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In a world saturated with information, where the lines between reality and fiction easily blur, the ability to discern critical thinking from conspiratorial thinking has become more essential than ever. ValgrAI, in collaboration with an eminence in the field of text analysis, Professor Paolo Rosso from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the PRHLT group (Pattern Recognition and Human Language Technology), is proud to present an unprecedented challenge within the framework of PAN 2024. This challenge not only tests our analytical and critical skills but also invites us to contribute to the understanding of how narratives are constructed and perceived in the digital world.

The PAN 2024 Challenge: At the heart of this challenge lies the goal of exploring the complex narratives of conspiracy theories. These theories, which often attempt to explain significant events as the result of secret plans by powerful and malicious groups, offer fertile ground for critical analysis. Our mission is to meticulously distinguish between critical thinking, which questions with a foundation, and conspiratorial thinking, which sees shadows and plots in every corner.

The task will address two new challenges for the research community: On one hand, to distinguish the conspiratorial narrative from other oppositional narratives that do not express a conspiratorial mentality (i.e., critical thinking). On the other hand, to identify in online messages the key elements of a narrative that fuels intergroup conflict in oppositional thinking. For this purpose, we provide two Telegram text datasets, one in English and one in Spanish, and propose two sub-tasks:

  1. Distinguishing between critical and conspiratorial texts, a binary classification task aimed at differentiating between critical messages that question important decisions in the public health domain but do not promote a conspiratorial mentality; and messages that view the pandemic or public health decisions as the result of a malevolent conspiracy by secret, influential groups.
  2. Detecting elements of the oppositional narratives, a token-level classification task aimed at recognizing text spans corresponding to the key elements of oppositional narratives, where each annotation corresponds to a narrative element, and is described by its span and its category (there are six distinct span categories: AGENT, FACILITATOR, VICTIM, CAMPAIGNER, OBJECTIVE, NEGATIVE_EFFECT).

Ideally, the task will be carried out in both English and Spanish, although it will be possible to address the problem in just one of them.

Why participate? This challenge represents a unique opportunity to advance in the field of text analysis and artificial intelligence. It is an invitation to contribute to the fight against misinformation, to better understand the nature of discourse in our societies, and to develop tools that allow us to navigate more safely in the vast sea of digital information. Additionally, you will receive financial compensation of €300 sponsored by Symanto.

How to be part of the PAN 2024 Challenge:

  • Request the dataset: Begin your journey by requesting the training dataset through Zenodo, an invaluable tool to start your exploration.
  • Prepare for the challenge: Mark the key dates in your calendar, from the release of the training data on February 20, 2024, to the submission of papers on June 15, 2024.
  • Contribute to the scientific community: Your participation not only gives you the opportunity to compete but also to contribute to a body of knowledge that is essential for understanding and improving our digital society.

Important dates:

  • February 20, 2024: Training data release.
  • May 30, 2024: Deadline for software submission.
  • June 15, 2024: Deadline for participant paper submission.
  • September 9-12, 2024: Do not miss the CLEF 2024 Conference, where results and advancements will be discussed.

Join us at PAN 2024! This challenge represents more than a competition; it is an invitation to be part of a movement that seeks to clarify the truth amidst confusion, to differentiate between healthy skepticism and destructive distrust. At ValgrAI, we believe in the power of the community to face these challenges, and we are excited to see the innovative solutions that will emerge from this contest.

For more information and to join this exciting challenge, visit PAN 2024 – Critical Thinking Analysis.