Crowdsourcing & Stack Overflow: the power of the Crowd



It's been 2 years since I last posted. Wow! Time flies and life changes...

In 2016 I started a Master's degree course at UFRJ - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in the branch of Data and Knowledge Engineering (Databases) that is under the division of Computer and Systems Engineering department at COPPE\UFRJ.

Some background history: I tried to join this same master's program back in 2010. I posted about it here: Masters degree application essay UFRJ 2011.1. At that time I was not accepted in the program because the teacher responsible for the Software Engineering branch and that interviewed me, told me that I didn't have a research profile. I was more like an industry guy. I was upset of course when my application got rejected but I tried again in 2015 and guess what: I applied for the Software Engineering branch again and for the Databases branch too. I got approved in the tests for the two branches. The same teacher interviewed me for the Software Engineering after 5 years. She remembered me and said the same thing. She denied my application again. Thanks God the Database branch teachers were more receptive and accepted my enrollment. I love both areas and Databases involve everything related to data which attract my attention as well.

Lesson: don't give up on your dreams... if you want it with all your heart, go for it! It can take some time but it'll happen.

Back to the post title... as part of the grade, most of the 8 necessary disciplines have a final paper to be developed. This post is about the paper I did for CSCW - Computer Supported Cooperative Work or even Computer Aided Collaborative Work.

I hope it can shed some light regarding the cooperative work put together by the Stack Overflow developer community with the help of our mainstream computers and mobile devices.

Abstract—Crowdsourcing gained attention in the past few years
as a means to disseminate work to a crowd of people. People that
can be scattered all over the world. The Internet removed all the
barriers. Advances in Information Technologies and hardware
allowed the development of tools that aid in the division of the
work and tasks that need to be carried out. We are now in a stage
where what once was supposed to be inviable is proved to be viable
with remote work being done by disparate teams located in
different continents. Computer Supported Cooperative Work is
now a reality and this paper analyzes some of the concepts and use
of modern information systems technology to fill the gap between
a crowd of software developers and their day to day job questions
when applied to a questions and answers site namely Stack
Overflow. Each and every day millions of software developers
outsource their questions to knowledgeable peer developers. Stack
Overflow is the means that allows the knowledge transfer to
happen and it came in a moment when a huge amount of data was
being generated but it wasn’t well structured and organized for
future reuse. Stack Overflow was born and is now a great option
that offers a well-structured and exciting environment to ask and
get answers online.

The full paper in PDF format is available at:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4SVxswDPXtwVzNFTWtSMkJoM3M/view?usp=sharing