A friend and I were swapping journal horror stories over the weekend. 15 months at top-tier journal X, then a reject without any comments; a revise and resubmit rejected after 10 months, with a report that criticizes the paper for introducing the issues the original reviewers insisted should be discussed; and so on. This stuff is, sadly, typical; and anyone who has been in the profession for more than a decade will have a large collection of such tales. But here's a question:
At what point is it appropriate to get pissy with the journal editor? I usually send a "friendly inquiry" after four months. Then, depending on the response to the four-month inquiry, I usually follow up with a slightly antagonized version in the sixth month. But what should one do in the eighth month? When it is appropriate to withdraw the paper and tell the editor that you'll no longer consider submitting to the journal, and will dissuade others from doing so?
BTW: When I was untenued, I was subjected to treatment by a journal that was extreme in it sirreponsibility. I contacted the relevant people at the APA about it. They did nothing.