You want to participate in an open source development community?
Then read this: http://ldn.linuxfoundation.org/book/how-participate-linux-community . Kudos to Jonathan Corbet of lwn.net fame. A very good (and relatively short) booklet on how to participate in an open source community. Specifically, this is geared towards Linux, but many of the observations in here will span communities and relate to any development project which is developed where a mailing list is the primary communication medium for developers.
Definitely a good read!