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“Thank you for being nice”: Investigating Perspectives Towards Social Feedback on Stack Overflow

The Stack Overflow Q&A community has been frequently criticized for being a harsh, unfriendly environment. Despite numerous calls by the community to improve in this regard, prior work has shown that negative community dynamics continue to deter women, newcomers, and other marginalized groups from getting engaged. Social feedback can play a significant role in shaping community behaviour through group norm reinforcement and can, therefore, be employed as a tool to create more welcoming environments. With this in mind, in this paper we present the design and evaluation of a visible social feedback mechanism for inclusion in a Q&A platform like Stack Overflow. Through an exploratory interview study with 20 Stack Overflow members (10 men, 10 women), we explore users’ perceptions of the mechanism’s potential benefits and drawbacks. Our findings suggest that compared to the men in our study, the women were more open to additional social feedback on Stack Overflow, finding it a potential solution to make Stack Overflow more welcoming. Our interview findings also suggest that such a tool could be used to encourage newcomers and to allow users to show appreciation for supportive phrasing, complementing Stack Overflow’s existing focus on feedback for technically accurate content.

Download the “Thank you for being nice”: Investigating Perspectives Towards Social Feedback on Stack Overflow video file.

https://openreview.net/forum?id=rrHU3gtETG9

Mahya Maftouni, Patrick Marcel Joseph Dubois, and Andrea Bunt. 2022. “Thank you for being nice”: Investigating Perspectives Towards Social Feedback on Stack Overflow. In Proceedings of the 48th Graphics Interface Conference. Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society. https://openreview.net/forum?id=rrHU3gtETG9

Bibtext Entry

@inproceedings{
maftouni2022thank,
title={''Thank you for being nice'': Investigating Perspectives Towards Social Feedback on Stack Overflow},
author={Mahya Maftouni and Patrick Marcel Joseph Dubois and Andrea Bunt},
booktitle={Graphics Interface 2022},
year={2022},
url={https://openreview.net/forum?id=rrHU3gtETG9}
}

Authors

Mahya Maftouni

Mahya Maftouni

MSc Student
Patrick Dubois

Patrick Dubois

PhD Student
Andrea Bunt

Andrea Bunt

Professor