No We Are Not Dull Weirdos But Willard Foxton is a Troll

by zen master

After reading Willard Foxton’s Blog piece entitled “The Government wants to teach all children how to code. Here’s why it’s a stupid idea” I had to stop myself and think rationally; naturally the post was full of factual inaccuracies and a negative portrait (conjured up entirely in the imaginations of Willard’s mind) of a large section of the developer community.

Ironically I agree with the title. This is not a new debate and it’s one that I have posted about before as a response to Jeff Attwood “Please Don’t Learn To Code But Give it a Try”.  Sadly after the title, there is very little to agree with. With all the ad-hominem grenades tossed at developers the instinctive reaction would be to hurl abuse right back at him. However that would not be a dignified response. Instead after calm reflection I concluded that a more subtle and straight headed response would be more suited.

Troll Dad

Troll Dad

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, that doesn’t entirely mean it has any real value. When you speak a view in public to a large audience, those words do have an impact and so a certain level of responsibility and liability has to be taken on if you choose to speak on a public platform.

Willard’s words are inflammatory, derogatory and demeaning. Judging from the comments he has certainly got a reaction. I don’t need to reiterate and correct the many inaccuracies as this has been covered in the comments. Naturally some comments have been just as negative towards the author, but that’s hardly surprising. If you go around looking for a fight don’t be amazed when you get hit.

It’s a terrible shame that at the heart of the post and the central point has been completely side lined. Was it really necessary to write such a loaded and baited post? Was the traffic really worth it?

Conclusion

It’s really sad to see someone would exploit a genuine debate for purely selfish interests. In a strange way I can’t fully blame Willard, I assume if he didn’t do this someone else would have. But these kinds of post don’t help the overall conversation, as they are a distraction away from the main discussions.

Ultimately the best thing to do would be to ignore him. He is after all a troll as demonstrated by his post.

“Don’t feed the trolls” -anon