A Situated Approach of Roles and Participation in Open Source Software Communities

Abstract

Our research aims at understanding the various forms of participation in Open Source Software (OSS) design, seen as distributed design in online spaces of actions discussion, implementation and boundary between these spaces. We propose a methodology based on situated analyses of a formal design process used in the Python projectto identify the distribution of actual roles (implementation, interactive, group and design oriented) performed by participants into and between the spaces (defining boundary spaces). This notion of roles is grounded in collaborative design activities performed online by participants. This way, our findings complete the core-periphery model of participation in OSS. Concerning the distribution of roles between spaces, we reveal a map of participation in OSS: the majority of participants are pure discussants but all participants in the implementation spaces do also act in the discussion space and only few participants act at boundary spaces. Concerning the distribution of roles between participants in the discussion space, we reveal that interactions are structured by a central hub (occupied by keyparticipants) and that, whereas design-oriented roles are spread among all participants, grouporiented roles are performed by one or two participants in the respective spaces and at their boundary. Finally, combination of roles reveals five individual profiles performed by participants. Our approach could be extended to other design situations to explore relationships between forms of participationin particular those revealing use-oriented contributionsperformance, and quality of the design product. Finally, it could be a basis for specifying tools to monitor and manage community activity for both research issues and support of online community. 1 Flore Barcellini is an ergonomist with an interest in cooperative and mediated activities and online communities; she is a associate professor in the Research Center on Work and Development (CRTD) of Le Cnam. Françoise Détienne is a cognitive psychologist and ergonomist with an interest in collaborative design, technology-mediated collaboration and online communities; she is a research professor at CNRS in the Department of Social, Economics and Human Sciences of LTCI (CNRS Telecom ParisTech). Jean-Marie Burkhardt is a psychologist and ergonomist with an interest in collaborative design, mixed realities and learning technologies; he is a research professor in the Laboratory of Driver Psychology of IFSTTAR Institut Francais des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l'Aménagement et des Réseaux. ha ls hs -0 08 60 55 4, v er si on 1 10 S ep 2 01 3 Author manuscript, published in "Human Computer Interaction (2013) 60" DOI : 10.1080/07370024.2013.812409

DOI: 10.1080/07370024.2013.812409

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Cite this paper

@article{Barcellini2014ASA, title={A Situated Approach of Roles and Participation in Open Source Software Communities}, author={Flore Barcellini and Françoise D{\'e}tienne and Jean-Marie Burkhardt}, journal={Human-Computer Interaction}, year={2014}, volume={29}, pages={205-255} }