> By running "git pull", the user may obtain yet newer commits from
> the upstream, which very likely will happen in an active project, or
> "git fetch" launched by "git pull" will return without doing
> anything after noticing there is nothing new.
> As long as the updates to the upstream is also a fast-forward, it
> will still fast-forward you, but to an even newer state of the
> upstream.
> There is no harm done[*1*] by suggesting "git pull" over "git
> merge", no?

OK, I'm mostly convinced.
A more verbose, educational output could read:

  (use "git pull" to fetch newer commits from upstream and update your
local branch)
  (use "git merge" to update your local branch)

> [Footnote]
> *1* There is a bigger problem with this message, especially when the
> user sees it on 'master', but your message is about the case where
> you are strictly behind and that bigger problem will not be an
> issue, so I won't discuss it further.

No idea what's this "bigger problem with this message". Care to expand?

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