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It was a Bit of a Race: Gamification of Version Control

It was a Bit of a Race: Gamification of Version Control

The slides for the talk I gave at the GAS 2012 workshop (colocated with ICSE 2012) in Zürich. The accompanying paper is linked to from http://leif.me.


Leif Singer

June 09, 2012


  1. Software Engineering Group Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany Leif Singer, Kurt

    Schneider It was a Bit of a Race: Gamification of Version Control leif.me | @lsinger
  2. The Problem Developers don’t accept best practices – for many

    reasons Our approach: support intrinsic motivations use extrinsic motivators to jumpstart ... using social software mechanisms! 2
  3. The Problem Student Project: Some never commit. Many commits without

    messages. Goal 1: more commits, more evenly spread out over time. Goal 2: more commits with commit messages. 3
  4. The Teamfeed.

  5. Teamfeed 5

  6. Rationales Newsfeed of Commit Messages: awareness [Treude2010], spreading behavior [Burke2009]

    Commenting: discussion may have positive in uence on performance [Foster2010] 6
  7. Rationales Notifications: positive feedback increases feeling of competence, clears way

    for intrinsic motivations [Ryan2000] Milestones: setting (reachable) goals may improve performance [Locke2002] 7
  8. Rationales Leaderboard: jumpstart non-committers, instill some competition [Ryan2000, Thom2012] Weekly

    Digest: positive feedback, but also a reminder 8
  9. Impressions.

  10. Newsfeed & Commenting. “It motivates you because you see things

    moving forward. You see progress.” 10
  11. Newsfeed & Commenting. “Unnecessary. It doesn’t tell you anything about

    the quality of the work.” 11
  12. Leaderboard. “Good thing about Teamfeed: you see who committed how

    much. It’s a heuristic for whether someone’s actually collaborating.” “It’s nice to see that we used [version control] so often that we made the 1000.” 12
  13. Leaderboard. “In this context, I’m critical about competition, because ...

    it doesn’t say much.” 13
  14. E-Mails. “The weekly digest was great. It gave a quick

    overview. [Weekly] was often enough, but not too often.” 14
  15. E-Mails. “The e-mails for the milestones annoyed me.” 15

  16. Milestones. “When I was at 90 commits I made more

    and smaller commits, as I suspected there to be a milestone at 100. [...] So I committed small xes immediately instead of committing the xes of a whole hour together.” 16
  17. Milestones. “Milestones were useless. Lead to unnecessary commits. I committed

    things I could’ve committed later.” 17
  18. Epilogue.

  19. seems to have worked – under review rationales derived using

    a systematic approach we’re developing (see NIER paper) 19
  20. Experiment! leif.me/gas Can others apply our method? Add your e-mail

    address to participate! 20
  21. Summary • Suboptimal adoption of SE practices • gami ed

    version control with social software e ects • Some of the lessons we learned: • Competition seemed to be OK with this population • Some things annoying, but not necessarily useless • Comments not used! ‣ Clear the way for intrinsic motivations • Extrinsic motivators to jumpstart non-participants • Slides, papers: leif.me 21
  22. References [Treude2010] C. Treude, M.-A. Storey. Awareness 2.0: Staying aware

    of projects, developers and tasks using dashboards and feeds. Proceedings of the 32nd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, 2010. [Burke2009] M. Burke, C. Marlow, and T. Lento. Feed me: motivating newcomer contribution in social network sites. In Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, pages 945–954. ACM, 2009. [Foster2010] D. Foster, C. Linehan, B. Kirman, S. Lawson, G. James. Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media for competitive step counting. Proceedings of the 14th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, 2010. [Ryan2000] Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychologist, 51(1):, 68-78, 2000. [Locke2002] E.A. Locke, G.P. Latham. Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, American Psychological Association, 2002. [Thom2010] J. Thom, D. R. Millen, J. DiMicco. Removing Gamification from an Enterprise SNS. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, ACM, 2012. 22