assess its impact on search on Myanmar wikis (which are uniformly Unicode-encoded).

extra-analysis Elasticsearch Plugin[edit]

extra-analysis Elasticsearch Plugin (February-March 2018) Brief overview of the reasons for creating search/extra-analysis rather than search/serbian-analysis to incorporate an open-source Serbian stemmer.

Hiragana to Katakana Mapping for English and Japanese[edit]

Hiragana to Katakana Mapping for English and Japanese (November 2017) Investigate effects of folding hiragana and katakana together for English-language and Japanese-language projects.

Fallback Langauges[edit]

Fallback Redux (September/October 2017) A more careful analysis of what fallback languages are enabled where, and general notes on likely compatibility.

Fallback Languages (October 2016) A list of languages that are potentially used as fallbacks for other languages in language analysis.

Crimean Tatar Transliteration[edit]

Crimean Tatar Transliteration (May-July 2017) An analysis of a work-in-progress transliteration module, adapted from previous work from 2010.

(Vaguely related WMF blog post, Mar 2018.)

Accents, Dead Keys, and Suggestions[edit]

Accents, Dead Keys, and Suggestions (July 2017) Copy from Phabricator of discussion of accented characters not generating completion suggester suggestions.

Some Thoughts on the Math of Scoring[edit]

Some Thoughts on the Math of Scoring (April 2017) A cleaned up and slightly expanded version of a discussion I had with David about the math of scoring functions. Use your hyperoperations, kids!

So Many Search Options[edit]

So Many Search Options (December 2016): an initial proposal to encourage thinking about how to deal with all the different additional ways of searching when a query doesn't give great results ("Did you mean" suggestions, language detection, quote stripping, wrong keyboard detection, etc).

January 2017: Lots of updates and refinements, and the first draft of a proposal to update the API. Now moved out of my Notes to a more generic page.

TextCat, Language ID, Etc.[edit]

TextCat Improvements[edit]

November 2016—These are all on one wiki page if you want to browse them all, or jump to a specific section.

December 2016

January 2017

  • Optimization Framework updates (Dec/Jan): now with coordinate descent!
  • Bucketing and Bonuses (Dec/Jan): give the most likely languages—esp. the "host" language—a boost so that ambiguity or near ambiguity comes out in their favor. Also, re-evaluate whether we've made enough progress to warrant putting back some languages we had to exclude (spoiler: we have!)
  • Unknown n-gram Penalty: Maybe an extra penalty for unknown n-grams will reduce ambiguity; or maybe the penalty is too high and we're throwing out the baby with the bathwater; or maybe it's just right.
  • Final Summary & Recommendations: stick a fork in it; it's done! A review of the overall findings, and the general improvement in F0.5 accuracy across the nine corpora we currently have.

TextCat Released into Production![edit]

July 2016—There's a blog post on the Wikimedia blog that Deb and I worked on, announcing TextCat/language ID being in production for five wikis, and a PDF of a longer first draft I wrote on Commons. And while I'm here, I'll suggest the online demo if you want to play around with language identification directly.

TextCat and Confidence[edit]

TextCat and Confidence (July 2016) Quick summary of concerns and ideas for assigning a confidence score to TextCat's language identification.

Typing on the Wrong Keyboard / Russian and English[edit]

Typing on the Wrong Keyboard / Russian and English (June 2016) A quick attempt to identify and convert queries typed on the wrong keyboard on the English and Russian Wikipedias. (Related WMF blog post, Aug 2017.)

Favoring Recall in Language Identification[edit]

Favoring Recall in Language Identification (May 2016) Analysis of recall-favoring options for language detection (rather than precision-favoring), using the same data from frwiki, eswiki, itwiki, and dewiki as below.

Balanced Language Identification Evaluation Set for Queries[edit]

Balanced Language Identification Evaluation Set for Queries (February 2016) Creation of a 21-language balanced query corpus, and the evaluation of TextCat against that corpus.

TextCat with Additional Non-Word Characters[edit]

TextCat with Additional Non-Word Characters (January 2016) A follow up on an idea from Stas about modifying the non-word characters in TextCat. Ignoring parens helps a wee bit.

ElasticSearch Plugin—Limiting Languages & Retraining[edit]

ES Plugin, Limiting Language Options and Retraining on Query Data (December 2015) David retrained the ES Plugin models using the data from the TextCat evaluations, and figured out how to limit the plugin to the "useful" languages. The results are much improved and on-par with TextCat.

Language Detection Evaluation—TextCat[edit]

Language Detection with TextCat (December 2015)—An evaluation of TextCat (an n-gram–based language identifier) on the enwiki zero-results queries. Includes updates to TextCat, re-training on query data, and limiting language identification to "useful" languages. Offers an improvement over the ES Plugin.

Language Detection Evaluation—Update: Thresholds by Language[edit]

Language Detection Evaluation—Update: Thresholds by Language (October 2015)—Evaluated adding a language specific threshold (i.e., "it's never Romanian" on enwiki!) to the ElasticSearch language detection plugin. Results are overfitted because of small available data set, but are indicative of significant improvement to precision in language detection.

Language Detection Evaluation[edit]

Language Detection Evaluation (September 2015)—A test of language detection against a representative sample of hand-coded zero-results queries from enwiki.

  • ElasticSearch language detection plugin—A language detection plugin available for ElasticSearch;
    • also evaluated with initial and final spaces added (which gives better results, probably because of better recognition of letters at the edges of words)
  • Always "English" detector—Baseline against the current de facto default; also demonstrates that F-score is not necessarily the only relevant measure for search purposes.

TextCat Optimizations[edit]

TextCat Optimization for plwiki, arwiki, zhwiki, and nlwiki[edit]

TextCat Optimization for plwiki, arwiki, zhwiki, and nlwiki (September 2016) Analysis of low-performing queries (< 3 results) to optimize languages to be used for language detection.

TextCat Optimization for ptwiki, ruwiki, and jawiki[edit]

TextCat Optimization for ptwiki, ruwiki, jawiki (July 2016) Analysis of low-performing queries (< 3 results) to optimize languages to be used for language detection.

TextCat Re-optimization for enwiki[edit]

TextCat Re-optimization for enwiki (June 2016) Analysis of low-performing queries (< 3 results) to optimize languages to be used for language detection; plus comparison to similar previous ZRR-based enwiki corpus from 2015.

TextCat Optimization for frwiki, eswiki, itwiki, and dewiki[edit]

TextCat Optimization for frwiki, eswiki, itwiki, and dewiki (April 2016) Analysis of low-performing queries (< 3 results) to optimize languages to be used for language detection.

Spaceless Writing Systems and Wiki-Projects[edit]

Spaceless Writing Systems and Wiki-Projects (November 2016) A quick review of languages/projects that don't use spaces between most words in their writing systems.

Top Unsuccessful Search Queries[edit]

Top Unsuccessful Search Queries (July 2016) Analysis of the top 100 most frequent zero-results queries for enwiki for the month of May, 2016, to help determine whether mining such queries is worthwhile. (Related WMF blog post, Dec 2017.)

Dropping Final Question Marks in the Top 10 Wikipedias[edit]

Dropping Final Question Marks in the Top 10 Wikipedias (June 2016) More detailed look at the effects on search results (especially Zero Results Rate and Poorly Performing Queries) of dropping final question marks from queries on the top 10 Wikipedias. (Related WMF blog post, Aug 2016.)

Quotes and Questions[edit]

Quotes and Questions (May 2016) Quick write up of effects of removing quotation marks and question marks from poorly performing queries.

How Wrong Would Using Out of Date Page View Data Be?[edit]

How Wrong Would Using Out of Date Page View Data Be? (January 2016) We want to integrate page view information into the scoring algorithms we use for both the completion suggester and our regular search results. Our initial idea is we only update this page view information when doing normal document updates after a page edit (for technical reasons, page view data is available/provided when a page is edited). We need to analyze if this page view data will be "good enough" or if we need to do something more.

Relevance Lab![edit]

Relevance Lab (October 2015)—High level description and design of a Relevance Lab for Discovery, which would allow us (and others!) to experiment with proposed modifications to our search process and gauge their effectiveness and impact before deploying them.

Why People Use Search Engines[edit]

Why People Use Search Engines (September 2015)—An overview of how well English Wikipedia Search performs on a sample of ~4K queries that came from Google, with analysis of categories of unsuccessful queries and lots of ideas (not all necessarily practical) for Wikimedia search improvements.

Cross Language Wiki Searching[edit]

Cross Language Wiki Searching (September 2015)—An attempt to estimate the impact on enwiki's zero-results rate given "perfect" (or at least human-level) language identification.

Phrase Slop Pre-Test[edit]

Phrase Slop Pre-Test (August 2015)—An in vitro test of the ElasticSearch phrase slop parameter against ptwiki and dewiki before the in vivo A/B test. The final report, prepared by Mikhail, is here.

Survey of Zero-Results Queries[edit]

Survey of Zero-Results Queries (July 2015)—A survey of the readily identifiable patterns in full-text zero-results queries. Lots of potential bots and bugs identified.

  • One Month Followup (August 2015)—Overview of day-by-day changes in full-text traffic for known bots and bugs one month later, and monthly changes in zero-results rate for top wikis by volume.
  • Full manual review of a 1K enwiki sample (August 2015)—Hand coding and categorization of a 1K sample of full-text zero-results queries.