Saturday, December 09, 2006
Rumor mills: don't trust 'em.
Since I'm heavily involved in our faculty search, I can't really talk too much about it online. However, I do want to point out something about rumor mill sites. These have existed for about a decade in the high energy and astrophysics communities, and for the last three years or so there has been a condensed matter/AMO rumor mill site as well. The idea is that this is a way for the candidates (primarily) to keep track of who is interviewing for the various jobs, and who is getting offers. The problem is, these sites are only as good as their sources of information. Now that just about every department puts their seminar calendars online, it's not hard to go through the schedules and try to figure out who is giving job talks. Of course, you have to use a bit of common sense, too. As a cautionary example: yesterday the CM/AMO rumor mill listed two candidates allegedly on the short list for our position. However, (a) both are theorists, (b) one is an AMO person, and (c) our search committee hasn't even had its first meeting yet. Doh! The lesson: don't take the rumor mills very seriously. They can be very wrong, have no fact-checking, and in principle can be manipulated via disinformation.
Posted by Douglas Natelson at 12:23 PM