Sustaining a Healthy Ecosystem: Participation, Discussion, and Interaction in Eclipse Forums

by   Yusuf Sulistyo Nugroho, et al.

Although many software development projects have moved their developer discussion forums to Stack Overflow, Eclipse has been steadfast in hosting their self-supported community forums. However, recent studies show that having a forum seem to share similarities to other communication channels. In this paper, we would like to investigate how the Eclipse project has successfully maintained its forum. Using a mixed-methods approach, we investigate the participation, discussions, and interactions between members of the Eclipse project by empirically analyzing over 1 million forum threads and their linkages to four systems with 2,170 connected contributors within the Eclipse ecosystem. Our results show that forum members actively participate in posting and responding to the threads equally. The forums are dominated by question and answer threads, with the status of user is likely relate to topics discussed. Sentiment among developers are consistent, with interaction among developers that are neutral or positive. Thus, for users, we recommend to identify appropriate topics and ask in a positive way when joining forums. Considering to prepare project-specific forums, such as GitHub Discussions, is recommended for software development projects to share such closed information. For researchers and practitioners, our study on forums is just one example of how Eclipse has been successful in sustaining a healthy ecosystem.


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