One pattern I’ve started running into is developers explicitly throwing a NullReferenceException when validating the “this” parameter of an extension method.

public static void ForEach<T>(this IEnumerable<T> enumerable, Action<T> action)
{
    if (null == enumerable)
    {
        throw new NullReferenceException();
    }
    // rest omitted 
}

The desired behavior here is to make extension methods look even more like instance methods by adding similar exception semantics.  So now a call to col.ForEach(..) throws a NullReferenceException if col is null just like it would if ForEach were a real method. 

However this is incorrect and should be avoided. 

  1. A null reference has not occurred in this example.  Having an exception targeted to a very specific event being raised when that event did not occur is simply incorrect. 
  2. NullReferenceException is a runtime exception and should only be raised by the runtime.  In several cases the runtime attaches special semantics to an exception it throws that changes the way it is handled (StackOverflowExcepion for example).  Throwing runtime exceptions in user code means certain catch handlers can now potentially execute it at least 2 ways.  This only serves to confuse developers  [1]
  3. Extension methods can be, and often are, still called just like a plain old static method and must play by those rules.  The .Net framework guidelines are very clear on how this case should be handled.
  4. Extension methods can validly be called on a null “this” value and it doesn’t represent an intrinsic error as it does for a normal instance method [2]

For me #1 and #3 are the most compelling points.  Violating either of these goes against established practices and semantic and leads to incorrect behavior in programs. 

The correct pattern here is that for a normal static method: use an ArgumentNullException. 

public static void ForEach<T>(this IEnumerable<T> enumerable, Action<T> action)
{
    if (null == enumerable)
    {
        throw new ArgumentNullException();
    }
    // rest ommitted 
}

[1] I very much wish explicitly throwing runtime exceptions produced unverifiable code

[2] Whether or not this is a good idea is a different question