Understanding Stack Overflow

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In this talk we briefly discuss some of our recent studies of Stack Overflow, a popular Q&A site targeting software developers. As opposed to studies of software artefacts discussed at Stack Overflow (e.g., APIs or programming examples), we focus on studying individuals active on Stack Overflow---who are they, what motivates them, and what affects their participation in Stack Overflow discussions.

Our findings indicate that Stack Overflow is no different from other communities of software developers in terms of gender representation but is significantly different from them in terms of gender engagement: controlling for engagement duration women and men ask and answer comparable number of questions, but women disengage faster. We conjecture that faster disengagement of women is the less pretty consequence of gamification mechanisms embedded in Stack Overflow, the same gamification mechanisms that provide developers with faster answers than ever before, attract numerous contributors and ultimately catalyse software development.

As an additional contribution we present genderComputer, a tool inferring gender of an individual based on her/his name and location.

The talk is based on the following papers:
* Gender, representation and online participation: A quantitative study, Vasilescu, B., Capiluppi, A. and Serebrenik, A., Interacting with Computers. 2013, Oxford University Press.
* How social Q&A sites are changing knowledge sharing in open source software communities, Vasilescu, B., Serebrenik, A., Devanbu, P. T. and Filkov, V., In CSCW, 2014, ACM.
* StackOverflow and GitHub: Associations between software development and crowdsourced knowledge, Vasilescu, B., Filkov, V. and Serebrenik, A., In Social Computing, 2013, IEEE.

Published in: Technology, Education
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Understanding Stack Overflow

  1. 1. Understanding Alexander Serebrenik Bogdan Vasilescu
  2. 2. • More active committers ask more on SO • More active askers commit more on GitHub StackOverflow and GitHub: Associations between software development and crowdsourced knowledge, Vasilescu, B., Filkov, V. and Serebrenik, A., In Social Computing, 2013, IEEE.
  3. 3. StackOverflow and GitHub: Associations between software development and crowdsourced knowledge, Vasilescu, B., Filkov, V. and Serebrenik, A., In Social Computing, 2013, IEEE.
  4. 4. • Contributors to both communities (more likely developers than non-developers) are more active than those who focus on just one. How Social Q&A sites are changing knowledge sharing in open source software communities, Vasilescu, B., Serebrenik, A., Devanbu, P.T. and Filkov, V., In CSCW 2014, ACM. help
  5. 5. How Social Q&A sites are changing knowledge sharing in open source software communities, Vasilescu, B., Serebrenik, A., Devanbu, P.T. and Filkov, V., In CSCW 2014, ACM. help
  6. 6. Faster answers & Catalyzes other activities (mails, commits) ?
  7. 7. sample Engage for longer Ask more questions No diff in #answers Women can contribute to SO but choose not to! Gender, representation and online participation: A quantitative study, Vasilescu, B., Capiluppi, A., and Serebrenik, A., Interacting with Computers, 2013, Oxford University Press
  8. 8. sample No significant differences in #questions, #answers, length of engagement Disengagement of women is SO specific!
  9. 9. Faster answers & Catalyzes other activities (mails, commits) Women disengage faster
  10. 10. Faster answers & Catalyzes other activities (mails, commits) Women disengage faster
  11. 11. STOP! How did we know who are the women and who are the men on Stack Overflow?
  12. 12. More details? Ask me!
  13. 13. Understanding
  14. 14. Extra slides
  15. 15. What is your gender? / SET / W&I PAGE 17 30-6-2014
  16. 16. What is your gender? / SET / W&I PAGE 18 30-6-2014
  17. 17. What is your gender? / SET / W&I PAGE 19 30-6-2014
  18. 18. What is your gender? / SET / W&I PAGE 20 30-6-2014 Name + Location = Gender
  19. 19. / SET / W&I PAGE 21 30-6-2014 Lonzo ⇒ Alonzo w35l3y ⇒ wesley Name + Location = Gender
  20. 20. / SET / W&I PAGE 22 30-6-2014 <title>Ben Kamens</title> … <h1>We’re willing to be embarrassed about what we <em>haven’t</em> done…</h1> Heuristics: title + first h1 Ben Kamens We’re willing to be embarrassed about what we haven’t done… <PERSON>Ben Kamens</PERSON> We’re willing to be embarrassed about what we haven’t done… Stanford Named Entity Tagger
  21. 21. Quality of gender resolution: Survey / SET / W&I PAGE 23 30-6-2014 Self- identification As inferred Total M F ? M 60 3 43 106 F 2 5 4 11 Self- identification As inferred Total M F ? M 90 3 13 106 F 2 9 0 11 + avatars, other social media sites (manually)

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