Lee Kelleher

GitHub Activity Patterns: Star & Fork

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Confession time, I check my GitHub activity feed dashboard as much as I check my Twitter timeline. I know a lot of people who ignore their GitHub dashboard, but for me I find it a great source of information... to see who is working on what; if there are any new Umbraco related open-source projects; and also if anyone has starred or forked one of my projects.

Over the past few years I've noticed patterns emerge on the activity feed, sometimes there'll be a tweet about a new Umbraco package and I'll see a spate of people starring the project's repository, but then other times there are patterns that I can't explain, here's an example.

Scanning down my activity feed, I notice someone has forked one of my projects...

Screengrab of a GitHub activity pattern - forking a project

"Excellent" I think, someone might be preparing a pull request... Yes, a contribution! (Excited!)

Then I see the next line...

Screengrab of GitHub activity pattern - forking and starring a project

The same someone has starred the project. I let out a sigh and resign myself that there will be no contribution.

I can't say that I understand this pattern of "Star & Fork", but it has become quite common. Each time I see it, I've never had a subsequent contribution on that project.

Maybe someone is starring the project as a bookmark, then forking it to keep a copy of the code for themselves? Either way it's an interesting pattern.

If you have any ideas on this, or have noticed other curious GitHub activity patterns, let me know in the comments.