Learning with comments: An analysis of comments and community on Stack Overflow

Subhasree Sengupta, Caroline Haythornthwaite

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Stack Overflow (SO) has become a primary source for learning, how to code, with community features supporting asking and answering questions, upvoting to signify approval of content, and comments to extend questions and answers. While past research has considered the value of posts, often based on upvoting, little has examined the role of comments. Beyond value in explaining code, comments may offer new ways of looking at problems, clarifications of questions or answers, and socially supportive community interactions. To understand the role of comments, a content analysis was conducted to evaluate the key purposes of comments. a coding schema of nine comment categories was developed from open coding on a set of 40 posts and used to classify comments in a larger dataset of 2323 comments from 50 threads over a 6-month period. Results provide insight into the way the comments support learning, knowledge development, and the SO community, and the use and usefulness of the comment feature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2020
EditorsTung X. Bui
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages2898-2907
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780998133133
StatePublished - 2020
Event53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2020 - Maui, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2020Jan 10 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Volume2020-January
ISSN (Print)1530-1605

Conference

Conference53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMaui
Period1/7/201/10/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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