Punished "Venom" Patrick George @bypatrickgeorge I believe there is a special, dedicated section of Hell just for people with anime twitter avatars who tell laid-off journalists to "learn to code"

Learn to Code

Updated Oct 26, 2020 at 06:17AM EDT by Y F.

Added Jan 25, 2019 at 12:22PM EST by Don.

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About

"Learn to Code" is an expression used to mock journalists who were laid off from their jobs, encouraging them to learn software development as an alternate career path. The phrase was widely posted on Twitter following the announcement of layoffs at BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post in late January 2019.

Origin

On February 10th, 2014, BuzzFeed News[8] published a quiz titled "Should You Learn to Code?," which provided links to articles recommending coding for people with various interests or professions.

Several months later, in April 2014, in response to a comment by Mark Zuckerberg about shifts in energy use that has led to many coal mines being closed and coal miners behind laid off, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Future of Energy Summit said, "You’re not going to teach a coal miner to code. Mark Zuckerberg says you teach them [people] to code and everything will be great."[9]

Over the next year, other media outlets published pieces on coal miners learning to code. On November 18th, 2015, Wired published, "Can You Teach a Coal Miner to Code?" The article, which took issue with Bloomberg's assertion, focused on several coal miners who were, in fact, learning to code.[10]

On January 24th, 2019, Jalopnik editor-in-chief Patrick George tweeted[1] he believed in a "special, dedicated section of Hell" for people with anime profile pictures who tweet "learn to code" to journalists who had been laid off (shown below). Within 24 hours, the tweet gained over 1,300 likes and 260 retweets. The tweet was posted shortly after the announcements that BuzzFeed laid of 15% of its staff and The Huffington Post had eliminated its Opinion and Healthcare editorial sections.


Punished "Venom" Patrick George @bypatrickgeorge | believe there is a special, dedicated section of Hell just for people with anime twitter avatars who tell laid-off journalists to "learn to code" 5:54 PM - 24 Jan 2019 from Manhattan, NY

Some have argued that the phrase "learn to code" was adopted as a response to articles[3] written about coal miners learning software development as an alternative career (shown below).






Spread

That day, Redditor TheyreGoodDogsBrent submitted a post asking "What's the deal with Twitter users responding to layoffs of journalists with 'Learn to Code'?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop,[2] to which Redditor downvotethrowaway responded with a link to the @bypatrickgeorge tweet, along with a message that the people posting the phrase "believe those news organizations have been shitting on blue-collar workers for years." Also on January 24th, a post titled "President Trump General – Learn to Code Edition" was submitted to 4chan's /pol/ board,[5] where commenters used the phrase "learn to code" to mock the laid-off journalists.[7]


PRESIDENT TRUMP GENERAL LEARN TO CODE EDITION /ptg/ 01/25/1 9(Fri)02:45:52 No.200965269圖▶ >>2009653422>200965475 2-200g Washingtom Examiner o BuzzFeed expected to slash 250 jobs PRESIDENT DONALD J TRUMP https://www.whitehouse. gov https://www.donaldjtrump.com/ @realDonaldTrump >b-but Trump hasnt done anything! https://www.promiseskept.com/ http://www.magapill.com/ ARCHIVED LINKS http://pastebin.com/ynXV6CHT DAILY SCHEDULE https://twitter.com/POTUS_Schedule WH Public Pool: https://publicpool.kinja.com/

That evening, freelance writer Talia Lavin tweeted screenshots of various 4chan posts celebrating the journalist layoffs, along with messages saying "learn to code" (shown below). Within 24 hours, the tweet received more than 2,100 likes and 850 retweets.




The following day, another thread about the "learn to code" comments was submitted to /pol/,[6] which included a screenshot of @bypatrickgeorge's tweet. Meanwhile, YouTuber Styxhexenhammer666 uploaded a video about the layoffs titled "Learn to Code! Kirsten Powers Ragequits Twitter, Buzzfeed Downsizes, Huffpost Opinion Closes" (shown below).



Twitter Suspensions

On January 28th, 2019, The Wrap editor John Levine tweeted that "a person in the know" told him that directing tweets with "learn to code" to "any recently laid off journalist" would be considered a violation of the site's Terms of Service (shown below).


Jon Levine @LevineJonatharn I am told by a person in the know that tweeting "learn to code" at any recently laid off iournalist will be treated as abusive behavior" and is a violation Twitter's Terms of Service

In a follow-up tweet, Levine quoted a Twitter spokesperson who clarified what would constitute the Terms of Service violation:

"It's more nuanced than what you reported. Twitter is responding to a targeted harassment campaign against specific individuals -- a policy that's long been against the Twitter Rules"

That day, Twitter user Tim Pool tweeted a screenshot of a suspension alert sent to Twitter user @Paul94Mck for "abusive behavior," citing a tweet with the hashtag "#LearnToCode" (shown below).




Joe Biden Speech

On December 30th, 2019, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Joe Biden told attendees at a rally that "anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can learn to program" (shown below).



The moment was recorded on Twitter by @DaveWeigel[11] (shown below, left). In response, Twitter users remarked upon the moment as though it were a gaffe from Biden. User @HeerJeet[12] tweeted, "A few corrections: coal miners don't in fact throw coal into furnaces, not everybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn to program, and Joe Biden isn't (as a plurality of Democrats believe) the most electable candidate they have," gaining over 110 retweets and 690 likes (shown below, right).


Dave Weigel @daveweigel Biden riffing on how Obama put him in charge of judging the "jobs of the future" suggests re-training miners as coders. "Anybody who can go down 3000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well." This sort of "just transition" stuff was murder on Clinton in 2016... 4:37 PM · Dec 30, 2019 · Twitter Web App Jeet Heer @HeerJeet A few corrections: coal miners don't in fact throw coal into furnaces, not everybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn to program, and Joe Biden isn't (as a plurality of Democrats believe) the most electable candidate they have. @daveweigel · Dec 30, 2019 Dave Weigel But Biden returns to the same point: "Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God's sake!" Show this thread 9:20 PM · Dec 30, 2019 · Twitter Web Client

The statement was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans. Twitter user and former Gawker editor Alex Pareene[13] joked, "My kid (not quite three) conflates "pretending" with "learning." He stands with his arm up in the air and says 'I'm learning to be the Statue of Liberty.' This is what I think of when Joe Biden says people who toss coal in a furnace (??) will learn to code" (shown below, left). Republican author Nick Adams wrote, ""Anyone who can throw coal into a furnace can write code" -Joe Biden How condescending. The Democrats have abandoned the working class of America!" (shown below, right).


"Weird Alex' Pareene @pareene My kid (not quite three) conflates "pretending" with "learning." He stands with his arm up in the air and says "I'm leaning to be the Statue of Liberty." This is what I think of when Joe Biden says people who toss coal in a furnace (??) will learn to code. 1:32 AM · Dec 31, 2019 · Twitter for Android Nick Adams @NickAdamsinUSA "Anyone who can throw coal into a furnace can write code" -Joe Biden How condescending. The Democrats have abandoned the working class of America! 8:12 AM · Jan 1, 2020 · Twitter Web App

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