> Any loss of contributors is a loss, and would demotivate the remaining contributors.
The lack of forking when a project is taking a wrong turn is also demotivating (Again, I am not claiming it is a wrong turn). Forking could mean a gain in contributors (I believe that was likely the point in the original suggestion), in the right case, it does. And, not forking can sometimes lose more contributors.
> Nupedia wasn't at OSM's stage of development when Wikipedia forked off from it.
Please explain. Do you feel it is way ahead or way behind Nupedia?
> If forking was so harmless, why only fork in two? Why not invite OSM to fork into ten little projects? :-)
Why not fork in 100 projects? It likely won't matter. since 98 of those 100 projects will likely have 1 contributor to them. Just because someone forks a project doesn't mean that anyone is going to follow them. Tiny and numerous forks happen all the time on almost every project, even small ones, you just don't consider them forks because they don't amount to anything, they have no effect on the main project. Many simply remerge with the main project regularly. Many are dropped and the contributors remerge.
If someone wants to fork, because they are dissatisfied, they are likely lost to start with. If someone else follows them, then it is a sign of greater dissatisfaction. This type of forking is a way of expressing an irreconcilable difference. If it gets to this point, not forking does not fix the problem. Forking at least has the potential to. Forking is a sign of energy, it can be a great counter to apathy. If forking can kill a project, it is already dead.