A Day In The Life of a TAVS Admin
By Paul Davis – the endangered admin:
Things Anti-Vaxers Say (TAVS) was started in the early part of 2013 by the ‘creator’. No one really knows who they are, not even the admin team. But, there I was, right there at the start ready to take on board the role of page admin.
I had no idea back then at the beginning, when we set up the page, that we’d be at the forefront of showing the crazy behaviour of anti-vaxers in picture form. Nor did I make any assumptions on how big the page was going to get so quickly. It was really set up so that we could argue with the lies, the misinformation, the mistruths, or the genuine lack of understanding of science without being banned. Before TAVS, you’d show someone on Tenpenny’s page that they weren’t correct in regards to some information, you’d provide evidence of why they were wrong, you were generally quite nice about it, but then WHAM, you’re banned. Banned and labelled a troll! Yes, a troll. The same with groups. So despite the best efforts of the ‘troll’ (we may as well own the name, antivaxers will call us this anyway), you’ll be silenced in a heartbeat with the click of the *ban* button.
Eventually you get a name for yourself as a ‘troll’ and people not only ban you from their page but begin to block you. So it appeared that having any control over what lies were being spread needed to be done from a safe page, a page like TAVS.
After time, even as an admin, you can’t remain immune to some of the terrors parents put their children through. You can’t just stand by and let a parent ask for medical advice for dangerous illnesses on a Facebook page. Eventually, you have to give in and message the admins of the groups that allow such dangerous behaviour to go on. One of the first such people was Tina Allain. I didn’t message her as an alias, I went in as myself, Paul Davis. I wasn’t going to lie. I was going to be frank and honest. I needed to ask her to stop the dangerous behaviour of her group seeking medical advice via the internet. So, the best way was to be upfront and honest.
So, Tina didn’t have much to research to find who I was. It was pretty quick from there, and I do take the blame myself, that I was going to be stalked. Yes, I should have used a fake profile to contact Tina, I should have been less than honest about who I was. But, let’s face it, what sort of relationship would I build with these anti-vaxers if I built it on lies?
How bad was this stalking? Well, to start with it was just to find out what I do. But then it might have gone a bit further. Perhaps even as far as messaging my work. One such person may have heard about the anti-vaxer craze of emailing my work. And they made it clear in a thread that contact may have been made.
This person will remain anonymous, but the rest of the people involved, no, this is your time to be exposed.
So who was first on this list?
Phoolan Devi (aka Courtney Hebberman), the admin at Vaccine Free Australia, a now secret anti-vax group on Facebook. One that gets featured many times at TAVS. It goes without saying that Courtney has a lot of vested interest in her group. It’s not about finance for her, it’s about ego. It’s about being right. She was asked, by me, numerous times to allow me into the group, unblocked, and the screenshots from her group would stop. She was asked numerous times to clean up the group and prevent dangerous medical misinformation and advice. But, she was too proud to let that happen. Instead, she is the most likely suspect of people to have contacted my work. Despite her clearly saying she didn’t.
So let’s discuss stalking. I wonder where I was stalking and harassing people? I did message a couple from time to time to ask them, politely, to stop with the dangerous medical advice, but stalking? No. Where I see stalking was in the Vaccine Free Australia group where Courtney had a favourite pastime of ‘stalking’ me. She appeared infatuated, and not in a good way.
She even sent me a friend request. I politely declined.
Some of the real stalking started much earlier, but this showed a good indication that people knew where I worked. Up until this point however, I had no idea if anyone had ever contacted my work. The whole November 16th thread was a crazy amount of stalking. Here is some of the comments (some of these people you will get to meet again in this article). Incidentally, no, that is not me pictured.
That’s a bit harsh Linda, I happen to be very pretty (for a troll). My Facebook page does have my picture. I don’t hide it. But being the narcissistic person I am, who takes on board the very real risk of exposing these scumbags, I don’t do this by myself. I just happen to be the only one they know about. I don’t think that makes me narcissistic because I want to see dangerous medical misinformation removed from social media. But, I’ll wear it if I have to. Keep up with the name calling Vaccine Free Australia.
And here it starts. How can they get back at the guy who exposes their lies?
Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea letting Tina and Phoolan know who I am. Now it seems to have opened up all sorts of possibilities of them contacting my work. Well, luckily for me I have a boss who is also a scientist and probably won’t mind too much what I do in my Facebook time so long it doesn’t interfere in my work. And, as it happens, it does interfere in my work (woops). I sometimes show the students in my classes just how to not ‘science’ by showing them screenshots captured (names blanked out of course) of how really idiotic some people can be. It is encouraging when the students can easily pick the faults out in their comments too. It shows we are educating brilliant and critical young minds.
Then along comes Don. Don is a genuine anti-germ-theory-ist. Yes, Don does not believe bacteria or viruses cause disease. He also doesn’t believe in punctuation (and he makes this clear in his statement below).
Well, Don, I do present reasoned arguments. But you can’t reason with someone who thinks rabies is psychosomatic.
Then the conversation continued. Yes, it is all about me, me, me. But this time it is being exposed. It is not being kept secret and this time, you can reply directly to me (rather than my place of employment).
Now let me introduce you to Janne Witt. Janne was caught red handed lying thanks to some great inside information. Much more about that soon. But here, Janne refreshes this thread from November 16 as we encountered each other at a Facebook poll. She believed I had stalked her to get there, but the reality was, and I showed her, someone at TAVS had linked to the poll which I then went to and found Janne and caught her lying. But let’s start here. Janne knew I worked as a teacher, this is the same thread that I am showing above, just keep that in mind as you read the rest.
Pay careful mind also to that timestamp. Janne says she never knew where I worked in the secret group Vaccine Free Australia. Just remember, these guys never lie. Antivaxers are the ‘truth’ behind the lies. Let’s return to the November 16 thread first before we uncover Janne’s more hideous side of lying.
Here Janne backs up her not ‘stalking’ of me with some identification issues. She states clearly I am not a kiwi and not in NZ.
So who else should report me to all the international education boards? Well, who else but Stephanie Messenger the Marvellous Measles lady.
Now even the Swiss won’t employ me because I have a tiny penis.
That concludes the thread from November 16. But did they really know where I work? I mean, New Zealand is a small country, so how easy am I to be found?
Now remember when Janne said she never knew where I worked? Yeah, that was in March. March 13th to be precise. Wait on, isn’t February before March on the calendar? So, Janne DID know where I worked and even who I worked for. And Janne and Courtney both had enough reason to contact my employer. They definitely knew my employer. As an evidence based scientist, I think you’ll all agree, that the evidence is conclusive.
It pays to never lie. One day it will bite you in the back!
Do I deserve to have my work place harassed because I want to stop dangerous misinformation on the internet? Because I expose people’s inability to understand science (but I do not expose their names, their names are always covered on Facebook). This is what a TAVS admin has to put up with when they’re known who they are. This is only the first instalment. There are plenty more cases of harassment, bullying, and even threats. But we’ll start here.
Next time you’re looking at a screenshot in TAVS just remind yourself what risks we’re taking to bring you the very latest derp from the most dangerous cult on Earth.