Official, updated version of syllabus always online at:
|Course||INF 385T Peer Production (Open Source Software, Wikipedia, and Beyond)|
|Meeting Time||Thursdays 9-11:45|
|Office Hours||Definitely, by appointment (please email first, then can meet via Zoom|
This course explores “peer production” which is a name for the open collaborations that produce things like open source software and Wikipedia. Perhaps not coincidentally the Wikipedia page on Peer Production is quite useful:
[A] way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals. In such communities, the labor of a large number of people is coordinated towards a shared outcome.
As we learn about peer production we’ll learn to distinguish it from different kinds of online collaborations, such as crowdsourcing, citizen science, question and answer sites, and mere sharing of code. Near synonyms for the way of working taught in this course are: “The open source way”, “Open collaboration”, “Open mass production”.
This is a course is about a sociotechnical phenomenon and it takes a sociotechnical approach. In practice this means that we’ll be learning both conceptual insight and practical skills. The course weaves together learning how to use key technologies of collaboration (e.g., git, github, travisCI, markdown) at the same time that we learn social and organizational theory about peer production (e.g., the role of copyright licenses, motivations of participants, governance models, coordination theory, models of collaboration risk, cultures of collaboration).
There are no pre-requistes for this course. While we will be discussing software development students will not be required to program. We will use the command line as we learn to use
github everything will be covered in class. I try to build a set of analogies for git and github, going beyond teaching the commands to give ways to think about git.
Students will need access to a computer for classes, any version of Windows, Mac, or Linux will do. Students facing difficulties with their IT should contact the iSchool help desk (via firstname.lastname@example.org) who can refer on to other resources as available.
Students will be able to:
Practically students will be able to:
gitto manage versions in their own work
githubhosted peer production (making and receiving pull requests)
|Assignment||Percentage of Course Grade||Due Date|
|Class Participation (discussion and activites)||25%||Throughout course|
|Technical challenges||25%||Weekly from Content Class 1 through Content Class 6|
|PP Participation Project: community identification||10%||Prior to Content Class 4|
|Peer production adaptation paper||20%||Start of Spring Break|
|PP Participation Project: experience report||10%||Prior to Presentations|
|PP Participation Project: presentation||10%||Presentations|
There is no final exam for this course.
Grading will follow Texas Information School recommendations (including A, A-, B+, and so on).
Students are expected to attend class and to participate in discussion and activities. Students should email the professor prior to class if they cannot make it. Material throughout the course builds on earlier material (both technical and conceptual). If you cannot make class you should refer to the online materials first and then consult with your classmates. Office hours are not for personal replays of teaching, nor can they compensate for not participating in discussion.
Hints on participation:
The course will have assignments based on the technical topics we are learning, including use of the DataCamp course (see below).
For this assignment students will write a 2,000 word scholarly essay describing and analyzing efforts to adapt peer production outside of software development and wikipedia. Examples could include open hardware, open governance, open culture, and everyone is encouraged to find a project relevant to their own interests. You are looking for ways of working inspired by peer production. The paper should draw on the conceptual literature to compare and contrast the challenge faced by these adaptation efforts to what we’ve learned about “the open source way”. Students will conduct at least one interview with participants (or former participants if the effort is no longer continuing). The paper will also describe the collaboration infrastructure used and compare it to the technologies we have learned in class).
The paper will be authored in Plain Text or Markdown and submitted via a pull request to the class github. Include your name in the filename and at the top of the document, and include a note at the top of the file telling me which formal citation approach you are using (e.g., APA, MLA, etc). Students are cautioned that as a scholarly paper proper citation and use of sources is required otherwise students will face academic misconduct proceedings. See “Academic Integrity” presentation if at all unsure.
Students will identify and participate in an active peer production community of their choosing. The activity does not have to be software development and does not have to use
github. For example, it could be reading and contributing a chapter of a book to LibriVox or working with a WikiProject. If you are already involved in a peer production project you may use that, but most will be entering afresh. All components should reference the insight readings that we do througout the course.
There are three graded components, each to be submitted via a pull request.
Identifying and describing a peer production community. ~500 words. Authored in plain text or markdown (ensure file is encoded with Unicode UTF-8 encoding and Unix/LF-only line endings). This paper should clearly identify the community and argue for it being a peer production community. The paper should describe how the student thinks the peer production community works and their expectations about participation (including process and expectations of how you expect to feel during participation). Submit directly to Canvas assignment. Include your name in the filename and at the top of the document, and include a note at the top of the file telling me which formal citation approach you are using (e.g., APA, MLA, etc).
Participating and describing that participation in an experience report of ~500-1000 words, authored in RMarkdown, using the citation features. Students should describe their experience in the project. At a minimum the paper should desribe the work done, how it was contributed, as well as whether and how the work was reviewed. Students should compare their experience with their expectations described in the first paper and use at least two references from our conceptual literature to reflect on their experience. Create a folder in assignment_submission/experience_report/your_name and all files in that folder. Submit via a pull request from a branch created just for this submission (i.e., not master), and post that URL to the Canvas assignment, ensure this is a separate PR from your slide submission.
Creating and giving a presentation on their participation. Presentations are limited to 5 minutes, this should be approx 4-6 slides long and be authored using Markdown that produces slides. Presentations will occur in our final class meeting. Submit via a pull request from a branch created just for this submission (ie not master), and post that URL to the Canvas assignment.
There are no required texts for this course and no materials to purchase.
Readings, tutorials, and will be provided via pages linked from the class calendar below.
I have enrolled the class in DataCamp, giving students free access to the DataCamp courses (including their premium courses). In particular we will be using their interactive course on
git during classes in the first half of the course. I encourage students to explore their other course options during the semester.
Table below shows classes and topics planned. Each class has both an insight (aka theory, conceptual) and a skills (aka tech, practical) component. These will become links to materials for the class.
|Thu Jan 21||Introductory activity and Syllabus Review||none||none||none|
|Thu Jan 28||Content class 1||Peer production vs other organizational forms||Tech setup workshop||terminal, command line, git install, github account|
|Thu Feb 04||Content class 2||Peer production case studies||Files. diffs, versions||git diff, add, commit (locally)|
|Thu Feb 11||Content class 3||Licenses||Commits, blobs, and tree||git diff continued HEAD and HEAD~1|
|Thu Feb 18||Content class 4||Motivations||Rewinding work||revert, other undos, checking out old versions, rewriting history|
|Thu Feb 25||Content class 5||Coordination||Branching||git checkout, merge. See Local Branching|
|Thu Mar 04||Content class 6||Governance||Sharing and conflicts||github fork, git clone, push, pull request, pull upstream, merge, conflicts, mark resolved, collaboration workflows|
|Thu Mar 11||Content class 7||Agile and Test Driven Development||Testing and Continuous Integration||Test suites, Travis CI integration, github bots|
|Thu Mar 18||No meeting: Spring Break||none||none||none|
|Thu Mar 25||Content class 8||Knowledge Sharing||Release management||Git exercises and github releases, git tag|
|Thu Apr 01||Content class 9||Bias and lack of diversity||Documentation and Q&A||github flavored markdown|
|Thu Apr 08||Content class 10||Peer production in Wikipedia||Wikipedia Editing||wiki syntax, referencing|
|Thu Apr 15||Content class 11||Peer production in Science||Executable Papers||rmarkdown, knitr, rstudio|
|Thu Apr 22||Content class 12||none||Rewinding Git and additional exercises||More Git exercises: git revert, rebase, cherry-pick. Also see Commits are Snapshots not diffs|
|Thu Apr 29||Presentations||none||none||none|
|Thu May 06||NA||none||none||none|
|Files. diffs, versions|
|DataCamp Git Chapter 1 - Basic Workflow||link|
|Commits, blobs, and tree|
|DataCamp Git Chapter 2 - Repositories||link|
|Only the very first lesson of “Learning Git Branching” site (useful visualizations of trees)||link|
|Useful Blog on undo in git (keep for reference)||link|
|DataCamp Git Chapter 3 - Undo||link|
|DataCamp Git Chapter 4 - Branches||link|
|Sharing and conflicts|
|DataCamp Git Chapter 5 - Collaborating||link|
|Atlassian materials on git workflows (esp. forking workflow)||link|
|Testing and Continuous Integration|
|TravisCI For Beginners||link|
|TravisCI Getting Started||link|
|Github Release Announcement||link|
|Github Help on Releases||link|
|Documentation and Q&A|
|Commonmark Markdown Tutorial||link|
|Citations and references in Markdown||link|
|Wikipedia Student Tutorial||link|
|Datacamp Rmarkdown - All 2 chapters||link|
Often I can link directly to websites or PDFs, but sometimes I will provide links to articles in journals etc. You must be able to get the article through the library, generally speaking using the web VPN is the most convenient approach. Another option that can sometimes work is UnPaywall which works to find an open access article version when looking at a publisher’s page for the article.
|Peer production vs other organizational forms|
|Benkler, Peer Production and Cooperation.||link|
|Levine, S. S., & Prietula, M. J. (2013). Open Collaboration for Innovation: Principles and Performance. Organization Science, 25(5), 1414–1433.||link|
|Eric Raymond. The Cathdral and the Bazaar||link|
|Richard Millington. Types of online communities.||link|
|Don Tapscott. Wikinomics. Chpt 3: “Peer Pioneers” (p. 77)||link|
|Peer production case studies|
|Section “Discovery: Participation Observation” in Howison, J., & Crowston, K. (2014). Collaboration through open superposition: A theory of the open source way. MIS Quarterly, 38(1), 29–50.||link|
|Chapter “Coordinating Collaboration” of Kelty, C. M. (2008). Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. Durham: Duke University Press Books.||link|
|Giving it Away: How Red Hat Software Stumbled Across a New Economic Model and Helped Improve an Industry. Robert Young (Founder of RedHat software)||link|
|Freeing the Source: The Story of Mozilla (Jim Hamerly and Tom Paquin with Susan Walton)||link|
|Geiger, R. S., & Ribes, D. (2010). The Work of Sustaining Order in Wikipedia: The Banning of a Vandal. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 117–126). New York, NY, USA: ACM.||link|
|GNU General Public License v 3.0||link|
|Chapter “Writing Copyright Licenses” of Kelty, C. M. (2008). Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. Durham: Duke University Press Books.||link|
|The GNU Project||link|
|Creative Commons v4.0 license BY-SA (read others if you have time)||link|
|More background about the Cisco case, FSF blog||link|
|FSF Settles Suit Against Cisco||link|
|Black Duck Software: Open Source License Compliance||link|
|The Legal Side of Open Source||link|
|Broadening node.js contributions (Contributor Agreement)||link|
|Amazon: NOT OK - why we had to change Elastic licensing. (2021, January 19). Elastic Blog.||link|
|Cracks are showing in Enterprise Open Source’s foundations||link|
|Nov, O. (2007). What motivates Wikipedians? Communications of the ACM, 50(11), ACM New York, NY, USA.||link|
|Introducing: Funds for Open Source||link|
|Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 54–67.||link|
|Section on Motivations in: Crowston, K., Wei, K., Howison, J., & Wiggins, A. (2012). Free (Libre) Open Source Software Development: What We Know and What We Do Not Know. ACM Computing Surveys, 44(2), Article 7.||link|
|Crowston, K., & Fagnot, I. (2018). Stages of motivation for contributing user-generated content: A theory and empirical test. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 109, 89–101.||link|
|Malone, T. W., & Crowston, K. (1994). The interdisciplinary theory of coordination. ACM Computing Surveys, 26(1), 87–119.||link|
|Expectancy Theory (Wikipedia)||link|
|Expectancy Theory (useful figure)||link|
|Rest of Howison, J., & Crowston, K. (2014). Collaboration through open superposition: A theory of the open source way. MIS Quarterly, 38(1), 29–50.||link|
|Slides for Open Superposition presentation||link|
|Crowston, K., Saltz, J. S., Rezgui, A., Hegde, Y., & You, S. (2019). Socio-technical Affordances for Stigmergic Coordination Implemented in MIDST, a Tool for Data-Science Teams. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 3(CSCW), 1–25.||link|
|Lindberg, A., Berente, N., Gaskin, J., & Lyytinen, K. (2016). Coordinating Interdependencies in Online Communities: A Study of an Open Source Software Project. Information Systems Research, 27(4), 751–772.||link|
|OSS Watch Governance Models||link|
|Shah, S. K. (2006). Motivation, governance, and the viability of hybrid forms in open source software development. Management Science, 52(7), 1000–1014.||link|
|Chapter 4 “Social and Political Infrastructure” from Fogel, Karl (2018) “Producing OSS: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project”||link|
|Chapter 8 “Managing Participants” from from Fogel, Karl (2018) “Producing OSS: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project”||link|
|Optional (except for Doctoral and aspiring doctoral students) Shaikh, M., & Henfridsson, O. (2017). Governing open source software through coordination processes. Information and Organization, 27(2), 116–135.||link|
|Agile and Test Driven Development|
|Giddings, R. V. (1984). Accommodating Uncertainty in Software Design. Commun. ACM, 27(5), 428–434.||link|
|Wikpedia on Continuous Integration||link|
|Vasilescu, B., Yu, Y., Wang, H., Devanbu, P., & Filkov, V. (2015). Quality and Productivity Outcomes Relating to Continuous Integration in GitHub. In Proceedings of the 2015 10th Joint Meeting on Foundations of Software Engineering (pp. 805–816). New York, NY, USA: ACM.||link|
|Raymond, E. S., & Moen, R. (2001). How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.||link|
|Lakhani, K., & von Hippel, E. (2003). How open source software works: “free” user-to-user assistance. Research Policy, 32(6), 923–943.||link|
|Bias and lack of diversity|
|Albusays, K., Bjorn, P., Dabbish, L., Ford, D., Murphy-Hill, E., Serebrenik, A., & Storey, M.-A. (2021). The Diversity Crisis in Software Development. IEEE Software, 38(2), 19–25.||link|
|Antin, J., Yee, R., Cheshire, C., & Nov, O. (2011). Gender Differences in Wikipedia Editing. In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration (pp. 11–14). New York, NY, USA: ACM.||link|
|Hecht, B., & Gergle, D. (2010). The Tower of Babel Meets Web 2.0: User-generated Content and Its Applications in a Multilingual Context. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 291–300). New York, NY, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/1753326.1753370||link|
|Nearly All of Wikipedia Is Written By Just 1 Percent of Its Editors||link|
|Wikipedia page on gender bias in Wikipedia (so meta)||link|
|Inside Wikipedia’s Attempt to Use Artificial Intelligence to Combat Harassment||link|
|A Code of Conduct for Open Source Projects (click through to markdown version)||link|
|Peer production in Wikipedia|
|Kittur, A., & Kraut, R. E. (2008). Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds in Wikipedia: Quality Through Coordination. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2008) (pp. 37–46). San Diego, CA.||link|
|Butler, B., Joyce, E., & Pike, J. (2008). Don’t Look Now, but We’Ve Created a Bureaucracy: The Nature and Roles of Policies and Rules in Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1101–1110). New York, NY, USA: ACM.||link|
|Baker, M. J., Détienne, F., & Barcellini, F. (2017). Argumentation and Conflict Management in Online Epistemic Communities: A Narrative Approach to Wikipedia Debates. In Interpersonal Argumentation in Educational and Professional Contexts (pp. 141–157). Springer, Cham.||link|
|Should CC-Licensed Content be Used to Train AI? It Depends. (2021, March 4). Creative Commons.||link|
|Peer production in Science|
|Stodden, V. (2010). The Scientific Method in Practice: Reproducibility in the Computational Sciences (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 1550193). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.||link|
|Ince, D. C., Hatton, L., & Graham-Cumming, J. (2012). The case for open computer programs. Nature, 482(7386), 485–488.||link|
|Prlić, A., & Procter, J. B. (2012). Ten Simple Rules for the Open Development of Scientific Software. PLOS Comput Biol, 8(12), e1002802.||link|
|Gil Yolanda, David Cédric H., Demir Ibrahim, Essawy Bakinam T., Fulweiler Robinson W., Goodall Jonathan L., … Yu Xuan. (2016). Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance. Earth and Space Science, 3(10), 388–415.||link|
|Howison, J., & Herbsleb, J. D. (2013). Incentives and integration in scientific software production. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 459–470). San Antonio, TX.||link|
|Jupyter, Mathematica, and the Future of the Research Paper (Paul Romer, famous economist)||link|
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