A note to my followers.
Many of you follow me on this site, Twitter or my Facebook page because of my outreach work in science forums like Healthy Skepticism and Parents who Science, or know me from my time at SF both as a moderator and board member. Some of you became aware of me because of my #sciencetroll activities, relating to Vaccine Resistance Movement and others.
Clearly these are both two very different sides of the same coin. In the forums I strive to be the most civil, charitable, and evidence-based version of myself that I can be,while I employ both snark and sarcasm frequently as a science troll. My goals, desires and frustrations are identical with both pursuits but my methods vary greatly. The juxtaposition between the two, I have no doubt, is probably too great for some and results in them unfollowing me. I can understand and respect that. Those of you who remain in spite of this are true, loyal, friends and your participation in this journey is what makes it worthwhile.
Science Pony is also a character. While she is very close to my real life self and closely mimics the way I think, talk and act, she is just one snapshot of these aspects of my personality. The character is not me, no page or website could even accurately reflect a real person – but, and I need this to be heard and understood – I am one. I am a real person. My name is really PennyLane Handley and I really do love science. I also love my family and am wary of anything that threatens to harm it. It might be easy to forget that there is a flesh and blood human being behind these posts, which are sometimes snarky, sometimes silly, sometimes funny, sometimes trying to be funny and falling short, but I implore all of you who read this to remember that I am a person, someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, and I deserve that same respect as is due to anyone else.
I have no advisors or assistants, I am not part of any secret group of science shills. I have my friends, Destroyed by Science, The Mad Virologist, The Credible Hulk and James Fell and I have my own passion and desire to spread the good word about science and my own judgement, and sometimes that judgement is flawed or just plan wrong. I can honestly say that I am trying, and will continue to try because I believe in consensus. I believe in the importance of vaccines, in the importance of countering health woo before people turn their backs on evidence-based treatment methods. I believe that we are all better under the light of science than stumbling around in the darkness of ignorance.
To those persons who have recently decided to come to my page and impede my ability to outreach because of petty issues and silly squabbles, please take heed:
I am used to dealing with antis, I expect them to troll myself and others who spread science and consensus on these here internets. I never expected that the worst trolling I ever experienced would be from people who claim to support the same goals that I do. It is beyond bizarre. If you don’t like my message, change the channel. But please, and I cannot express this more clearly or loudly or firmly, do not tell me how to run my page. Do not try to enact change to it through ultimatums or threats. Do not think for a second that I would not walk away from this page skipping and whistling a jaunty tune rather than have a group of irrelevant, self righteous little pissants tell me how to do my job.
The arrogance it must take the honestly believe that you have the right to tell a perfect stranger what they are and are not allowed to post to a personal Facebook page is astounding to imagine. I posted a conversation that had the second participant’s name redacted. It might be guilty of being low hanging fruit in terms of comedy but it is not in violation of any law, civil or criminal, and it is not in violation of Facebook policy. I don’t know who you think you are but understand who I am – someone who would rather die than kowtow to the harassment and bullying of a few trolls on a Facebook page. So I invite you all to absolutely fuck off secure in the knowledge that if you comment on any of my posts you are banned.
To the rest of you, those who came for the science and stayed for the snark, and vice versa, I am really very sorry about the uninvited house guests, I realize that my desire to give everyone a voice I might have let some truly awful people kill your science buzz. I promise moving forward to do my best to remove the squeaky wheels so you can go back to the reason we are here – so this science groupie can help sneak you backstage at all the best science concerts. I totally can you know. I know a guy.
As always, I love you guys all *THIS* much.