Sunday, April 30, 2006

IR Rumor Mill Discussion

In order to separate out rumors from discussion of the job market or the rumor mill itself, please comment here if you wish to discuss the rumor mill itself. This includes complaints, suggestions, or compliments. All of the relevant comments from the IR Job Rumors Fall 2006 have been moved here. Since this is a process that currently must be done by hand, please post comments about the mill itself here rather than on other postings.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Because the problem of conflicting information is likely to recur, I suggest that rumors be accompanied by a general description of the source -- graduate student in the department, candidate who received an invitation, search committee member, etc.

An Observer said...

I know people may be reticent about naming names. Some may be insiders to the process, and not feel comfortable doing so. They may also be concerned about posting names before all individuals are contacted. Others may know because they received an interview, and don't want to either "trumpet" their good news or risk losing their anonymity. Regardless of the reason, this is never going to work unless people go ahead and name names.

Only part of the reason for a website like this is to prevent people from "waiting for a call that's never going to come" by letting them know that interview requests have been sent out. Another reason is to provide an information aggregator about the developing shape of the "job market." The field of IR lacks such an aggregation mechanism, and it is particularly instructive for those who are interested in the dynamics of the job market from year to year.

From the posts here, it does look like there is a "dam breaking effect": once one name gets posted, others will be as well. I wouldn't worry too much about fears of self-identification: a lot of people find out quickly when someone gets good news who may not have information about other interviewees. Indeed, it strikes me that only the concern about "premature release" (ack) is a really good reason for not posting.

So, share the news!

Anonymous said...

Crock of BS. This is a site for busybodies worried more about the job market than getting their work done. There are a lot of reasons someone may not want their name anywhere -- first and foremost, the issue of privacy. Shame on you for 'guilting' others into satisfying your own urge to 'know about the market.'

Anonymous said...

Talk about BS. What sanctimonious crap in that last post. Without going too far afield, what exactly is the privacy issue here? Saying that somebody has a job talk somewhere is not exactly a HIPPA violation. Every school I've ever known publicly advertises its job talks. For the most part, all this site is doing is aggregating information that is publicly available elsewhere.

Privacy may be more of an issue if people start posting, "Jane Doe has gotten an offer from X University." Jane may not want that known (even though having that information publicly known would actually probably help Jane).

At the moment, I see nothing that constitutes a privacy violation.

an observer said...

"Crock of BS. This is a site for busybodies worried more about the job market than getting their work done."
There are a lot of reasons someone may not want their name anywhere -- first and foremost, the issue of privacy. Shame on you for 'guilting' others into satisfying your own urge to 'know about the market.'"

These are two distinct issues.

The first is an (ad ad hominem) attack on the rationale for having an information aggregator about the state of the job market: that only "busybodies" would be interested.

I'm not sure how this invalidates the IR Rumor Mill, since it would still be of use to busybodies :-).

Moreover, the underlying argument, that having an information aggregator distracts people from "getting their work done," is highly contestable.

Back in the day when I was on the job market, I found the uncertainty of "not knowing" a bigger distraction from my own work than having better information about what was actually happening.

Particularly unsettling for myself, and for my friends on the market, were situations in which one of us only discovered that he/she was not being interviewed for a position because the other mentioned that he/she was. That possibility made conversations about, e.g., joint projects, IIRC, kind of stressful.

I do not claim that my own psychological response is universal... but it does suggest an obvious solution for the personalities you describe: don't look at these kinds of websites.

The second is that there is another reason why people might not want to publicize their interviews: they wish to keep that information private.

Fine. That's a perfectly good reason for an individual not to post. My argument might be better read thusly: if you buy into the motivation behind the website, and use it as a resource, you might as well go all the way.

Yet I can't help thinking that it is based on a faulty premise: that interview lists are actually private.

They're not. They are distributed on departmental mailing lists, posted on websites, and they diffuse through various "central nodes" (e.g., post- and pre-doctoral research centers such Olin, Belfer, and CISAC). It is more accurate to say that such market information is public, but that individuals in the field have poor access to it.

I believe there are huge costs to this state of affairs.

First, it makes more work for busybodies, who wind up trolling these channels for information. An aggregator simplifies this process enormously.

Second, it is unfair to individual job candidates who have little way of knowing their market position until long after the fact. I submit that at least some of us who have listened to our graduate students talk about a particular job, all the while suspecting that the interview list had already been drawn up, recognize the problem here.

Third, it is unfair to individual job candidates because it gives an informational advantage to people with (a) aggressive advisors, (b) friends already at an institution, and/or (c) who are located at one of the central nodes I mentioned above.

I have only done this a few times, but it is not at all hard for me to call a colleague and find out an interview list (sometimes "off the record", thus prohibiting me from sharing information with a student, or just as likely, "oh, yeah, of course; here it is"). Why should my students have this information when others don't, particularly in the latter scenario I specified?

Third, it leads to poor generalizations about an important process for the discipline. Consider ongoing debates about anti-qualitative bias in hiring; is there such a bias? It is nearly impossible to tell without adequate information about interview lists and ultimate hiring decisions.

an observer said...

I absolutely agree about job offers. There are many good reasons why people (and institutions) might want to keep those private. The appropriate information for this site is not "offers" but "position filled."

Anonymous said...

I'll take whatever information I can get. While disappointing to find out that schools I applied to have already invited their first bunch of candidates out, it's better than sitting and waiting until December in the hope that school hasn't gotten their act together.

It's nice to know the names of the people being interviewed as this is at least more specific information than "X school has invited people out." I can understand the reluctance for people to put their own name down for getting an interview. I certainly was.

Probably what will happen in most cases is that people won't post that they have an interview but if they know about other people, they will post that news.

In any case, this site is a good complement to informal channels at the post-doc hubs. Many of the websites of Departments don't do a good job updating job talks so the information is semi-public at best, circulating in-house on internal e-mails.

Another Busybody (I can't help it!)

Anonymous said...

For those of us who are on the market this website has been of enormous help in increasing information and reducing stress. Whoever put it together and manages it should be commended. Those who have no use for it dont have to use it. The whole issue of privacy is a bona fie moronic claim.

BelferMole said...

It remains to be seen if sites such as this one can actually help to correct some of the pathologies of the market.

More information about job candidates at certain places may decrease the usual tendency of the entire market (network, really) to clump around one or two candidates if schools are smart enough to use the information to invite candidates out who are not being interviewed everywhere else.

On the other hand, it may increase that tendency if particular schools decide to interview someone because they receive word that a particular candidate is being interviewed elsewhere.

I find it unlikely that any school is going to make a decision based on information here, as usually those on the hiring committee already have fairly dense networks through which they receive information. But it is fun to entertain the idea that a blog might actually have an effect one way or another. It seems that a belief that it could have an effect does exist among the candidates; otherwise more names would be published earlier.

interested observer said...

My sense is that many hiring committees already have decent information about who is being interviewed where, so I can't see much of an effect from this sort of website on decisions about interviews.

Anonymous said...

Busybodies of the world, unite.

At Major University Department, job talks are advertised campus-wide.

So the fact that Super Awesome Candidate Jones is appearing to give a job talk is not private information.

Rather than "Joe Blow has an interview," why not simply limit "outings" to "Jane Blow is giving a talk at Major Research U," which is probably a better indicator of J.B.'s status anyway?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the publicizing of job offers, there are competing interests at work here. Generally only two parties know about offers: department faculty and the lucky candidate. If the candidate posts the information, then there can be no complaint. If the department posts the information, it could be an effort to dissuade other schools from making offers to that candidate (though this strategy is questionable). Departments don't need this blog to engage in such strategic behavior, of course -- they have email and telephones. But the blog has a unique positive externality: it informs other candidates that they haven't been chosen, so they can exhale and stop waiting by the phone.

Departments are going to publicize strategically anyway, so we might as well encourage them to do it via the blog, where it can do a little bit of good.

Anonymous said...

With all this talk of the hot candidates this year and last, do you all think there's much gain to be made by figuring out the hot candidates from the last 10, 15 years? If the market mechanism is efficient, all the valuable considerations of the IR subfield should be revealed in candidate profiles and vitas. might be a worthwhile section of the blog.

Anonymous said...

I realize that this is technically a comment on the rumor mill, but thought it would be best placed here nevertheless. Given that people are beginning to report rumored offers, I thought an earlier post should be reiterated.

An earlier post suggested that while "position accepts" are an appropriate topic for this site, "offers made" might violate a person's privacy (not in a legal, but in an ethical sense). This earlier post noted that there are several valid reasons an individual or institution might want to keep an offer private.

In light of some comments made recently, I want to second this post. I cannot see how information on a rumored offer helps clear the fog of the job market. Yes, it helps to know when a "hot" candidate has exited the market. The appropriate time to post that information, it seems to me, is when that candidate accepts (and "accepts" should be reported only when certain).

The job market, we all know, is stressful, and this site is certainly useful in distributing information. But while posting job interviews hurts no one, reporting offers without that person's consent very well might. With that in mind, perhaps some caution in posting--and limiting information to "positions accepted--is necessary.

Anonymous said...

Why would a post on 'an offer was made to X by Y' hurt anyone?

No one is speculating on whether X will take the offer or not. No one is claiming to know anything about whether X will take the offer or not.

How is that different from 'X is slated to give a job talk at Y'?

Anonymous said...

Disclosing that a candidate has an offer could both benefit and hurt a candidate:

If there really is a "herding" mentality on the market, then an offer may influence other schools to make that same candidate an offer. Even if there isn't a herding mentality, other schools that want the candidate with an offer may be compelled to get moving on their own offer if they know the candidate already has one on the table. In this way, public knowledge of offers could be a benefit.

Conversely, making an offer public might discourage schools from contacting that candidate for an interview. A candidate might actually be hoping for an interview at University X, but University X may decide it's not worth its time or money if the candidate already has an offer from College Y.

Anonymous said...

The point has been made. Let us please move the conversation to the Rumor Mill Discussion thread.

Anonymous said...

Different subject: I'd like to second the query about CP jobs. Since we poor CP folks don't have a rumor mill of our own...

Anonymous said...

Re the last post on CP jobs, I'd rather we keep things separate.
Why don't you "poor CP folks" start a CP Rumor Mill? Make a blog and publicize it...

Anonymous said...

>Why don't you "poor CP folks" start
>a CP Rumor Mill?

Let's see: I could go to all the trouble of creating the blog, publicizing it, moderating it, verifying the info, etc., all on my own time. Or I could just use this existing site.

Besides, it doesn't hurt you or other IR folk one bit for there to be a few CP rumors floating around here (especially considering how many CP/IR jobs there are anyway).

Anonymous said...

"I could go to all the trouble of creating the blog, publicizing it, moderating it, verifying the info, etc., all on my own time. Or I could just use this existing site."

It's troubling that someone would note all of the trouble the moderator of this site goes through and then proclaim his or her right to free ride. What a icon of consideration and class! Well done!

Bottom line, it's up to the moderator to decide the scope of the site. I'll wait for his or her decision before posting a comparative notice.

Anonymous said...

I think it would benefit IR job seekers by having CP folks coming here and posting as well. As mentioned, there are a lot of CP/IR jobs out there. Also, CP job seekers will have info on IR searches that otherwise might not be posted here.

As for the free riding bit, my assumption is that the hardest part was creating and publicizing this site, not moderating it now. But if I'm wrong, I (and surely many others) would be glad to help out.

Anonymous said...

I am on a search committee and just learned about this site.

I have mixed feelings, but in general I think that more information is a good thing, so I do not disapprove.

Some say that information about who is being interviewed is "out there." Yes it is--among tightly controlled networks of friends and colleagues. Do you like the informal grapevine *better* than this blog?

As one who is located somewhat outside those networks, both geographically and institution wise, this puts us at a significant disadvantage.

Yes, the main problem is herding and this blog may increase it. On the other hand, it is very useful for us to discover who has applied to our institution and who has not; as well as serving as something of a check on our own evaluations.

I'd never substitute the evaluations of other schools, but it seems to me not unreasonable to at least consider them.

IR Rumor Mill said...

An increasing number of Comparative Politics comments are being made on the IR Job Rumors Fall 2006 post. While only posts that refer to jobs in the IR Job List Fall 2006 will be added to the official IR Job Rumors Fall 2006 table, contributors should feel free to post information about CP jobs there, since there is substantial overlap. Most likely next year CP jobs will be fully incorporated.

Anonymous said...

The politics of this blog:

A candidate takes a risk by posting information, because the department interviewing them may also read this blog, and know that it was only them who could have posted the information. This might hurt the candidate in the interviewing process. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

How would they know that it could "only be them." If these things are widely announced in the interviewing department, and the candidate has told his/her coleagues about the talk, anyone could be making a post. I think this is being a bit paranoid--if this blog is going to make or break a hiring decision, we live in a sad world.

Anonymous said...

for example "x school is phone interviewing" when they only interviewed you

Anonymous said...

Well, to be completely conspiratorial, there is one way in which this blog could be dangerous to a candidate in the way alluded to above. That is, we still don't know who is behind this blog, do we?

This is not a criticism because I think this person or persons has provided a great service, but that person or persons can presumably see the IP address of people who post on this blog, right? (That's actually partly a factual question--I'm not familiar with blogspot, but you can certainly see IP addresses of visitors if you manage other types of websites.)

An IP address doesn't necessarily reveal the specific person posting (though, in some cases, it does), but it certainly could reveal the institution from which the posting is coming.

My guess is that this website is run by a grad student or group of grad students with completely innocent motives, but imagine instead that it was run by a group of colluding faculty at top-10 departments. Take that conspiracy theory. :)

Anonymous said...

The IR rumor mill is not that different from people talking to each other--there is accurate and inaccurate information, gossip, news you can use and news meant to mislead (or shall we say, a strategic use of news?). If you're not at one of the postdoc hubs or a well-connected department, this site is great. Don't believe everything you hear and everything you read.

Anonymous said...

Is there some way to get information removed from this blog? I am currently in a TT position and I would rather not have my candidacy for other jobs broadcast.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, it is your prerogative to want to keep your own personal position quiet. However, do you honestly think that you'll be able to keep your candidacy for other positions a secret? My experience (as a TT faculty member myself at the moment) is that NOTHING stays a secret for long in this business. If you're really concerned about your current institution finding out that you've applied for other jobs, then you may not want to apply for other jobs. Just my .02.

IR Rumor Mill said...

If you wish information removed, email the blog directly (irrumormill AT gmail DOT com). Be forewarned that removal of a comment or post may attract more attention rather than less. There may be a delay of a few days before posts or comments can be removed.

For those who would like to post information on searches that includes tenure-track professors as candidates: Please use discretion when posting rumors of offers or acceptances; if possible, only post an offer if it is public knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Are there any statistics re: how many candidates did not get any interviews at all? Or how many interviews candidates get on average?

Anonymous said...

The rumor mill should not be in the business of removing rumors unless there are issues of liable, falsehood, or slander involved. If that starts to happen some of us may just set up an alternative that doesn't act as if it's a wholly owned subsidary of the Chinese Communist Party. If you would prefer your candidacy not to be broadcast, tough. Welcome to the free flow of information. It's been around for a decade.

Anonymous said...

That's a load of shit. The rumor mill is an excellent idea for those who want information, but it goes too far when it risks people's careers without their consent. I read the rumor mill every day hoping that certain news of mine waits to "break" until its okay with me, my potential employer, and others. Its fine if something will hurt someone's career that it is taken down.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:59 AM, March 09, 2006, if/when you are in a TT position and on the market (especially if you are at a place that is not amenable to people moving), I have a feeling that your position will change. And by the way, that's "libel," counselor. Not every piece of information that can be disclosed should be disclosed and I think that the people at the IR Rumor Mill are cool about providing information while taking individuals' needs into account.

Anonymous said...

As a TT faculty member in a top 25 department, this bit about secrecy is kind of crazy. A bit of strategy and consideration will save you lots of paranoia and headaches. Treating employers, current and prospective, with due respect goes a long way to avoiding all of this. If you do not want people to know things, do not do them and if you cannot control yourself, do not talk about it!

Anonymous said...

My own experience suggests that whatever nastiness arises from faculty departures is usually jealousy. If a better opportunity arises for a junior, one should not begrudge them for improving their lots and those who do are simply upset because they were never able to.

The kernel of oft forgotten truth in the previous post is the decline in civility. I can understand how faculty might not wish it known that they are applying for jobs, but very little on this blog is about that. The blog seems to cover interviews, offers, and acceptances. My own, apparently outdated, view is that I have a responsibility to inform my employer concerning interviews and offers. If one reaps resentment from sowing secrecy and duplicity, do not be surprised.

Anonymous said...

I think that one is under no obligation to inform colleagues about interviews and such. Telling the chair is quite another matter because s/he will find out sooner or later, and it's a lot better that the information come from the source. It's simple professional courtesy. I can understand one not wanting to tell colleagues, however. Leaving aside the professional jealousy that may arise, there's no sense in advertising an attempt to leave the department. It only gets worse if that attempt fails and now one is stuck with the same colleagues one was ready to ditch. It's very hard to explain after the fact that you really only did it to get a boost in your salary and never had an intention of leaving.

Anonymous said...

How about this - why don't we stop naming names altogether - unless we are the name? That would respect people's privacy . . . without detracting from the informational function of this blog.

Anonymous said...

I second what Anon 8:40 said. If the information comes from the person who received the interview/offer/fellowship, it's news. Otherwise it's gossip. If you think it's Ok to post this gossip, post it with your own name instead of anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Let me shed a bit of additional light, as a tenured member who has pursued some outside opportunities and is not as a top 25 department.

I don't think nastiness stems from jealousy, or that secrecy is crazy (this may be true at the top 25, but remember the vast majority of us are not at the top 25).

At many schools, pursuit of an outside offer is seen as a sign of disloyalty. Many institutions place a high value on shared institutional mission, and individuals often don't understand those who have other goals.

If the outside offer is not obtained, this can have real consequences for one's future advancement and salary.

Perhaps one is interested but not certain about another school, so negotiates an adjunct or visitor's slot.

Perhaps one has complicated personal, family, or professional issues and needs time and space to contemplate an offer.

In all of these circumstances, candidates may wish that offers remain quiet. This blog may eliminate this possibility for the future, but to say that this is an unalloyed good is far too simplistic. It may benefit some, it may harm others.

Just be careful for pursuing gossip just for the sake of gossip. Peoples' careers may be on the line.

Anonymous said...

Get over it - "juice?" - these are people's lives we are talking about, and if they wanted to tell you, they would. Otherwise, you are a gossip, which is a crappy thing to be. Please do not post information that is not about you.

Anonymous said...

Word for the day:

sanctimonious, adj.: Of pretended or assumed sanctity or piety, making a show of sanctity, affecting the appearance of sanctity.

Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

The 10:06 pm posting is right - just back from ISA, I really resent this blog; you cannot tell your friends what is going on in your life because you are afraid one of them will post it here - even though you should trust them, the stakes are too high . . .

Anonymous said...

I also agree with the 10:06.

If you want juice, drink Sunny D.

If you want gossip, read the National Inquirer.

Neither is appropriate here.

Anonymous said...

It's called the "IR *RUMOR* Mill," people. Rumors are gossip.

If you're worried about your "friends" posting sensitive information on here, then I'd suggest you might want to rethink who your friends are.

Finally, can anybody actually point to evidence of this site having done harm to anybody? As has been discussed before, most of what is posted here, such as who has interviews where, is public information.

Anonymous said...

This blog is intended to help correct one pathology in the field (information droughts) not amplify another (gossip). By the previous poster's logic we should include gossip about personal matters--it says "rumor" doesn't it? The adolescent, it hasn't hurt anyone (yet) so it's ok? Please. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

It also says "IR Job Rumors Fall 2006." That would seem to eliminate the concern about personal gossip being germane. Geez. Who's calling who adolescent here?

My point is that most of the "gossip" or "rumor" posted here has served precisely the purpose of disseminating information that is public. Many people seem to be getting all hot and bothered about the pernicious consequences of this site, but I just don't see it.

Aside from the wacky obsession with discussing every twist and turn at the University of Kentucky, can anybody really say that this site has transformed the nature of the job market in any meaningful way? All in all, I'd say it's been pretty innocuous.

Anonymous said...

Specific examples of how this blog has affected people would in themselves likely cause harm, but I have heard (and seen) some horror stories - someone who is looking when they have a tenure track job and does not want that information to be public knowledge, a department who made a hiring decision based on a post about them,the post about someone's love life, people who are trying to leave a little mystery to the offers that they are choosing between, people who go to job interviews and the department has read this blog and know their other offers . . .

Don't get me wrong - there is an information drought, and the stated purpose of this job to correct it is a good idea. To correct the information draught, however, all you need to say is "interviews are being conducted at school x" or "school y has made an offer" or "school z's offer was accepted. People's names, especially when they are not the poster's, don't accomplish that purpose any better than anonymous post.

Also, even were the posts restricted to who received an offer where, that affects people's personal lives too - because it affects their job negotiations, which are, to a degree, intensely personal. "Job information" is cool - "IR gossip" has no place on the internet or in our lives. When we find it necessary, we could do it in substantially more private forums.

Anonymous said...

Unless it is already public information, there is no need or justification for giving a person's name regarding a job or fellowship offer. I ask: In what way does prematurely providing their name benefit the field or those on the job or fellowship market? Are you willing to risk someone's job or compromise their privacy to satisfy the idle curiosity of a few.

On another note, claiming that no one has been adversly affected by information on this site is pure speculation. I highly doubt that someone was adversly affected would post a complaint as it would only bring more undesired attention.

A balance should be struck between curiosity and a person's privacy.

Anonymous said...

No one is denying that knowing the names of who recieved fellowships can be helpful. The issue at hand is whether prematurely releasing private information is appropriate.

I doubt that immediately knowing the names of those who received fellowships or job offers helps those currently seeking a fellowship or job (because your applications should already be out).

As such, just be patient and wait until the information is officially made public.

Or....Do we now live in a society and profession where the immediacy of gossip trumps privacy and people's careers? If immediacy is so important for some on this site, I suggest that you start identifying yourselves (name and university)when you post a comment because I am sure we all want the JUICE. Or are you worried that it might affect your career?

Anonymous said...

To the holier than thou poster at 3:03:

What the hell do you think just happened for four days in San Diego? Thousands of us, just like those posting on here, huddled over the cheapest, but most potent, drink we could find and gossiped about everything and everybody in the field. At least here, people can read what others are saying about them.

I suppose it's fine to be idealistic and think we can rid the world of rumors and gossip. Let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

This site doesn't help people who do well on the market. The question is: does it help people who don't do well on the market? I suspect it does not--more likely they will be dissapointed reading about offers made to competititors. Then what's left? Gossip. Does anyone really believe that saying something about a person on here is no different from such conversation in private with your friends?

Anonymous said...

Precisely.

1) The information here is anonymous and public. Gossip over a beer is face to face and, presumably, private. Of course, someone can disseminate the gossip, but posting here is very, very different.

2) Yes, this blog has caused me a problem. Is it severe yet? No, luckily I have already informed my closest confidantes and others have not yet found out.

3) "public"? What is "public"? What makes you think when college X makes an offer to candidate A that this is now "public" information?

How arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Re: the previous post

"Yes, this blog has caused me a problem...."

Hmm.... Did the blog cause the problem or did some willful choice that you *hoped* would remain secret become broadcast over this venue? Important element of causation: can you eliminate the possibility that the same willful choice would not have become broadcast in the absence of this blog? Better to know the falsehoods [and truths] being spread about than to know their existence but not their content.

Anonymous said...

3:08 PM, this is silliness. How can anyone say with the absolute certainty that you demand that this would not have happened without the blog? Think in terms of probabilities: the blog disseminates information more efficiently, or you would not be reading it.

Anonymous said...

"This blog disseminates information more efficiently"

We have already seen multiple instances of misinformation on this blog.

Because almost all posts are anonymous, we have no way of evaluating the quality of the information.

This blog can easily be used to manipulate information.

Yet you claim it is "efficient"? What model of information dissemination leads you to claim this?

In one circumstance I know of, information was disseminated on the blog that would not have been disseminated via any other channels.

Anonymous said...

Now that the first class of candidates has gone on the market under the shadow of this blog, perhaps it is a good time to evaluate the rumor mill as an informational tool. Would people care to share their views on whether the blog helped or hurt them this year?

I'll go first. In short, the blog was entirely irrelevant to my experience. It did not point me to previously unknown openings. Hearing that my top schools had already called people was painful but helped me in no meaningful way. When I did get interviews, knowing who else was interviewing with me did not help me prepare at all. It was (sort of) nice to know when jobs got filled, but this knowledge did not influence my behavior in any respect, aside from inducing some unproductive moping. At best, reading the posts quenched my thirst for gossip.

I don't have any evidence to support it, but I have an intuition that this blog hurts junior candidates (including both newbies and juniors trying to change departments) more than it helps them. When information is scarce, candidates with multiple offers can reveal information strategically and at their discretion. But the blog takes this control out of their hands and ensures that the departments they negotiate with are fully informed. This may not necessarily be bad for candidates, but it can't be better than having control over what information gets revealed.

As for candidates with zero or one offer, I don't see how the blog would make any difference whatsoever.

So, in solidarity with my junior-level colleagues, I am inclined to boycott the rumor page and stick to the discussion sections, which I enjoy. (At least, until I am convinced that somebody will benefit from the information that I post.) If I ever need to switch departments, I will be glad if there is no rumor mill around to broadcast it.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why it's necessary to have such an "all-or-nothing" response. You're right to suggest that now is a good time to evaluate the first year of the rumor mill--as with most things, there have been some problems to work out. Why not spend this time working on a code-of-conduct for posting on the rumor mill? I would suggest that these rules might include that the following would be fair game:
--posting job ads (especially those that aren't on Apsanet)
--posting which departments are interviewing, without naming who the candidates are
--posting when a department has made an offer (or had an offer rejected), again without naming the individual
--posting when an individual has accepted an offer (and then the individual could be named).

Maybe it would be possible to require individuals to register in order to post rumors (but could this be done while still allowing them to post as "anonymous?").

Anonymous said...

Be careful about imposing rules and conditions because if this happens it is inevitable that someone will establish another site with less restrictions.

As to all this controversy about naming, it is useful to know who has been called for a talk. For example, you might want to know who you are up against.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and the international sphere has no ruler, so therefore anything goes, and attempting to impose rules, even if just norms, is useless.

Anonymous said...

I think s/he meant that it is in the crude, naked self-interest of junior-level people to strangle the name-naming component of this blog. So even the realists can get behind the cause, since it could someday bite them too. No kumbaya necessary.

Anonymous said...

My impression is that there's too much herding in this discipline as it is, and that this blog and blogs like it don't help. This is natural when criteria for excellence are as varied as they are and signals (grades, letters, even publications) are as noisy as they are. But it's really not fair. IMHO hiring committees should be locked in a room with the files, and no telephone or internet access, until they come up with a list of people to interview.

fwiw, I wasn't on the market this year and haven't been for quite a while. But I've seen this happen year after year, and it's getting really annoying.

Anonymous said...

Wassamatta U? Bitter?

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I was on a search committee this year that made decisions in September. Our shortlist looked very much like the short lists of peer [and better] departments. Herding and shared standards are quite difficult to differentiate.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought: if you're a first year graduate student and you managed to get published in a prominent journal and you present at APSA, how favorably will you be looked upon when you go on the job market?

Anonymous said...

The publication will help a lot, depending on the prominence of the outlet. The APSA presentation will have only a marginal impact (i.e., demonstrating that you understand the norms of the profession and are continuing to work).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response- that's helpful! I didn't think anybody was even reading this page anymore.