More meta than I generally like.

Hey friends,

Having my blog* blocked at work turns out to be a bigger deal than I expected. I’ve heard from my friends at other Resources departments that this is agency-wide. It haven’t made any decisions or anything, but my sense is that it will lead to far less blogging from me, for two reasons. Obviously, I shouldn’t be composing text on work time, so I’m not going to cite that. But there are other reasons.

I can’t follow the conversation without blog access. I don’t like to write without being as current as I can, and these days I get links to court decisions and legal analysis from blogs. I follow the mood from their first-person reports. I read politicians’ blogs to mock and belittle understand their mindset. I can’t track what people are doing without clicking the links from Aquafornia. I think keeping current on that is very plausibly part of my job. These days, that means blogs in the mix of sources.

The second reason I probably won’t write much while Resources is blocking blogs is that I won’t be talking to a lot of the people who are involved in Water. It is ridiculous that I have to use the internet to talk to my co-workers, but besides the half-a-dozen people I work with, there are another several thousand people in Resources that I’ve never met. I know some of them are reading my blog, because I can see their IP addresses. I know a bunch of people in the Legislature read here too, from their IP addresses. There are also a whole bunch of undifferentiated hits from the Teale Data Center; those are from state agencies as well.

I don’t like to show any interest in blogs at work, so I can’t follow up on why blogs are being blocked now throughout my agency. I thought it might be my IT guys getting creative, but it seems larger than that. Perhaps it is a new Brown administration getting-down-to-business policy. If so, I wonder whether it was really intended to exclude the topical and relevant water blogs. I understand Brown’s austerity vibe, but if blogs are, as I believe, an important part of the discourse in the field, blocking them also costs us exposure to thought (free thought! thought that costs the state nothing!).

May I propose a solution? I suspect that the no-blogs policy was implemented quickly, since it specifically keys off blog suffixes in the URL. If any high-up people are reading (and I see you, you know), perhaps the Net Nanny software could be modified to allow the water blogs in? Those are professionally relevant. Aquafornia’s blogroll is as comprehensive as any list I know. Perhaps blogs on that list could be allowed? Otherwise, without being able to read as much as I like to and knowing that I’m not reaching a large sector of the field, I won’t be writing the sophisticated and penetrating analyses of Devin Nunes you guys have come to rely on.

*all blogs actually. Anything with wordpress, livejournal, typepad or blogspot in the URL.


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7 responses to “More meta than I generally like.

  1. Whaddya mean, no Aquafornia at DWR? Preposterous! I’ll alert the superiors immediately! RS to the rescue!

    I wondered why hits were down last week. I just thought it was spring break, and there was probably some big party going on somewhere that I hadn’t been invited to…

    Meanwhile, if you have a smart phone, you might be able to access things that way, although staring at that little screen makes me cross-eyed. But I did install a plug-in that formats Aquafornia for smart phones.

  2. onthepublicrecord

    We can read Aquafornia. The nanny isn’t very specific; it only catches the blogging suffixes (blogspot, livejournal, typepad, wordpress). But we can’t click through on the stuff you link, so it doesn’t work very well.

    Yeah, I got another suggestion for a smartphone. I’ve not wanted one so far. Before I do that, I might shell out for a domain name. If I don’t have on the URL, the nanny won’t block it. But I can’t read Jeff Michael, can’t read Legal Planet, can’t read anything hosted by free blogging sites.

  3. Delta.WildRose

    I think it’s a disservice to the water world at large that you have been effectively shut down. Whether in agreement or not, the read is always informative and interesting. Thank you!

  4. Aww, rats, I guess I did miss the party then :(

  5. onthepublicrecord

    Not so much shut-down as discouraged. I could go another route, like paying for a domain and getting a smart phone. But that’d be a small hassle.

    Mostly, while I understand that it is our employer’s right to set our internet consumption rules at work, I would like to see blogs get some validation as important sources of thought and conversation in our field.

  6. It would certainly be a cute little step on the way to being a Real* Information Source: ‘whitelisted at DWR since 2011’!

    *as in, Velveteen Rabbit.

  7. onthepublicrecord

    Can’t go wrong trying to be like the Velveteen Rabbit.