I sent a pull request to the lead developer of an open source project that I’m starting to contribute to. This is the default that both github and bitbucket give you, and the first thing that newbie open source contributors on those sites will think of doing.
I got this response from him:
I’d *massively* prefer patch submission via patchbomb to the … list – that’s generally where they come in, and sometimes people other than me find potential problems in the patch. Can you do that?
D’oh! My bad! It’s the same kind of thing as the rule that you should ask the whole community, not just one of its members. Admittedly I had noticed the existence of the mailing list, but only after I sent off the pull request, so his response did not surprise me.
Moral of the story: if you want to contribute to an open source project, look for a mailing list before you do anything else. And if there is one, use it.