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.