Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Notepad++ issues attacked by Chinese commenters (github.com)
237 points by shp0ngle 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments





Good on the Notepad++ devs. They've had Tiananmen-themed release notes in the past as well.

Edit:

Remember when GitHub started allowing removing issues, rather than just closing them? People got all wound up saying that issues shouldn't be totally removed and there should be a public record of the maintainer closing it.

This is a perfect example of what that feature enables. The maintainers can, if they want, just go in and remove all these issue reports. It totally removes any power that troll accounts have.


Developer also had a Charlie Hebdo[0] edition[1]. I have been using Notepad++ for over a decade if my memory serves me right and I will continue to use it.

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo_shooting [1]https://notepad-plus-plus.org/news/v674-je-suis-charlie-edit...


It's kind of strange but refreshing, that an open source project mixes their releases with other unrelated issues, using their popularity to spread their word. But I guess, the larger and more known you get, the higher the chance to offend people.

I think there's a point, where this can turn against the project and maybe Notepad++ reached it? It may also change the dynamic while you grow. Just think about how Hacker News would look like today if submissions about political affairs were accepted...

However, I love that the Notepad++ Devs did also show some humor before with a well-known easter egg: Type Random, select the word and hit F1. [1]

[1] https://github.com/notepad-plus-plus/notepad-plus-plus/blob/...


Remember that vim is a charityware and you are encouraged to donate to Uganda children.

> donate to Uganda children.

Does it count if I donate to a different group that supports Uganda children, but still use vim?

In any case, I applaud the vim devs for promoting this.


Yes, think about it, it would no longer be a safe space for S)W crap and promotion of lies and insane agendas. They speak up against evil, against communism, kudos to them, not that capitalism, (state sanctioned u5ury through central banks) is any better at the end of the day.

> This is a perfect example of what that feature enables. The maintainers can, if they want, just go in and remove all these issue reports.

Why would anyone want that? The author took a public stance against oppression, and all these trolls are demonstrating that he is right.


From the notes:

"People will tell me again to not mix politics with software/business. Doing so surely impacts the popularity of Notepad++: talking about politics is exactly what software and commercial companies generally try to avoid. The problem is, if we don’t deal with politics, politics will deal with us. We can choose to not act when people are being oppressed, but when it’s our turn to be oppressed, it will be too late and there will be no one for us. You don’t need to be Uyghur or a Muslim to act, you need only to be a human and have empathy for our fellow humans."


I have wondered about the following question in roundabout ways, but this note has finally made the phrasing clear to me: if humanity finds a way to weed out the people who speak up for themselves and for others over a long-enough time scale, then what happens to humanity game-theoretically in that scale and on a longer scale? Please feel free to replace “humanity” with “a population” if it helps you think of an answer.

Edit: replaced “in terms of game theory” with “game-theoretically”.


My take on this is that it's not possible on a long enough time scale. If you try to curtail freedom of knowledge and trade, eventually you will get artifacts that will slow down the progress of your society (just look at the Github bans). Look at how hopelessly antiquated "parallel" societies like the ex-GDR, North Korea or Cuba have become.

North Korea still holds out as they completely closed down their population. But if you try to have all the good parts of western society while still limiting intellectual freedom, I think all of this will come apart eventually. Travel from and to China is not severely limited, and eventually there will be an influx and a core cell of Chinese people wanting to have the same freedoms for their country.

Fighting those minds will show the true faces of any authoritarian regime, which in turn will get more people upset. I think in these days of full technical mind control, it will be an interesting excercise in how long a government can keep this critical mass contained and intimidated.

But once they can get some visibility and they hit a weak spot in the regime, it's usually over: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monday_demonstrations_in_East_...

The human mind is meant to be free. Any dictatorship is actively working at destroying itself.


its great when simple facts can obliterate the propaganda.

Politics isn't about humans, its about power.


Power over humans. No humans, no power.

GitHub should take a stand and remove the accounts of everyone involved. No matter if they're spreading Chinese Nationalism and attacking people over it or those who think it's an excuse to use racist swear words against Asians. This should be a platform for collaboration, behavior like in a YouTube comment section shouldn't be tolerated

The accounts used in those scripted attacks are obviously throw-aways, removing them won't change a thing.

I see a lot of legit account but used sporadically.

Sometimes these are "sleepers" accounts, and they are very valuable in astroturfing and trolling business. Not all of them - I suspect some people are real, and upset about "some developer teaching us how to live".

I wouldn't surprised if there is a quite significant chunk of accounts on any soc media sites that are dormant until "the call" comes in.


I'm seeing some non-throwaway accounts used, although not really in a spammy sense.

I think we will have to go to strong AI to cull these useless commenters or just live with it. Another solution is to allow a project to only accept bug reports from verified (some sort license?) github members. Maybe that old timer Bayesian filtering would work on obvious cases like this.

Respect for people who take a stand for important issues.

I understand the value of not wanting to bring politics into a shared large tech community, but at the same time you should be able to do what you want with your own software, and using it to push your ideals is legit.

We must remember though that this should also apply to ideas we don't agree with.


What the fuck is happening here? Context?

Edit: "Notepad++ v7.8.1: Free Uyghur"

I love it.


NodeBB team here. We host Notepad++'s forum. We're keeping an eye out for suspicious activity on the forum as well, as these types of spam dumps occur often.

That said, the Notepad++ forum has been the target of a low level DoS attack for the past month...


I am finding it fascinating looking at the abusive accounts and their repositories and history of issues and pull requests over various other repositories.

I wonder if some kind of pattern could be apparent? (Currently the few accounts I have visited are front end JS developers) Could some of them be active in your own communities?


Or possibly devs using weak passwords.

> I wonder if some kind of pattern could be apparent?

All the salient patterns have already been described in a book published by George Orwell in the late '40s.


1984? A constant state of war to consume the output of production.

What has that got to do with this?


So they should be ostracised for not thinking like the West wants them to think?

My issue with this is that some people think that all online supporters of the Chinese government are paid shills or just bots. It might surprise you to know that there are normal Chinese people, just like you and I, that simply like things are going in China. I see no reason to disrespect or ostracise them for their politics.


Oh I actually think they are normal people. And that's why it's interesting and important.

A simple reason why is imagine not having to have a paid online army or coordinate a sophisticated bot attack when your population will do it voluntarily and with enthusiasm.

The more complex reason is more interesting and it really is about the freedom to think and speak but it's also where criticism of China as a state is considered to be an attack on the people and where even telling the truth must be sacrificed for stability. China has the myth that it is stable because it has lost so much blood in the past therefore the stability is more important than human rights or the truth. It's actually why Muslims and Hong Kong are attacked, literally because their existence shows that China is not whole or stable. It's frightening and most Chinese people will rather not rock the boat.

This "attack" on GitHub is actually a defense.


I usually go on the offense here with this account to try to preach the other side of story in a justified manner as possible. But I do want to just note on this to say I love the way you portrayed the actual situation versus many, it's very on spot and I wish others would recognize the situation the way you do.

You mean posting an issue titled "fuck you" is "not thinking like us"?

This might be the equivalent of a street protest. Why is throwing rocks at cops good but writing "fuck you" in an Internet forum not good?

The devs of notepad++ aren't cops. And I disagree that using physical violence in a protest is "good" or even productive.

The devs of Notepad++ aligned themselves by naming a release "Free Uyghur" in the same way that a cop puts himself out there by signing up for the force. It's not like they have been gratuitously targeted.

They named a release in a way that they knew would piss off Chinese users. Now Chinese users are pissed off. Shall we say "mission accomplished"?


> They named a release in a way that they knew would piss off Chinese users.

No, they piss off CCP supporters, that's not the same thing at all.


Their goal wasn't to piss off Chinese people, their goal was to bring to light atrocities being committed by the Chinese government against the Uighurs. No one is attacking the Chinese people.

The actual issue matters. In this case the mistreated Uighur.

China is a genocidal state, and the supposedly hundreds of millions of supporters of that state policy in China are also genocidal by definition. I see no reason not to disrespect them. This is not "a difference of opinion" it's an ethnic cleansing, not something you brush off to polite disagreement. Yes, absolutely ostracize them, that's what you do to people who support genocide. 100% of the time any civilized person should resist them in any way they can.

Can't speak for downvoters, but the issue isn't the content, it's the abuse of the system. Perhaps they should stick the commentary regarding the political content in an open source project to a single issue, keep it civil and on topic, and don't spam across various issues.

I am of the view that attempting to systematically eliminate an entire culture though the use of force is represenible. If someone likes that they are deserving of ostracisation.

Given that 150 states have signed the genocide convention I don’t think that being against Genocide is a western view.


I certainly think such nationalists should be ostracised in the west. Why exactly should we give the Chinese nationalists a pass?

No one cares, they can take their political shit posts somewhere else.

No one is attacking the Chinese people for their culture and unique views. Genocide and ethnic cleansing is being attacked by the Notepad++ devs and anyone in favor of the atrocities against the Uighur should be publicly ostracized and ridiculed.

I don't think defending genocide is a valid political opinion and anyone should be ostracized for holding it.

Notepad++ devs are doing the right thing.

I prefer my software politics free, but it's their right in my opinion to do it, and mine to choose whether or not to use the software.

So you don't use any Free Software at all?

Here is what happens when you speak out against the Chinese government: https://www.reddit.com/r/HongKong/comments/dp5422/dont_becom...

I love how many comments are anti-USA, but the author is from France.

"France" you mean :)

https://donho.github.io/ Looks pretty French to me.

Triggered by the blog post announcing the relase of "Notepad++ v7.8.1 : Free Uyghur".

https://notepad-plus-plus.org/news/v781-free-uyghur-edition/

Excerpt from the blog post:

> At least 120,000 members of Kashgar’s Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in Xinjiang’s re-education camps which aim to change the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs. Reports from the World Uyghur Congress submitted to the United Nations in July 2018 suggest that 1 million Uyghurs are currently being held in the re-education camps.

> Here are some actions you can take to help them: https://uhrp.org/what-you-can-do

> The fact you have just learned such information is already an action in and of itself. But you can involve more people to focus on this issue and hopefully apply additional pressure on the Chinese government to stop their oppressive actions and crimes concerning the Uyghur people. People will tell me again to not mix politics with software/business. Doing so surely impacts the popularity of Notepad++: talking about politics is exactly what software and commercial companies generally try to avoid. The problem is, if we don’t deal with politics, politics will deal with us. We can choose to not act when people are being oppressed, but when it’s our turn to be oppressed, it will be too late and there will be no one for us. You don’t need to be Uyghur or a Muslim to act, you need only to be a human and have empathy for our fellow humans.

> Hence Notepad++ Free Uyghur Edition:


Cache because the notepad++ website is currently unavailable: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dMqHQf...

Are they maybe irritated at the author because they won't be able to use N++ anymore in China due to censorship? Or is that a silly idea. Some of the issues seem to just be made of text that's purposefully made to be censored, including e.g. "winnie the pooh". Or maybe they're trying to show that they're "good citizens"...

Update: looks like 4chan has started their trolling...


Reading the few comments that were (machine) translated into English, it seems they are angry that the dev dared to speak badly about their country.

This is just Chinese people being angry at someone calling out China for its concentration camps.


There seem to be two groups of commenters. Chinese — who I suspect are mostly self-appointed keyboard warriors, not some government backed troll-factory like the Russians have — and trolls trolling the trolls — e.g., imageboard counterculture; these are the commenters mostly just copy/pasting the keywords that get services and Chinese netizens banned or flagged.

If there is a coherent English comment in there anywhere making a reasonable case (i.e., beyond not liking it) for not including a phrase like 'Free Uyghur' in their release notes, I haven't found it.


Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of that famous Chinese copypasta.

https://www.reddit.com/r/copypasta/comments/a5cq6g/a_copypas...


How did this post move from page 1 to page 4 so quickly? in the space of pressing the back button.

hacker news has automated algorithms to deprioritise posts it autodetects as "controversial" or "troll bait"

Wow, I didn't know the effect of the deprioritization was so strong. Now I wonder if there's some unofficial HN client that sorts by "controversial" (just like Reddit).


That's not controversial though, just what is seeing a lot of posts and voting. That could imply it's controversial or trollbait, but not per se.

Will probably be downvoted to oblivion:

This incident is a perfect example showing why embracing China and hoping they would be more open to modern values like freedom of speech, democracy, etc., is a total illusion.

Too many Chinese people are brainwashed to the core that even if the great firewall is switched off today, nothing will change. The currently brainwashed people simply despise anything against Chinese official rhetoric; they don't put any thoughts to follow other people's reasons. And this brainwashing will pass on from one generation to the next.

I've met too many mainland Chinese use only Baidu to search, use only WeChat to do messaging, read only Weibo and watch only CCTV to update themselves on current affairs, even when they are physically outside of China. Sure there are still some reasonable Chinese, but 9.9 times out of 10 they are very reluctant to speak up, since they still have some stakes in China. If they do speak up, their family back in China will get locked up, harrased, wealth get taken, you name it. It happens all the time.

That's why powerful external force is necessary for China to change. And if we don't force China to change, China will erode the rest of the world's modern values, which is the foundation of our civilization. China's export of oppression, like recent news about NBA and Apple, has been actually on-going for a very long time. In Hong Kong here, we see it all the time all around us.


> And if we don't force China to change, China will erode the rest of the world's modern values

There's another option: Treat them like North Korea. No trade in, no trade out, let them be whatever they want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone outside China.

It's the least profitable option, of course, but much easier to pull off than overthrowing a government armed with nuclear weapons, and un-brainwashing over a billion people.


Agree. But the tricky part is that it requires us to overcome our greed.

And we also have to abandon 1.3 billion people in the process. For example, people in North Korea are starving[0]. It's just we don't pay much attention to it. Is this evil necessary?

[0] https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/05/1037831


> And we also have to abandon 1.3 billion people in the process. For example, people in North Korea are starving[0]. It's just we don't pay much attention to it. Is this evil necessary?

Can we save them all? We've given North Korea free grain shipments before to help their population, the government just resold it for cash. And we can't topple a government that's willing to use nuclear weapons just to stay in power.

At some point you just have to wait for a better chance. The Soviet bloc was just as unjust and abusive, but before Gorbachev, there was simply no chance of getting rid of it without a hundred million dead in the process. We can only hope that North Korea (or China, hypothetically) appoint benign reformers at some point.


It's interesting that Chinese used to believe that the West is more fair and just and are respected, evident in the fact that foreigners receive higher regards and even the police would prioritize such cases.

In recent time, there has been more voices in China where notion regarding the West being "brainwashed" by the western media starts the emerge, which had never happened before.

I think it's interesting to note this as it's easy to be one-sided when you are hearing only the narrative and values from a certain belief system. As such without discussing the actual merit of each individual belief, care should be taken perhaps to at least recognize the implicit meaning behind any claims of "brainwash" to ones other than your own.


Every time people point this out, it gets accused of sinophobia.

I'd say most Chinese cast their lot a good while ago and they decided to trade some personal freedom for economic prosperity, basically giving the CCP carte blanche to do anything (in)humanly possible to preserve the status quo. Reversing that trend is not impossible but it's extremely difficult by now: there's simply not enough dissent and anything that does pop up gets quickly dealt with. It's why Hong Kong is so important.


> "That's why powerful external force is necessary for China to change." Until rich people understand that China money stinks, nothing is going to change.

> This incident is a perfect example showing why embracing China and hoping they would be more open to modern values like freedom of speech, democracy, etc., is a total illusion.

It doesn't really. The current issue count is 1354. Since many people seem to be adding multiple issues and some of them are in support of the author, that means maybe a few hundred Notepad++ users were riled up enough to comment. That's unlikely to be a significant chunk of the whole userbase in China. That most messages protesting the naming of the release are in Chinese only tells you that most people supporting the Chinese government are Chinese, not that most Chinese support the government.


Obviously, exposing state surveillance and oppression is a good thing.

However a lot of western media and commenters conflate this by adding their own propaganda twists into their message, either surreptitiously (being anti-Chinese and using "freedom" as an excuse to attack China) or perhaps innocently without realising it (ignorantly, thinking their are really about "freedom" and not realising their own prejudices). This unnecessarily inflames the situation and a more balanced message would have worked better without triggering the sensitivities of very nationalist people.

> The Uyghurs are not ethnically Chinese but live in China’s so-called autonomous Xinjiang region. The region’s name suggests the Uyghurs have autonomy and self-governance.

"Chinese" is not an ethnicity, you probably meant "Han Chinese" as the ethnicity. Saying that Uyghurs "are not Chinese" is like saying Northern Irish people "are not British". Of course this is going to piss people off, pro-Chinese Uyghurs included. Indeed many of the Github comments are about accusations to split China, and of course if you go into Northern Ireland and talk about how all those people are "not British" you will understandably get the same sort of accusation, that you are trying to split up a nation. Indeed the pro-British Northern Irish call themselves the "unionists", the very word the direct opposite meaning to "split".

The naming of the region as "autonomous" is also historical and unrelated to the current surveillance and oppression (which is appalling) but to say this in your second paragraph makes it sound like there is some conspiratorial connection. The region in fact does have more legal autonomy than the other provinces of China.


Now the Notepad++ website seems to be down. https://www.isitdownrightnow.com/notepad-plus-plus.org.html

Confirmed from NZ.

Now the question is, state or privately backed DDoS?

The third option is that they took it down themselves due to a different kind of abuse, i.e. a report form or something.


CloudFlare is handling it now, so doesn't seem to be too severe.

Confirmed from FR

Seems as though GitHub are now responding to this...

Just received a response from GitHub support (I removed their name):

> #### (GitHub Developer Support)

>

> Oct 30, 10:38 AM UTC

>

> Hello,

>

> Thanks for taking the time to let us know. Our team is currently

> investigating the account in question.

>

> Please let us know if we can help in any other way!

>

> Thanks,

> ####


Reporting the accounts to GitHub results in this:

"We've received too many requests from your IP address recently. Please wait a few minutes, then try again."


I get this after successfully reporting just one troll. The threshold seems to be quite low for GitHub's abuse filters. Unfortunately, that means you can't report a group of bad actors easily unless GitHub moderators with access to the anti-abuse tools start reporting or banning them themselves.

Good that they take a stand, more should dare to do that. I did see this as a good enough reason to make a donation to Notepad++, and added the comment "Supporting the Notepad++ v7.8.1: Free Uyghur release".


I can read Chinese and it looks to me that both sides are attacking the other side. And most are using simplified Chinese so they are all from the mainland. I'm not surprised because just as Americans have heavily polarized opinions towards Trump, Chinese people, especially the educated, also have a huge divide in their political views. You don't see that in Chinese websites because they know what not to say there, but on GitHub, a foreign website without a high risk of being blocked, both sides just unleash hell on anyone who they do not agree with.

Thanks! I thought all those comments were one sided. Interesting!

So is Github going to ban all of these accounts of chinese devs spreading their nationalistic nonsense? I know they've handed out bans for much less in the past.

Many of these accounts seem to be very active outside of the Notepad++ repo.


I must say that I've only now realised that there is no "report abuse" button on github.

Regardless of politics and Chinese propaganda, hurling insults at someone on Github should be reason enough for action against their account. You can say that the news media is lying and all that, that's just daily grind for most English-themed media as well now, but yelling "fuck you" and "wishing a rotten vagina" upon people is not something that should ever be tolerated.


> I must say that I've only now realised that there is no "report abuse" button on github.

Then if GitHub was a living organism, it would lack an immune system to defend itself against infection.


> I must say that I've only now realised that there is no "report abuse" button on github.

There is. If you go to github.com/$user on the bottom of the sidebar left: "Block or report user"


There is. It's on the user profile page.

It really should be on each comment and issue the user has created.


Ah, thank you. Reporting specific comments would make a lot more sense, but I guess github isn't expecting people to use issue trackers as conversation battlegrounds.

You can report issues, pull requests, etc., but only if you have write permissions to the repository.

https://help.github.com/en/github/building-a-strong-communit...


If current corporate trends prevail, they will ban notepad++ amd hand over the account to the CCP.

the site isn't blocked in China yet. Don't see proclamations like that often here without a VPN.


Site was relatively slow to load for me, so an archive.org mirror just in case: https://web.archive.org/web/20191030003924/https://notepad-p...

Edit: wow, downvotes appeared pretty quickly. Hopefully this whole post becomes training for detecting malicious behavior.


I made a remark about the author(s) of Notepad++ naming his release "Free Uyghur", quite unpopular I would say, I meant it to be like that, I told him/them that Uyghurs are just a ethnic group of China, not a nation, etc... But in this case , bloating someone's project for political reason's is just plain wrong, is awful. Github should have something in place to protect open source projects against something like this.

>Github should have something in place to protect open source projects against something like this.

Github should have something in place to protect projects from their copyright owners?


"bloating someone's project" i. e. spamming. The person you're replying to seems to have a nuanced view on the issue.

Why is it wrong? It's quite courageous of them to support human rights, and they have the right to do so, especially when they have been developing and giving away their software for free. You have no obligation to use it.

Also, If they are "just an ethnic group", then why are so many being sent to prison? Why the mass surveillance, restrictions, arrests and 're-education' camps?

"Free Uyghur" doesn't necessarily mean they should be given their own nation, but at least be able to practice their culture and religion freely.


I take this opportunity to remind us that Notepad++ used to have a backdoor.

Please don't post such claims without a source to back them up. It's trolling.

Notepad++ (and many other Windows executables) was found vulnerable to loading a hacked DLL dependency on a compromised Windows system. Notepad++ itself contained no backdoor as far as I can tell.

This issue is explained here, as well as the actions taken to prevent it from happening again:

https://community.notepad-plus-plus.org/topic/13415/v7-3-3-f...


>was found vulnerable

That is stretching the definition.

A privileged local attacker could (and can) modify Notepad++ and any other software, that is not a vulnerability or issue of any kind.


Sources?

Haha..You need to go there and see for yourself if Uyghur or Tibetan people are oppressed by the communist party instead of seeking news from western media, which we all know are very much biased and anti China...no one likes to be represented by a stranger from a foreign country who has no first hand knowledge about the issue..

It's astounding how well insidious daily propaganda works.

I'm sure these guys mean well but they've been manipulated as much as the 'other side' has been.

Edit:

What news are reported and how they are reported in not random [1]. There has very clearly been a campaign against China and this shows that it is working.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_model


There's lots of evidence about China's human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Campaigning against China is the right thing to do as long as they persist in these uncivilized policies.

Could you tell what "insidious daily propaganda" you have obeserved and how about sides are equally manipulated?

This commentary by Jimmy Dore is a fairly good commentary on what it looks like. https://youtu.be/aT7WEkvCWeM

If the CIA has dedicated manpower to fucking with the Notepad++ dev so that HN could see it and think critical thoughts about the Chinese... then I think they might have some misplaced priorities.

The far more likely explanation is that this is organic.

Edit: I stand corrected. Wow.


>If the CIA has dedicated manpower to fucking with the Notepad++ dev so that HN could see it and think critical thoughts about the Chinese... then I think they might have some misplaced priorities.

I mean... the CIA did fuck with Notepad++ in the past: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/page_26968090.html


More specifically:

https://community.notepad-plus-plus.org/topic/13415/v7-3-3-f...

The CIA replaced a DLL dependency of Notepad++ with a hijacked version on compromised Windows systems.


The dependency is used in a lot of Windows software too, it wasn't even targeted at Notepad++ specifically:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scintilla_(software)


Fucked with their own Notepad++ installation yeah, but that certainly doesn't affect the devs.



Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: