Second Call for Papers
First International Workshop on Social Threats in Online Conversations: 
Understanding and Management (STOC 2020)

Full-day workshop at LREC 2020 | Marseílle France | May 11, 2020

Submission deadline: February 14, 2020 (see also Important dates below)

STOC website: 

STOC 2020 is a one-day workshop focusing on research involving identification, 
understanding and management of social threats in online conversations. The 
workshop encourages discussions among researchers in various fields including 
NLP, computational linguistics, linguistics, computational sociolinguistics, 
ethnomethodology/conversation analysis, cybersecurity and social computing 
among others. The workshop schedule will consist of two keynote talks, a number 
of oral presentations, and a poster session. Depending on the volume of 
contributions, papers that describe systems or tools will be invited to give a 
demo of their system during the poster session. Additionally, a panel 
discussion is planned to discuss high-level questions about this evolving 
field, e.g., important near-term problems and types of shared tasks that drive 
the field.

Social threats for individuals and organizations are prevalent in online 
conversations, where human vulnerabilities pave the way for phishing, 
propaganda, scams, disinformation campaigns, and social engineering tactics 
(Bakhshi, Papadaki, and Furnell 2008, Karakasilitiosis, Furnell, and Papadaki 
2006). For example, over 80% of cyber penetrations start with a social 
engineering attack (Verizon/TM 2014), often through manipulative language 
usage, resulting in a loss of money, sensitive information, or control of 
resources to unsuspecting victims at an individual level. Detection techniques 
based on metadata have yielded minimal success in the face of rising 
personalized attacks, especially those involving impersonation and power 
relationships (e.g., a spoofed dean requesting a gift card purchase from a 
department faculty). The implications are potentially more dire for 
disinformation campaigns, as these are implemented on a much larger scale. 
Natural language processing (NLP) and computational sociolinguistics techniques 
in conjunction with metadata analysis can provide a better means for detecting 
and countering attacks and disinformation campaigns in a wide variety of 
online, conversational contexts (Dalton et al 2019, Kim et al 2018, Dalton et 
al 2017, Sawa et al 2016). STOC is a venue for discussions on developing 
resources for and enabling NLP and computational sociolinguistics research on 
detecting and countering such attacks for a wide variety of online 

The topics of the workshop include but are not limited to:

  *   Development and evaluation of corpora to study social engineering threats 
and attacks in various forms of online communication, such as emails, SMS, 
slack, Whatsapp and LinkedIn
  *   Development and evaluation of corpora to study large scale influence and 
disinformation campaigns targeting specific communities via social media
  *   Challenges in developing corpora for social engineering attacks and 
disinformation campaigns
  *   Advances in NLP for understanding online conversations and social 
engineering contexts, e.g., semantic parsing, information retrieval and 
question answering
  *   Detection of social threats at different scales, e.g., from mass phishing 
attacks to targeted social engineering against individuals and businesses to 
sophisticated disinformation campaigns against entire populations
  *   NLP based mitigation techniques for social engineering attacks (e.g., 
verification of provenance) and for disinformation campaigns (e.g., counter 
  *   Dialogue/narrative understanding and generation for bots to counter 
social engineering attacks
  *   Strategies for countering unfolding disinformation campaigns to slow and 
stop their progress
  *   Automatic detection of actions and intentions of participants in online 
conversations, e.g., the implied “ask” in the sentence Your 
votehere<> will result in eligibility for a 
$500 prize.
  *   Automatic detection of the “provocation” underlying a disinformation 
campaign and the socio-cognitive vulnerabilities of the target population it 
aims to exploit
  *   Natural language generation techniques to enable bot development for 
controlled, goal-directed and yet natural sounding conversations with potential 
adversaries and their followers
  *   Active and passive defense mechanisms used for development of 
conversational bots
  *   Risk and trust models for operating NLP bots with discretion and autonomy 
to engage with an adversary or an adversary’s followers
  *   Persuasion techniques used in dialogue/narrative in social engineering 
contexts and in disinformation campaigns
  *   Identification of attitudes that adversaries attempt to induce in targets 
for compliance
  *   Techniques to induce attitudes in the adversaries or their followers, 
through a range of different counter measures
  *   Social impact of disinformation campaigns, social engineering attacks, 
persuasion techniques, etc. using language and communication strategies
  *   Evaluation of the impact of different types of social engineering attacks 
and disinformation campaigns

Both long (8pp) and short (4pp) papers  are invited in all areas outlined in 
the Topics of interest as well as any related areas. A specific focus of STOC 
2020 workshop is research on gleaning actions and intentions of adversaries in 
social engineering attacks from the adversaries’ language use as well as the 
content of communication with their targets.

All submissions are expected to describe original research. Long papers will 
preferably describe substantial and completed work, while short papers may 
present negative results, interesting application nuggets, a software package, 
or a small but focused contribution. There is no page limit for references. All 
submissions must follow the LREC Stylesheet which can be found here: 
 The papers will be submitted electronically in PDF format through the START 
conference manager page. All papers will be reviewed by three Program Committee 

When submitting a paper from the START page, authors will be asked to provide 
essential information about resources (in a broad sense, i.e. also 
technologies, standards, evaluation kits, etc.) that have been used for the 
work described in the paper or are a new result of your research. Moreover, 
ELRA encourages all LREC authors to share the described LRs (data, tools, 
services, etc.) to enable their reuse and replicability of experiments 
(including evaluation ones). See below for more information.

Ethics statement: As research/technology is developed to counter social 
threats/engineering, there are also potential malicious uses of the outcomes. 
Submissions to the workshop must include a brief statement about “ethical 
considerations” that addresses the potential for malicious use of the 
technology or other possible negative impacts and how these are mitigated.

LRE map: Describing your LRs in the LRE Map is now a normal practice in the 
submission procedure of LREC (introduced in 2010 and adopted by other 
conferences). To continue the efforts initiated at LREC 2014 about “Sharing 
LRs” (data, tools, web-services, etc.), authors will have the possibility,  
when submitting a paper, to upload LRs in a special LREC repository.  This 
effort of sharing LRs, linked to the LRE Map for their description, may become 
a new “regular” feature for conferences in our field, thus contributing to 
creating a common repository where everyone can deposit and share data.

ISLRN: As scientific work requires accurate citations of referenced work so as 
to allow the community to understand the whole context and also replicate the 
experiments conducted by other researchers, LREC 2020 endorses the need to 
uniquely Identify LRs through the use of the International Standard Language 
Resource Number (ISLRN,<>), a Persistent 
Unique Identifier to be assigned to each Language Resource. The assignment of 
ISLRNs to LRs cited in LREC papers  will be offered at submission time.

• Paper submission deadline: February 14, 2020
• Notification of acceptance: March 13, 2020
• Early-bird registration for the main conference and workshops: TBA
• Camera-ready papers: April 2, 2020
• STOC Workshop: May 11, 2020

• Rosanna E. Guadagno, Director, Info Warfare WG at Center for International 
Security, Stanford
• Ian Harris, Professor of Computer Science, University of California Irvine

• Archna Bhatia (IHMC) <<>>
• Adam Dalton (IHMC & University of Florida) 
• Bonnie Dorr (IHMC) <<>>
• Samira Shaikh (UNCC) <<>>
• Tomek Strzalkowski (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) 

• Ehab Al-Shaer (UNCC)
• Genevieve Bartlett (USC-ISI)
• Emily Bender (U Washington)
• Larry Bunch (IHMC)
• Esteban Castillo (SUNY Albany)
• Dave DeAngelis (USC-ISI)
• Mona Diab (GWU/Google)
• Sreekar Dhaduvai (SUNY Albany)
• Min Du (UC Berkeley)
• Maxine Eskenazi (CMU)
• William Ferguson (Raytheon)
• Mark Finlayson (FIU)
• Marjorie Freedman (USC-ISI)
• Bryanna Hebenstreit (SUNY Albany)
• Christopher Hidey (Columbia)
• Scott Langevin (Uncharted)
• Christian Lebiere (CMU)
• Kristina Lerman (USC/ISI)
• Fei Liu (UCF)
• Amir Masoumzadeh (SUNY Albany)
• Kathleen McKeown (Columbia)
• Alex Memory (Leidos)
• Chris Miller (SIFT)
• Mark Orr (University of Virginia)
• Ian Perera (IHMC)
• Alan Ritter (OSU)
• Emily Grace Saldanha (PNNL)
• Sashank Santhanam (UNCC)
• Sonja Schmer-Galunder (SIFT)
• Svitlana Volkova (PNNL)
• Ning Yu (Leidos)
• Zhou (Joy) Yu (UC Davis)
• Alan Zemal (SUNY Albany)

Organizing Committee at<>

Archna Bhatia, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Institute for Human & Machine Cognition
15 SE Osceola Ave, Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 387-3061

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