Talk is silver, code is gold? Contribution beyond source code in Free/Libre Open Source Software communities

This study explored the notion of contribution activities in Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) communities. While contribution activities focussed on the collaborative creation of different types of digital commons (e.g. source code, documentation, etc.) have been widely explored, other types of contribution whose focus of action is directed towards the community have remained less visible. This research offers empirical evidence of the perception of “community-oriented” activities as contributions, its lack of visibility in the digital platforms of collaboration, and its relevance for the sustainability of the community. Additionally, the paper connects this issue to the larger literature on the commons, by drawing on the concept of affective labour. This research was carried out by exploring a “code-centric” FLOSS community (Drupal) as a case study, triangulating data from participant observation, documentary analysis and qualitative semi-structured interviews obtained following an ethnographic approach.
David Rozas
Nigel Gilbert
Wednesday, 10 June, 2015