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Fostering open source software communities on the internet by supporting newcomer software developers

Abstract

Free and open source software projects have been leveraging the growth of various sectors of society and the Internet. Many projects are maintained or receive contributions of globally distributed volunteers. However, during the onboarding period, newcomer developers may be susceptible to several barriers such as expectation breakdowns, reception problems, setup misconfiguration, and learning curve, and many newcomers end up giving up. Previous studies investigated aspects of the joining process and motivation in open collaboration communities, but very few have focused on identifying and understanding the critical barriers newcomers face when placing their first contribution, a period that frequently leads to dropout. This is important for Open Source Software (OSS) projects, which receive contributions from many one-time contributors. In this project, we propose the evolution and expansion of our previous research, which addressed the issue of newcomers onboarding to open software software projects. In this sense, we set as objectives of this project: (1) to understand the casual contributors phenomenon, as well as as the benefits and problems behind it; (2) to investigate the long term effects of offering money to new developers to start contributing to an open source project in programs such as Google Summer of Code; (3) to understand newcomers' motivations and the barriers they face when making their first contribution to an OSS project; and (4) to automate the identification, extraction, and generation of information that is relevant to newcomers to OSS projects in order to feed and update a web portal to support newcomers (FLOSScoach). We expect to contribute to the area by providing an in-deep understanding of the newcomers motivations and joining process, including the role of short-term financial incentives and the casual-contributors phenomenon. Our contributions also include the development and evaluation of documentation summarization techniques to support open source project newcomers. The proposed techniques and tools will lower the barriers for newcomers when attempting to make their first contribution to an open source project, it will make it more likely that newcomers will remain active contributors, and it will ultimately lead to open source projects being more accessible to individuals from outside the projects. The work will also inform academia and industry about what knowledge newcomers in open source projects need. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SILVA, JEFFERSON O.; WIESE, IGOR; GERMAN, DANIEL M.; TREUDE, CHRISTOPH; GEROSA, MARCO A.; STEINMACHER, IGOR. Google summer of code: Student motivations and contributions. JOURNAL OF SYSTEMS AND SOFTWARE, v. 162, APR 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
STEINMACHER, IGOR; GEROSA, MARCO; CONTE, TAYANA U.; REDMILES, DAVID F. Overcoming Social Barriers When Contributing to Open Source Software Projects. COMPUTER SUPPORTED COOPERATIVE WORK-THE JOURNAL OF COLLABORATIVE COMPUTING, v. 28, n. 1-2, p. 247-290, APR 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
BALALI, SOGOL; STEINMACHER, IGOR; ANNAMALAI, UMAYAL; SARMA, ANITA; GEROSA, MARCO AURELIO. Newcomers' Barriers. . . Is That All? An Analysis of Mentors' and Newcomers' Barriers in OSS Projects. COMPUTER SUPPORTED COOPERATIVE WORK-THE JOURNAL OF COLLABORATIVE COMPUTING, v. 27, n. 3-6, SI, p. 679-714, DEC 2018. Web of Science Citations: 2.

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