back to article 'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

A founder of the volunteer technology education group Code Club has resigned, claiming she was warned not to criticise the group’s sponsors – which include Google. User interface designer Linda Sandvik claims she was told to shut up or quit. “On Monday the 25th of August the Code Club board gave me an ultimatum: either I have …

Tin foil hat time?

- Google escapes enforcement action over the whole street view wifi slurp fiasco

- Google then also seems to get off scot free when it changed it's privacy policy.

- Ex-ICO staffer whose name was associated with the initial wifi slurp investigation moves to Google.

- Now Google supports pet projects partly funded by the government.

This would be the same government that seems to have rolled over and not investigated Google as thoroughly as it should have. Coincidence? Or just quid quo pro for past inaction by the ICO?

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Big Brother

further conspiracy

Reading the code club blog - one of the remaining Directors works for Metaswitch Networks - a company that provides surveillance friendly software to many US telcos: http://www.metaswitch.com/company/fact-sheet/customers. And further more has lucrative contracts with the US military.

Go figure.

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Non sequitur

"Despite studies showing computer use makes no difference to educational outcomes, the top-down coding gravy train rolls on". What? These are completely separate things. Whether using computers is useful for learning in general has nothing to do with whether learning to code is a good thing. You might as well say that despite refrigerator use having no effect on educational outcomes, we still teach thermodynamics.

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...workers could hire and fire their doctors.

Well, the few who could afford to hire one in the first place. Britain before the NHS was not a healthy place if you were one of the hoi polloi.

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Re: ...workers could hire and fire their doctors.

You think the hoi polloi are healthy now??

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Joke

Re: ...workers could hire and fire their doctors.

"The Great Unwashed"

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Congratulations

Though not biting the hand that feeds you, is a sensible strategy when you are working in a commercial post directly for that hand. However If the hand that is feeding you, is second hand and not your sole source of sustenance then a bit of grumbling is fine..

Otherwise your independence is immediately suspect.

More power to Lisa.

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Could you elaborate on what's faddish about GDS, Andrew?

I've been quite impressed by their work (as shared on their blog https://gds.blog.gov.uk/) and I count them as one of the few successes of this government (as evidenced by the so far smooth rollout of the new polling database - in comparison to the recent e-borders payout).

I can't tell if your bile is aimed at GDS specifically or government in general, but I would be saddened if it turned out that a political bent for libertarianism undermined an appreciation for well managed agile engineering practices.

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Trollface

> Andrew

> a political bent for libertarianism

MUAH

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In other news...

Google deny reading people's Gmail emails because they are automatically scanned by a computer in order to serve up related ads and never seen by human eyes.

Unless the computers see some dodgy pics (or terroristic text?) and they alert the authorities, in which case plod certainly gets eyeballs on your emails.

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A load of kidding around anyway ?

I read somewhere that gender bias means few women study computing.

What is worse is that the whole school system is Neanderthal biased.

If parents and teachers can't code so what hope is there for the kids if we rely on clubs for the bare essentials?

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She was right

The Code Club homepage specifically states : "A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11".

It is volunteer-led. You don't tell volunteers what to say or how to speak. If you don't agree with what they say, YOU leave.

So kudos to her.

In an ideal world, when such pressure was applied, the Board should have been united in simply ignoring this nonsense. This is obviously a case where the Board is comprised of less volunteers than besuited yes-men standing at attention when Number 10 makes a call.

Not a good point for the "Club".

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Re: She was right

"You don't tell volunteers what to say or how to speak."

- Of course you bloody do or they can sling their hook. You think Cancer Research is going to be happy with a volunteer who holds and publicly expresses racist views and spouts that cancer is punishment for being sinful? Of course not, they are informed "thank you, we don't need your help".

"In an ideal world, when such pressure was applied, the Board should have been united in simply ignoring this nonsense."

- I've seen absolutely no evidence that the pressure came from anyway OTHER than the Board. I very much doubt Google gave much of a tinkers piss what this person had to say, they have for the most part over the years shown they have pretty broad shoulders and nothing in the article suggests Number 10 made the call at all.

BTW - I keep seeing everyone still stating that Google spies deliberately for the NSA and they have a special system of giving them everything and etc. Did anyone produce any genuine evidence for this beyond Snowdens single Powerpoint slide?

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Re: She was right

"Of course you bloody do or they can sling their hook. You think Cancer Research is going to be..."

I have never heard of any *volunteer led* cancer research. And while you left it out of your quote, that is exactly what the OP was talking about, *volunteer led* organizations.

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'Code Club' looks like a taxpayer's money laundering scheme, if you read the timeline.

Hmm, all very fishy ...

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Trollface

Google Sucks

everything everywhere.... nuff said.

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Seen this a thousand times

  • Well intentioned group gets together to help people. Achieve success. Attract well intentioned funding from corporate/orgs/gov/investors.
  • Outside funding now starts making demands. At least one of the original founders starts angling for personal gain and snogging with the outside funders.
  • Rest of original founders object and are systematically and summarily replaced by one means or another.
  • Original group and idea now co-opted by outside funders and turned into pet project of the idle rich/well connected while assuaging any feeling of guilt about reasons the less advantaged needed help in the first place.
  • Idea/project/program now completely mismanaged and ends up helping no one but the new leaders
  • Lesson learned? Why bother any more?
  • Result? Society goes to hell, but it's all the lazy poor people's fault!

Did I miss a step?

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FAIL

Last year PM David Cameron called for “more emphasis on modern methods of computing like coding”.

If it weren't so sad, it is hysterical when people who haven't the slightest fucking clue what they're talking about try to "talk tech".

Fail on so many levels....

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I'm so glad someone picked up on that. I'd love to see someone troll him on it.

"As opposed to all those ancient methods of computing like, umm, point-and-click?"

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WTF?

Coding? Modern?

So what was it when I was doing it at school, back in the 60s?

It was actually massively useful for all who did it, including those without any natural aptitude, as it taught logical thinking.

Something so little of the rest of the curriculum did/does.

Something that parts of it are actually against.

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Coat

Re: Coding? Modern?

I suppose that "modern coding" is writing HTML...

(/me ducks and heads for cover...)

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Anonymous Coward

Something positive to say about this "Club"

I've read their blog and I'm comforted by the restrain they have shown.

There are only three occurrences of the adjective "amazing" and exactly zero awesomes.

IMO, that's super-awesome AND amazing, like.

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Britain is becoming a shop with 64 million customers

"Britain once led the world in community-centred civic organisation, with mutual societies, co-operatives and trade unions looking after many of the working and middle classes' health, education and finance needs. The organisations didn’t cover everyone, of course, but they created a civic spine and gave their users strong grassroots accountability."

This.

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Britain has a glorious past, there is no doubt about that.

Unfortunately, it is all in the past.

And you can say that about quite a few countries, these days.

I am starting to wonder if our "modern" society is all that great. It seems to me that a model that cannot foster elements capable of sustaining the model is doomed to failure, and our current model has not produced anything near the enlightened, egalitarian world we were promised after WWII. Today, it's all about how soon I can get the next shiny, and if children are slaving away in poor countries to produce it well that's not my problem.

That's not my problem. It is that attitude that brought us here, and now we're all in trouble. And I think it's going to get worse before it gets better.

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You get an upvote from me, Pascal.

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GDS

"...and GDS, a state IT contractor largely staffed by web designers."

Oh come on, that's being most unfair to web designers.

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Sensitive little flowers aren't they!

[Google contacted the Register to deny making “any suggestions” to CodeClub or its supporters in government not to criticise sponsors and invited us to read CodeClub’s blog entry. Codeclub has also been in touch with us to ask us to do the latter.]

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Interesting to sit back and watch this spiral in....

So a successful, volunteer based group was teaching kids who were interested how to code. And now by edict all kids must learn this. Am I understanding this right? If so, I'll be like teaching anything that certain (the majority) of kids don't want to learn. Those that do will be chastised for it and the whole mess will crash and burn. Way to go, guys. This will not turn out well for the charity or for the kids and IT will get a big slap for it.

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modern methods of computing like coding

Because 30 years ago no one had even heard of code. Especially not 11 year old me. Oh no.

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10 PRINT "i resign"

20 GOTO 10

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RUN

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Anonymous Coward

This seems overblown

I doubt this was the only reason she left. There's usually more to it.

I'm interested in the point about things like this not materially affecting school grades. My guess is that that's because the way science, maths and computing are graded in school is so flawed that anyone who is half-decent at following a process, focussing on abstract facts and thinking logically (the key basic requirements to be good in this area) is already getting the right grades in school just by regurgitating the information they've digested.

What these clubs will do, if run properly, is make people who might be interested in coding and computer science able to discover whether they are and, if so, get started early.

The value of that goes beyond a small way beyond schools pumping up their grade counts and is similar to the value of school sports and other extra-curricular activities in building the actual skills and focus points that really make a difference.

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FAIL

Clickbait much?

And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'

Did I miss the bit in the article where Google threatened the Code Club?

Has the author (or anybody else) got proof that the sponsorship enabled them to steer the Code Club in a certain direction? The Code Club's statement about funding on their website would suggest they're not obliged to any sponsor.

Sandvik obviously didn't like Google so she left - seems like a non-story to me.

Now she can start her own coder academy and raise her own funding...

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Re: Now she can start her own coder academy...

She did, Ross.

Or did you not read the bit about her being a founder member of Code Club?

P.S. Another director apparently resigned earlier this year for the same reason, according to a comment on her blog...

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Thumb Down

Re: Now she can start her own coder academy...

Or did you not read the bit about her being a founder member of Code Club?

Yeah I did. It's right there in the article title.

P.S. Another director apparently resigned earlier this year for the same reason, according to a comment on her blog...

So comments by readers on blog posts are newsworthy now? Do you have a press release or something to that effect? Something a bit more solid, you know?

Despite her praiseworthy efforts to get kids interested in computing, this woman sounds like a fucking baby throwing her toys out of the pram because things didn't go her way.

If you're happily taking Google's (or Apple's, or Microsoft's) money you can't turn around and bitch about them. Take the money and say 'Thank You', or hand the money back and get your sponsorship from the local fluffy bunny sanctuary if you don't like ethical dilemmas...

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The first rule of Code Club is

You do not talk about Code Club (Sponsors)

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Modern methods?

'Last year PM David Cameron called for “more emphasis on modern methods of computing like coding”.'

What planet is Cameron on? Since when has coding not been an essential part of operating digital computers? Btw Mr, Cameron, writing html is not coding (and it's not new either).

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'Last year PM David Cameron called for “more emphasis on modern methods of computing like coding”.'

What planet is Cameron on? Since when has coding not been an essential part of operating digital computers?

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Gurgle be evil

The company spies on us if we do not work hard to prevent that from happening. What they do with that data they collect about us, is not certain. Some may be used for nefarious purposes. Some of the data was apparently sucked out of their databases by the NSA. The company that spies on us was angry that someone was spying on them. Who else has access to our data now?

Search your computer for the word "google" You would be surprised how many times it turns up. This does not count "doubleclick" and other products owned by google. I don't recommend deleting every file with google in its name. It cannot all be deleted or your computer will stop working. What are all these things and are they spying on me, too?

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a. So what should we acquire now?

b. We need to buy some credibility. What's left out there that Cisco hasn't bought?

a. What if we bought a charity doing good work?

b. Brilliant! How much would it cost- 3x, 5x the investment?

a. What if we just donate, and exercise influence?

b. Huh? am i getting this right... you're saying it might be cheaper?

a. Absolutely. And we can right it off on tax (assuming we're making a profit that year- in that county)

b. Of course... charities need money! OK, let's start with...

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In the afterlife

"computer use makes no difference to educational outcomes" . . . Correct, but computer use has great influence on job performance, especially in the STEM career fields where those who are capable of using a machine to down the heavy lifting greatly outclass -'hem what can't.

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embrace, extend, extinguish.

"embrace, extend, extinguish"

What a great policy. Hold your friends close, hold your enemies closer, squeeze them tight, choke the life out of them.

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