Understanding "Watchers" on GitHub

TitleUnderstanding "Watchers" on GitHub
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSheoran, Jyoti, Blincoe Kelly, Kalliamvakou Eirini, Damian Daniela, and Ell Jordan
Secondary TitleProceedings of the 11th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-2863-0
Keywordsgithub, mining challenge, msr challenge, repositories, Software Teams, Watchers

Users on GitHub can watch repositories to receive notifications about project activity. This introduces a new type of passive project membership. In this paper, we investigate the behavior of watchers and their contribution to the projects they watch. We find that a subset of project watchers begin contributing to the project and those contributors account for a significant percentage of contributors on the project. As contributors, watchers are more confident and contribute over a longer period of time in a more varied way than other contributors. This is likely attributable to the knowledge gained through project notifications.