Seminars at the Faculty of Informatics

"Was my contribution fairly reviewed?" A Framework to Study the Perception of Fairness in Modern Code Reviews

Speaker: Daniel M. German
  University of Victoria, Canada
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018
Place: USI Lugano Campus, room SI-006, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)
Time: 13:30-14:30



Although modern code reviews rely heavily on human interactions, little is known regarding whether they are performed fairly. Fairness plays a role in any process where decisions that affect others are made. When a system is perceived to be unfair, it affects negatively the productivity and motivation of its participants. In this presentation I will introduce fairness theory and how we used it to create a framework that describes how fairness affects modern code reviews. To demonstrate its applicability, and the importance of fairness in code reviews, we conducted an empirical study that asked developers of a large industrial open source ecosystem (OpenStack) what their perceptions are regarding fairness in their code reviewing process. Our study shows that, in general, the code review process in OpenStack is perceived as fair; however, a significant portion of respondents perceive it as unfair. We also show that the variability in the way they prioritize code reviews signals a lack of consistency and the existence of bias (potentially increasing the perception of unfairness).



Daniel M. German is professor of computer science at the University of Victoria, Canada. His main areas of research are open source software engineering, mining software repositories and the impact of intellectual property law in software development.


Host: Prof. Gabriele Bavota