I'll give the blogosphere credit for some things.
1. Writing in this medium is addictive. I can swear off it for a while, but sometimes I feel I need a 12-step program.
2. For writers - of textbooks, academic journal articles - this is an excellent workshop for figuring out how to express complicated ideas in ways that people can (hopefully) understand.
3. I have worked in a subfield of economics which has been something of a cult. In days of yore, my work was known mainly to a close family of monetary economists. Now, when I travel and meet professional economists, some of them know who I am because I write this blog. Whether that's good or bad, I have no idea.
Paul Krugman appears to think that the blogosphere has achieved great things. According to Krugman, blog writing is advancing economic science in important ways. Not only that - he thinks the blogosphere is a key outlet for important ideas that have somehow been blocked by Bad-Guy powerful academics who have a tight hold on economics journals. Basically, academic work is bad science, and blog writing is good science.
So, Krugman has been very successful as a blog writer, and he's happy to point out to us that he shows up as #1 on top-100 blog lists. He's like the Eminem/Rihanna of economics. But, if you took a poll of successful academic economists - say the top 2000 on the REPEC list (that's the top 5%) - you know what they would tell you. Some version of: Peer review works, formal economic science is making progress, and most of what is written in economics blogs is schlock. So, who's right?
Please tell me:
1. What evidence do we have of progress in economic science that comes out of blogosphere writing and discussion?
2. What evidence is there that ideas coming directly out of the blogosphere actually influenced policymakers?
3. What are the great ideas that were somehow unjustly shut out of academic journals?