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In github I see many empty profiles that just follow hundreds of people and star/fork hundreds of repos, and don’t make any contributions (no code, no issues, nothing).

I suppose this is classified as spam, but to what end? Typically spam has some kind of purpose, but without any interaction other than follows/stars/forks, what can possibly be gained by the spammer?

–EDIT– here is an example: https://github.com/zaork

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    Look if you’re going to pick apart my life decisions maybe you should at least admit some personal fault of your own. Jokes aside, this person is merely saving repositories for later. The forks are likely projects they considered contributing to but then never did, or are a way to back up the repository in case the owner removes it. It might also be a way for them to essentially consider a repository as very important since they have 10k stars they really need to filter it down. I’ll be honest my profile a few years back looked just like this albeit a bit less extreme. I just recently removed around 400 stars.

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      I assume this is just a set of someone’s bookmarks. Why fork? Because upstream can force-push, and if upstream doesn’t do that, the fork is cheap. I think forks could even survive upstream repository deletion, but I am not sure.

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        It depends on how it was deleted, I believ when the author deletes the repository, forks survive, if github nukes the repo, all forks get nuked too.

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        I think the answer is simple, and most people in this thread don’t want to admit it or are too idealistic: People create GitHub accounts en masse, and use these to artificially boost their own (or someone elses) repositories reputation. After all, who hasn’t had to decide between two similar GitHub projects, and chose one based on the amount of stars or forks they had?

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          That’s it. I hadn’t thought of that but it makes perfect sense.

          I also think I chose a bad example here, because this person could definitely just be saving a whole bunch of repos for later.

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            1.3k repositories for later? Maybe, why not, but the person certainly would seem to have quite a lot planned

            I just took a look your example again, and the only profile they are following is one by “Brainlabs Digital”: https://github.com/BrainlabsDigital - they seem to be some data analysis organisation, so either the profile you posted is just an account they use gather data from GitHub or “Brainlabs” is just an elaborate scheme to make people believe just that, and prevent them from thinking that it’s just a reputation-bot. Both cases are equally likely, if you ask me.

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              Well, at some point maybe they were meant for ‘later’ and then moved on to other things :) I mean, I’m only a mild github addict, and I have >500 repos starred (of which probably 90% I thought there was a chance I might use it at some point).

              The odd thing that strikes me is there is so much forkage going on but not a single contribution.

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                I use stars extremely loosely. If I find a repository even remotely interesting, even if it’s e.g. in a language I don’t use, I star it; consequently I have 1.4k stars.

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            I saw one of these yesterday and in response to your ‘ask’, I investigated.

            https://github.com/minsle follows 19.8k accounts but otherwise doesn’t appear to be active. When this user followed me yesterday, I blocked them. Why? Because I didn’t know/care what they are doing, but clearly they were in it for the data. No thanks.

            BUT… I’ve unblocked them now! Because my investigation turned up this: https://github.com/github-serendipity/github-serendipity.github.io/blob/master/README-en.md

            The project shows some promise, though it’s definitely not ready to go live.

            The user apparently made this repo public yesterday sometime after I blocked them. Let that be lessons.

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              They followed me too! Maybe we should be flattered as per their profile “I only follow excellent people”

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              Suppose you have a pet work or hobby project X.

              It depends on someone else’s project Y which you don’t have commit access to.

              Now you fix a bug in Y, or add a feature to Y ie. Create a DeltaY.

              It’s largish so it’s a matter of several commits.

              Now you would like to upstream it, you chat on the mailing list for X and upstream is not convinced, have other priorities so are not going to just slap your stuff in before the next release.

              People using X need DeltaY. Where are they going to get it? From Y. Nope. From your fork of Y. Yup.

              People developing Y can have a look at your DeltaY at leisure, and (at least in gitlab, I assume it is the same for github) you can click on “Create Merge Request” and ask the Y dev’s to merge DeltaY into Y.

              They can review it and you can have a bit of too and fro updating the merge request if need me….

              And they can trivially click merge. Done.

              So sort of the first step in creating a dependency from any project Z on project A is for those with commit access to Z to fork A.

              So why so many without any deltas? Well partly insurance.

              If Y goes hogs wild and dodgy, changes licence, deletes itself…. your project trudges on without a hiccup.

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                I don’t think I star hundreds of repos, but I starred plenty of them I don’t contribute to, just because I use Sibell to be notified of their releases ;)