Towards Understanding User Participation in Stack Overflow Using Profile Data

  • Ifeoma AdajiEmail author
  • Julita Vassileva
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10047)


When designing a Q&A social network, it is essential to know what profile elements are necessary to build a complete profile for a user. Using data from Stack Overflow, we examined the profile data of users in order to determine the relationship between a complete profile (one that has values for each profile element: website URL, location, about me, profile image and age) and their contribution to the network in terms of reputation scores and quality of question and answer posts. Our analysis shows that most users do not have a complete profile, however the average reputation earned by users with complete profiles is significantly higher than that earned by users with incomplete profiles. In addition, users with complete profiles post higher quality question and answers, hence are more useful to the network. We also determined that, of the five profile elements studied, location and about me have a higher correlation than the others. This research is a step in determining what profile elements are important in a typical Q&A social network and which of these elements should regularly be used together.


User profiles Social network analysis Stack overflow 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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