An Empirical Study on Task Documentation in Software Crowdsourcing on TopCoder

Luis Vaz, Igor Steinmacher, Sabrina Marczak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the Software Crowdsourcingcompetitive model, crowd members seek for tasks in a platform and submit their solutions seeking rewards. In this model, the task description is important to support the choice and the execution of a task. Despite its importance, little is known about the role of task description as support for these processes. To fill this gap, this paper presents a study that explores the role of documentation on TopCoder platform, focusing on the task selection and execution. We conducted a two-phased study with professionals that had no prior contact with TopCoder. Based on data collected with questionnaires, diaries, and a retrospective session, we could understand how people choose and perform the tasks, and the role of documentation in the platform. We could find that poorly specified or incomplete tasks lead developers to look for supplementary material or invest more time and effort than initially estimated. To better support the crowd members, we proposed a model on how to structure the documentation that composes the task description in competitive software crowdsourcing. We evaluated the model with another set of professionals, again relying on questionnaires, reports, and a retrospective session. Results showed that although the documentation available covered the elements of the proposed model, the participants had issues to find the necessary information, suggesting the need for a reorganization. Participants agreed that the proposed model would help them understand the task description. Therefore, our study provides a better understanding of the importance of task documentation in software crowdsourcing and points out what information is important to the crowd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2019 ACM/IEEE 14th International Conference on Global Software Engineering, ICGSE 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages48-57
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781538691960
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019
Event14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering, ICGSE 2019 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: May 25 2019May 26 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2019 ACM/IEEE 14th International Conference on Global Software Engineering, ICGSE 2019

Conference

Conference14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering, ICGSE 2019
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityMontreal
Period5/25/195/26/19

Keywords

  • Empirical study
  • Software crowdsourcing
  • Task documentation
  • TopCoder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Software

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