Abstract: We study the task of toxic spans detection, which concerns the detection of the spans that make a text toxic, when detecting such spans is possible. We introduce a dataset for this task, ToxicSpans, which we release publicly. By experimenting with several methods, we show that sequence labeling models perform best, but methods that add generic rationale extraction mechanisms on top of classifiers trained to predict if a post is toxic or not are also surprisingly promising. Finally, we use ToxicSpans and systems trained on it, to provide further analysis of state-of-the-art toxic to non-toxic transfer systems, as well as human performance on that latter task. Our work highlights challenges in finer toxicity detection and mitigation.