The happy hand: A puzzle about odd names in Azure DevOps

Raymond Chen

A customer found that some word on Azure DevOps were being mysteriously changed to something odd, and a little cute. The table of contents on their wiki page was named “Happy”:


  • What is Contoso?
  • Getting Started
  • To Learn More

And when they went to look at their branches, the main branch was renamed to “hand”:


Did they get pranked?

Somebody pointed out that the suspicious substitutions followed a pattern:

French English
contents happy
main hand

Both of the suspiciously-substituted words happen to be valid words in French, and the corresponding meaning in English is what they got replaced with.

Further investigation showed that something about this particular repo causes the Web browser to think that their Azure DevOps repo pages are written in French, and it offers to auto-translate to English. The customer must have clicked “Yes” by mistake at some point.

Turning off auto-translation fixed the problem.

The customer added, “I sort of liked the names Happy and Hand. Maybe I’ll toggle it back on from time to time when I need a pick-me-up.”