I used to fork projects from github when I thought they are useful: even not currently but maybe I need it in the future, so I did a backup of it. However, I didn’t always give the project a star. Graudally, I found this is not a good habit. Currenlty, When I fork a project, I acknowledge it gives me valuable information, I always give this project a star.
The reason behind it is simple: for a repository in github, no matter it belongs to a company or an independent developer, is an outcome of hardworking. Especially for an individual, who mostly sacrifices his own spare time to foster the project and share it freely. You don’t need to pay even one penny to obatin knowledge from others’ IP, and only one click of mouse can express your gratitude and respect for original author. It is not too hard, correct?
Actually, the author can often get motivated by this simple action because it means his endeavour gets a recognization and he earns potential reputation in his career; this may drive he to polish project continuously. The users, including you, will get benefit from a high-qualified project with doubt, so there will be a “win-win” result finally.
Based on above exposition, maybe everyone should give a star for the projects which have helped you. This is the cheapest method to support Free& Open Source Projects, no matter it is software, hardware, and whatever.