Personalized First Issue Recommender for Newcomers in Open Source Projects


Authors: Wenxin Xiao, Jingyue Li, Hao He, Ruiqiao Qiu, Minghui Zhou
Venue: The 38th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering
Links: [DOI] [BibTeX] [PDF] [Code]

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Many open source projects provide good first issues (GFIs) to attract and retain newcomers. Although several automated GFI recommenders have been proposed, existing recommenders are limited to recommending generic GFIs without considering differences between individual newcomers. However, we observe mismatches between generic GFIs and the diverse background of newcomers, resulting in failed attempts, discouraged onboarding, and delayed issue resolution. To address this problem, we assume that personalized first issues (PFIs) for newcomers could help reduce the mismatches. To justify the assumption, we empirically analyze 37 newcomers and their first issues resolved across multiple projects. We find that the first issues resolved by the same newcomer share similarities in task type, programming language, and project domain. These findings underscore the need for a PFI recommender to improve over state-of-the-art approaches. For that purpose, we identify features that influence newcomers' personalized selection of first issues by analyzing the relationship between possible features of the newcomers and the characteristics of the newcomers' chosen first issues. We find that the expertise preference, OSS experience, activeness, and sentiment of newcomers drive their personalized choice of the first issues. Based on these findings, we propose a Personalized First Issue Recommender (PFIRec), which employs LamdaMART to rank candidate issues for a given newcomer by leveraging the identified influential features. We evaluate PFIRec using a dataset of 68,858 issues from 100 GitHub projects. The evaluation results show that PFIRec outperforms existing first issue recommenders, potentially doubling the probability that the top recommended issue is suitable for a specific newcomer and reducing one-third of a newcomer's unsuccessful attempts to identify suitable first issues, in the median.

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