Investigating developers' email discussions during decision-making in Python language evolution

Pankajeshwara Sharma, Bastin Tony Roy Savarimuthu, Nigel Stanger, Sherlock A. Licorish, Austen Rainer

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

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: Open Source Software (OSS) developers use mailing lists as their main forum for discussing the evolution of a project. However, the use of mailing lists by developers for decision-making has not received much research attention. Objective: We have explored this issue by studying developers' email discussions around Python Enhancement Proposals (PEPs). Method: Our dataset comprised 42,672 emails from six different mailing lists pertaining to PEP development. We performed multiple forms of analysis on these emails, involving both quantitative measures (e.g., frequency) and deeper analysis of specific PEP discussions (i.e., outlier analysis). Results: Out of three PEP types (Informational, Process and Standard Track), Standard Track PEPs attract a large amount of discussion (both in volume and average number of messages per proposal). Our study also identified specific PEP states and topics that generated a disproportionate amount of discussion. Conclusion: Our outcomes point to several opportunities for improving the management of an OSS team based on the knowledge generated from discussions. We have also identified several interesting avenues for future work such as identifying individuals or groups that present persuasive arguments during decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, EASE 2017
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages286-291
Number of pages6
VolumePart F128635
ISBN (Electronic)9781450348041
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event21st International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, EASE 2017 - Karlskrona, Sweden
Duration: 15 Jun 201716 Jun 2017

Conference

Conference21st International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, EASE 2017
CountrySweden
CityKarlskrona
Period15/06/201716/06/2017

Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • Email discussions
  • Python development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software

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