Two days ago Meryl Dorey of the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network had a minor tremor on the AVN Facebook page. For some time Dorey and her AVN have been aggrieved that people should provide a rating on the Web of Trust site. More about this in a moment. Here is Dorey’s Facebook comment:
I can only imagine that Dorey is responding to a recent post by Tim Farley, in which Tim provides some valuable guidance to those of us whose sites have been fraudulently reported as containing malware (the three sites: mine, Losing in the Lucky Country, and Skewed Distribution are all WordPress sites; that is, they don’t contain malware by the very nature of the host). Tim also provides a reminder that we need to be vigilant in regards to false WoT ratings from disgruntled anti-vaccinationists who like to silence criticism.
As you can see from the above screen capture, Tim’s post was enough to provoke Dorey into making some more extraordinary, wrong, and possibly libellous claims about Australian Skeptics Inc. And, her claims about Stop the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network have been addressed before (and debunked by her own friend and co-admin, Susan Butler). Back in May 2011 I uploaded this grainy document: Meryl Dorey: Put Down the Keyboard and Back Away Slowly. I’ll reproduce the juicy bits here.
And, as noted in my document (linked above), this was the first SAVN had heard of Web of Trust. In fact, as also included in the document, this fact was substantiated by Susan Butler, Dorey’s friend and ethical cherry-picker:
So, SAVN found out about Web of Trust no earlier than May 2011, because Meryl Dorey told us about it; this was confirmed by Susan Butler in August 2011; yet Meryl Dorey insists that the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN have been manipulating WoT with “false complaints” since 2008. Tell me something doesn’t add up, here, else my head rolls off its shoulders.
Further to Dorey’s recent meltdown, she makes further accusations that these same two organisations have been instructing the world in how to work out “algorithms” in this campaign? This is also the first I’ve heard of this one. I’ve emailed Australian Skeptics for a brief comment on these accusations (I don’t appear to have them on speed-dial as Dorey would think, so I’ll wait for their reply).
I want to have a little closer look at the WoT site; what is rated; and how this compares to vexatious fraudulent malware reports, as recently practised upon our blogs. Here is the AVN Scorecard:
Trustworthiness for the AVN is poor. This is accurate, given that the AVN cannot be trusted to provide accurate, reputable immunisation information, however hard we plead with them.
Vendor reliability is also poor. One might think that this rating is deserved, given that the dictionary meanings of “6 issues/annum” were altered by the vendor.
Privacy didn’t appear to be a warranted poor rating until Meryl Dorey published the private email addresses of correspondents on her blog, in a fit of spite.
Child safety would have to be my favourite. Any website that advocates for children contracting infectious diseases, and treating them with magic water, deserves all the poor child safety ratings it can get. Not to mention defending child killers. And, when people are done down-rating the AVN for child safety, they should have a cuppa, come back, and down-rate them some more.
Dorey tells us that the ratings made on the WoT Scorecard are “false reports” made by “immature bullies” depicted as tantrum throwers. You be the judge of that.
In contrast, the false reports made against WordPress blogs, that they contain malware, are indeed fraudulent; deceitful; intimidatory; cowardly; the list is long.
Sometimes it’s just too easy. Dorey may forget, conveniently, what she says and when she says it: but the SAVN elephant never forgets.
I’ll leave you with a little tidbit I found whilst re-searching for the WoT Scorecard. This is Meryl Dorey, on the WoT Forum, arguing against the AVN’s poor rating. Meryl Dorey states everywhere that she is not anti-vaccine. Look at her screen-name, and enjoy:
I think it’s unbelievable to the AVN that anyone could distrust them if they’re not “brainwashed” by the SAVN. I thought they were crackpots long before I’d even heard of SAVN!
She uses that name a lot of places, have a look at the AVN entry on Wikipedia, do a compare of before and after her edits, funny stuff.
I directly raised similar issues with Dr. Brian Martin particularly the likelihood that disgruntled, ripped off members and parents would quite rightly rate vendor and child safety low. Any thinking person would rate child safety low. This was in response to his request to review his upcoming work on “attack modes” against the AVN.
I felt raising this reality and the situation of bogus attacks on the three blogs you mention should be justifiably considered in his final work. He dismissed this, insisting Meryl is persecuted as no other has been. But astonishingly – for an academic – claimed “it makes sense” that SAVN had dominated WoT ratings.
He mentioned comments from SAVN members on WoT scorecards as if conclusive evidence. Yet this defeats the claim SAVN are anonymous cowards and in no way proves dominance. Again we see this contrived defence of persecution. No evidence but a pseudoscientist using his “senses”.
Thanks for the plugs. I agree with you the 2008 claim is pretty bogus. Although WOT has existed since 2006, my experience has been that it wasn’t widely known until at least 2009.
The first skeptic to write about using it was The Mad Skeptic (Myron Getman) in this post dated July 22, 2009. He scooped me, because I didn’t write about it until March 24, 2011.
It’s certainly possible that skeptics were using WOT prior to that. I certainly saw many pseudoscience sites already had a red rating when I first loaded it. But widespread knowledge of it among skeptics certainly didn’t come until the second half of 2009.
Thanks Tim. Yep, I agree with all of your comments that WOT has existed for some years. My issue is that Dorey accuses “Australian Skeptics” and “Stop the AVN” of having been manipulating WOT with “false reports” since 2008. This is clearly wrong, and Dorey knows it.
Meryl knows that saying she is anti-vax is sufficient to turn the general populace away from her, which is why she tries to deny it. Any time someone sympathetic to her cause disagrees with her or states they will vaccinate, she and her minions vilify the individual, proclaim them to be a SAVN crony and ban them. Hardly an atmosphere of free exchange of information and allowing people to make up their own minds.
If it weren’t for things like that, one could be inclined to believe she’s just misinformed, overly emotional, misguided or whatnot. But she expressly and obviously lies about her stance on vacination, leading one to read the rest of her comments a little closer and find more lies amidst the misinformation.
Excellent post, Hank. The support of SAVN has just been tremendous, I have to say, so I thank you and SAVN as a whole. I’ve remarked here before that no equivalent organization exists in the U.S.–sure wish it did.
As to your post specifically, I think it’s particularly interesting that WordPress blogs were being attacked. I sent an email to WP a while back letting them know about this, but never heard back. I don’t have much to lose personally by having my blog falsely rated as dangerous; it was more of an annoyance. WordPress might not cotton to their product being falsely labeled as having malware, however.
Thanks SD. I also emailed WP, with no response.
Meryl didn’t even know you could bypass the WOT warning until I told her on Twitter
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