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Sentiment analysis or opinion mining aims to use automated tools to detect subjective information such as opinions, attitudes, and feelings expressed in text. This paper proposes a novel probabilistic modeling framework called joint sentiment-topic (JST) model based on latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), which detects sentiment and topic simultaneously from text. A reparameterized version of the JST model called Reverse-JST, obtained by reversing the sequence of sentiment and topic generation in the modeling process, is also studied. Although JST is equivalent to Reverse-JST without a hierarchical prior, extensive experiments show that when sentiment priors are added, JST performs consistently better than Reverse-JST. Besides, unlike supervised approaches to sentiment classification which often fail to produce satisfactory performance when shifting to other domains, the weakly supervised nature of JST makes it highly portable to other domains. This is verified by the experimental results on data sets from five different domains where the JST model even outperforms existing semi-supervised approaches in some of the data sets despite using no labeled documents. Moreover, the topics and topic sentiment detected by JST are indeed coherent and informative. We hypothesize that the JST model can readily meet the demand of large-scale sentiment analysis from the web in an open-ended fashion.