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13 November 2012, 12:34

Newcomer experience survey for open source communities

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In a guest post on Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli's blog, Kevin Carillo, a PhD student from the Victoria University of Wellington, is calling for participants for a survey that seeks to collect data on the experiences of newcomers joining open source communities. Carillo says he is "interested in hearing from people who are either technical or non-technical contributors, and who have had either positive or negative newcomer experiences." The goal of his research project is to collect data on how newcomers to open source communities turn into contributors or what prevents them from doing so.

Carillo says his research was inspired by the observation that attracting new contributors is a crucial prerequisite for the continued well-being of open source projects. To improve the way in which projects treat new members, data from the viewpoint of the newcomers is needed, according to Carillo. He plans to release the collected data from the anonymous survey under a share-alike Open Database License to help communities like Debian better understand new contributors and help them improve their processes.

Individuals who are willing to share their newcomer experiences in regards to open source projects can fill out the online survey until 27 November. According to Carillo, the survey should only take about 20 minutes to complete and participants can choose how many of the questions they want to answer.


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