An empirical investigation of social comparison and open source community health

Nov 16th, 2023 | By | Category: RSS Feed


It is well known that corporations rely on open source software as part of their product development lifecycle. Given these commitments, understanding the health of open source communities is a central concern in today’s business setting. Our research uses social comparison theory as a framework for understanding how open source communities consider community health beyond any single metric within any single open source community—including a broader view of how others are using these health indicators in practice. Using methods from engaged field research, including 38 interviews, we examine practices of social comparison as an advancement in understanding open source community health—and subsequently engagement with open source communities. The results of this study show that open source community health is not a single set of discrete metrics but is an ongoing social construction. Through our study, we advance theoretical and applied knowledge regarding issues of open source community health, open source community engagement, and social comparison.


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