SemEval 2012 versus 2013

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I understand that some participants are eager to run in yet another "competition" sooner rather than later. This is no reason to believe that squeezing the cycle into two years serves a useful purpose. My perspective is that of an organizer. A new task requires much thought and even more legwork. An old task merely repeated is not worth the bytes its data sit in. There must be new elements. To reuse the old data is easier said than done. I could share our experience with tasks 4 (2007) and 8 (2010). There was a markedly higher effort in 2009-2010 than any of us had initially thought. If the community goes with the idea of a common annotation style, well, that alone requires a deeper reflection.

I could go on, but you may already be bored. Let me just make a social observation. What we do is not a spat, a fisticuff or a race. It is a shared evaluation exercise. That many people treat is as a fight is painfully obvious. i suspect that it is not uncommon for someone to use the scores -- especially a showing close to the top -- as an argument in grant applications or requests for promotion. A stimulating intellectual challenge turns into (excusez le mot) a pissing contest. Naturally, it is better to have more chances to win that medal.

I propose to keep the usual pace. A three-year cycle has worked well. It allows organizers to do their work carefully and thoughtfully, without overstraining themselves. Those who run annual events probably survive only because innovation is very incremental.

-- Stan Szpakowicz, PhD, Professor SITE, Computer Science, University of Ottawa

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