Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've recently come across github projects that I could really use, but appear to have been abandoned, with lots of issues and important pull requests, perhaps 100+ forks. Often, there isn't an alternative project.

Do I use the code as is? Do I pick a fork and ignore the others? Do I manually pull in code from the pull requests? How? Is there any chance I or anyone else could somehow organize and take off where the original coder left off?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You could send a message to the members of the network that is automatically created with anyone who is forking a project to begin with. (at least those who commited code after the fork, if there are so much)(Network\Members tab).

What you should do next is highly dependent on the project and its community (or lack of community) :

  • If no one seems active, become a leader for this project and start your own fork.
  • If you find existing members, see what needs to be done to have a solid fork that will revive the project with them.

Marketing Part : sometime a rename of the project when the reboot fork occur is a good way to attract new programmers and users, and give a second chance to the project to gain traction.

You should also check if anything that is done is allowed by the license, if you cannot find a way to communicate with the original programmers.

share|improve this answer

First add an Issue to the main project about it being abandoned and ask to make yourself a contributor. If that doesn't work I would communicate with the network as Matthieu suggested and organize group work on a fork, depending on what the license allows on the project. At least by making a project public there is an implied license that the project may be forked according to the terms of Github.

Here is a related article: What are the ethics of forking Someone Else's Github Project

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.