Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors

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  • 1. Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors LinuxTag 2007 Berlin, Track „Building and Management of Communities“ June 1st 2007, Matthias Stuermer, ETH Zürich & /ch/open, mstuermer@ethz.ch
  • 2. Content 1. Different Perspectives on Community Building 2. About Economics, Motivation and Crowding-Out 3. Incentive Systems in Open Source Communities 4. Debian/dunc-tank and Google Summer of Code 5. Conclusions 2 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 3. Content 1. Different Perspectives on Community Building 2. About Economics, Motivation and Crowding-Out 3. Incentive Systems in Open Source Communities 4. Debian/dunc-tank and Google Summer of Code 5. Conclusions 3 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 4. Macro and Micro Perspective on Communities  Macro Best practices of successful OSS projects  Some hints based on anecdotal evidence   Micro Interaction between actors: social behavior  Human behavior: Crowding-out of intrinsic motivation  4 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 5. Best Practices of Successful OSS Projects  Modular structure of the code  Documentation for different stakeholders  Controlled release management  Efficient collaboration platform  Regular physical meetings  Real-world organization such as a foundation 5 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 6. Some hints based on anecdotal evidence  Structure follows problems → re-act, not pro-act  Openness for newcomers, new ideas, new leaders  Do provide incentives for writing documentation → More about OSS leadership and preconditions for new OSS projects: Stuermer, 2005 6 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 7. Content 1. Different Perspectives on Community Building 2. About Economics, Motivation and Crowding-Out 3. Incentive Systems in Open Source Communities 4. Debian/dunc-tank and Google Summer of Code 5. Conclusions 7 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 8. Standard Economic Model ⊕ supply curve Working Effort ⊕ Extrinsic Incentive Source: Frey & Jegen 2001 8 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 9. Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation  Intrinsic Motivation (from within the person) Enjoyment-based  Obligation-based   Extrinsic Motivation (underlying preferences) Non-monetary: reputation, career options...  Monetary: employment, rewards, sponsoring...  9 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 10. Importance of Intrinsic Motivation  Basis for uncompensated voluntary work → foundation of OSS contributions  When results cannot be observed and attributed (complex tasks)  Necessary in all knowledge-intensive tasks  Relevant for team work Source: Weibel et al. 2007 10 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 11. Crowding-out effect: Experiment 1 of Gneezy & Rusticini (2000)  Voluntary collection: 180 pupils divided in 3 groups 1: Motivation speech and no reward  2: Motivation speech and 1% of collected sum  3: Motivation speech and 10% of collected sum   Who collected the most money? Group 1: Highest intrinsic motivation   Who collected the least money? Groups 2: Crowding-out of intrinsic motivation   Conclusion: “Pay Enough or Don't Pay at all“ 11 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 12. Crowding-Out with a Negative Net Effect ⊕ supply curve new supply curve Working Effort crowding-out effect shifts supply curve, e.g. because of introduction of money ⊕ Extrinsic Incentive Source: Frey & Jegen 2001 12 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 13. Experiment 2 of Gneezy & Rusticini (2000)  Parents come late to pick up their child from day-care  Deterrence theory: Penalty reduces bad behavior  Results from introducing fine for coming late: Parents arrive even later!  After withdrawing fine, parents still come later   Conclusions from experiment: Incomplete contracts become preciser with fine  New perception of the situation: “A fine is a price”  Outcome of intervention depends on initial perception  13 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 14. Crowding-in and -out of Intrinsic Motivation  External intervention has two opposite effects: Price effect  Crowding-out effect   Big question: Which effect is stronger? → Determines if net effect of intervention is positive or negative 14 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 15. Combining Standard Economic Model and Crowding-Out Effect of Intrinsic Motivation Effort standard economic model fails to  standard economic model predicts  predict correctly correctly proportion of intrinsic motivation Incentive non­observable crowding­out effect observable behaviour (total effect) non­observable price effect Source: Weibel et al. 2007 15 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 16. Effects of Motivational Incentives on Effort Decision Making Self-Determination ⊕ (Perceived Internal Control) Goal Setting ⊕ Self-Esteem ⊕ Constructive Feedback (Appreciation of Involvement) ⊖  motivational crowding-out ⊖ Intrinsic Motivation Performance- Contingent Rewards ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ Extrinsic Motivation Work Effort Source: Weibel et al. 2007; Frey and Jegen, 2000 16 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 17. Content 1. Different Perspectives on Community Building 2. About Economics, Motivation and Crowding-Out 3. Incentive Systems in Open Source Communities 4. Debian/dunc-tank and Google Summer of Code 5. Conclusions 17 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 18. The Motivation Mix of OSS Contributors  Intrinsic motivation Fun, curiosity  Ideology („Software must be free.“)  Responsibility, commitment (maintainer's fate)   Extrinsic motivation Reputation  Career options (learning effect, student projects)  Employment, contracts, own business  → How much are we really intrinsically motivated? 18 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 19. Unattractive Tasks in Open Source Projects  What gets done? → Itches of developers  Unattractive tasks 1: Usability High quality documentation for different target groups  GUI design  End user features   Unattractive tasks 2: Quality Code review  Bug fixing  → Tasks of „The Last Mile“ are often neglected. 19 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 20. Why introducing incentive system? 1. Gaps of contributions: Solve unattractive tasks 2. Motivate new people getting into the community 3. 'Weed-out' old, inactive people → Who should be attracted with incentive system? Long-term vs. short-term contributors 20 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 21. Examples of Extrinsic Incentives in OSS  Monetary Employment of contributors  Bounty system  Sponsoring of projects  How does it affect Awards, competitions  self-determination?  Near-Monetary (performance- Flight and hotel for conference  contingent or fixed)  Non-Monetary Acknowledgments  Credit point system  Activity ranking  21 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 22. Controlling Effect of Extrinsic Incentives Theory predicts crowding-out ⊕ → Performance-contingency Perceived external control Credit point system Contingent-Reward Bounty system Employment Activity ranking Sponsoring Flight and hotel for conference Awards Fixed-Salary Employment Acknowledgments ⊕ „Extrinsicy“ 22 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 23. Content 1. Different Perspectives on Community Building 2. About Economics, Motivation and Crowding-Out 3. Incentive Systems in Open Source Communities 4. Debian/dunc-tank and Google Summer of Code 5. Conclusions 23 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 24. Unhappy example: Debian/dunc-tank  Disclaimer: Highly controversial topic in Debian community Google “Debian dunc tank”: ≈ 10'100 entries... (and much more 'private')  About Debian/dunc-tank Paying 2 release managers to get out Debian 4.0 on time (Dec 4th)  Started Sept 2006, goal of Dec 4th not reached because of...?   Preliminary conclusions Impossible to measure crowding-out of intrinsic motivation  Envy because of selection process → Why not silently employed?  Payment from Debian itself vs. from external entity  Don't experiment with money – or at least don't declare it as this!  Employment issues depend on community characteristics  24 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 25. Successful example: Google Summer of Code  About GSoC 2007: Accepted 905 students for 136 OSS projects   Projects sign up, students apply for tasks, mentor supervises  Student receive 4500$ on completion, mentoring orgs 500$  Preliminary conclusions Highly successful: Everybody seems happy, just little chaotic...  Positive because of funding new community entrants  Participating in GSoC becomes level of 'certification'  Focus only on code, documentation is secondary  Implementation of new code in projects?  25 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 26. Other Influences on Success of Extrinsic Incentive Systems in OSS communities  Group effects Crowding-out occurs only on individual level  Envy between contributors → fair/unfair intervention  Literature on group dynamics → no data in OSS so far   Community characteristics Target group of software  Project age and activity level  Software complexity, programming language, OS  Working situation of contributors (paid vs. voluntary)  Dominant ideology (Free Software vs. OSS)  26 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 27. Content 1. Different Perspectives on Community Building 2. About Economics, Motivation and Crowding-Out 3. Incentive Systems in Open Source Communities 4. Debian/dunc-tank and Google Summer of Code 5. Conclusions 27 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 28. Conclusions  What intervention is definitively positive? → Moral call „Make them feel the pain“ (Kasper Skårhøj, TYPO3)   Increase identification to elevate importance of certain tasks  No penalties  New insights and future research Differentiation between personal motivation (=not knowing  what others do or receive) and social behavior (fair/unfair)  Extrinsic incentives in OSS sometimes positive, sometimes negative → perception of participants is relevant  Economists often oversimplify, empirical tests are necessary  No empirical studies in OSS environments so far 28 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 29. Discussion, Acknowledgments  What are your experiences in this area?  To OSS project leads: Interested in collaboration on research about crowding-out?  Thanks to Kasper Skårhøj  /ch/open - www.ch-open.ch  LinuxTag  Matthias Stuermer, mstuermer@ethz.ch 29 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors
  • 30. References  Frey, B. S. & Jegen, R. (2001). 'Motivation Crowding Theory', Journal of Economic Surveys, 15, 589-611.  Gneezy, U. & Rustichini, A. (2000a). 'Pay Enough Or Don't Pay At All', The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115, 791-810.  Gneezy, U. & Rustichini, A. (2000b) 'A fine is a price', Journal of Legal Studies, 29, 1-18.  Stuermer, M. (2005). 'Open Source Community Building', master thesis, University of Bern, http://opensource.mit.edu/papers/sturmer.pdf  von Krogh, G.; Spaeth, S. & Lakhani, K. R. (2003). 'Community, Joining, And Specialization In Open Source Software Innovation: A Case Study', Research Policy, 32, 1217-1241.  Weibel, A., Rost, K. & Osterloh, M. (2007). 'Crowding-Out Of Intrinsic Motivation – Opening The Black Box', Working Paper, University of Zurich. 30 June 1st 2007 Crowding Effects: How Money Influences Open Source Projects and its Contributors