As a partially-interested observer (and occasional commenter, both anonymous and named), I have to say the life-cycle of the American and Comparative Jobs blog has been of moderate interest; in the job season, it was a source of moderately helpful information, but the summer months have devolved into a rather nasty spree of backbiting and rather un-PC grievance-airing, leading the anonymous blogmistress to resort to comment moderation. We shall see if this is, as one commenter speculates, the “death” of the blog, or merely a speed bump. My sense is the latter, as the need for information (and strategic departmental leaks) will ultimately outweigh the loss of immediacy.
At the very least, now that I know (through a combination of the blog and disciplinary scuttlebutt) that one of the jobs I applied for last year had an invisible “white males need not apply” sign attached to it, I won’t be making the mistake of applying for any position ever advertised by that college again.
In terms of wider disciplinary conversations in the blogosphere, I think the truth of the matter is that there are some serious grievances about the discipline among political scientists that simply will not be aired in non-anonymous public fora. That inevitably means there is going to be some nastiness, as those with private agendas use anonymity to attack others. I am unsure what the proper balance is, but I do know that the same themes raised at the American/Comparative jobs blog are the subject of whispers in the hallways of conferences and other gatherings.
The bottom line, I think is that if we are going to have more “openness” and “reform” in political science, we are going to need some brutal honesty about issues beyond methodological pluralism in the APSR—things like overproduction of PhDs, hiring practices (including the fundamentally broken hiring process), the dominance of doctoral-granting departments on the boards of the APSA, journals, and regional associations, differing standards for what is considered “quality” scholarship among subfields, and more. And I think that brutal honesty is going to need people who are willing to speak up about these issues non-anonymously without the protection (not from outside interference as originally intended, but from our own colleagues) of tenure. Personally, I don’t see that happening any time soon, but I would love to see someone prove me wrong.