Compass Weekly Review: Week of March 20, 2015

As y’all very well know, we recently announced the launch of our newest solution, Compass, the future of enterprise listening. Since that time, our own Denise Christie, who is Luminoso’s in-house Insights Consultant, has been giving the solution a good run for its money. Denise has been beating Compass up and learning how to get the most out of it by following prominent events.

On a regular basis, we plan to provide you with an update on those events and show you what Compass has been picking up. We hope that it gives you a good idea as to how you can derive real-time insight about your company, your brand, your competitors, trends…anything that’s being discussed on social media, really!

What we saw this week

March Madness: We’ve been diligently following the chatter around the NCAA’s March Madness. Without any games going on last week, this topic was pretty quiet. The only major ongoing conversation revolved around UCLA playing Gonzaga last Friday. (Unfortunately, Gonzaga was knocked out last night by Duke. (Full disclosure: the editor of this post is a proud Duke graduate! – Final Four!!))

Ted Cruz: When Ted Cruz announced that he would be running for president, we decided to check out what Twitter had to say. Some of the topics of conversation included:

  • Comments about the fact that Ted Cruz was born in Canada but has been cleared to run for President. Many tweets pointed out that (to use an example) “7 years in, and Obama has not been vetted yet. Cruz got it over with in 3 days.”
  • The controversy about Cruz signing up for Obamacare. There were 3 main threads in this conversation:
    • Comments about the hypocrisy of Cruz signing up for a bill he has said he does not support (these people tend to be critical of Cruz)
    • Rebuttals that Obamacare is law, and so Cruz didn’t have a choice (these people tend to be supportive of Cruz and critical of Obamacare)
    • Statements that Cruz, along with at least one other Congressperson, is offered health care through Congress and turned it down in order to sign up with the ACA as a political statement. These commenters tend to be journalist and news organizations.
  • Reactions, both supportive and critical, to a statement by Cruz that “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-earthers.”

If you are interested in learning more about how Compass can benefit your organization by following social media conversations in real-time, or if you have any other questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Until next week!

Luminoso Software Update

We’ve had a few more weeks fly by, and continue to make incredible improvements to our solutions. Take a look at what we’ve been working on here, including:

  • Project filtering by account (Compass)
  • Subset limit raised to 10,000 (Analytics Platform)
  • SEM field removed from vector statistics (API)

As always, please feel free to reach out to us at if you have any questions or feedback.

Luminoso Software Updates

What a time we’ve been having over the last few weeks! Aside from the public launch of our newest solution, Compass, our development team continued to plow forward and improve on everything we offer. Check out what our team has been working on here, including:

  • Project “branch” creation (API)
  • Project name duplication fix (API)
  • Japanese one-character fix (Compass)

As always, please feel free to reach us at if you have any questions or comments!

Natural language can be such an ass headache

It was exciting to see Luminoso’s new product for streaming text analytics, Compass, get an article in Wired. Skimming past the picture of Catherine and me looking ridiculous at SXSW long ago, there’s an image of our “concept cloud” visualizer looking at what people say on Twitter when they’re sick:

Luminoso's concept cloud, showing words, phrases, and emoji people use when they're feeling sick.

Wait a minute. Zoom in. Enhance.

The text "ass headache" appears in the word cloud, near "biggest headache" and "got the worst headache".

The article includes a screenshot that includes a natural-language glitch that’s already caused a lot of amusement around the office.

Here’s what’s going on. One important thing that Luminoso does is to identify relevant phrases that contain more information than the sum of their parts. When looking at text from people who are feeling sick, the phrase “throat hurts so bad” is much more informative than the words “throat”, “hurts”, “so”, and “bad” in isolation.

Usually, these informative phrases end up being reasonable phrases of natural language, or at least close enough (“headache is killing” is missing the object, but we all get the idea).

One case where this missed slightly is the phrase “ass headache”. This is not an affliction that people would usually complain of. And yet it looks entirely reasonable to the computer, given the source data, which contains many phrases such as:

  • “I got this crazy ass headache”
  • “I have a biggg ass headache”
  • “I gotta mean ass headache bruh”

Statistically, it looks like an “ass headache” is a thing you can have. You can have a crazy one, or a mean one, or simply a biggg one, but lots of people have one.

Because we’re actual speakers of the language, as opposed to computers stumbling through it to the best of their ability, we know how these phrases should really be interpreted. We understand that the word “ass”, for whatever reason, can be a modifier for the adjective before it. (That doesn’t stop us from humorously reinterpreting it as a modifier for the noun after it, as an early XKCD comic encourages us to, which is essentially what Luminoso’s analytics did!)

XKCD #37, by Randall Munroe.

XKCD #37, by Randall Munroe.

Phrases that come up in our everyday conversation can contain surprising grammatical quirks. And that’s why natural language is such an ass headache.

Luminoso Software Updates

Hey y’all, another few weeks, much more work from our development team, and many more improvements to our solutions!

Take a look here for the most recent updates, including:

  • Language support in…wait for it…RUSSIAN!
  • Improvements to negation handling
  • New doc_fields parameters to request documents in API

Please feel free, as always, to reach out to us with any questions, comments or feedback. The best way to do that is to send us an e-mail at

Edelman v. Sichuan Garden & Yelp Reviews!

Our own Alice Kaanta, an analytics engineer at Luminoso, provides an interesting take on the high profile social media eruption of Edelman v. Sichuan Garden.


In recent news, Ben Edelman, an HBS professor, made a fully-loaded verbal assault against Woburn-based restaurant Sichuan Garden over a $4.00 discrepancy in his check.

You might have observed the blowback across social media as this story went viral, largely in defense of the Sichuan Garden, though defenders of Edelman’s argument exist. Since no one has time to read all of the commentary strewn across social media, we decided to analyze some of the surrounding feedback using Luminoso.

People have taken to Yelp to defend/decry Sichuan Garden, so we’ve loaded 204 of Sichuan Garden’s reviews into our solution.

Sichuan Garden - All reviews (1)

All Reviews
Color Representation: Positive Sentiment Negative Sentiment Sichuan Garden Edelman, Harvard Food Service)


It seems that most of the reviews about Sichuan Garden are about the food and the authenticity of the restaurant. However, “Edelman”, “Ben Edelman”, and “Harvard” are a definite presence.

Sichuan Garden - Five Star Edelman (1)

All Five-Star Reviews (Color Representation: Very related to “Edelman” Moderately related to “Edelman” Slightly related to “Edelman” Not related to “Edelman”)


We found that people who discussed “Edelman” also gave the restaurant five stars. What they had to say about Professor Edelman was not flattering, as the top term related to “Edelman” was “bully”.

Sichuan Garden - Recommended Reviews (1)

Recommended Reviews
(Color Representation: Positive Sentiment Negative Sentiment Sichuan Garden Edelman, Harvard Food Service)

Sichuan Garden - Not Recommended (1)

Not Recommended Reviews
(Color Representation: Positive Sentiment Negative Sentiment Sichuan Garden Edelman, Harvard Food Service)


If you’re familiar with Yelp, you might have noticed that some reviews are quietly hidden, having been sent into the “not recommended” reviews section. According to Yelp’s FAQ, this might be because, “… the review might have been posted by a less established user, or it may seem like an unhelpful rant or rave.”  “Not recommended” reviews do not contribute to a restaurant’s star rating, nor are the reviews easily viewable.

We found that all of the reviews mentioning “Edelman” appear to have been marked “not recommended”, which suggests that Yelp understandably does not wish to host a flame war.  It also suggests that well-meaning Sichuan Garden supporters aren’t actually contributing to the restaurant’s star rating or visible positive reviews…

Sichuan Garden - Graph (1)

…that is, unless they are avoiding the Edelman commentary entirely, and sticking to talking about the food.