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  1. The class-imbalance issue is intrinsic to many real-world machine learning tasks, particularly to the rare-event classification problems. Although the impact and treatment of imbalanced data is widely known, the magnitude of a metric’s sensitivity to class imbalance has attracted little attention. As a result, often the sensitive metrics are dismissed while their sensitivity may only be marginal. In this paper, we introduce an intuitive evaluation framework that quantifies metrics’ sensitivity to the class imbalance. Moreover, we reveal an interesting fact that there is a logarithmic behavior in metrics’ sensitivity meaning that the higher imbalance ratios are associated with the lower sensitivity of metrics. Our framework builds an intuitive understanding of the class-imbalance impact on metrics. We believe this can help avoid many common mistakes, specially the less-emphasized and incorrect assumption that all metrics’ quantities are comparable under different class-imbalance ratios. 
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  2. Abstract We present a case study of solar flare forecasting by means of metadata feature time series, by treating it as a prominent class-imbalance and temporally coherent problem. Taking full advantage of pre-flare time series in solar active regions is made possible via the Space Weather Analytics for Solar Flares (SWAN-SF) benchmark data set, a partitioned collection of multivariate time series of active region properties comprising 4075 regions and spanning over 9 yr of the Solar Dynamics Observatory period of operations. We showcase the general concept of temporal coherence triggered by the demand of continuity in time series forecasting and show that lack of proper understanding of this effect may spuriously enhance models’ performance. We further address another well-known challenge in rare-event prediction, namely, the class-imbalance issue. The SWAN-SF is an appropriate data set for this, with a 60:1 imbalance ratio for GOES M- and X-class flares and an 800:1 imbalance ratio for X-class flares against flare-quiet instances. We revisit the main remedies for these challenges and present several experiments to illustrate the exact impact that each of these remedies may have on performance. Moreover, we acknowledge that some basic data manipulation tasks such as data normalization and cross validation may also impact the performance; we discuss these problems as well. In this framework we also review the primary advantages and disadvantages of using true skill statistic and Heidke skill score, two widely used performance verification metrics for the flare-forecasting task. In conclusion, we show and advocate for the benefits of time series versus point-in-time forecasting, provided that the above challenges are measurably and quantitatively addressed. 
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