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Invisible Work, Incentives, & Burnout in Open Communities


We present insights gathered from a combination of ethnographic interviews with maintainers of a cross section of open-source projects, as well as through analysis of datasets that speak to the dynamics of maintenance work on GitHub and spaces of coordination. From reviewing pull requests to conflict resolution, maintenance involves many forms of work, yet certain tasks and roles are prominent than others. We draw on the concepts of visible and invisible work to analyze the infrastructures which configure different forms of recognition. We also explore the attributes of burnout to consider the ways that open source knowledge production permeates peoples’ lives and how burnout affects community sustainability.


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