UPDATE : The post has been slightly edited, for reasons I can clarify if people get in touch with me directly.
In his response to the ‘Statement of concern’ made public yesterday by Sally Haslanger and David Velleman, Brian Leiter is now presenting the issue as a ‘crusade’ against the PGR by long-term critics of the PGR. In light of this suggestion, a few clarifications seem in order.
There may be many reasons why something like the PGR is good for the profession; but I can think of no good reason why it should run by someone like Brian Leiter (despite the fact that he is the originator of the PGR). He systematically resorts to aggressive, offensive and intimidating behavior against those who dare express views different from his own, both in public and in private correspondence, often targeting junior colleagues and others who can't 'compete' with his power and influence. We are talking about a pattern here, not isolated events. Now, it is partly through the PGR that Brian Leiter has become such a powerful figure in the profession, and he has arguably been misusing his position of power and influence to target colleagues who he disagrees with on a number of issues.
The question is then whether (given these frequent displays of disrespectful behavior) he is suited to run an initiative that has become so influential as the PGR. A related question is whether he is not misusing the power and influence he has acquired through the PGR and his blog to impose his views and positions by resorting to intimidation and other silencing maneuvers. More generally, I (and others) feel it is important to send the signal that his aggressive behavior is simply unacceptable; it conveys a very disturbing message, if one of the most powerful members of the profession goes around insulting people with no consequences for himself. And why are there no consequences? Arguably, because most people are too scared of him to speak up, especially as they fear PGR-related repercussions.
So no, this is not primarily about the PGR; it's about what many of us perceive as Leiter's inappropriate behavior on a large number of occasions. As many others, I am in principle not opposed to the continuation of the PGR (as a service to graduate students, for example, or as an instrument for hiring negotiations with the university administrators), but *not* in its current structure, i.e. as a one-man-show run by someone prone to intemperate reactions. This is why I voted ‘No’ at the poll currently being held on the question: “Should we proceed with the 2014 PGR?” My own position is that the PGR should be thoroughly reformed, in particular put under new leadership (preferably, a group of people rather than a single person), if it is to be continued. In sum, I have no objections to a reformed 2015 PGR.
This being said, Leiter has been running the PGR diligently for years (even if one can quibble with the reputation-based methodology used), and for this he should be thanked (at least by those who think that the PGR has had an overall positive effect on the profession, and there seem to be many such people). It should also be recognized that he has acted admirably on a number of occasions when issues in the profession arose, and perhaps it is also worth noting that none of what I am saying here pertains to his scholarly work, which is (or so I am told) of the highest quality.