Issue Dynamics in Github Projects
Issue repositories are used to keep of track of bugs, development tasks and feature requests in software development projects. In the case of open source projects, everyone can submit a new issue in the tracker. This practice can lead to situations where more issues are created than what can be effectively handled by the project members, raising the question of how issues are treated as the capacity of the project members is exceeded. In this paper, we study the temporal dynamics of issues in a popular open source development platform, namely Github, based on a sample of 4000 projects. We specifically analyze how the rate of issue creation, the amount of pending issues, and their average lifetime evolve over the course of time. The results show that more issues are opened shortly after the creation of a project repository and that the amount of pending issues increases inexorably due to forgotten (unclosed) issues. Yet, the average issue lifetime (for issues that do get closed) is relatively stable over time. These observations suggest that Github projects have implicit mechanisms for handling issues perceived to be important to the project, while neglecting those that exceed the project’s capacity.
This research was supported by the Estonian Research Council and by ERDF via the Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre - STACC.
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