Here is the scenario:
X is the author of a software. X releases v1.0 on an open source license on Github and moves on. People interested in the software fork and improve the software. Now there are 15 different flavours of the software. Few also try to send a pull request back, however since X no longer works on the software, the pull request is just sitting idle on his project page.
As a new user wanting to use the most active and stable release of the software, how does he learn which out of the 15 he should clone and use? He certainly would like to use the more active branch, since it may have more bug fixes and features upgrades.
I see that the model works for bigger open-source projects, because the author of the software is usually well-known in the community. As a result, the user base inadvertently knows which branch to clone from. However, how does one solve a problem for a software, where the author, maintainer and several contributors all are practically unknown in the open-source community?