The best way i could find through GitHub's user interface to pull the main project's continued development into my fork—and this has to be the most basic need of fork-based collaboration—was to create a pull request. First it said the main project had all my changes— after all, the maintainer accepted my pull request. But it suggested i could "change the base" to see the changes it had, and indeed i was then able to pull changes from the main project into my fork.
Which turned out to be one merge commit from when my fork's change was accepted into it.
Now GitHub is asking me to create a pull request back to the main project... with one merge commit that's nothing but bringing in the merge commit just created. It even says 0 changed files with 0 additions and 0 deletions.
Would it let me and the project maintainer go forever creating pull requests back and forth for empty merge commits?
I know i can on my local clone of the project pull with the --rebase flag. My question is how in world is the most common flow for contributing to a project — hey, let me get up-to-date with whatever has happened over there — be so unmitigatingly terrible?
Surely i'm missing something? Please?