Bilkent University
Department of Computer Engineering


Towards a Taxonomy of Inline Code Comment Smells


Elgun Jabrayilzade
MS Student
(Supervisor: Asst. Prof. Eray Tüzün)
Computer Engineering Department
Bilkent University

Abstract: Code comments play a vital role in source code comprehension and software maintainability. It is common for developers to write comments for explaining a code snippet. However, low-quality comments can have a detrimental effect on software quality or be ineffective for code understanding. In this study, we aim to analyze inline code comment smells from various angles, namely the types of code comment smells, occurrences of them in software projects, the criticality of the smells, and automatic detection of them. The current state of the work includes the first two parts, where we firstly conducted a multivocal literature review for defining the initial taxonomy of inline comment smells. Afterward, we manually labeled 899 inline comments from three open-source Java projects. We created a taxonomy of 11 inline code comment smell types and found out that the smells exist in the projects with varying degrees. The future work includes increasing our sample size by labeling additional projects, conducting a developer survey to determine how critical each smell is, and designing a machine learning-based model for automatic detection of inline comment smells.


DATE: 22 November 2021, Monday @ 15:50 Zoom