In response to the maintenance problem,the delta between the knowledge on hand and the knowledge required,many system maintainers have self organized into a collaborative community to bridge this knowledge gap. There is evidence that this community of maintainers is succeeding.
Our research examines a community of about 1000 system maintainers that includes stakeholders from every aspect of the software life cycle. These members generate community-sourced knowledge to address the maintenance problem. This multidisciplinary research provides insight into the behavior of practitioners who operate in a dynamic and often unorganized post-development environment. We also describe the ethnography of the group and patterns of behavior that emerge through the collaboration process and detail how information and knowledge are validated. From the coalescing of the discoveries, we develop benchmarks of performance for collaboration and knowledge sharing for the system-maintenance domain.