WASSA-2017 Shared Task on Emotion Intensity (EmoInt)

Organized by felipebravom - Current server time: Nov. 22, 2017, 11:45 p.m. UTC


May 2, 2017, midnight UTC


Competition Ends

WASSA-2017 Shared Task on Emotion Intensity (EmoInt)

Part of the 8th Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis (WASSA-2017), which is to be held in conjunction with EMNLP-2017. Note: this webpage is a mirror of the official task webpage.

Join the mailing group: EmotionIntensity@googlegroups.com


  • May 11, 2017: Evaluation period deadline has been extended to May 16, 2017.
  • March 8, 2017: An updated version of the anger training set is now available. There was a bug in the annotation platform which resulted in some annotations not being available earlier. This issue has now been resolved. 

    ACTION ITEM: If you have downloaded the anger training data prior to this notice, then please download the (updated) anger training set again. The scores for most instances still remain the same, although, some instances now have a slightly different score.

  • February 24, 2017: Train and dev sets, evaluation script, and a baseline weka system are available for download.

Background and Significance: Existing emotion datasets are mainly annotated categorically without an indication of degree of emotion. Further, the tasks are almost always framed as classification tasks (identify 1 among n emotions for this sentence). In contrast, it is often useful for applications to know the degree to which an emotion is expressed in text. This is the first task where systems have to automatically determine the intensity of emotions in tweets.

Task: Given a tweet and an emotion X, determine the intensity or degree of emotion X felt by the speaker -- a real-valued score between 0 and 1. The maximum possible score 1 stands for feeling the maximum amount of emotion X (or having a mental state maximally inclined towards feeling emotion X). The minimum possible score 0 stands for feeling the least amount of emotion X (or having a mental state maximally away from feeling emotion X). The tweet along with the emotion X will be referred to as an instance. Note that the absolute scores have no inherent meaning -- they are used only as a means to convey that the instances with higher scores correspond to a greater degree of emotion X than instances with lower scores.

Paper: Participants will be given the opportunity to write a system-description paper that describes their system, resources used, results, and analysis. This paper will be part of the official WASSA-2017 proceedings. The paper is to be four pages long plus two pages at most for references. The papers are to follow the format and style files provided by EMNLP-2017.

I am interested. How do I get going?
- Read Competition details on this page.
- Join the mailing group: EmotionIntensity@googlegroups.com
- Download data.
- Directions on participating and making submissions on dev and test sets via CodaLab are here.

This task can be cited as shown below:
WASSA-2017 Shared Task on Emotion Intensity. Saif M. Mohammad and Felipe Bravo-Marquez. In Proceedings of the EMNLP 2017 Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment, and Social Media (WASSA), September 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Evaluation: For each emotion, systems are evaluated by calculating the Pearson Correlation Coefficient with Gold ratings. The correlation scores across all four emotions will be averaged to determine the bottom-line competition metric by which the submissions will be ranked.

Additional metrics: In addition to the bottom-line competition metric described above, the following additional metrics will be provided:

  • Spearman Rank Coefficient of the submission with the gold scores of the test data.
    Motivation: Spearman Rank Coefficient considers only how similar the two sets of ranking are. The differences in scores between adjacently ranked instance pairs is ignored. On the one hand this has been argued to alleviate some biases in Pearson, but on the other hand it can ignore relevant information.
  • Correlation scores (Pearson and Spearman) over a subset of the test data formed by taking every instance with a gold emotion intensity score greater than or equal to 0.5.
    Motivation: In some applications, only those instances that are moderately or strongly emotional are relevant. Here it may be much more important for a system to correctly determine emotion intensities of instances in the higher range of the scale as compared to correctly determine emotion intensities in the lower range of the scale.

Note that both these additional metrics will be calculated from the same submission zip described above. (Participants need not provide anything extra for these additional metrics.)

The official evaluation script (which also acts as a format checker) is available here. You may want to run it on the training set to determine your progress, and eventually on the test set to check the format of your submission.


  • Training data ready: Data for anger, fear, and joy are already available; data for sadness will be made available in the second half of February 2017
  • Evaluation period starts: May 02, 2017
  • Evaluation period ends: May 14   May 16, 2017
  • Results posted: May 21, 2017
  • Workshop paper submission deadline: June 10, 2017
  • Author notifications : July 9, 2017
  • Camera ready submissions due: July 23, 2017

Data: Training and test datasets are provided for four emotions: joy, sadness, fear, and anger. For example, the anger training dataset has tweets along with a real-valued score between 0 and 1 indicating the degree of anger felt by the speaker. The test data includes only the tweet text. Gold emotion intensity scores will be released after the evaluation period. Further details of this data are available in this paper:

  • Emotion Intensities in Tweets. Saif M. Mohammad and Felipe Bravo-Marquez. Submitted. (Pdf will be made available after the official evaluation period in May.)

Training set:

for anger (updated Mar 8, 2017)
for fear (released Feb 17, 2017)
for joy (released Feb 15, 2017)
for sadness (released Feb 17, 2017)

Development set:

Without intensity labels:

for anger (released Feb 24, 2017)
for fear (released Feb 24, 2017)
for joy (released Feb 24, 2017)
for sadness (released Feb 24, 2017)

With intensity labels:
for anger (released Apr 27, 2017)
for fear (released Apr 27, 2017)
for joy (released Apr 27, 2017)
for sadness (released Apr 27, 2017)


Note: For your competition submission for the test set, you are allowed to train on the combined Training and Development sets.

This is a *small* set of data that can be used to tune one’s system, but is provided mainly so that one can test submitting output on CodaLab. Please make sure you try submitting your system output on the development set through the CodaLab website, and address any issues that may come up as a result of that, well before evaluation period. Test data will have a format identical to the development set, but it will be much larger in size.
Note: Since the dev set is small in size, results on the data may not be indicative of performance on the test set.  

Test set

Without intensity labels:

for anger (released May 1, 2017)
for fear (released May 1, 2017)
for joy (released May 1, 2017)
for sadness (released May 1, 2017)

With intensity labels:
for anger (released May 24, 2017)
for fear (released May 24, 2017)
for joy (released May 24, 2017)
for sadness (released May 24, 2017)


Here are some key points about test-phase submissions:

  • Each team can submit as many as ten submissions during the evaluation period. However, only the final submission will be considered as the official submission to the competition.
  • You will not be able to see results of your submission on the test set.
  • You will be able to see any warnings and errors for each of your submission.
  • Leaderboard is disabled.
  • Special situations will be considered on a case by case basis. If you have reached the limit of ten submissions and there are extenuating circumstances due to which you need to make one more submission, send us an email before the evaluation period deadline (May 16, 2017), and we will likely remove one of your earlier submissions.

Once the competition is over, we will release the gold labels and you will be able to determine results on various system variants you may have developed. We encourage you to report results on all of your systems (or system variants) in the system-description paper. However, we will ask you to clearly indicate the result of your official submission.

Manual Annotation: Manual annotation of the dataset to obtain real-valued scores was done through Best-Worst Scaling (BWS), an annotation scheme shown to obtain very reliable scores (Kiritchenko and Mohammad, 2016). The data is then split into a training set and a test set. The test set released at the start of the evaluation period will not include the real-valued sentiment scores. These scores for the test data, which we will refer to as the Gold data, will be released after evaluation, when the results are posted.

The emotion intensity scores for both training and test data are obtained by crowdsourcing. Standard crowdsourcing best practices were followed such as pre-annotating 5% to 10% of questions internally (by one of the task organizers). These pre-annnotations were used to randomly check quality of crowdsourced responses and inform annotators of errors as and when they make them. (This has been shown to significantly improve annotation quality).

Best-Worst Scaling Questionnaires and Directions to Annotators

Obtaining real-valued sentiment annotations has several challenges. Respondents are faced with a higher cognitive load when asked for real-valued sentiment scores for terms as opposed to simply classifying terms as either positive or negative. It is also difficult for an annotator to remain consistent with his/her annotations. Further, the same sentiment association may map to different sentiment scores in the minds of different annotators; for example, one annotator may assign a score of 0.6 and another 0.8 for the same degree of positive association. One could overcome these problems by providing annotators with pairs of terms and asking which is more positive (a comparative approach), however that requires a much larger set of annotations (order N2, where N is the number of terms to be annotated).

Best-Worst Scaling (BWS), also sometimes referred to as Maximum Difference Scaling (MaxDiff), is an annotation scheme that exploits the comparative approach to annotation (Louviere and Woodworth, 1990; Cohen, 2003; Louviere et al., 2015; Kiritchenko and Mohammad, 2016) while still keeping the number of required annotations small. Annotators are given four items (4-tuple) and asked which item is the Best (highest in terms of the property of interest) and which is the Worst (least in terms of the property of interest). These annotations can then be easily converted into real-valued scores of association between the items and the property, which eventually allows for creating a ranked list of items as per their association with the property of interest.

The questionnaires used to annotate the data are available here:


Baseline Weka System for Determining Emotion Intensity

You are free to build a system from scratch using any available software packages and resources, as long as they are not against the spirit of fair competition. In order to assist testing of ideas, we also provide a baseline emotion intensity system that you can build on. The use of this system is completely optional. The system is available here. Instructions for using the system with the task data are available here.

Word-Emotion and Word-Sentiment Association lexicons

Large lists of manually created and automatically generated word-emotion and word-sentiment association lexicons are available here.

Submission format:

System submissions must to have the same format as used in the training and test sets. Each line in the file should include:


Simply replace the NONEs in the last column of the test files with your system's predictions.

A valid submission file for CodaLab is a zip compressed file containing the following files:

  • anger-pred.txt
  • fear-pred.txt
  • joy-pred.txt
  • sadness-pred.txt

Organizers of the shared task:

Saif M. Mohammad
National Research Council Canada

Felipe Bravo-Marquez
The University of Waikato

Alexandra Balahur
European Commission, Brussels


  • Picard, R. W. (1997, 2000). Affective computing. MIT press.
  • Using Hashtags to Capture Fine Emotion Categories from Tweets. Saif M. Mohammad, Svetlana Kiritchenko, Computational Intelligence, Volume 31, Issue 2, Pages 301-326, May 2015.
  • Crowdsourcing a Word-Emotion Association Lexicon, Saif Mohammad and Peter Turney, Computational Intelligence, 29 (3), 436-465, 2013.
  • Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 6 (3), 169-200.
  • #Emotional Tweets, Saif Mohammad, In Proceedings of the First Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics (*Sem), June 2012, Montreal, Canada.
  • Portable Features for Classifying Emotional Text, Saif Mohammad, In Proceedings of the 2012 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, June 2012, Montreal, Canada.
  • Strapparava, C., & Mihalcea, R. (2007). Semeval-2007 task 14: Affective text. In Proceedings of SemEval-2007, pp. 70-74, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • From Once Upon a Time to Happily Ever After: Tracking Emotions in Novels and Fairy Tales, Saif Mohammad, In Proceedings of the ACL 2011 Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (LaTeCH), June 2011, Portland, OR.
  • Plutchik, R. (1980). A general psychoevolutionary theory of emotion. Emotion: Theory, research, and experience, 1(3), 3-33.
  • Stance and Sentiment in Tweets. Saif M. Mohammad, Parinaz Sobhani, and Svetlana Kiritchenko. Special Section of the ACM Transactions on Internet Technology on Argumentation in Social Media, In Press.
  • Determining Word-Emotion Associations from Tweets by Multi-Label Classification. Felipe Bravo-Marquez, Eibe Frank, Saif Mohammad, and Bernhard Pfahringer. In Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence (WI'16), Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
  • Challenges in Sentiment Analysis. Saif M. Mohammad, A Practical Guide to Sentiment Analysis, Springer, 2016.
  • Osgood, C. E., Suci, G. J., & Tannenbaum, P. (1957). The measurement of meaning. University of Illinois Press.
  • Capturing Reliable Fine-Grained Sentiment Associations by Crowdsourcing and Best-Worst Scaling. Svetlana Kiritchenko and Saif M. Mohammad. In Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies. June 2016. San Diego, CA.
  • Ortony, A., Clore, G. L., & Collins, A. (1988). The Cognitive Structure of Emotions. Cambridge University Press.
  • Semeval-2016 Task 7: Determining Sentiment Intensity of English and Arabic Phrases. Svetlana Kiritchenko, Saif M. Mohammad, and Mohammad Salameh. In Proceedings of the International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-16). June 2016. San Diego, California.
  • Alm, C. O. (2008). Affect in text and speech. ProQuest.
  • Aman, S., & Szpakowicz, S. (2007). Identifying expressions of emotion in text. In Text, Speech and Dialogue, Vol. 4629 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 196-205.
  • The Effect of Negators, Modals, and Degree Adverbs on Sentiment Composition. Svetlana Kiritchenko and Saif M. Mohammad, In Proceedings of the NAACL 2016 Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment, and Social Media (WASSA), June 2014, San Diego, California.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Detecting Valence, Emotions, and Other Affectual States from Text. Saif M. Mohammad, Emotion Measurement, 2016.
  • NRC-Canada-2014: Detecting Aspects and Sentiment in Customer Reviews, Svetlana Kiritchenko, Xiaodan Zhu, Colin Cherry, and Saif M. Mohammad. In Proceedings of the eighth international workshop on Semantic Evaluation Exercises (SemEval-2014), August 2014, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Barrett, L. F. (2006). Are emotions natural kinds?. Perspectives on psychological science, 1(1), 28-58.


Start: Feb. 20, 2017, midnight


Start: May 2, 2017, midnight

Competition Ends


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