Understanding "Watchers" on GitHub

TitleUnderstanding "Watchers" on GitHub
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSheoran, J, Blincoe, K, Kalliamvakou, E, Damian, D, Ell, J
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.

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