Online programming communities, like Stack Overflow and GitHub, have norms that are not obvious nor inclusive to the 50 million programmers visiting monthly. For example, many novices ask questions that go unanswered or downvoted for not conforming to unwritten community norms. In addition, the most popular online programming communities have reported having below 7% participation from women and non-binary developers. But how do these norms and demographics shift for people across the global software development community? In this talk, I will 1) offer a perspective of understanding what can inhibit participation, 2) describe what mechanisms developers are using to alleviate their own frustrations with communities, and 3) outline what on-platform mechanisms can intervene to better support engagement.
Denae Ford Robinson is a Senior Researcher in the SAINT group at Microsoft Research. Her research identifies and dismantles cognitive and social barriers to participation in online socio-technical ecosystems. She obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science and a graduate minor in Cognitive Science. She also holds an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. Dr. Ford Robinson is also a recipient of the National GEM Consortium Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship. More information about her research and papers can be found at http://denaeford.me