I'm a nosy person, and I like information. I'm also really competitive. So personally, I like it when publishers post the semifinalists and finalists for contests. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that I relish reading the lists and comparing them with other lists.
However, as an editor I'm not sure that publicly naming names (and titles) is the best thing to do. I absolutely think the authors should know, but at some point does the "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" syndrome affect a manuscript's confidence and viability? It really shouldn't. It doesn't change the work at all, and if it's good, it should be recognized, even if it isn't the final pick. But I still wonder.
When a former incarnation of my first book was a finalist at a bunch of places, it was a finalist with other finalists it had hung out on other lists with for other contests. In order for it to go all the way I had to write a bunch of new poems and give it a new name. I didn't opt, as many folks do, to tell publishers about my near misses, and if I did I made sure I mentioned it was a former version of the book. It's funny to replace this practice with poems. The enclosed submission has received encouraging rejections from Ploughshares and Pleiades, and a smiley face from Mid-American Review. We probably wouldn't do that.
How do you feel about publicly naming names (and titles)? Is it good publicity, or potentially problematic?