When Metrics Go Wrong - how to avoid bad metrics in open source projects

Posted by rendsley on Jul 30, 2014 1:35 AM EDT
Red Hat Open Source Community; By Dave Neary
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Metrics are great. They can give you situational awareness about what's going on in your community, help you identify issues that you need to fix, and prove the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of community initiatives. But sometimes things go wrong.

If you're not careful, you can end up with results you didn't intend. The very act of measuring something, and communicating that measurement, creates an incentive in the community. And sometimes the incentives you create do not match the behavior you want to encourage. (This is called "The Cobra Effect".) Typically there are three ways that metrics can cause these unintended results.

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