A couple more questions of information architecture: What are blogs good for? And what is the ideal medium for philosophical discussion? Here some form of pluralism seems plausible, since there are many different kinds of valuable philosophical discussion (from brainstorming ideas to the highest levels of rigorous critique), and people differ in whether they prefer, e.g., oral or written communication. But I think some general observations may still be possible. In particular, I want to undermine the common prejudice against taking blogging seriously as an academic medium.
On the traditional picture, philosophers may go through any or all of the following steps: (i) get together at the pub to exchange rough ideas, (ii) go home and write up a paper, (iii) pass it around their friends for comments, (iv) perhaps present it at a colloquium or conference to get a bit more feedback, before (v) submitting the final paper to a journal, where it stands as their "official" contribution to the ongoing discussion in the literature.
Blogging might be understood conservatively as an expansion of the first (brainstorming) step, though I think it also has a fair bit in common with conferencing, and - don't forget - is a form of publication in addition. This combination of features suggests some potentially radical implications. In the long run, I expect that the distinction between 'work in progress' and 'publications' will become increasingly porous, as academia slowly comes to grips with the 'publish then filter' information economy. (Dennett noticed the start of this trend over a decade ago, in employing his famous "multiple drafts" metaphor.) But I also want to say something about our more immediate circumstances.
In particular, I want to suggest that blogging, as a medium, is very well-suited for (much) philosophizing. Indeed, I personally find it to be my favourite philosophical medium, at least for many purposes. I add the proviso because my absolute best philosophical experiences have been in small, well-focused seminar classes, where everyone has done the readings and actively participates in stimulating discussions. That, I grant, is even better than blogging. But in general, I find that blog discussions are often more philosophically valuable than, say, colloquia, conference talks, and similar 'general audience' presentations.
Of course it depends on the participants (so I have in mind a good quality blog like PEA Soup). But it shouldn't be surprising that blogs, as a written medium, may be conducive to higher quality conversation -- at least when all else is equal. After all, asynchronous discussion frees interlocutors to spend as long as they need to reflect carefully and craft their responses. Competitive pressures also help: without a captive audience, "speakers" with nothing particularly worthwhile to say will soon find no-one listening to them. (If only we could leave a boring talk, or skim past an obtuse question, as easily as we can on the Internet!) Thirdly, the space of potential interlocutors is much larger, as overcoming geographic boundaries creates many new opportunities for conversing with wonderful philosophers from all over the globe. [For example, one of my favourite blog discussions (quoted here) was with Jamie Dreier (Brown) when I was at ANU, half the world away.]
So I think blogging is in principle -- and often in practice -- superior to conferencing and colloquia, as a "mid-level" philosophical medium. This claim strikes me as fairly straightforward. More controversially: I'm inclined to think that even "high-level" philosophy, i.e. journal articles, would often be better in (something like) blog format. Granted, some papers really do need all those ten thousand words to make their point. But most often, I think the core insight could be easily captured in an 800 word blog post, and the rest is just tying up loose ends, or repetitive exposition for struggling readers -- stuff that could easily be delegated to separate - hyperlinked - pages, rather than bloating the main work.
Overall, I expect that current academic practices will at least be significantly supplemented (if not supplanted) by new media. Eventually. But I hope to see these improvements implemented sooner rather than later. So helping others to see the opportunities for improvement is perhaps a first step. Your thoughts?