Mining email social networks

TitleMining email social networks
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBird, C, Gourley, A, Devanbu, P, Gertz, M, Swaminathan, A
Secondary TitleProceedings of the 2006 international workshop on Mining software repositories
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number1-59593-397-2
Keywordscommunication, contributions, developers, email, email archives, mailing lists, open source, social networks

Communication & Co-ordination activities are central to large software projects, but are difficult to observe and study in traditional (closed-source, commercial) settings because of the prevalence of informal, direct communication modes. OSS projects, on the other hand, use the internet as the communication medium,and typically conduct discussions in an open, public manner. As a result, the email archives of OSS projects provide a useful trace of the communication and co-ordination activities of the participants. However, there are various challenges that must be addressed before this data can be effectively mined. Once this is done, we can construct social networks of email correspondents, and begin to address some interesting questions. These include questions relating to participation in the email; the social status of different types of OSS participants; the relationship of email activity and commit activity (in the CVS repositories) and the relationship of social status with commit activity. In this paper, we begin with a discussion of our infrastructure (including a novel use of Scientific Workflow software) and then discuss our approach to mining the email archives; and finally we present some preliminary results from our data analysis.

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