Janet Reid responded eloquently to the Wall Street Journal article about the Google Settlement. Maya Reynolds presented an interesting third opinion on the matter.
BookEnds opened up a can of worms with AgentFail, which led to over 250 responses, most of them bashing agents. I agree with Nathan Bransford about all of this, but just wanted to mention a few things.
First, I'm always amazed by the amount of anger that writers have towards agents because I look at myself as an advocate for authors, and particularly for my own clients. However, I don't live in a bubble. I realize that we are the initial gatekeepers in this business, and by saying no (or not saying anything at all) we're preventing you from getting published. But we're not dog-like creatures eagerly anticipating the return of Gozer. We're filtering queries and trying to find talented and skilled writers whose work will be bought by a publisher and read by the public.
I've expressed before my opinion on whether part of my job is responding to queries, so I won't rehash it here beyond saying that I try to respond to every query sent to me via my submission form (though I admit I am weeks behind due to both personal and professional reasons) even though I don't believe it is my duty to do so.
Finally, I've noticed that some commentators complained that agents respond too quickly to their emails. I've literally read hundreds of thousands of queries in my life. I've gotten good at telling immediately whether a query isn't right for me. I understand that you've been working on a project for six months, and it's brutal and frustrating to hear that I'm not interested two minutes later, but all I'm saying is that I'm not interested. It does not mean it isn't worthy.
OK, hope you have a good weekend.