wounded in the line of duty
It has been considered best practice in Debian since forever to contact upstream and build a working relationship for as long as you remain packaging their software. That includes subscribing to upstream mailing lists, tracking and working on upstream bugs as well, etc.
However, as one would expect, many maintainers don't do it even in Debian, let alone on Ubuntu. Too many people like quantity over quality, or maintain stuff they are minimally interested on (maybe it is a dependency lib, etc).
And you WILL notice I am not talking about automated tools or any such stuff, here. If you are downstream for some software package, and your upstream doesn't know you by name, something is not right.
When the first contact is not good, the downstream maintainer is likely to just ignore upstream from now on and act as a pure "consumer" of new releases. Which is not good for either side...
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