New 2m 365k Githublapowskyprotocol: We all know that GitHub is a software platform where developers can work on software collaboratively. But what do those GitHub members with white sounding names have that the others don’t?
According to a recent study, they might have malevolent motives and be more likely to commit social suicide.
The study shows how the developer’s name correlates with success across various categories of projects, as well as their popularity.
The study’s authors, David Robinson and Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro, are researchers at Northeastern University. The data was obtained using the GitHub Archive, which records all contributions made on the platform. It included data from more than 2.2M GitHub users with around 365K unique names from January 2012 to April 2017.
The overall findings of the study are as follows:
a) White-sounding names (those with a name that may sound more like a man’s name, e.g. Charles, Nathan, Mike, etc.) are more likely to have fewer total commits than non-white-sounding names (those with names that may sound more like a woman’s name, e.g. Jessica, Alexis). The average number of commits is 469 for white names and 644 for non-white names.
b) White-sounding names are more likely to be involved in projects with a lower number of contributors than non-white-sounding names. For example, white-sounding names on average were involved in communities with only 1 contributor, compared to communities with 10+ contributors for non-white sounding names.
c) White-sounding names are less likely to commit changes to the most popular repositories (over 1000 stars), but the opposite is true for non-white sounding names.
The study’s authors used a factor analysis in order to understand how the GitHub users with names differing by race, ethnicity, and gender are different from each other. They found that white-sounding names can be organized into two clusters: a “white minority” cluster and a “white majority” cluster. The “white majority” cluster has more than 90% male developers, while the “white minority” cluster is at least 30% female. The “white minority” cluster is also more prolific and has more active repositories.
The study focused on a primary characteristic of developers, their names. It was not meant to be definitive in terms of what personality or psychological traits they might have. However, the authors state that this could be an important factor since it could affect the way people interact with others and may lead them to express themselves differently in various situations.