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Type: Conference paper
Title: SOTorrent: Reconstructing and analyzing the evolution of stack overflow posts
Author: Baltes, S.
Dumani, L.
Treude, C.
Diehl, S.
Citation: International Conference on Software Engineering, 2018, pp.319-330
Publisher: ACM
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: IEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories
ISBN: 9781450357166
ISSN: 0270-5257
Conference Name: 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR) (28 May 2018 - 29 May 2018 : Gothenburg, SWEDEN)
Statement of
Sebastian Baltes, Lorik Dumani, Christoph Treude, Stephan Diehl
Abstract: Stack Overflow (SO) is the most popular question-and-answer website for software developers, providing a large amount of code snippets and free-form text on a wide variety of topics. Like other software artifacts, questions and answers on SO evolve over time, for example when bugs in code snippets are fixed, code is updated to work with a more recent library version, or text surrounding a code snippet is edited for clarity. To be able to analyze how content on SO evolves, we built SOTorrent, an open dataset based on the official SO data dump. SOTorrent provides access to the version history of SO content at the level of whole posts and individual text or code blocks. It connects SO posts to other platforms by aggregating URLs from text blocks and by collecting references from GitHub files to SO posts. In this paper, we describe how we built SOTorrent, and in particular how we evaluated 134 different string similarity metrics regarding their applicability for reconstructing the version history of text and code blocks. Based on a first analysis using the dataset, we present insights into the evolution of SO posts, e.g., that post edits are usually small, happen soon after the initial creation of the post, and that code is rarely changed without also updating the surrounding text. Further, our analysis revealed a close relationship between post edits and comments. Our vision is that researchers will use SOTorrent to investigate and understand the evolution of SO posts and their relation to other platforms such as GitHub.
Keywords: stack overflow; software evolution; open dataset; code snippets
Description: Co-located with ICSE '18: 40th International Conference on Software Engineering.
Rights: © 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to Association for Computing Machinery.
DOI: 10.1145/3196398.3196430
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Computer Science publications

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