University of Oulu

Maëlick Claes, Mika Mäntylä, and Umar Farooq. 2018. On the use of emoticons in open source software development. In Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 50, 4 pages. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3239235.3267434

On the use of emoticons in open source software development

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Author: Claes, Maëlick1; Mäntylä, Mika1; Farooq, Umar1
Organizations: 1M3S, ITEE, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe201901041331
Language: English
Published: Association for Computing Machinery, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-01-04
Description:

Abstract

Background: Using sentiment analysis to study software developers' behavior comes with challenges such as the presence of a large amount of technical discussion unlikely to express any positive or negative sentiment. However, emoticons provide information about developer sentiments that can easily be extracted from software repositories.

Aim: We investigate how software developers use emoticons differently in issue trackers in order to better understand the differences between developers and determine to which extent emoticons can be used as in place of sentiment analysis.

Method: We extract emoticons from 1.3M comments from Apache's issue tracker and 4.5M from Mozilla's issue tracker using regular expressions built from a list of emoticons used by SentiStrength and Wikipedia. We check for statistical differences using Mann-Whitney U tests and determine the effect size with Cliff's δ.

Results: Overall Mozilla developers rely more on emoticons than Apache developers. While the overall rate of comments with emoticons is of 1% and 3% for Apache and Mozilla, some individual developers can have a rate up to 21%. Looking specifically at Mozilla developers, we find that western developers use significantly more emoticons (with medium size effect) than eastern developers. While the majority of emoticons are used to express joy, we find that Mozilla developers use emoticons more frequently to express sadness and surprise than Apache developers. Finally, we find that Apache developers use overall more emoticons during weekends than during weekdays, with the share of sad and surprised emoticons increasing during weekends.

Conclusions: While emoticons are primarily used to express joy, the more occasional use of sad and surprised emoticons can potentially be utilized to detect frustration in place of sentiment analysis among developers using emoticons frequently enough.

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ISBN: 978-1-4503-5823-1
Article number: 50
DOI: 10.1145/3239235.3267434
OADOI: https://oadoi.org/10.1145/3239235.3267434
Host publication: ESEM '18 Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, Oulu, Finland, October 11-12, 2018
Conference: International symposium on empirical software engineering and measurement
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Subjects:
Funding: The authors have been supported by Academy of Finland grant 298020.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 298020
Detailed Information: 298020 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to Association for Computing Machinery. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM '18). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3239235.3267434.