Motivating programmers through karma systems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xs55mg06c

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  • Keeping FOSS developers motivated is a challenging problem, and their motivation levels can affect the team's productivity and satisfaction, leading to higher or lower productivity. Using reputation systems as a motivator has become the de-facto standard for many online communities, rewarding user's activity through badges of honor or achievement levels. Few open source software communities have successfully used a well-rounded reputation system to motivate developers, instead rewarding only one or a small set of activities. Very little research has been done in the area of using reputation systems to motivate people to increase their participation in open source software projects. This thesis studies Beaversource; a mix of code-hosting and social networking available to students, staff and faculty at Oregon State University, and our experiment with reputation systems as a means of motivating programmers. A survey was sent to 1,100+ Beaversource users at Oregon State University to gather demographics, and data on the use of Beaversource. One hundred users responded. Based on survey feedback, a reputation system was put in place. After the karma system was available to users, five students were interviewed to gather more information regarding their satisfaction with Beaversource and the karma system. Users reported that the reputation system worked to motivate them. Interviewees would like to see the karma system expanded with better icons and increased participation in the social networking side. Students also requested more flexibility in the karma system such as ability to affect each other's karma and give special badges to members of their project.
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