I have been following the recent Daily Nous post, "Grad Students: What Do You Wish You Knew?", since yesterday, and like some commenters over there, I cannot help but be distressed by many of the comments. Although there are a few positive reflections--and there may well be self-selection effects (viz. people being more likely to report negative experiences than positive ones)--the overall picture of philosophy grad school in that thread seems to be extremely negative, to say the least.
I have made no secret of my own grad school struggles, as well as my job-market struggles. I had a very difficult time both in graduate school and the job-market--more difficult than I ever imagined I would. Given that, short of empirical studies, it is hard to know what proportion of people have negative philosophy grad school experiences (though there a number of very disturbing studies on grad-student well-being and mental health in general), we may not be in a very good position to figure these things out here. What me may be in a better position to do, however, is discuss in a constructive manner what should be done--not only by individuals, but institutions--to improve things. Although there is probably only so much we can do, it seems to me a very important conversation to start, and indeed, keep going. In my view, at least, we should not just rest content with the status quo. Yes, grad school is hard, and yes, there are not enough jobs--but many of the concerns that people raise at the Daily Nous thread and elsewhere (e.g. grad school culture, unhelpful faculty, misinformation, etc.) plausibly are things that we can do something about, at least in time and with enough individual and collective will.
So, then, I want to pose several questions: what do you think can and/or should be done to help philosophy grad students have a more positive (or at least not awful) grad school experience? Is there a series of "best practices" that programs should adopt? If so, which ones exactly? Should professional associations (e.g. the APA) have any involvement here, perhaps formulating and recommending some best practices? And what can we do as individuals--as grad students and faculty?