Communication in Open Source Software Development Mailing Lists

TitleCommunication in Open Source Software Development Mailing Lists
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGuzzi, A, Bacchelli, A, Lanza, M, Pinzger, M, van Deursen, A
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Secondary Title10th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories
Date Published05/2013
Keywordsemail, lucene, mailling list

Open source software (OSS) development teams use
electronic means, such as emails, instant messaging, or forums,
to conduct open and public discussions. Researchers investigated
mailing lists considering them as a hub for project communication. Prior work focused on specific aspects of emails, for example
the handling of patches, traceability concerns, or social networks.
This led to insights pertaining to the investigated aspects, but not
to a comprehensive view of what developers communicate about.
Our objective is to increase the understanding of development
mailing lists communication.
We quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed a sample of 506
email threads from the development mailing list of a major OSS
project, Lucene. Our investigation reveals that implementation
details are discussed only in about 35% of the threads, and that
a range of other topics is discussed. Moreover, core developers
participate in less than 75% of the threads. We observed that the
development mailing list is not the main player in OSS project
communication, as it also includes other channels such as the
issue repository.


"The entire dataset used in the experiment, including the cards, the resolved aliases, and detailed statistical results, can be downloaded from ..."

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