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Evaluating Commit Message Generation: To BLEU Or Not To BLEU?

by   Samanta Dey, et al.
Chennai Mathematical Institute

Commit messages play an important role in several software engineering tasks such as program comprehension and understanding program evolution. However, programmers neglect to write good commit messages. Hence, several Commit Message Generation (CMG) tools have been proposed. We observe that the recent state of the art CMG tools use simple and easy to compute automated evaluation metrics such as BLEU4 or its variants. The advances in the field of Machine Translation (MT) indicate several weaknesses of BLEU4 and its variants. They also propose several other metrics for evaluating Natural Language Generation (NLG) tools. In this work, we discuss the suitability of various MT metrics for the CMG task. Based on the insights from our experiments, we propose a new variant specifically for evaluating the CMG task. We re-evaluate the state of the art CMG tools on our new metric. We believe that our work fixes an important gap that exists in the understanding of evaluation metrics for CMG research.


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