The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 8, 2009
Blog back: Worthwhile or worthless words?

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

So what makes a good blog post? What's a waste of time? The following item drew 57 comments, with several branching off into a conversation about the merit or uselessness of this post. We enjoyed the frank-but-civil discussion as blog users tossed this topic around. And we appreciated the opportunity that their comments gave us to re-examine what we're doing and why we do it.

Nov. 23 What's next with the Alameda County furlough lawsuits?

The comments, edited for brevity:

mnj wrote on 11/23/2009 09:59:27 AM: Wow! That was sure enlightening! NOT! Good grief! We already knew all the points made above. You had to do a whole "story" just to say "Well, folks, things are still up in the air"? Things must be real slow at the bee.

Click the following link to read the rest of this blog back.

Siena1997 wrote on 11/23/2009 10:33:36 AM: Relax. This was not a "story," it was a just a post highlighting the most salient points of these legal proceedings for those of us who don't want to wade through the pages and pages of legal mumbo jumbo contained in the court documents. (Although Jon always provides those too, so hey, if that's your thing, knock yourself out.) Also, maybe you could try to remember that if it weren't for this blog, we'd be getting a lot less information about this stuff, period.
mnj wrote on 11/23/2009 11:27:05 AM: Sienna - my point was that anyone with an IQ higher than their shoe size already knew the above information just reading last week's 4-step program. This didn't really need to be given special headlines. It could have been wrapped in with Friday's story. We get more information than we could ever use if we're just willing to do a little reading. This blog is not the be all end all of information to us. I'm not trying to sound cynical, but come on, did this really need to be as lengthy as it was. I thought us state workers were brighter than that & could read between the lines & understood that the judge could still go either way in his decisions ...
foofoostar wrote on 11/23/2009 12:06:23 PM: I think these "say little" blogs are useful. A new post becomes a new space where posters can share info or thoughts without having to post to old threads..... this is especially true after a weekend ...
Siena1997 wrote on 11/23/2009 12:49:49 PM: mnj, Yeah...I still like having the distilled, bullet-pointed Reader's Digest version of what the hearing was about, the different ways the judge could rule, and what the implications might be for furloughed state workers ...
mnj wrote on 11/23/2009 01:03:06 PM: Siena - ... I sometimes just think that the over abundance of info like this can bring on more trouble than it's worth when the haters & self-righteous get involved. Most understand that we're all sitting on pins & needles, waiting for a verdict like a person on trial for the death penalty, but this can be misread as whining, etc. as some other poster chastised those of us who are literally hanging by a thread. And then we have the departments that make such brilliant maneuvers of announcing they are purchasing 600 cars & really bring out the lovely in people, including myself.
wwt5150 wrote on 11/25/2009 08:27:58 AM: That was just BRILLIANT reporting Jon. So let me get this straight. The judge could agree with CCPOA and end the furloughs? OR The judge could agree with GAS and allow the furloughs to stay in place. WELL NO DUH JON!!! Why don't you report something thats MORE obvious! Sheesh...more typical SAC BEE crappy reporting! Next time, just save yourself some ink and brain cells and just say, "eeh, who knows?"

The post was the product of two phone calls and three e-mails from state workers all asking the same sorts of questions: Why write the four-part blog series on the Alameda furlough lawsuit hearings but fail to explain the possible outcomes? Will the judge rule on each case separately? What might those rulings mean to me?

Now, if one person asked, we'd have answered their questions personally and moved on. Two people, and we start to wonder if we should have written about the possible outcomes in those earlier blog posts.

But five inquiries seemed a clear indication that we needed to rectify an oversight. And the reason we made the error? Because the information seemed so "obvious" to us that we didn't think to include it in our courthouse reports.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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