Knowledge Curation in a Developer Community: A Study of Stack Overflow and Mailing Lists

Date

2016-01-05

Authors

Gomez Teshima, Carlos Arturo

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Abstract

Media channels play an important role in the flow, construction, and curation of knowledge in software development. Understanding how developers use media channels is key to improving developer practices and supporting channel evolution. In this thesis, I investigate the way developers use media channels to curate knowledge within the R software development community. By applying a case study methodology consisting of mining archival data and survey methods, I investigate the R community on Stack Overflow and the R-help mailing list, using a qualitative approach. The findings reveal that Stack Overflow and mailing lists foster knowledge co-construction differently---crowd-sourced and participatory respectively. Furthermore, developers use actively both channels to optimize knowledge exchange and curation. My thesis contributes to the understanding of knowledge curation by developer communities, and describes a model for a systematic comparison of two or more media channels, within a community of practice. This model allows knowledge categorization and can be used in future studies to explore knowledge flow within multiple media channels. Moreover, based on my observations in conjunction with the survey data analysis, I extracted a set of recommendations to assist practitioners in the use of multiple Question and Answer (Q&A) channels.

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Keywords

Media channel, Stack Overflow, Mailing list, Curation, Data Mining, Case Study

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