Listwise Explanations for Ranking Models Using Multiple Explainers

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This paper proposes a novel approach towards better interpretability of a trained text-based ranking model in a post-hoc manner. A popular approach for post-hoc interpretability text ranking models are based on locally approximating the model behavior using a simple ranker. Since rankings have multiple relevance factors and are aggregations of predictions, existing approaches that use a single ranker might not be sufficient to approximate a complex model, resulting in low fidelity. In this paper, we overcome this problem by considering multiple simple rankers to better approximate the entire ranking list from a black-box ranking model. We pose the problem of local approximation as a Generalized Preference Coverage (GPC) problem that incorporates multiple simple rankers towards the listwise explanation of ranking models. Our method Multiplex uses a linear programming approach to judiciously extract the explanation terms, so that to explain the entire ranking list. We conduct extensive experiments on a variety of ranking models and report fidelity improvements of 37%–54% over existing competitors. We finally compare explanations in terms of multiple relevance factors and topic aspects to better understand the logic of ranking decisions, showcasing our explainers’ practical utility.