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Fit or Unfit : Analysis and Prediction of 'Closed Questions' on Stack Overflow

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Type
Preprint
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Submission Date
Identifiers
arXiv ID: 1307.7291
Source
arXiv
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Abstract

Stack Overflow is widely regarded as the most popular Community driven Question Answering (CQA) website for programmers. Questions posted on Stack Overflow which are not related to programming topics, are marked as 'closed' by experienced users and community moderators. A question can be 'closed' for five reasons - duplicate, off-topic, subjective, not a real question and too localized. In this work, we present the first study of 'closed' questions in Stack Overflow. We download 4 years of publicly available data which contains 3.4 Million questions. We first analyze and characterize the complete set of 0.1 Million 'closed' questions. Next, we use a machine learning framework and build a predictive model to identify a 'closed' question at the time of question creation. One of our key findings is that despite being marked as 'closed', subjective questions contain high information value and are very popular with the users. We observe an increasing trend in the percentage of closed questions over time and find that this increase is positively correlated to the number of newly registered users. In addition, we also see a decrease in community participation to mark a 'closed' question which has led to an increase in moderation job time. We also find that questions closed with the Duplicate and Off Topic labels are relatively more prone to reputation gaming. For the 'closed' question prediction task, we make use of multiple genres of feature sets based on - user profile, community process, textual style and question content. We use a state-of-art machine learning classifier based on an ensemble learning technique and achieve an overall accuracy of 73%. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first experimental study to analyze and predict 'closed' questions on Stack Overflow.

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