Snipping at the heels of the more intellectually ambitious
And in the long run, there are some things that you should be writing on a blog. I don’t know how much this extends to other disciplines, but a lot of philosophy publication is taken up with papers about why X’s proposal about topic Y is wrong. Now “Philosopher makes mistake” is hardly a headline, so a lot of these papers aren’t surprising. The world would be better off if the journals could be cleared of a lot of them. Of course the good of the world need not be the primary concern of the young academic. (It certainly wasn’t my concern when I was younger, or now for that matter.) Still, there comes a time when it starts to look unfortunate to have all of one’s CV taken up with these little critical notes. (I’ve had to make separate listings on my CV for positive and negative papers just to remove the impression that I do nothing but snip at heels of the more intellectually ambitious.) And at that time you might prefer that those sharp critical comments you’d made had been confined to a well-kept first-rate blog rather than slotted into a second-or-third-rate journal. Certainly the academic world would be better if a lot of these papers were confined to web-self-publication, and after a while their writers will also be better off.