a code & a coding mistake

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ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

KAMENETZ: ... So in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, among 16 very affluent schools, four shootings are listed. And Gail Pinsker, a district spokeswoman, said no one remembers any guns being fired going back 20-plus years. But maybe, she says, there was a coding mistake.
GAIL PINSKER: There was a code that was selected for a student brandishing a pair of scissors.

(This comes from npr.org transcript The School Shootings That Weren't on August 27, 2018.)

1. Does "a coding mistake" here mean "a mistake in a software programming"?
2. Does "a code" here mean "an option/item in a form"?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In schools, supermarkets and public buildings that have a speaker system for public announcements, it is usual to have code words that describe emergency situations.

    For example, "Would Mr Jones report to the the manager's office" in a place where no Mr Jones works, might be an alert that there is a fire. The idea is that staff are aware of what has happened but customers/students/the public aren't panicked.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    For example, "Would Mr Jones report to the the manager's office" in a place where no Mr Jones works, might be an alert that there is a fire. The idea is that staff are aware of what has happened but customers/students/the public aren't panicked.
    Thank you, but I'm still vague about “There was a coding mistake”. Does it mean "a student brandishing a pair of scissors" are code words suggesting a robbery occurred, but people mistakenly thought that suggested a gun shooting?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    “There was a coding mistake”. Does it mean "a student brandishing a pair of scissors" are code words suggesting a robbery occurred, but people mistakenly thought that suggested a gun shooting?
    No, it shouldn't mean that, ironman. It should mean that somebody used the wrong code word in talking about or recording violent incidents that occurred in school.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    They are talking about looking back at 20 years of data. All the incidents that took place during 20 years were entered into a file or database, with a code for each indicating what kind of incident it was. One such code, for example, indicated that a student brandished a pair of scissors. Ms. Pinsker says that nobody remembers any guns being fired in the past 20 years - but perhaps an incident of a gun being fired was mistakenly coded as something else.

    In other words, it refers to codes that define types of incidents in a database. These are similar to codes used for medical conditions. For example, code S82 indicates a fracture of the lower leg. This can be broken down further: S82.2 is a fracture of the shaft of the tibia, S82.22 is a transverse fracture of the tibia, S82.221 is a transverse fracture of the right tibia, and so on. The codes a school district would use for incident recording are surely less complex - medical coders need a lot of training before they can be employed - but that's the general idea.

    This statement is not about coding in the sense of computer programming or public announcement codes. The context rules both of those out.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree.

    It's about entering a code number (usually) in a form that will insert that information in a database for long term storage.

    So ten years from now, you can search the database for code 25 (a made up example) to find all incidents of a gun being used at a school in the last ten years. If someone accidentally typed 26 when they entered the data about a gun incident, that incident will not come up in the search due to that coding error.
     
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