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Social media in GitHub: the role of @-mention in assisting software development

Abstract

Recently, many researches propose that social media tools can promote the collaboration among developers, which are beneficial to the software development. Nevertheless, there is little empirical evidence to confirm that using @-mention has indeed a beneficial impact on the issues in GitHub. In order to begin investigating such claim, we examine data from two large and successful projects hosted on GitHub, the Ruby on Rails and the AngularJS. By using qualitative and quantitative analysis, we give an in-depth understanding on how @-mention is used in the issues and the role of @-mention in assisting software development. Our statistical results indicate that, @-mention attracts more participants and tends to be used in the difficult issues. @-mention favors the solving process of issues by enlarging the visibility of issues and facilitating the developers’ collaboration. Our study also build an @-network based on the @-mention database we extracted. Through the @-network, we investigate its evolution over time and prove that we certainly have the potential to mine the relationships and characteristics of developers by exploiting the knowledge from the @-network.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61432020, 61472430, 61502512) and Postgraduate Innovation Fund (Grant No. CX2015B028).

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Correspondence to Yang Zhang.

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Zhang, Y., Wang, H., Yin, G. et al. Social media in GitHub: the role of @-mention in assisting software development. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 60, 032102 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-015-1024-6

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Keywords

  • issues
  • social media
  • @-mention
  • GitHub
  • software development
  • 032102