Yes, it would be closer to an equivalent workflow if the the project owner would mention it in a README. But savvy users could send a nice patch email using only instructions in the git man pages (man git has a list of commands).
> Also quick ignorant question: Does the diff patch approach eliminate the need to fork a project to contribute to it? I like the idea of forking for a project I plan on contributing a bunch to, but when I just want to contribute a bug fix or some tests, I find having to fork to be completely unnecessary.
It does. It's quite excellent being able to do a one-off patch.
That alone I think is an excellent reason to support this feature and a much stronger argument than "Pull requests aren't native to git". I really wish submitting one off patches didn't require forking.