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Are Code Review Bots dealing with Self-Admitted Technical Debt?

Technical Debt (TD) refers to non-optimal decisions that are made during software development (e.g., create a workaround for a problem) [1]. Sometimes, TD items are self-admitted, i.e., developers document the existence of such TD in places such as code comments, issue trackers, and pull requests [2, 3]. Also, it is possible to use bots in the code review process to automate some tasks, e.g., provide feedback to contributors and manage data collected from other tools (such as SonarQube) [4]. Hence, some SATD (self-admitted TD) items may have been manipulated by code review bots.

The goal of this project is to explore to what extent code review bots are dealing with SATD Items in the context of open-source software (OSS). To that end, you will work in an empirical study, mainly based on mining software repositories (e.g., hosted on GitHub) to extract SATD items documented in issues and pull requests. Thus, this project involves collecting and analyzing data using different tools and frameworks (e.g., Jupyter Notebooks, R Studio, and others).


[1] Paris Avgeriou, Philippe Kruchten, Ipek Ozkaya, and Carolyn Seaman. 2016. Managing Technical Debt in Software Engineering (Dagstuhl Seminar 16162). Dagstuhl Reports 6, 4 (2016), 110–138.

[2] Yutaro Kashiwa, Ryoma Nishikawa, Yasutaka Kamei, Masanari Kondo, Emad Shihab, Ryosuke Sato, Naoyasu Ubayashi. 2022. An empirical study on self-admitted technical debt in modern code review. Information and Software Technology, Volume 146.

[3] Yikun Li, Mohamed Soliman, Paris Avgeriou and Lou Somers. 2022. Self-Admitted Technical Debt in the Embedded Systems Industry: An Exploratory Case Study. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.

[4] Mairieli Wessel, Alexander Serebrenik, Igor Wiese, Igor Steinmacher and Marco Gerosa. 2020. Effects of Adopting Code Review Bots on Pull Requests to OSS Projects. IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME) Adelaide, Australia.