Awards - Distinguished paper award at SANER 2019 for research on confusion in code reviews


During SANER 2019, the 26th IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution, and Reengineering the paper "Confusion in Code Reviews: Reasons, Impacts and Coping Strategies" by Felipe Ebert, Fernando Castor (both - Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil), Nicole Novielli (University of Bari, Italy) and Alexander Serebrenik (Eindhoven University of Technology) has received the distinguished paper award. In this paper the authors investigate the reasons and impacts of confusion in code reviews, as well as the strategies developers adopt to cope with confusion. 

The most frequent reasons for confusion are the missing rationale, discussion of non- functional requirements of the solution, and lack of familiarity with existing code. Developers report that confusion delays the merge decision, decreases review quality, and results in additional discussions. To cope with confusion developers request information, improve familiarity with existing code, and discuss off-line. Based on the results, the authors provide a series of implications for tool builders, as well as insights and suggestions for researchers. The results of this work offer empirical justification for the need to improve code review tools to support developers facing confusion.