Code review for newcomers: Is it different?

Vladimir Kovalenko, Alberto Bacchelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Onboarding is a critical stage in the tenure of software developers with a project, because meaningful contribution requires familiarity with the codebase. Some software teams employ practices, such as mentoring, to help new developers get accustomed faster. Code review, i.e., the manual inspection of code changes, is an opportunity for sharing knowledge and helping with onboarding. In this study, we investigate whether and how contributions from developers with low experience in a project do receive a different treatment during code review. We compare reviewers' experience, metrics of reviewers' attention, and change merge rate between changes from newcomers and from more experienced authors in 60 active open source projects. We find that the only phenomenon that is consistent across the vast majority of projects is a lower merge rate for newcomers' changes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHASE'18
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings 2018 the 11th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages4
VolumePart F137813
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5725-8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventCHASE 2018: 11th ACM/IEEE International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 27 May 201827 May 2018
Conference number: 11


ConferenceCHASE 2018


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