Leon of After Nature muses upon the phenomenon of "Para-Academics.
Specifically, he discusses the prevalence of Facebook and Twitter exchanges among academics in what I presume to be the local blogosphere.
I have a supposition. Perhaps the reason there is so much gossip and tit-for-tat is because the contemporary academic practice of philosophy is founded upon reputation, perhaps even more so than academia in general. Hence, it would be consistent that reputation would be fought for since it is the basis of disciplinary power. Why is this so? Again, I offer a supposition. It takes much training and is difficult to determine exactly how good someone is at philosophy. Moreover, if I may presume that there are different ways to "be good" at philosophy, we may not all agree on what those ways are. Reputation is in fact far less controversial. Think about this a moment, and you're realize how odd a notion this is.