Why do people fork a GitHub Repository if they don't plan on making changes?

I thought the only reason to fork a repository is so that you can edit the code, but I’ve had 15+ people fork mine and none of them appear to have made any changes.

Do you think the people forking my repository don’t know that they can easily add a reference to it through the IDE or is there some other benefit to forking a repository that I’m unaware of?

The likely reason is that folks fear they may lose track of the Repo (and/or lose access to the code), if they don’t fork it. In other words, fork is just being used as a “bookmark”.

If you delete your personal parent repo … do other users’ forks survive?

I never thought of that, but it makes sense.

Good question…


A fork is just a git clone where GitHub also tracks the relationship for you. If the parent repo is deleted, the forks live on.

And this is why I fork (and/or make a local clone) anything that’s interesting to me: the “it was there yesterday; where did it go?” when someone decides to revoke access to something they previously made available.


Looks like the next time I am in the mood to play around in repo, I need to go through all the repos I added to my IDE and fork them instead. I never really gave any thought to people cleaning out their repo ( for one reason or another) and suddenly I just lost 1/2 my device handlers and apps. I was just thinking keeping my DH and apps up to date.

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