Github is forcing me to change my username, and will not tell me why

A few days ago I received an email from [email protected]:
From: "[REDACTED] (GitHub Staff)" Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 21:55:06 +0000 (UTC)Subject: Re: A note from GitHub regarding your usernameHi Joël,I work on GitHub's Support team and I'm contacting you about your GitHubaccount, 'malware'. I'm so sorry about this, but for technical reasons we needto remove the username 'malware' from being available.We'd like to ask you to change your username by following these your username is quick and painless. However, please read this Helparticle that explains what happens with your feel free to take some time to find a new and awesome username. However,due to the technical reasons mentioned above, we will need to change yourusername in one week if you haven't made the change by then. If that happens,the username will be changed to 'mal-zz-ware' as a placeholder, and you will beable to change it again yourself.Losing a username is not fun, and we get that. To help you get over the lossand start new awesome projects, we'd be happy to apply a coupon to either your'jperras' account or the 'malware' account (name changed, of course) for a freeyear of our developer plan.Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you run into any problems!And be sure to let us know to which account you'd like the coupon applied.

I’ll save you the trouble: malware doesn’t have any public activity. It doesn’t have much activity at all, to be honest: I log in and poke around a bit once in a while, but really it’s an account name that I picked up not long ago with the intent of working on some new open source stuff that wasn’t tied to my usual jperras handle.

The reason behind the second account isn’t anything nefarious or special: I simply liked the idea of being able to publish code in various states of readiness without stressing about how it might look on my “professional” online persona.

Well, that particular cat is out of the bag now.

But why? Why was I now being asked to change the name of the account?

Is it because there wasn’t enough activity on the account and they thought it was being squatted?3 The phrasing of the request seems to rule this out:

for technical reasons we need to remove the username ‘malware’ from being available.

but it’s possible.

Is it because the word malware has negative connotations in the world of software? Am I a victim of a programmer version of a clbuttic filter?

If this is some form of security-related censorship, where is the line drawn? If I worked in infosec and had a repository or a user named malware-research or malware-examples, would that also trigger a support email that required them to change the relevant entity names to mal-zz-ware-examples?

What about anyone with the word hacker in their username?

I sent a hasty reply, of which I have transcribed the salient portion:

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Other urls found in this thread:

What "technical reasons" would require changing a username for an account thathas existed for some time now, without issue? Is it simply the somewhatnefarious nature of the name "malware"? If so, what other user names are nowbeing banned from Github? Does this apply to composite names, such as`malwares`, or `online-malware`? If so, where is the line drawn?I had been waiting for a good time to switch over most of my non-corporateGithub work over to the `malware` user (never enough time in the week).Granted, it sat inactive for a little bit of time, but I figured it would bethere when I was ready. I guess my procrastination has saved me some work, inthis case.

To which I received a reply a day later:

Thank you for your response. Due to privacy and security concerns, we areunable to discuss the technical reasons behind requesting the change of themalware username.I apologize again for the disappointment. Once the account name has beenchanged, we will go ahead and apply the year-long coupon to your `jperras`account.

It seems the reason I have to rename my user account is on a need-to-know basis, and that I, as the owner of that account, do not need to know.

As someone who has been a user of Github since 2009 and a paying user not long after that, I figured that I might get someone to give me an explanation, but I’ve only been met with canned replies or silence.

I know it’s not a big deal: I’m not losing an account name that I’ve invested a lot of time into, and in the grand scheme of things Github is able to curate their own user and repository name blacklists as they see fit.

I just want to know why.

It can be for google reasons:
If someone searches "github malware" the crew might want something else as a search result.
Some github insider might want that account name for himself or his kid. They might have been paid for the account by some rich ass jew knows who megacorporation and don't want to lose money over some random dudes account.

Tell them you are very fond of the account and want a 6 to 9 months of developer upgrade in return. They probably make 10 times more money from giving that name to the cia nigger that wanted it.

w8 they already are giving you a free year coupon why even care lol.

Just change name to maliciousware

I'll leave this essay by Mike Gerwitz from:

GitHubbub! GitHub Does Not Value Software Freedom

If you hit this page expecting to have been taken to my GitHub profile, then this is probably not what you were looking for; but let me tell you why you’re here.

Before providing a link to something hosted on a service, it is important to consider whether the service or website is antithetical to the message you are trying to convey to your readers/visitors, and whether it deserves clarification; there’s a little bit of both here.

If you’re looking for a host friendly toward free software, take a look at the GNU ethical repository criteria, which sets standards for acceptable hosts to parts of the GNU operating system.

Non-Free JavaScript

Free software guarantees your freedom to study, modify, and share the software that you use. We value these freedoms on the desktop, so why should we compromise when websites serve proprietary JavaScript just because it creates the illusion of remote execution? When you visit a website that serves JavaScript to the client, your web browser is automatically downloading and executing (often without your permission) ephemeral, unsigned, untrusted software. If that JavaScript is not freely licensed, then the software running in your web browser is proprietary.

When you visit, you download over 200kB of obfuscated code, much of which is proprietary. This code provides many website features that are fairly essential, and do not work with JavaScript disabled:
* Change repository names or descriptions;
* Delete repositories;
* Add an SSH key to your account;
* Fork repositories;
* Create pull requests;
* Enable and disable project features;
* Use the wiki and issue trackers;
* View graphs of statistics;
* And others.
That is—GitHub forces you to run proprietary software in order to use much of their website. This is a bit startling for a host that owes its very existence to the success and development of free software.

Desire To Remain Non-Free

I contacted GitHub back in April 2014 pointing out these concerns and asking if they would be able to either liberate their JavaScript or make GitHub’s essential functionality work without JavaScript enabled. The first response I received was from one of their “JavaScript Developers”:

Github wants to be able to use the URL
They probably want it for some new service they are adding / selling.
This is the same reason there can't be an account named dashboard.

stop using (((github)))

Wew lad. Although I suppose in your defense, github was a very different company back then, that was quite some time before they removed their Meritocracy slogans.

Malware is a quite privileged name. They probably want to use for a page of their own or something of the sort. That's the consequence of how github URLs were designed: users are not namespaced under a /users/ hierarchy, so user names will conflict with other github pages. Imagine if you had an account named help which lived at Github almost certainly would ask you to change names so they could put up an actual help page there.

How the would we know?

Tell them you want a refund going all the way back to 2009. If they say no then don't change it and start publishing code under that account. See what they do.

Tell them you want one of these premium names in return. They're fairly inactive, so it shouldn't be a hassle in giving you the account.

Then they fucked up by lying to OP saying it was a "technical" reason. Now they are stuck.
A) They stick with the lie and people think their software is so shit it can't deal with certain usernames.
B) They risk starting a PR issue for deleting accounts that did absolutely nothing wrong.
Their only hope is OP is a wimp and just goes away quietly.

If they where up front for the real reason they wanted the name then this could have gone much nicer.

In a few years those names would be irrelevant. I would want /root or a single letter user name.

lol it really is a terrible system.

github does not respect your freedoms

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I'm very sorry about your account, UNIX-Hater user.
It's probably some gay initiative about Russian viruses on Github.

welcome to new world order shit hub.
before I quit playing WoW years ago, they would ban and suspend my accounts for no reason, even after refuting it.
they act like they own us and the only way to fight it is stop playing their game.

i dont really like jordan peterson but he alluded to this attack on the human psyche recently and cucker tarlson.

the problem is, generation X is waking up to it. you can see it in their eyes.

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Trump's name will live in infamy. Why wouldn't you want a github name of the next addition to Mount Rushmore?

If you use (((social media))) start a shitstorm. Fuck kikehub.

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Maybe you can finally get around to changing your username to kikeniggerfaggot


>The website shits itself when I disable harmful browser (((features)))
Fuck off. I can download GitHub repos as .zip files even if I block everything. I emailed those fucks to fix this and didn't even receive a response.


GenX are the new boomers

The reason is technical. They probably want to make a page about malware.

Whatever kiddo. If I was handling this, github would have functionality that prompted you for your new username when you logged in and it would not let you do shit until you changed it. /malware would already be redirecting to our new malware page, and OP's account would be unreachable until he changed his fucking name. We'd already be using the malware name a long time ago, and he wouldn't have gotten some pity prize in the form of 1 year subscription. As if they need permission or OP's blessing to change his account name. Don't like it? Cry me a river. Buy your own domain and host your own servers.

Why would it be painful?

I think it's because they have a user account name 'malware' that's used for some daemon or something.

They are asking. That implies you can also refuse.

Notice that there's seemingly no 'admin' user on GitHub.

Because people may be linking to your projects and changing user names will break those links.

Because the username "admin" is so much reserved that even an admin user can't use it.

That website fucking sucks. Hope they fix it some day.

Nowhere were I talking about a "jewish conspiracy", apparently your own obsessions cause you to project this hard. What I was mocking is the common use of the phrase "security concerns" akin to a piece of rag used to stuff someone's mouth shut (so as to, should they choose to argue their point further, make them look like a "threat" to the aforementioned "security").

If you own any domain names, let's see how you react when IANA revokes them someday because "hurr durr muh technical and security concerns kthxbai".

So everyone who registered with a username that is an actual word should fear that Github could make them give up that username any day if they choose to make a page about the subject the username in question commonly represents?

Nice bait.




Even if English is not someone's native language, it's worthwhile to be aware that "to ask abc to do xyz" is most of the time an euphemistic synonym for "to tell abc they must do xyz" (or even "to order abc to do xyz").

I'm gonna start trying to make my name index.html whenever I register on any website.

Sure, but it doesn't denote an obligation.
If I were OP, I would just ignore them.


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It's not out of nowhere, they are giving him a warning

Yeah it has the exact same cancerous social media shit.
Super important displayed everywhere. Only thing is who cares. Manipulated social media drones that's who. It's for "driving engagement", cancer that some moron read about.
Pointless low information crap.
Does the software even work? No way to find that out.
A site for software has no way to determine if the software even works. Just think about that. A simple out of 5 score would tell you that. A comment section would tell you that. A retarded downboat would tell you that.
User page is even more blatant with a giant grid where green = good goy points for each day. You see this same crap on pajeet programming puzzle sites where they are trying to get you to work for free. hmm I wonder.

Just compare to how it was on nearly all download sites
Simple popularity.
Is it shit or good?
With those two pieces of information I can figure out a huge amount of stuff. Controversial but popular projects, junkware, better forks, diamond in the rough, popular libraries that have less reviews because people don't think about them, etc.

It's their site. Your registration there is a privilege. It can be taken away at any time for any reason. I haven't even read their terms and conditions and I'm willing to bet there's a clause there that says they can discontinue service without warning for any reason, including no reason.

Github is being exceedingly generous with its emails:

OP should take up this offer before their patience runs out.

Also, the domains that IANA won't allow you to register are documented here:

The OP is going to get steamrolled legally and there's nothing he will do about it. GitHub can delete his account and there's nothing he can do about it. They are a mega-billion dollar company and they can do whatever they want. Who the fuck are you to question their gorillions of dollars? They could execute you if they wanted.

username in one week if you haven't made the change by then. If that happens,
the username will be changed to 'mal-zz-ware' as a placeholder, and you will be
able to change it again yourself.
It doesn't matter what he does. He isn't keeping that username :^(

My sides.

I understand your frustration

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No, I think there is an actual admin user using it but it doesn't have a GitHub user attached to it because it's only used for backend stuff.

not an argument

Interesting, and just shows that relying on the kindness of strangers in this age is now a smart plan.


they will change his username as stated in the message lol

Because Joel's not a Big Guy. Though he tries to be:

He's just a fiveheaded soyboy: Seriously, behold that mighty expanse between his eyebrows and his receding hairline.


it's just an instance of gitlab, you can run it yourself, which is what you should be doing in the first place if you have released code that has any amount of value.

There's nothing wrong with mirroring your code on multiple servers. I push to github and bitbucket.

Make a post about this on medium and post it on hacker news and r/programming. Then enjoy the flames.

It's because they have some garbage markoff chain analytics (such as a Web Application Firewall or spam filter) that literally gets triggered by seeing the word "malware". This is 21st century "engineering".

And that is the typical response when questioning such systems.

Oh wait it could also be because they use this retarded URL layout where your profile page is on and they want to use for something else. Really in that case they could just have something like and would go to whatever they reserved it for but their code could be too fucked to make an alternate URL like that. Treating URLs as a "UX" concern is retarded in the first place and leads to this kind of thing.

change it to "maIware", with the capital "i" instead of "l"

how many admin accounts have I impersonated like that throughout my journey on the internets

I stopped using Github a while ago. I just keep my repositories on an RPI now.

I bought it a week before they came out as SJW, give me a break.

They also state that if the name isn't changed within 1 week, it will be changed to a placeholder name. They seem polite but they are instructing him to change it before they do it anyway

Leave github. It's that simple.

You're an ass, you know that?