Mea culpa: How developers fix their own simple bugs differently from other developers
In this work, we study how the authorship of code affects bug-fixing commits, using the SStuBs dataset, a collection of single-statement bug fix changes in popular Java Maven projects. More specifically, we study the differences in characteristics between simple bug fixes by the original author — that is, the developer who submitted the bug-inducing commit — and by different developers (i.e., non-authors). Our study shows that nearly half (i.e., 44.3%) of simple bugs are fixed by a different developer. We found that bug fixes by the original author and by different developers differed qualitatively and quantitatively. We observed that bug-fixing time by authors is much shorter than that of other developers. We also found that bug-fixing commits by authors tended to be larger in size and scope, and address multiple issues, whereas bug-fixing commits by other developers tended to be smaller and more focused on the bug itself. Future research can further study the different patterns in bug-fixing and create more tailored tools based on the developer’s needs.