In brief: I have some questions around forking a FLOSS project. They tend to start with a question of etiquette ("what's the right thing to do?"), but then stray into more technical areas ("how do I do the right thing?")... such as what should I do with package.json, how to organize things within my fork on GitHub.

Q: How technical can my question get? NOTE: I wouldn't be asking "what's the Git command-line to achieve...", but more what's the best/accepted practice within NPM/Git to fit with FLOSS ideals.

Background, in case it helps:

In a situation somewhat similar to "Etiquette around forks & npm", I've made some (local) changes to a Node module published on NPM and hosted on GitHub under an MIT license. The project hasn't had any commits in nearly a year, and the maintainer has indicated they're unlikely to have the time to actively maintain it.

I've created a fork of the original code, primarily as a place to store my personal changes. However, before I push my changes to it, I'd like to ask some etiquette/best practice questions, taking into account:

  • I don't want to exclude the possibility of submitting my changes as a PR, though at the moment it seems unlikely that one would be processed.

  • I'm not (at least currently) in a position to either take over active maintenance of the original module, nor for my fork to become an active replacement for it (but, again, I don't want to exclude either of these if possible).

  • If someone stumbles across my fork, I more than happy for them to use my changes if they want, but I don't want it to either look like I created the whole thing, nor for my forked-module to "clash" with the original one.

1 Answer 1


Mandatory disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, and represents no one but myself.

I think your question draws the border in the right place. You have an action plan (or several optional action plans) that involves a modification of a FOSS library, and you'd like to know what the common/accepted practice would be, and what technical steps you'll need to take to achieve this. While it isn't a clear cut "objective" question ("doing X is wrong, do Y instead"), the FOSS community, and more specifically, the NPM ecosystem, has it's conventions on the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in such a situation. In short - I think such a question would be a good fit for Open Source Stack Exchange.

And, as you mentioned, that's more or less when the line runs. More specific technical questions ("what git commands should I use to...", "I did this and that and got the following error when I run npm install...") are probably more suitable for Stack Overflow.

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