Why do newcomers abandon open source software projects?

Igor Steinmacher, Igor Wiese, Ana Paula Chaves, Marco Aurelio Gerosa

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

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Open source software projects, are based on volunteers collaboration and require a continuous influx of newcomers for their continuity. Newcomers face difficulties and obstacles when starting their contributions, resulting in a low retention rate. This paper presents an analysis of the first interactions of newcomers on a project, checking if the dropout may have been influenced by lack of answer, answers politeness and helpfulness, and the answer author. We have collected five years data from the developers' mailing list communication and issue manager (Jira) discussions of the Hadoop Common project. We observed developers' communication, identifying newcomers and classifying questions and answers content. In the analyzed period, less than 20% of newcomers became long-term contributors. There are evidences that the newcomers decision to abandon the project was influenced by the authors of the answers and by the type of answer received. However, the lack of answer was not evidenced as a factor that influences newcomers' decision to remain or abandon the project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 6th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering, CHASE 2013 - Proceedings
Pages25-32
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event2013 6th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering, CHASE 2013 - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: May 25 2013May 25 2013

Publication series

Name2013 6th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering, CHASE 2013 - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2013 6th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering, CHASE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
Period5/25/135/25/13

Keywords

  • collaboration
  • communication
  • Newcomer
  • open source software
  • retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

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