Understanding information diffusion about open-source projects on Twitter, HackerNews, and Reddit
The diffusion of information about open-source projects is a key factor influencing the adoption of projects and the allocation of developer efforts. Developers learn about new projects, and evaluate their quality and importance by accessing the related information. Social media is an important channel for information diffusion about open-source projects, with previous research suggesting the existence of a social media ecosystem that consists of multiple platforms and collectively supports information diffusion in open source.
With different features supporting information diffusion, the same piece of information likely reaches different developer communities on different platforms, which attracts the attention and contribution of different developers and thus influences the success of open-source projects. Despite its importance, few works looked at the identity of the developer community that project-related information reaches on social media platforms and its associated impact on the discussed project.
In this work, we track social media discussions on open-source projects on three different platforms: Twitter, HackerNews, and Reddit. We first describe the dynamics of project-related information diffusion across platforms, and we analyze the association between the number of posts on each platform, and the number of developers attracted to the discussed project from different communities. We find that posts about open-source projects first appear on Twitter and HackerNews, then move more towards Reddit. The number of project-related posts on Twitter mostly associate with the attracted developers from communities that are close to the project’s main contributor, while posts on other platforms associate more with the attention from remote communities.
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