Exploring the use of labels to categorize issues in Open-Source Software projects

Jordi Cabot, Javier Luis Canovas Izquierdo, Valerio Cosentino, Belen Rolandi
2015 2015 IEEE 22nd International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution, and Reengineering (SANER)  
Reporting bugs, asking for new features and in general giving any kind of feedback is a common way to contribute to an Open-Source Software (OSS) project. This feedback is generally reported in the form of new issues for the project, managed by the so-called issue-trackers. One of the features provided by most issue-trackers is the possibility to define a set of labels/tags to classify the issues and, at least in theory, facilitate their management. Nevertheless, there is little empirical
more » ... tle empirical evidence to confirm that taking the time to categorize new issues has indeed a beneficial impact on the project evolution. In this paper we analyze a population of more than three million of GitHub projects and give some insights on how labels are used in them. Our preliminary results reveal that, even if the label mechanism is scarcely used, using labels favors the resolution of issues. Our analysis also suggests that not all projects use labels in the same way (e.g., for some labels are only a way to prioritize the project while others use them to signal their temporal evolution as they move along in the development workflow). Further research is needed to precisely characterize these label "families" and learn more the ideal application scenarios for each of them. 978-1-4799-8469-5/15 c 2015 IEEE SANER 2015, Montréal, Canada Accepted for publication by IEEE. c 2015 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/ republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
doi:10.1109/saner.2015.7081875 dblp:conf/wcre/CabotICR15 fatcat:2626bzabdzf6xctywim5oho2q4