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Unmasking and Improving Data Credibility: A Study with Datasets for Training Harmless Language Models

Zhaowei Zhu · Jialu Wang · Hao Cheng · Yang Liu

Halle B #106
[ ] [ Project Page ]
Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Language models have shown promise in various tasks but can be affected by undesired data during training, fine-tuning, or alignment. For example, if some unsafe conversations are wrongly annotated as safe ones, the model fine-tuned on these samples may be harmful. Therefore, the correctness of annotations, i.e., the credibility of the dataset, is important. This study focuses on the credibility of real-world datasets, including the popular benchmarks Jigsaw Civil Comments, Anthropic Harmless & Red Team, PKU BeaverTails & SafeRLHF, that can be used for training a harmless language model. Given the cost and difficulty of cleaning these datasets by humans, we introduce a systematic framework for evaluating the credibility of datasets, identifying label errors, and evaluating the influence of noisy labels in the curated language data, specifically focusing on unsafe comments and conversation classification. With the framework, we find and fix an average of 6.16\% label errors in 11 datasets constructed from the above benchmarks. The data credibility and downstream learning performance can be remarkably improved by directly fixing label errors, indicating the significance of cleaning existing real-world datasets. Code is available at

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