The Millenium Project

Home > Anti-vaccination Liars > Australian Vaccination Network > Banned from the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list
Bookmark and Share

Alphabetical ListCategoriesCommentariesArchiveAbout the SiteHate MailBook ShopSite Map/Search

Banned from the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list

In August 1999, a campaign of abuse against me started on the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list (then at OneList, now at Yahoo! Groups). I was told about this, so I joined the list to see what was being said about me. I published the emails here on the Anti-vaccination Mailbox page, but I was soon asked to remove them. I was banned from the list after I complied with the request to remove the emails.

Banned from the Australian Vaccination Network list!


Date: Sat, 28 Aug 1999 18:58:58 +0800
From: Sebastiana
Subject: AVN email list

Dear Mr. Bowditch,

Posting emails from the AVN list on your website without the permission of individual authors is a violation of our privacy guidelines.

Please obtain permission from the original authors or remove them from your website.

If you insist on keeping them, you will be unsubsribed from the AVN discussion list.

Sincerely,

Sebastiana Pienaar AVN List Manager

Dear Ms Pienaar,

As I said on my web site, the messages from the AVN list were included to provide a context for other messages and because people were talking about me, in some cases impugning my integrity, ethics and even sanity. I will remove the messages as you request, but I will replace them with place markers paraphrasing the originals in order to maintain the context. As I have been quoted out of context several times in the last week, I am sensitive to the possibility of being accused of doing the same thing.

The changes will be made within the next 24 hours. I have had some computer problems over the weekend (which is why I have not responded to you earlier) but I expect to be able to do site maintenance later today.

I will continue to publish messages sent directly to me about the site. It states quite clearly on the site that this is the policy regarding complaints and this policy is no harder to find than my name. I publish criticism for two reasons - to show that I recognise that people have a legitimate right to disagree with me, and to ensure that the views of people who disagree with what I say or do get at least as wide a distribution as my own opinions. Voltaire would understand. I may make occasional exceptions, such as for one message I received recently which was so close to illiteracy that publication would leave me open to charges of mocking the afflicted. Of course, messages from anonymous writers or those using obvious pseudonyms will be treated with all the respect they deserve.

You may quote this message wherever you like, as long as the entire message is included.

Then this arrived:

Date: Fri, 03 Sep 1999 18:47:24 +0800
From: Sebastiana
Subject: AVN List

Dear Mr. Bowditch,

You have breached the privacy guidelines for this list and will be unsubscribed. In the interests of maintaining privacy, defence of your position should have been directed towards the list.

Sebastiana Pienaar
AVN List Manager

Dear Ms Pienaar,

You have breached the privacy guidelines for this list and will be unsubscribed.

You asked me to remove the messages from the AVN list from my web site. I did this, so I do not know what more I could have done. Your list rules do not mention privacy, although they do mention manners. It was not me who showed "disrespect and abusive behaviour"; it was not me who accused someone of financial corruption or called them "nuts" or "psycho".

In the interests of maintaining privacy, defence of your position should have been directed towards the list.

This is incoherent. If you mean my position regarding publication of messages addressed to me through links on the Millenium Project site, the policy is quite clearly stated on the site. I am continually being told about the research skills of people opposed to vaccination, so they should have no problem navigating my site. I am afraid that I can have no sympathy for people who claim to be able to read and understand Nature, JAMA and NEJM but who claim not to understand the words "I will publish them here" when it is said or paraphrased three times.

If you are referring to my philosophical comments about publishing opinions which differ from my own, then there is really no point for you to make. If I announce in advance that I am going to do something and then I do it there is no need to explain afterwards, so any such explanation is just information added out of courtesy. I did not send my comments to the list because I was answering a private email and talking to you, not to the list, but you had my permission to send whatever I said to the list members if you wanted to.

I suggest that you remove the reference to Voltaire from the introduction you send to new list members as it seems that you either don't understand what he was saying (and are just mouthing a platitude) or you do understand but don't observe the principle contained in the words. I hope it is the first of these reasons, because the second would be hypocrisy.

As before, you are free to quote this message wherever you like as long as it is in context and quoted in full.

More arrived:

From: "Meryl Dorey"
Subject: re- the AVN Onelist
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 09:33:56 +1000

Dear Mr. Bowditch,

I am writing in reference to your being unsubbed from the AVN Onelist. Onelist was formed as a discussion list. It was a place where people with quite discordent views could, in many cases, come to discuss the issues of vaccination and health in a safe, moderated environment. Your abuse of established netiquette was discovered and you were asked to remove onelist posts from your website and to not forward or display any listmember's posts without their express permission. You have refused to do this and as a result, you have been unsubbed.

I personally feel that you have behaved in a cowardly and ungentleman-like manner. If you disagreed with anything that was posted on the list, you were more than welcome to express and support your views so that everyone could discuss them openly. Instead, you just chose to selectively quote sections of the list which you felt would expose an unscientific leaning on the part of those who question vaccination. Actually, on reading what was posted on your website, I think that they have had the opposite effect and simply support the fact that people who have chosen not to vaccinate or to vaccinate selectively have made intelligent and informed choices after much research.

I do most sincerely hope that neither yourself nor anyone you love will ever suffer adverse effects from a vaccination - many of those on the list know what that is like and would not wish it upon their worst enemy. Look to your own motives and continue to do what you think is right for the right reasons, but you will not be welcome back onto the AVN Onelist unless and until you agree to abide by the list rules and the rulse of netiquette for any public list.

Yours in health,
Meryl Dorey
President
The Australian Vaccination Network, Inc.

Dear Ms Dorey,

I am writing in reference to your being unsubbed from the AVN Onelist. Onelist was formed as a discussion list. It was a place where people with quite discordent views could, in many cases, come to discuss the issues of vaccination and health in a safe, moderated environment. Your abuse of established netiquette was discovered and you were asked to remove onelist posts from your website and to not forward or display any listmember's posts without their express permission. You have refused to do this and as a result, you have been unsubbed.

There are no posts from the AVN list quoted on my web site.

I don't know how to word the above statement more clearly, but I was asked to remove some material and I did so. The remaining email messages there were sent directly to me through links on the site, not to the list. If you are suggesting that I should not be publishing these because they came from people who are coincidentally members of the list, then you are talking nonsense. Membership of a mailing list does not ipso facto provide privileged status to messages sent outside the list. As it states quite clearly (and three times) on my site that complaints will be published, people who don't want publicity should stay quiet.

Your suggestion that your list welcomes "discordent views" is laughable. I have never seen a mailing list which is so intolerant of opposition. In fact, in my time on the list the only dissenting views I have seen have been citations by list regulars for the purpose of ridicule, selective quotations used to set up straw men, or publishing private email for the purpose of making ad hominem attacks on the writers (in their absence).

I personally feel that you have behaved in a cowardly and ungentleman-like manner. If you disagreed with anything that was posted on the list, you were more than welcome to express and support your views so that everyone could discuss them openly. Instead, you just chose to selectively quote sections of the list which you felt would expose an unscientific leaning on the part of those who question vaccination.

I selectively quoted nothing. I included the full text of list messages which specifically referred to me or to my web site (these are the messages which have now been removed). No other list messages were relevant. Similarly, I quoted the full text of messages sent to me directly. Any inferences about scientific credibility can therefore only be drawn from the exact words that people wrote.

I didn't send my reply to the list because I was not answering something said on the list. I was replying to messages sent directly to me, and I could see no point in saying the same thing several times. There was nothing to stop anyone posting my reply to the list if they wanted to, and in fact someone did post some of it, although their selective quoting distorted what I had said.

As for being "cowardly and ungentleman-like", it was not me who sent anonymous messages (I have never tried to hide who I really am). It was not me who called specific, identifiable people "nuts" and "psycho" and suggested that they might become violent. It was not me that suggested that their opponent had to be being paid to say something; if I remember correctly, it was you who said that.

Actually, on reading what was posted on your website, I think that they have had the opposite effect and simply support the fact that people who have chosen not to vaccinate or to vaccinate selectively have made intelligent and informed choices after much research.

If you believe that, then I can't see what you are complaining about.

You have my permission to quote this message wherever you like provided that it is quoted in its entirety.


The messages about me on the AVN mailing list were restored to the mailbox page in March 2002. Ms Dorey had again stated that the list welcomed opposing views, so I asked to be resubscribed. In her reply to me she said that I had been banned from the list because I had been "abusive and disrespectful". As I had never posted anything to the list in my life but had had to tolerate being abused and vilified in that forum, I felt that the only reasonable response to this hypocrisy was to publish in full what people had been saying about me.

This is the exchange of emails that happened at that time:

An open letter (23/3/2002)
The following message was posted to the AVN mailing list at Yahoo! Groups (Ms Dorey is the President of the Australian Vaccination Network):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AVN/message/16223

From: <meryl@a...>
Date: Fri Mar 22, 2002 9:32 am
Subject: Re - posting on this list

Hi all,

Just to remind everyone, this list is a venue where everyone is entitled to state their own opinions and the research they have uncovered. The only thing that will not be tolerated here is abusive behaviour. We need this to be a place where everyone feels safe to express their opinions - even if we don't agree with those opinions. Respect is the key. I will not vaccinate my children any further - others will vaccinate fully or selectively. I respect their decision as long as it is an informed choice, and I hope that they will respect mine.

So please let's not start a flame war here. We all love children and want a healthy world. The only difference of opinion we have is how to achieve that goal. So please be nice to each other.

Take care,
Meryl

When someone alerted me to Ms Dorey's offer of peaceful coexistence, I wrote to her:

Dear Ms Dorey,

In a message dated 23 March, 2002, to the AVN mailing list at Yahoo! with the subject "Re - posting on this list", you said: "Just to remind everyone, this list is a venue where everyone is entitled to state their own opinions and the research they have uncovered. The only thing that will not be tolerated here is abusive behaviour. We need this to be a place where everyone feels safe to express their opinions - even if we don't agree with those opinions. Respect is the key".

The fact that I am banned from the AVN list suggests that the words quoted above are empty rhetoric or maybe just blatant hypocrisy. It is easy for you to reverse this impression by removing the ban and resubscribing me to the list (email address peter@ratbags.com, individual emails, plain text). To maintain the ban in light of what you said above can only lead to the reasonable implication that the matters discussed on the list are either shameful or cannot withstand scrutiny by someone who is not a true believer.

I look forward to rejoining your list shortly.

Thank you.

Her reply was much as I had expected, despite the sentiments expressed in her original message:

Dear Mr. Bowditch,

When you were subscribed to the AVN Discussion list, you breached our code of behaviour by being extremely abusive and disrespectful. I see no reason to re-subscribe you since you have shown no signs of ever changing that behaviour which caused you to be banned in the first place. I must therefore inform you that at this point in time and for the foreseeable future, you will not be subscribed to the AVN Discussion list.

Kind regards,
Meryl Dorey

During the time I was subscribed to the list I posted no messages of any kind to it, so it would have been impossible for me to have been "extremely abusive and disrespectful". Other list members, however, had no problem with abusing me and, as in the case of Ms Dorey herself for example, accusing me of financial corruption. Still, why should I expect anything else but hypocrisy from people who claim to like children but would rather see a million children dead or crippled than one child with a needle in his arm?


All donations gratefully accepted
Please help out with a donation.

Back to The Millenium Project
Email the
Copyright 1999-
Creative Commons