I noticed yesterday a website named Math Job Rumors that has been operating for a couple months. No idea what the story behind it is other than that it’s clearly a descendant of Economics Job Market Rumors, which had some small participation by mathematicians, but is somewhat of a dumpster fire of misinformation, trolling, misogyny and various sorts of juvenile behavior. It looks like someone is trying to provide something similar aimed specifically at mathematicians, with some improvement over the EJMR environment.
One aspect of the site are threads devoted to rumors about tenure track and postdoc hiring in pure math, I don’t know if there has been something like this before. In theoretical physics there’s the venerable Theoretical Particle Physics Jobs Rumor Mill and the HEP Theory Postdoc Rumor Mill, but these are run in a very different way, with all information posted coming from one or more people who run the site, based on information sent to him/her/them.
The problem with the EJMR or Math Job Rumors model is that anonymity is needed for the whole thing to work, but once you start allowing people to post things anonymously, if you don’t moderate what is posted, you’ll quickly get overrun by idiots, trolls and other sorts of bad actors. Some kind of moderation is going on at the new site, but it’s unclear who is doing it or on what basis.
After starting with the Official Peter Woit blog hate thread, I moved on to reading a few other threads. Lots of dumb stuff, lots of inside jokes, lots and lots of trolling. I confess though that in one case the trolling was clever enough to make me laugh out loud, but it’s aimed at a really small audience. I did learn one piece of information that appears to be true, that prominent string theorist Shamit Kachru has gone on leave from his position at Stanford to work as a consultant in the finance industry.
In summary, for those mathematicians who read this blog and feel that they are not wasting enough time on mostly dumb internet stuff, you might want to take a look…