Understanding occasional/episodic contributors (survey)

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Understanding occasional/episodic contributors (survey)

Postby abarcomb » 2017-03-30 08:11

I am a PhD candidate and former software developer researching occasional volunteers to free/libre/open source projects. I am trying to gain an understanding of the intentions and motivations of people who volunteer occasionally or infrequently in any capacity. By this I mean not only code contributions, but also filing bug reports, answering questions, speaking at conferences, translating, and so on. Even if you are a regular contributor to the Debian community, I am interested in your experience in other communities where you make fewer contributions.

I am especially interested in input from Debian contributors because the focus of my work is on volunteerism rather than paid participation. My institution, Lero, and my supervisor, Prof. Brian Fitzgerald, also have previously collaborated with the Debian community.

All my completed research is publicly available, and I will email you the published paper based on this research on request. There is also a prize drawing, with a chance to win one of four vouchers.

I'm happy to try to answer any questions you might have about my research in general or the survey in particular.

http://barcomb.org/survey
Last edited by abarcomb on 2017-03-30 14:51, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Understanding occasional/episodic contributors (survey)

Postby dasein » 2017-03-30 13:43

Just a couple of random thoughts in no particular order...

1) Maybe reconsider your word choice when referring to "peripheral" contributors. It'd be a shame if synonomy (as in a "peripheral" device) unnecessarily discouraged some folks with less-than-flawless English from participating. And even in context, the word "peripheral" can convey a very slightly negative connotation, conveying an impression of "unimportant" (as in a "peripheral" issue).

2) You might increase your participation rate if you offer a realistic estimate of the time required to complete the survey.

3) You might increase your participation rate even further if you provide a link to the survey. (Just sayin' ;-))
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Re: Understanding occasional/episodic contributors (survey)

Postby abarcomb » 2017-03-30 14:49

dasein wrote:Just a couple of random thoughts in no particular order...

1) Maybe reconsider your word choice when referring to "peripheral" contributors. It'd be a shame if synonomy (as in a "peripheral" device) unnecessarily discouraged some folks with less-than-flawless English from participating. And even in context, the word "peripheral" can convey a very slightly negative connotation, conveying an impression of "unimportant" (as in a "peripheral" issue).


I am used to seeing the term peripheral as contrasted to core, that I did not consider the other implications of the term. I appreciate you pointing that out and will change my message accordingly. (This term is not used in the survey.)

dasein wrote:2) You might increase your participation rate if you offer a realistic estimate of the time required to complete the survey.


When I conducted the pilot survey, participants took 15-20 minutes to complete the survey. Obviously this will depend on the amount of thought that goes in to the answers. But there is no getting around the fact that it is long, because I am trying to replicate a study done in another context and must retain all the measurement instruments - the usual problem of academic surveys. I provide this information in the first page of the survey, which of course you could not see...

dasein wrote:3) You might increase your participation rate even further if you provide a link to the survey. (Just sayin' ;-))


Amazing, I managed to read my message over five times before posting and neglected to notice the absence of the link. This has been corrected. Thank you so much for pointing it out. The survey can be found at http://barcomb.org/survey (a shorter URL which redirects to the actual survey).

Thank you for taking the time to tell me about these issues.
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