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28-02-2021

Codes of conduct in Open Source Software—for warm and fuzzy feelings or equality in community?

Authors: Vandana Singh, Brice Bongiovanni, William Brandon

Published in: Software Quality Journal

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Abstract

This paper focuses on codes of conduct (CoC) of Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) and their role in improving women’s participation in online communities of OSS. We investigated 355 F/OSS software package websites for the presence of codes of conduct and then analyzed these for diversity elements. Qualitative content analysis of the websites shows that less than 10% (28) of the analyzed websites had some type of community rules such as CoC. In-depth analysis of the CoCs demonstrated many discrepancies in the terminology, length, enforcement, and adoption of codes of conduct. To investigate the usage of these CoCs, we investigate five women-focused OSS discussion forums. This analysis shows the value of creating/adopting a CoC and the impact CoC can have on the participation of women. We also present the challenges in the usage and enforcement of CoCs as discussed by women of these forums. We conclude with recommendations for better enforcement of CoC and reflection on the ethical underpinnings of CoC as a tool to improve diversity and inclusion in OSS.

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Appendix
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Metadata
Title
Codes of conduct in Open Source Software—for warm and fuzzy feelings or equality in community?
Authors
Vandana Singh
Brice Bongiovanni
William Brandon
Publication date
28-02-2021
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Software Quality Journal
Print ISSN: 0963-9314
Electronic ISSN: 1573-1367
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11219-020-09543-w

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