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What happens to forks when a repository is deleted or changes visibility?

Deleting your repository or changing its visibility affects that repository's forks.

Warning:

  • If you remove a person’s access to a private repository, any of their forks of that private repository are deleted. Local clones of the private repository are retained. If a team's access to a private repository is revoked or a team with access to a private repository is deleted, and team members do not have access to the repository through another team, private forks of the repository will be deleted.

  • You are responsible for ensuring that people who have lost access to a repository delete any confidential information or intellectual property.

  • People with admin permissions to a private or internal repository can disallow forking of that repository, and organization owners can disallow forking of any private or internal repository in an organization. For more information, see "Managing the forking policy for your organization" and "Managing the forking policy for your repository."

Deleting a private repository

When you delete a private repository, all of its private forks are also deleted.

Deleting a public repository

When you delete a public repository, one of the existing public forks is chosen to be the new parent repository. All other repositories are forked off of this new parent and subsequent pull requests go to this new parent.

Private forks and permissions

Las bifurcaciones privadas heredan la estructura de permisos del repositorio ascendente o padre. Esto ayuda a que los propietarios de repositorios privados mantengan el control sobre su código. Por ejemplo, si el repositorio ascendente es privado y otorga acceso de lectura/escritura a un equipo, entonces el mismo equipo tendrá este tipo de acceso en cualquier bifurcación de dicho repositorio ascendente. Las bifurcaciones privadas solo heredarán los permisos de equipo (y no los iniciales).

Changing a public repository to a private repository

If a public repository is made private, its public forks are split off into a new network. As with deleting a public repository, one of the existing public forks is chosen to be the new parent repository and all other repositories are forked off of this new parent. Subsequent pull requests go to this new parent.

In other words, a public repository's forks will remain public in their own separate repository network even after the parent repository is made private. This allows the fork owners to continue to work and collaborate without interruption. If public forks were not moved into a separate network in this way, the owners of those forks would need to get the appropriate access permissions to pull changes from and submit pull requests to the (now private) parent repository—even though they didn't need those permissions before.

Deleting the private repository

If a public repository is made private and then deleted, its public forks will continue to exist in a separate network.

Changing a private repository to a public repository

If a private repository is made public, each of its private forks is turned into a standalone private repository and becomes the parent of its own new repository network. Private forks are never automatically made public because they could contain sensitive commits that shouldn't be exposed publicly.

Deleting the public repository

If a private repository is made public and then deleted, its private forks will continue to exist as standalone private repositories in separate networks.

Changing the visibility of an internal repository

If the policy for your enterprise permits forking, any fork of an internal repository will be private. If you change the visibility of an internal repository, any fork owned by an organization or personal account will remain private.

Deleting the internal repository

If you change the visibility of an internal repository and then delete the repository, the forks will continue to exist in a separate network.

Further reading