I’m on the hiring committee, I chair the graduate admissions committee, and I’m doing an NSF panel, so basically I’ll be spending much of this month judging and ranking people’s mathematics. There’s a lot I like about these jobs: it’s a very efficient way to get a panorama of what’s going on in math and what people think about it. The actual ranking part I don’t like that much — especially because the nature of hiring, admissions, and grant-making means you’re inevitably putting tons of very worthwhile stuff below the line. I feel like a researcher when I read the proposals, like a bureaucrat when I put scores on them.
But of course the bureaucratic work needs to be done. I’d go so far as to say — if mathematicians aren’t willing to rank each other, others will rank us, and that would be worse.