HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The weaponization of 'lea...

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:23 PM

The weaponization of 'learn to code'

Inspired by Trump's rants about "the enemy of the people," far-right trolls aim their memes at newly-unemployed reporters.
FEB 1, 2019, 8:00 AM

Most of the tweets said “learn to code” or a variation on the theme, a phrase that, like plenty of once-innocent terms of art, has come to carry a sinister second-order significance. (See also: snowflake.) And some of the tweets were death threats.

The tweets started flooding Laura Bassett’s replies as soon as she tweeted about impending layoffs at HuffPost, where she’d been a reporter for eight years. When she announced that she was one of the employees HuffPost was letting go in a week that would see 1,000 journalists lose their jobs nationwide as layoffs coursed through HuffPost, BuzzFeed, and Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the country, the “learn to code” replies poured in at an ever-greater volume. In a twist that will surprise no one who spends a decent amount of time online, laced throughout the “learn to code” messages were far-right flavored death threats. “The day of the rope is coming,” read one. And another: “The rope is waiting for you.”

“It tremendously added to the pain of suddenly losing my job,” Bassett said.

“Learn to code” is a linguistic dog whistle. To the uninitiated, it makes absolutely no sense; to the target, it registers with perfect and cruel specificity; and, to the harasser, it comes with built-in plausible deniability. Its origins are in an overblown and willfully misremembered spate of news stories about a man named Rusty Justice (yes, his real name) teaching web development to out-of-work coal miners in Kentucky.



Along with the data, the Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders released a statement decrying political leaders who incite rage against the press. “The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground. Amplified by social networks, which bear heavy responsibility in this regard, these expressions of hatred legitimize violence, thereby undermining journalism, and democracy itself.”

Meanwhile, Bassett said she is “still getting hundreds and hundreds of ‘learn to code’ tweets.” Not long before she lost her job, she and her parents were doxxed. Bassett’s address and phone number were made public, as was her parents’ home address and number in Louisiana.

“I know these threats aren’t empty,” she said. There’s literally too much harassment for her to weed through it all, but “I’m scared I’m missing something I really need to report to Twitter, a threat on my life or a real doxxing… The internet is truly a horrifying place for a journalist right now.”

4 replies, 845 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply The weaponization of 'learn to code' (Original post)
turbinetree Feb 1 OP
violetpastille Feb 1 #1
dalton99a Feb 1 #2
SWBTATTReg Feb 1 #3
UniteFightBack Feb 1 #4

Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:40 PM

1. Okay, this is not getting better.

One way we can defeat the Russian Mind-Fuck Farms is for Twitter, FaceBook and I guess YouTube and Instagram to have id's that are tied to identity.

Passport, DL or state issued ID.

(On the other hand, omg I hate Twitter. Stay off that shit Laura Bassett and you'll probably be a better journalist for it.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:47 PM

2. Great article

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:35 PM

3. This hijacking of this term 'learn to code' (which is from diehard programmer language)...

is pathetic. This used to mean actually learning to code in COBOL, fortran, basic, PL1, etc. and has been hijacked by these RW idiots. When I read more at the link, I am dismayed that idiots have tried to take this term away and use it for their own nefarious purposes.

I taught many different disciplines of IT, job control language, PL1, COBOL, utilities (IBM and non IBM), and so forth and to see this used in this manner is disgusting and pathetic. Many people came through my classes who really wanted to learn how to code and program, and that was it. A lot of the students had masters in other disciplines (French literature, Art, etc.) and we had found that those in the arts and so forth adapted really well to the programming world. It also provided job security and a well paying job. Don't let this nonsense stop you or those you know to 'learn to code'. In truth, it provides a paycheck (a big one compared to what was out there, hence why we had this people come in to 'learn to code'.

And the demand is still out there. Huge demand. As technology becomes more and more used (computing in all of its shapes and forms), enhancing a whole slew of older technologies, wide open fields were made available for totally new job skills, many unknown 15-20 years ago.

As I said earlier, we are at just at the beginning of what all of these new (and still to be discovered) fields will bring, especially as more and more new uses of data computing are discovered. So much data is being analyzed that a major new field (data base administrators, etc.) has now leapt into being a very high demand job, with the equivalent pay (high too).

The demand will constantly increase for skilled programmers, data base administrators, testers, etc.
Schools can't keep up (and personally I don't expect the schools to be able to keep up, the technology is changing by leaps and bounds).

That's why we trained all new hires or transfers (to IT) in my company, often we found the kids, highly skilled in their areas of expertise, but were unable to find a decent job in their field they majored in during College.
And you don't have to go to College either...we hired from Red Cross who ran a programmer school for the disadvantaged and even helped Red Cross in some of their training seminars. No college degrees needed. One of my best programmers was a guy who literally was 100% blind. We installed special sized monitors and so forth so he could pretty well work almost as effectively as a person that wasn't impaired.

I'll call out anyone that uses this term 'learn to code' in a racist or other negative manner. This learning to code has enabled a lot of folks to get decent, well paying jobs and that's the point.

I guess these people using this term in a negative manner, for the most part don't have decent jobs or the like, and chose to make fun of it. Hypocrites.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:43 PM

4. They are always hijacking things and turning it to shit. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread