Communicative Intention in Code Review Questions

Abstract

During code review, developers request clarifications, suggest improvements, or ask for explanations about the rationale behind the implementation choices. We envision the emergence of tools to support developers during code review based on the automatic analysis of the argumentation structure and communicative intentions conveyed by developers’ comments. As a preliminary step towards this goal, we conducted an exploratory case study by manually classifying 499 questions extracted from 399 Android code reviews to understand the real communicative intentions they convey. We observed that the majority of questions actually serve information seeking goals. Still, they represent less than half of the annotated sample, with other questions being used to serve a wider variety of developers’ communication goals, including suggestions, request for action, and criticism. Based on our findings we formulate hypotheses on communicative intentions in code reviews that should be confirmed or rejected by follow-up studies.

Publication
2018 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME)
Felipe Ebert
Felipe Ebert
Researcher - Teaching Assistant

My research interests are related to how software systems and developers interact with each other. I’m interested in both technical and social aspects of software maintenance, specifically code reviews, mining software repositories, and also social development aspects. In the past, I also have worked with error handling and software energy consumption.

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