What Types of Questions Require Conversation to Answer? A Case Study of AskReddit Questions

Shih Hong Huang, Chieh Yang Huang, Ya Fang Lin, Ting Hao Kenneth Huang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The proliferation of automated conversational systems such as chatbots, spoken-dialogue systems, and smart speakers, has significantly impacted modern digital life. However, these systems are primarily designed to provide answers to well-defined questions rather than to support users in exploring complex, ill-defined questions. In this paper, we aim to push the boundaries of conversational systems by examining the types of nebulous, open-ended questions that can best be answered through conversation. We first sampled 500 questions from one million open-ended requests posted on AskReddit, and then recruited online crowd workers to answer eight inquiries about these questions. We also performed open coding to categorize the questions into 27 different domains. We found that the issues people believe require conversation to resolve satisfactorily are highly social and personal. Our work provides insights into how future research could be geared to align with users' needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2023 - Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450394222
StatePublished - Apr 19 2023
Event2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2023 - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: Apr 23 2023Apr 28 2023

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software

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